Moving Tips From America’s #1 Mover®

Get A Quote

As America’s #1 Mover®, the experts at United Van Lines can help you plan and execute your move with this collection of tips and tricks for every stage of the moving process. Whether you plan to move across town or the country, these helpful moving tips will help you get there.

You’ve Decided to Move, Now What?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided to move and know where you’re going. Over the next few weeks or even months, you’ll experience a range of emotions. Stress can be one of them. Every move is unique, but all generally follow the same flow. Here are a few tips to get you through the initial planning stages of your move.

Set Your Moving Date

Sometimes, you can’t plan your moving date. If your move-in date is flexible, book a mover as early as possible, especially during the peak moving season (May through September). If you plan to move without assistance from movers, be sure to plan around the schedules of those you will be asking for help. If choosing to move with family or friends, make sure they have plenty of notice to clear their calendar.

Document Everything

When you move, your organizational skills will be put to the test. We recommend using a dedicated folder to file away and reference any paperwork for your move. This could include reservations, checklists, receipts, important phone numbers or anything else you may need to quickly locate. If you are moving with the help of United Van Lines, we offer the MyUnited Move Portal– a customized move portal to help simplify your moving prep.

Figure Out How You’re Getting There

Whether by boat, car, plane or train, you need to make the move with your belongings. If planning a long-distance road trip, start planning overnight stays along the way. If you don’t intend to drive to your new place, look into car shipping services and research airfares early. You may also wish to avoid putting the miles on your vehicle and rent a car for the trip instead. During peak season, it’s better to book a rental car sooner rather than later.

Remember to Change Your Address

If you have a new address you may want to change your address ahead of time to make sure your mail moves at the same time as you. According to the USPS, it’s best to allow for up to 2 weeks’ notice when requesting mail forwarding services.

Remember to Update Your Utility Accounts

Be sure to notify your utility providers of your move date, so you aren’t stuck paying for services you are no longer using. Ask your providers if they will prorate your bill based on your move-out date. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure your new place is squared away for moving day with heating and cooling, water and gas service. If you act early, you may be able to schedule service from a cable or internet provider for your move-in date.

Shop Necessary Groceries

When grocery shopping before you move, only buy necessary foods you need and plan to use right away. You’re not going to want to cook on nights when you’re packing, and fresh, frozen or perishable foods don’t travel well. Unopened pantry items can move with you, but with less food comes less packing. If you know ahead of time that you’ll have an excess of unopened, unused goods, plan a donation to your local food bank.

Pre-Packing Tips

Packing preparation is an important stage in your move. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy knowing how to pack before jumping in. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time, and considering these helpful packaging tips. If you want to skip the hassle of packing, United Van Lines offers professional packing and unpacking services giving you one less thing to worry about.  

Gather and Catalog Your Packaging Supplies

Boxes are not the only item you’ll need to pack your belongings. To secure and identify your boxes, you’ll need:

  • Packing tape 
  • Labels (writing on the box works fine, too!)
  • Markers 

To help cushion your packed belongings, you’ll need:

  • Paper towels
  • Bubble wrap or plastic wrap
  • Blankets or towels
  • Garbage bags for clothing

Some items, like flat screen TVs, travel best in the boxes they came in.

Keep a spreadsheet of your inventory, and keep it together in a safe place until you start packing.

Start Sourcing Boxes

When sourcing moving boxes, we strongly recommend using moving boxes, padding, wrap and tape helps you to secure your valuables during a move. Make sure your boxes are sturdy and aren’t torn, wet or damaged, as non-sturdy or damaged boxes can easily break when moving heavy items. Use our model moving supply checklist to understand what you’ll need.  

Prep Your Current Home by Decluttering

Decluttering can save you tons of time in the packaging process. Before you start to pack, clean your house and identify items you can throw out, donate or sell.

Take Pictures of Your Intricate Items

Take pictures of any appliances or electronics that require a complicated setup, so you’ll know how to plug cords back in at your new place. If you like how your art is displayed on the wall, take a picture!

Tips for Packing Before a Move

Once you’ve decluttered, gathered packaging materials and have a plan, it’s time to pack!

Use Right Boxes for The Right Stuff

Heavier items are best in smaller boxes, so they are easier to lift and maneuver. Lighter items are best in larger boxes so you can move more around at once. A bulkier or more awkward box is always easier to carry if lighter objects are inside.

