Packing apartment

How to Get Ready for Movers: Everything You Need to Do to Prepare Your Apartment

To avoid some of this frustration and exhaustion, hire professional movers to transport your items from your old apartment to your new one. Hiring a moving company is helpful, yet there are different steps you’ll need to take to prepare for your move than if you were doing it all on your own.

To make the moving process run smoothly, you’ll need to get some things ready before the movers show up to tow your belongings over to the new rental. Here’s our comprehensive list of preparations to help you get your place ready for the movers.

How to get ready for movers

Movers will make things much easier on you, but you’ll still need to do a few things to get ready for them to help. You know your apartment and your belongings better than the moving company does, so they’ll be relying on you to help them navigate!

Have a plan

When you hire a moving crew to take care of the heavy lifting for you, don’t assume that once you’ve made the call and set the appointment that takes care of everything. Moving companies are pretty good about asking questions to get clarification on what you need and expect, but you’ll still need to plan things on your end to get ready for the movers moving day.

Create a basic plan to get everyone on the same page. The main things that you’ll want to include in your planning are the time that movers come and where you’ll be moving. However, any additional details for the plan will be immensely appreciated by the movers.

A few questions to answer as you create your plan:

  • How much stuff do you need to move/how many rooms will you be moving?
  • What time will you need the movers to show up?
  • Will you require packing services, where hired professional packers pack up your belongings for you?
  • Do you have lots of large items?
  • Does your apartment have an elevator or will movers go up and down stairs?
  • How far away is your new place/how long will it take to get there?

As you answer these questions, it can give you an idea of the timing and how long you’ll need to have movers reserved. Plus, it will make moving day much easier and you hopefully won’t feel so stressed.

Donate clothes

Clean out unwanted items

We all accumulate a variety of items throughout life, many of which we only use once or very seldom. Before you move is the perfect time to clean out all your belongings you no longer need to keep around.

Cleaning things out before you move versus after means you’ll be packing and moving less stuff! You don’t need to go full Marie Kondo and get rid of lots of items to make your move a little easier. Even cleaning out a few items from each room will make a difference, especially if they’re bigger ones.

Cleaning out can become profitable to you, too! You hold a garage sale or sell used items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to pocket a little bit of extra cash while you move. Or, if you’d rather not go through the hassle of posting the items and waiting for buyers, you can donate unwanted items to thrift stores.

As an additional note, you’ll need to dispose of any hazardous materials yourself. Movers won’t handle any hazardous waste or extremely flammable items, so take care to dispose of them properly beforehand.

Clean up

To get ready for the movers to arrive to haul your belongings to your new apartment, you’ll need to clear pathways for them to walk. They’ll be carrying heavy furniture and boxes with fragile items inside, so you don’t want them to trip and get hurt or damage your belongings while they walk through your apartment.

If you’re paying a moving company to do all of the packing and boxing for you, clean up your apartment, but don’t remove items from the rooms they’re in. Professional movers have a system they follow to pack and properly label boxes that will make it easier to move, unload and unpack in the proper room of your new place. So, leave the professionals to their business and keep things out of their way.

Set aside items you don’t want movers to take

Obviously, there are items you own that you don’t want movers to take in their truck with the bulk of your belongings. These are valuable items that you’re extra nervous about breaking during the moving process, such as jewelry, family heirlooms or personal documents. As well as delicate items like plants that are finicky and need an extra bit of care as you transport them.

Create an “essentials box” for such items and make sure you put them in their own area of the apartment or a separate room and make it clear that you don’t want them taken with the rest of your stuff. Verbally communicate it to the movers and have obvious labels on the items so there isn’t any mistaking whether or not the items go in the moving truck.

Make an inventory of your belongings

It might seem excessive to document your belongings, but you’ll be glad you did! Creating a detailed inventory or comprehensive list of the items you own will help you stay more organized as you pack, unpack and figure out how to box things up to get ready for the movers.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write down each individual item you own. Rather, you can make a general list and combine like items so it all still makes sense. For example, you might just put “makeup bag” as an item since you don’t need to document every little piece of makeup you have for your record.

The easiest way to make a moving inventory of your belongings is to use some type of online document that you can access from anywhere. You may choose a simple note on your phone or you might be the type that likes a spreadsheet. Whatever documentation method you choose is fine as long as it makes sense to you!

Packing supplies to get ready for the movers.

Grab packing supplies

Before you start packing things up, you’ll want to get the supplies to do so. Getting everything beforehand will keep you from having to make multiple trips to the store to buy things you need mid-move and it will ensure that you have the proper supplies to safely pack your fragile pieces.

At the very least, here are the basic packing supplies you’ll need:

  • Moving boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent markers
  • Bubble wrap

You’ll use these supplies to not only pack, but protect and label your belongings for the movers.

Box everything before movers arrive

Have everything packed up in moving boxes before the movers arrive. When you prepare for movers by putting your belongings into boxes, it makes the process easier for everyone.

