Move Center > Pre-Move Tips

Pre-Move Tips

Moving is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. Being prepared and taking the necessary steps to insure the safety of your belongings can go a long way in reducing that stress.

No matter the scale, moving isn't easy. After all, you are disassembling a familiar lifestyle, packing it into boxes, transporting it to a new location, and then reassembling it in a new environment. The process is disruptive and a headache to juggle. But it's not that hard nor impossible. Once you know where and when you are going to move, it's time to get organized. Having a plan and staying organized smooths the process, especially if the unexpected happens.

Selecting a Moving Company or Do it Yourself?

The first step is to decide whether you are going to use a moving company or do it yourself. If you are going to work with a moving company, then you'll need to have their agent come to your house to survey just how big the job is and prepare a written estimate for you. You'll also need to decide whether you want to do any of the packing or if you'd prefer experienced packers tackle it for you. Moving companies are professionals and they will work with you to ensure your move is easy and hassle-free. If you are going to move yourself, you'll need determine how you are going to transport your belongings. If you don't have access to a big truck, this means you'll need to rent one. Just how big depends on how much you are going to move, how far you are going to move, and how much time you have to do the job. If you are just moving across town, consider multiple trips in a mid-sized panel truck with a ramp. If you are moving across the country, you might consider renting a larger truck. In these cases, this limits most drivers to trucks under 26,000 pound load capacity (anything bigger requires a commercial driver's license or CDL).

Get quotes from moving companies here.

Spread the Word

Four to six weeks before you move, you should let people and businesses know you are moving.

Change of Address

Thanks to our friends at MyChangeAddress, you can change your address in just moments with their simple, safe and secure form. Visit MyChangeAddress Today

Disconnect Your Current Utilities

If possible, plan to keep utilities in service through moving day.

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water/Sewer
  • Trash
  • Telephone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Internet Service Providers

Connect Utilities and Home Services for Your New Home

Notify businesses where you have personal accounts or services:

  • Pharmacy
  • Dry cleaners or laundry service
  • Health club
  • Lawn service
  • Banking or finance companies
  • Credit card companies

Notify the professional services you rely on.

  • Doctor(s)
  • Dentist(s)
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer
  • Broker
  • Insurance Agent

Send a change of address notice to the publications you subscribe to:

  • Newspapers
  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • Professional journals

Also notify Government Offices providing you with important services:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Administration
  • Veterans Administration
Set an appointment with a service technician to prepare your major appliances for shipment.

Gather Boxes!

If you are doing some or all of the packing yourself, it is never too late to begin gathering boxes and packing material. Just remember, different kinds of boxes are best for different kinds of jobs. Double-walled cardboard boxes are great for packing heavy, bulky items such as books as well as sensitive items like stereos and other electronics (original packing is best).

One kind of general, sturdy box that comes in a uniform size easy for stacking is the office paper box. And usually, any business or institution that does a lot of printing is happy to give them away.

Many other different kinds of boxes can be purchased from office supply stores and moving companies --including boxes designed for shipping clothing on hangers that you want to keep wrinkle-free.

When it comes to packing materials, the best thing to use is the original packing the item came in. Of course, that's usually not available. Depending on the item, you have several options on how to pack it and how environmentally responsible they are.

Newspapers: Plentiful and usually free after you are done reading it, newspaper can be wrapped around things or balled up into wads and packed around things. The ink can sometimes leave stains and smudges on some materials. Newspaper can be recycled easily.

Bubble wrap: excellent cushioning for wrapping around various items and children enjoy popping the blisters when it's done being used. It is plastic, resists moisture, and can be purchased by the roll. Not very recyclable.

Packing peanuts: There are two kinds; the kind made out of Styrofoam and a bio-degradable kind that melt when they get wet. Packing peanuts are useful for packing around very fragile items that may be bulky or difficult to handle. Local pack and ship companies are usually happy to accept them when you are finished with them.

Also consider using your towels, bedding, and other linens for packing things like paintings, framed photos, and furniture.

For more information on packing the right way, see our packing tips page.

I'm Not Gonna Take It!

  • Have a "garage sale" or auction unwanted things on-line.
  • Donate unwanted clothing or household goods to charities. Make sure you receive a "donation-in-kind" statement from the charity for possible tax deductions.
  • Use up supplies of canned goods, frozen foods, perishables, and other household items. Buy only food that your family will eat before you move.
  • Dispose of partially used flammables such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, acids, chemistry sets, ammunition, and poisons such as weed killer.
  • Discard unused portions of oil, paint, thinner, bleach, or any other substances that may be flammable or combustible or those stored leaky containers.
  • Drain fuel from your power mower and other lawn-care machines.
  • Discard propane tanks for barbecue grills.
  • Return borrowed items to local library, neighbors, and friends.


If your move is going to be a short hop and take only a day with temperatures above freezing, house plants generally come through the ordeal of being in the back of a truck with little or no damage. On the other hand, if your move will take days or be in the dead of winter the you might consider:

  • Give plants to friends or relatives.
  • Donate plants to a hospital or other organization.
  • Some states permit the entry of all house plants; others admit them in accordance with specific rules and regulations. Be sure to check your new state's Department of Agriculture website.

Another possibility is having a friend or relative "plant-sit" your favorite plant until you can pick it up and transport it safely at another time.

Note: Because of tree-killing insects, many states no longer permit the transport of firewood from one part of the country to another. Use-up or give away your unused firewood before you finally move.


Most states require pets be certified for having rabies vaccinations up to date. Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date by visiting your veterinarian one or two weeks before you move. It is also very helpful to have copies of your pets veterinary records when you find a new veterinarian in your new location.

Remember, your pet will be both excited and anxious about moving. Keep this in mind when you plan on transporting your pet. Your pet can ride in the car with you or can be flown via air. Another idea is to board your pet at your new town until your move is complete.

The Bounce Energy Move Center

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