Tips and tricks for moving

Reviewed by Jasmine Mainguy-Seers

Updated February 26, 2024

Moving can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is about hiring a moving company. Here are a few tips for finding the right moving company:


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Preparing for the move

A little moving preparation goes a long way to making your arrival at your new home much more pleasant. No one wants to enter their new home to find lights that don’t work or mail that doesn’t arrive.

Here are things you can handle in advance to make the transition more comfortable:

  • Switch over your utilities. Don’t arrive at your new home only to find that it’s dark and cold because you forgot to have your utilities transferred to a new address in time for moving day.
  • Ensure that you’re insured. Check with your home insurer to find out if you’ll need any changes to your coverage.
  • Take care of your finances. If the move is a significant distance from your previous home, set up an account at a nearby bank and transfer some funds in advance to be sure you’ll have access to money when you arrive.
  • Redirect your mail. You can make arrangements online or at your local postal outlet to have your mail forwarded. Canada Post offers a 4-month and 12-month plans. Visit the link here.

Important decisions and tasks

Once you’ve determined when you’ll move and how you’ll do it, next comes packing for the big day. No one lists packing as their favorite hobby, but if you take the time to plan your strategy, it will make the unpacking process at the other end easier.

Get the right packing supplies

Arm yourself with packing supplies. You’ll need boxes, markers, scissors, and good, strong packing tape. Buying boxes from supply stores can be expensive, so check with a local retailer to see if they have boxes available and on which days. Liquor stores are often a good source, as are furniture stores.

Get rid of old belongings

Separate the wheat from the chaff. Moving offers a perfect opportunity to go through your belongings and rid yourself of items that you no longer want or need. Charities are always seeking donated items.

Separate important essentials

Prepare for a vacation. Pretend you’re going away for vacation and pack a suitcase with all the essential clothing and toiletries for the trip. As moving day approaches, live out of this suitcase. It will ensure that you don’t accidentally pack anything you need as you’re preparing to leave. You can also live out of the suitcase as unpacking begins.

There are now mobile inventory apps, such as Moving Van for iPhones, that allow you to photograph your belongings, assign them to boxes and designate these boxes for particular rooms; you can email this inventory to your computer.

There’s one last decision you’ll need to make, but it’s an important one. Important enough that it gets its own section:

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Finding the right moving company

Is it worth hiring a moving company to take care of things for you? We asked MovingWaldo for their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say about hiring professional movers, and what to look for if you decide to go for it:

To hire or not to hire?

Choose between hiring a mover and moving yourself. Weigh the pros and cons. Hiring a mover may be more expensive, but they are trained, insured and efficient. If this is the alternative you choose, ask friends for recommendations and get estimates to find a mover who offers good service, as well as good value. If you decide on the do-it-yourself model, compare truck rental prices and mileage charges. Certain days of the week may make discounts available for either method, so check.

What to look for when hiring a moving company

Looking for a mover is not the easiest task when moving. It can be stressful to put the success of your move in the hand of others. However, a good mover can really be helpful. Whether you are looking for a local mover, or a long-distance mover, here is some aspect to keep in mind when looking for a mover.

Insurance is very important. When you compare quotes from different moving companies, make sure you also compare the insurance options they offer. If you are not sure if their insurance is enough, you can always contact your insurer, they will be able to inform and advise you.

Accreditations are good indicators. Several accreditations exist, but two are particularly useful when looking for a mover. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can be useful to see if a company ever had complaints and if they were resolved. The goal of the BBB is to empower consumers, but also to help businesses to do and be better. There is also the Canadian Association of Movers. This is a good resource to find movers and see if they are accredited by the association. Members must follow a code of ethics and therefore bring higher standards. These accreditations are a good tool, but not all good moving companies are accredited. For example, a small local moving company might not be accredited, but it doesn’t mean this is a bad company. This is where reviews come in handy.

When looking for a moving company, make sure you check many reviews. It is important to look at as much reviews as you can because one review might not be enough to have a general idea of the company. Make sure you also use different sources of reviews, such as Facebook, Google reviews, HomeStars, etc. This will help you have an overall look of the customers’ satisfaction.

When you are looking for a mover, there are also red flags that must keep in mind. That might facilitate your decision of hiring a moving company. First, a moving company who only accepts cash as payment might be an indicator of the trustfulness of a company. When paying cash there is no way of stopping the payment, therefore the company might have bad intentions. And second, a company who also refuses to put their promises in writing might indicates that they don’t intend to respect their promises. Always ask to get promises in writing. This will protect you in case of something bad happens during the move.

Payment and estimate considerations

Standard practice in the moving industry is to make full payment upon completion of the move, so avoid companies who ask for a large part of the cost up front.

Get estimates in writing, including delivery date and the name of the individual you spoke to. Make sure estimates include a “not to exceed” clause. You should also ask for written material from the company outlining their liability for loss or damage and any optional programs available. They should outline your rights, as well as the mover’s rights and responsibilities.

How will belongings be handled?

Check to see if your personal property will remain on the same truck for the duration of the move. Switching trucks increases the likelihood of damage. If the move is long distance, or will take place over a few days, determine if the truck will be stored overnight in a locked facility.

Finally, notify the movers of any obstacles or stairs that may require careful navigation as these can impact the price you will be charged. You would also want to confirm who will be responsible for packing. If you would like the moving company to pack, there will be an extra charge.