If the movers you hire charge by the hour, it will save you lots of time and money by having things already boxed up and ready to carry out. If the movers have to wait for you to finish packing things into boxes, your moving costs will go up and it makes the movers’ job a little harder as they can’t do much while they wait for you.

Packing small items

While packing up really small items like jewelry and office supplies, you’ll want to find a way to keep everything contained so it’s not a mess when you unpack. You don’t want to sift through all of your paperclips or makeup brushes out of the bottom of a big box. Some good ways to keep small items together for packing are:

  • Ziploc bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Travel containers
  • Makeup travel bags
  • Extra small containers

When you pre-pack small items before putting them into larger boxes, it will help each box stay neat and tidy.

Put a lid on

Most moving companies won’t take boxes and bins without lids on them, so keep that in mind as you box up your belongings. Make sure everything you want movers to pack up in the truck has a lid so you can stack boxes and items don’t fall out.

Pack food items accordingly

There’s a good chance you’ll want to take all of the food from your refrigerator and freezer and move it to your new apartment. But perishable food items will thaw and melt or go bad if you put them in normal moving boxes.

Pack cold items into a cooler to keep them from going bad. In most cases, a simple cooler will do the trick if you pack it the day of your move and unpack it the same day. But, if you’re doing a cross-country move, you’ll want to give yourself reminders to add or replace the ice inside the cooler so you can maintain the food.

Cleaning supplies

Leave cleaning supplies behind

When you’re moving out of an apartment, cleaning is usually the last thing you need to do and you’ll need to have cleaning supplies around to complete the job! Set aside your cleaning items so you can clean the place once your belongings are all moved out. This will keep you from having to dig them out of your boxed items or from running to the store and spending a bunch of money on new cleaning items.

Don’t forget about collecting trash before you leave. Keep a garbage bag around to throw away any of the disposable hand towels you used for wiping things down or any extra household items lying around after the movers have taken the big stuff.

Bubble wrap fragile items

For large items that you’re afraid of damaging, wrap them in bubble wrap. This includes things like paintings, picture frames and mirrors that you can’t fit in a moving box and are easily breakable.

There are also small, fragile pieces you might want to consider bubble wrapping before you put them into boxes. You should wrap anything glass and there are some wooden items you should wrap — glass dishes, wooden or porcelain figurines and candles in glass jars are some common items that need a little cushioning to avoid breaking during the mover.

Label everything

Once you’ve got things packed away in their boxes, label everything in a way that makes sense to you and communicate the meaning of the labels to movers. Don’t forget to label all your furniture with their proper rooms, along with each individual box!

Simple labels

One of the most common and convenient ways to label boxes for both you and the movers is by room — simply label everything from the kitchen “kitchen,” bathroom items “bathroom” and the same applies to all other rooms. This makes it easy for movers when they arrive at your new house or apartment and need to know which room each box belongs in.

In-depth labels

If you want to get more granular for your own personal use when unpacking, you can also make note of all the items in each box either on the top or sides of the boxes. For the movers, this probably isn’t helpful as they just need to know which rooms to put boxes in, but it can help you when you’re putting things away.

Ways to label

Depending on the boxes you use and how you transport large items, you may want to change the way you label things. If using cardboard boxes, you can use a marker to write directly on the box. If you have plastic bins, you may want to write the label on a strip of masking tape and apply it to the bin. And, the same goes for bubble-wrapped items — write the label on a piece of masking tape and put the tape right on the bubble wrap.

Moving truck to get ready for the movers

Make room for the moving truck

Most apartment buildings have limited parking and there probably aren’t many places to put big moving trucks. Some complexes have specific zones for large vehicles, but they can only park there for a limited time or they may need a special permit.

If you communicate with the building’s property management, they can usually help you figure out where to park and load the moving truck. They’ll also let you know how to get a parking permit if needed.

Make sure you figure out these details at least a few days before the moving company arrives or else it could delay things or cause issues with parking and loading the truck. You’ll also want to check with your new place and make arrangements for the movers to park and unload in your new apartment. Inform the movers of the parking details before the moving truck arrives so you can save time and improve the process on moving day.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own personal driveway at your old or new apartment, this makes the moving day much easier as you can simply pull the truck into the driveway without blocking parking spaces or needing a special permit.

Stay out of the way

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to do your job and someone constantly getting in the way of it. Professional movers are not the exception here and if you, your family, your friends and even your pets are getting in the way, it will make things exponentially more difficult and frustrating for the movers as they try to work. Let everyone else know to stay out of the way of movers so they have the space to do what they need.

If you have pets or young children, you may even want to get a babysitter for the day or have an adult family member watch them just to guarantee they won’t get in the way of things. This is for the safety of both your loved ones and the movers.

As you get ready for the movers, remember our tips above! It may seem like a lot in the moment, but it’s well worth all of the planning and preparation for a successful move. So, check company reviews and find the best moving company for you and get moving!


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