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Managing Moving Day

Everything comes together on moving day, when a flood of last-minute details can seem overwhelming and the trip to your new home looms in front of you. Being prepared ahead of time for the little things and having a plan for surviving your trip can get you through this crucial event.


Confine your pets

If your dog is frenzied because of the moving day activity, confine it somewhere away from the action. Movers shouldn’t have to confront a snarling dog (or worse, trip over it) each time they return for another box.

Provide refreshments

If it’s a hot day, you should set out water and snacks for the movers. On cold days, offer them hot chocolate and coffee. If your friends are helping you move, be sure to provide food for lunch and dinner as well as refreshments during the day.

Be considerate to your neighbors, old and new

Make sure the moving truck doesn’t block a neighbor’s driveway. Don’t block the sidewalk with furniture waiting to be loaded. Make sure the movers don’t walk over your neighbor’s lawn or through their flowerbeds. Try to move during the daytime, but not too early or too late. Don’t leave trash, unwanted furniture or other debris on the sidewalk. Place it in proper containers, and if it begins to overflow, go to the local dump.

The Golden Rule of moving

You should leave your old house as clean as you would like to find your new house. Clean as much as you can before moving day, and then make a final check after everything is out.

Finishing up

Be available to answer any questions your movers may have, which means staying around until they’re finished. Professional movers will ask you to sign a bill of lading and check an inventory sheet when they are done loading the truck. The bill of lading is a government document required for transport services to move your personal property. Read both documents carefully before signing. If you’re satisfied with the way the movers handled your possessions, it’s customary to tip the movers about $20 each, giving them more or less depending on the difficulty of the move and the quality of service you received. If your friends helped, provide food and drinks for a post-move celebratory meal.

Routes to success

Whether you’re driving a rented moving van or meeting the professional vanline driver at your new residence, you’ll be better prepared on moving day if you plan ahead for the trip from your old home to your new one.

The route taken by a huge truck may be different than the one you would normally take in your car because of size and weight restrictions or obstructions such as a low bridge or overhanging trees.

Plan ahead as much as you can. If possible, drive the route before moving day arrives, watching for obstacles and noting the time it takes to travel the route at a reasonable pace. If you can’t drive the route, buy a good map or visit a web site like Mapblast or MapQuest and chart the route that the truck will take. Before you depart, contact each state’s department of transportation to inquire about road construction along your planned route.

Organizations like AAA and Cross Country Automotive Services provide maps, suggested routes, alternate routes and rest-stop information. With membership, these organizations often offer premium services like roadside assistance and additional insurance coverage.

Tips for driving a rental truck

Even if you’ve been down this road before, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of these safe-driving tips.

  • Drive more slowly than you normally would because a loaded moving truck probably doesn’t handle as well as the car you’re accustomed to driving.
  • Decelerate and brake sooner. You’re carrying a lot of weight, so it will take longer to come to a complete stop. Besides, you don’t want your household goods to get damaged.
  • Allow extra space between you and the vehicle you’re following. Also give yourself plenty of room when turning because the truck is probably wider than you’re used to.
  • Know your truck’s height and look out for low overhangs and tree branches. Especially be aware of filling station overhang height.
  • Anticipate other drivers’ actions. Because no one likes to follow a truck, other drivers may make risky moves to pass you. By staying alert, you’ll be ready to react to avoid an accident.
  • Stop and rest frequently. Driving a huge truck for a long distance is more tiring than you may realize, and tiredness can put you at greater risk for an accident.
  • At every stop, walk around and inspect the truck. Check tires, lights, and the cargo door (if you’re towing a trailer, check trailer tires, door, hitch, and hitch security chain). Follow your truck rental agent’s recommendation for how frequently you should check the engine oil level.
  • Secure the truck at overnight stops. Park in a well-lighted area and lock the truck cab. Lock the cargo door with a padlock.
  • When possible, back into all parking spaces – but make sure you back carefully. Most accidents in large vehicles occur when backing. Before you back, get out, walk around, and check for obstacles, high and low. Allow plenty of maneuvering room and ask someone to help you back up. Talk over hand signals they should use as they guide you and ask them to stay within sight of your side view mirror.

Coordinating with the professional mover

Your goal is to get to your new home in time to greet the movers. Arrive late, and you’re likely to be charged for the movers’ wait. Before you depart, exchange cell phone numbers with the driver so you can stay in touch in case one of you is delayed. Plan for the unexpected by making backup plans, such as arranging for someone else to greet the movers. Notify the mover of any changes to your schedule as soon as possible. Many movers now offer Internet tracking of shipments by customers.

Flying factors

If you are flying to your new home, check the flight schedule closely and be sure to factor in the time required to retrieve luggage and travel from the airport. Also make backup plans in case the flight is delayed or you get stuck in traffic. If you are traveling with young children, plan extra time into your schedule. Also, dress your children in bright, distinctive clothing so you can easily identify them in a crowd.

Give yourself time

Finally, be conservative in your time estimates. It may be a good idea to plan out the day in half-hour increments. Seeing a picture of the day will ensure that you have some extra time between each leg of your journey. That way you can accommodate unexpected delays that could otherwise throw off your schedule.