Making the move with ease

MovingWaldo also offered these tips on how to make your move stress free:

Following the previous tips and tricks will help you get ready for your move. However, to make it stress free, it might require a little more time and organization, but it will be worth the effort.

First, make sure you start in advance. A week before your move is not the best time to start packing, plus there are items and objects that you probably won’t need before you move so might just pack them and go to the next step. For example, if you move during the summer, you can start by packing your winter clothes. You’ll get that out of the way, and you’ll be able to focus on more important things.

Second, use a moving concierge. Nowadays, free moving concierges are available, and they are useful to organize your move. It is an online platform that helps you get in touch with many service providers with one centralized form. This means that with one form, you can make your change of address, request moving quotes, find an Internet service provider available at your new address, etc. You can save time and save money by comparing all the offers available to you. Moving concierges have a large network, helping you make an informed choice.

Third, stay organized. Organization is key to a successful move. Everybody has their own way of staying organized and do what works for you. For some it might be a color code only for their boxes, for others, a complete inventory. It does not have to be complicated, but a little organization can make all the difference. You can use a color code as mentioned, take pictures, or use some checklists. It’s the small action that will make a difference.

We’ve got a few moving tips to offer as well:

Documents and updates

File a change of address with the post office. Make sure to do this a few days before the move as it can take a couple of business days to take effect and you don’t want to miss any important mail.

However, note that using this service will not change your address directly at your service providers, but only forward your mail. Eventually, you will want to make sure you have informed your providers directly, so their files stay up to date. You can contact them directly or use an online moving concierge as mentioned earlier. Not changing your address can lead to problems such as misidentification at your financial institution or the government.

Be sure to update your driver’s license and car insurance to reflect your new address. Also, it’s a great time to update your banking information especially if your bank doesn’t operate in your new location

Change the locks. Even if your home is brand new, think of all the trades who had access to your home before you moved in.

Packing considerations

Pack an overnight bag with any items you may need for your first few days in your new home to avoid the stress of being unable to locate essentials while your belongings are being unpacked.

Purge that pile of junk that has collected in your closets, garage, and basement. Moving is a great opportunity to de-clutter and get rid of unneeded stuff that has accumulated over the years.

Keep important papers and valuable items with you. These could get lost or damaged in the moving van. You would also want to keep delicate items, like house plants, separated from other heavy items.

This is the one time when you will be touching everything you own – it’s an ideal time to do an inventory, which will help you make sure you have the right home insurance. (Download a simple home inventory worksheet.) If a written inventory is too daunting, take pictures of the things you pack. Store photos electronically in a folder in your email inbox or in the Cloud so they are accessible even if your computer, camera, or phone is damaged.

Have pets?

If you have a pet consider using a pet sitter for the day to keep them safe and prevent them from feeling more stress than necessary because of the transition from one location to another.

Home insurance considerations

Protection during a move

Most importantly, find out what sort of insurance protection you have during the move. You may need coverage for your old home, your new home, and the goods in transit all at the same time. You would also want to let your insurer know if you are putting goods in storage, and if the home you are moving out of will be left vacant, as that will require special insurance.

If you want coverage for your goods while they’re being moved, check with your home insurance agent as well as the moving company. Sometimes your home insurance can accommodate this, but in other cases, you may need to purchase extra coverage from the moving company. Make sure the extra coverage is on a full replacement value basis. In some cases, insurance providers can transfer your policy from your old home to your new home, making the transition much more seamless and stress-free.

Will the home be vacant?

If either home is going to be vacant for any time, let your insurance agent know. Coverage is often limited while a home is vacant, and may be void entirely if your home is vacant for over 30 days. You can learn more about insuring vacant homes here.

Moving into a condo?

Make sure you ask your Realtor to find out what upgrades and improvements have been made to your unit since the building was first constructed. Make sure your insurance covers all these improvements – like hardwood floors that replaced carpets or kitchen renovations. Any upgrades to the unit would be the current owner’s responsibility, even if they were completed by someone who owned the condo before you. Keep in mind you would want to choose a limit of insurance that would be sufficient to replace the upgrades based on today’s cost.

Commonly asked questions

What should I move first when moving out?

When packing for a move, start with the rooms you use the least frequently, including items in storage. Pack out-of-season items early as well (like Christmas décor in July or camping gear in January). Entertainment items can be packed early as well.

When should I start packing for a move?

Depending on how much stuff you have to pack, you can plan to start packing 2 or 3 weeks before you’re supposed to move into your new place. Plan to finish at least a few days before the move date.

When should I transfer my insurance policy when moving?

Speak with your home insurance provider about the move at least 30 days beforehand. Often, your possessions will be covered during the move as long as you’ve set everything up with your provider ahead of time. If you’re planning to buy a whole new policy, make sure you’ve set it up before you cancel your old policy to avoid coverage gaps.

Watch the full video

Want to learn more? Visit our Home Buying, Selling and Moving resource centre for everything you need to know about real estate, buying a home, or moving. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.

About the expert: Jasmine Mainguy-Seers

Jasmine has been a moving concierge for MovingWaldo for many years now. During this time, she helped people throughout Canada with the organization of their moves. Among other things, she helps them do their change of address, find movers, find a new Internet service provider, and overall allows a well-organized move.


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