moving mistakes

Rookie Mistakes Everyone Makes During Their First Move

Moving for the first time? Even if you think you know it all, you probably aren’t quite ready. A move, no matter how far, typically involves a lot of moving parts. And moving mistakes.

Check out our list for some common first-time errors and to learn how you can avoid making them.

1. Packing up your home “as-is”

When moving for the first time, you might be tempted to just pack up your existing home “as-is” and move your entire past life to your new home. This is usually not a wise decision.

If you’re the type of person that’s very thorough and regular with cleaning out your home, you can skip over this step. But, if you’re like the rest of us and have packrat tendencies, you need to listen up.

Before moving day rolls around, take at least a week to incrementally purge your personal possessions. If you’re honest with yourself, there’s probably a good amount of documents, clothes, tools and more that you don’t need to take to your new place. Donating or tossing these items before packing can save you time and money in the long run.

There are a number of ways to tell if you own too much stuff, according to organizational experts, but one works particularly well. Dorothy Breininger of the TV show “Hoarders” told Bustle that if you can afford to go days or even weeks without unpacking after a trip, you own too many things. “For people who don’t keep a lot around, they can’t afford to not unpack and put their things away,” she says.

moving list

2. Skipping over the planning

It seems simple, right? Put your things in a box and get those boxes to your new home. No matter the size of your move, you have to plan ahead, especially if it’s your first move. If you don’t, moving day will be a harsh and, likely expensive, reality.

There are plenty of easy-to-follow moving timelines that will help you be sure you’ve covered all the bases. From the months leading up to the move all the way to the very day of the move, you need to have certain preparations made.

You can also utilize a number of tech tools to help avoid any moving mistakes. One great online tool is MoveAdvisor, a mobile app that can help you find the right professionals, keep an inventory of your home and organize and schedule your move based on the time remaining until moving day! MoveAdvisor is available for both iPhone and on the Google Play store.

3. Forgetting about your first night in the new place

One of the most common yet most aggravating moving mistakes you can make is forgetting to plan for your first night in your new home. On moving day, you’ll probably move all of your boxes and furniture into your new home.

The next few days or even weeks will likely be consumed with unpacking. But, you don’t want to wait days or weeks to get to all of your essential items!Before you pack, put together an “overnight” kit to use during the interim between move-in day and finishing your unpacking. This kit should have everything you need for basic survival and hygiene, such as:

  • Phone or laptop chargers
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Checkbook
  • Important documents like insurance info, social security card and driver license

4. Forgetting to forward your mail

Granted, much of our important correspondence these days comes electronically, but snail mail still plays an important role in our lives. Before you move, you shouldn’t forget to forward your mail to your new address. It’s easy to do online, and if you’re in the U.S., it only costs a dollar to officially change your address instantly.

old moving truck

5. Falling for a too-good-to-be-true price for movers

Like the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If your move involves hiring professional movers, you’ll probably want to avoid being swayed by a too-good-to-be-true cost.

Before hiring a mover or moving company, check at least three references. You are 100 percent within your rights to ask for a moving company to provide their licensure and insurance information, and you should. Lastly, be sure you read any contracts thoroughly before signature. A shady company could leave you with a big mess that you’re ultimately liable for.

According to, “The average cost of a local move is $1,250. The average cost of a long distance move is $4,890 (distance of 1,000 miles),” based on a 2-3 bedroom house and average 7,500 pounds of cargo.

That price estimate is based on licensed, professional movers, so if you receive a quoted price much lower than that, you should be wary. When in doubt, you can use an online moving cost calculator to see about what you should be paying.

6. Forgetting about Fido

Obviously, you won’t forget to move your pets with you. But, many people do forget to plan their big moves with their pets in mind.

Before moving with a pet, make sure they have a “survival pack” for them, too — just like the one we mentioned you would need for yourself. This should include food and water bowls, blankets and waste bags. A few of your fur baby’s favorite toys can’t hurt either.

There are also a number of health precautions you should take with your pets. Prior to a move you should have a regular vet checkup. If you’re moving across state lines, your new home may have different health requirements for animals that you’ll need to educate yourself on.

Moving with pets is not hard, it just takes a bit more planning.

DIY move

7. Equating DIY with money-saving

There’s a reason people do things professionally — because they’re good at it. The same can be said for professional movers. If it was easy to do it the right way, everyone would do it for themselves.

Despite the fact that self moves are growing in popularity, moving is complex, tiresome and often high-stakes. The smallest mistake can end up costing you a ton of money. If you’re considering a DIY move because it will save you money, think about the overall value of some of your most expensive items.

If even one item is damaged, you could end up losing all the money you “saved” by doing it yourself in the first place. Some of the most common moving mistakes center around an over-ambitious DIY move.

If you’re considering a DIY move, perhaps consider some hybrid option. A model of moving known as “You Pack, We Drive” moving is increasing in popularity. This option allows you to pack up your belongings at your own pace and have them professionally transported to your new home, where you will then unpack on your own.

Be smart and avoid moving mistakes

Whether you’re dreading your move or you’re excited about it, chances are there are some anxious feelings surrounding moving day. With that, you can easily make moving mistakes that will cost you in the long run.

Be smart, plan ahead and follow our advice to avoid those moving mistakes, and you’ll thank yourself in the end.


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