Remember to Mark Boxes With Fragile Items – And Use Care Handling Them

Always mark your boxes containing fragile items, so anyone helping you move knows which boxes to handle with extra care. For items like flat screen TVs, the original box the item came in works best. For anything you don’t have the original box for, be sure to wrap well with bubble wrap, paper towels, quilts or blankets. Fragile items like dishes are best packed vertically so heavier items aren’t stacked on top of them.

Pack Room by Room

Always pack by room, and mark your boxes by room. If you have dishes and silverware mixed in with your living room decorations, it will make damage more likely and unboxing more complicated. Keeping each room to its own box(es) will create a more streamlined process.

Make Sure Your Boxes Are Secure

Properly secure your boxes with plenty of packing tape. This will make your boxes easier to transport.

Pack Cleaning Supplies Separately

Keep a box of cleaning supplies separate so you can do any final cleaning before you move out. By packing your cleaning supplies separately, this makes them easily identifiable and accessible on day one at your new home.

Pack a First Night Box

A First Night Box is the perfect moving hack. Pack an overnight bag with some clothes, toiletries, and anything else you’d like to easily access on your first night or weeks at your new place. This can include things like games, movies, and disposable dining ware. This eliminates having to go through different boxes after you’ve been moving all day.

Don’t Overdo It – And Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Packing can feel like a daunting process and usually takes longer than expected. Pack a little at a time and keep track of how many boxes and supplies you are using. If necessary, this will allow you the time you need to source additional supplies.

Tips for Moving Day

Moving day doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right mindset and plan, the whole day can be a breeze.

Take Pictures of Your Old Place

If you’re moving out of or into a rental, taking pictures of the empty space can serve as documentation of the cleanliness you left it in, and proof of any damage that is already there. By taking this extra step, you can help protect your security deposit.

Moving Yourself? Load the Moving Truck With a Plan

You don’t want to rush loading, or, load boxes in an order that doesn’t make sense for unloading. Pack large items first and fill the truck with smaller boxes. Similarly shaped boxes stack and fit together nicer and will be easier to unload.

Have a Plan for Unloading the Truck

Load the truck room-by-room, stacking together items that will ultimately be unloaded into the same room. You can also communicate to your movers where rooms are located and match up to designations on boxes.

Celebrate Once Your Move Is Complete

Once the moving day is complete, it’s important to take some time for yourself. If friends and family helped you move, order pizza or have some drinks to celebrate. If you have family or friends in the area, don’t be afraid to invite them over for a day one housewarming – you’ve earned it.

Use Our Week-by-Week Moving Checklist

Need more tips? Moving can be a complicated, drawn out process. United Van Lines has an 8-week Move Planner, featuring step-by-step instructions to help with everything we missed here. This comprehensive planner will guide you through your move from two months out, all the way up to move in day. We cover everything from procuring moving quotes to things to do to prepare for packing day. With almost a century in the moving industry, we have learned what makes for the best moves and strive to pass all we have learned to you.
Start Planning Your Move
How to Pack the Living Room for Moving - young couple taking a break from packing their living room, using a box as a table for their breakfast muffins - United Van Lines

Stay Organized With Our Move Checklists

Moving with us or by yourself? Keep your move organized with these specialized moving checklists from America’s #1 Mover®

Packing 101 Checklist

Make sure to read up on packing basics.

Non-Allowables Checklist

This list outlines restricted items that should not be packed or included in your shipment.

Supplies Checklist

Recommended supplies you should have on hand for packing.

First Night Box Checklist

See what to set aside for your first night in your new home.

Get a Long-Distance Moving Quote

Step 1 Click here to begin your quote. Step 2 Schedule your move survey. Step 3 Complete the move survey and select your services. Step 4 Receive your moving quote and plan your move!
Step-By-Step Guide for a Seamless Long-Distance Move
united mover packing up a customer's kitchen - United Van Lines

Blogs to Help With Your Move

Check out our blog page, complete with how-to articles, packing videos and expert advice from United. Our blogs provide moving tips and important details on location-specific moves. See what’s new from the expert movers at United Van Lines. 
Moving Blogs

Videos to Help You Move

We have compiled our collection of packing videos that show you how to pack everything from shoes to books, from dishwashers to linens.
Moving & Packing Videos

Select Your Moving Services

From packing to storage, from cleaning to moving your car, United can customize a moving quote tailored to your needs, budget and schedule. When you’re moving long distance, let us help you! We strive to provide the professional moving services and customer service that has given us the reputation of a top rated moving company.
View Our Moving Services

Professional Moving Services Made Easy