Are you moving to a new home? If so, this is probably an exciting and challenging time for you and your family. According to OneDesk, the average American moves 11 times in their life. Whether this is your first move or your eleventh, moving is always a stressful experience. One of the most important steps in the moving process is preparing your belongings for the move. This is where you will ensure that your possessions are protected during transportation and arrive safely at your new home. If you don’t prepare your belongings correctly, you could end up with broken or damaged items when you get to your new home. Below are seven tips to help you prepare your belongings for moving companies.

1. Declutter and Downsize

When you’re preparing to move, it’s a great time to declutter and downsize. The more items you can discard, the less you will have to pack and unpack during the moving process. As you’re packing your belongings you’ll probably find many items that you no longer have use for. You may even find things that you forgot you had. This is the perfect time to go through all of your items and decide what you need to keep, what you can donate, and what you can throw away. You may even want to rent a dumpster to discard items as you’re packing. You could also have a garage sale or simply give items away for free by posting them online. By reducing the number of items you need to move, you’ll reduce the number of belongings that need to be packed, transported, and unpacked. That could reduce the amount of time you need the moving companies onsite and ultimately save you some money and stress.

2. Pack Early

One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing to move is waiting too late to start packing. It may be because they underestimate how long it will take, or it may be simply that they’re overwhelmed by the task. The result is that they’re not prepared when the big day finally arrives. Either way, it pays to start packing early. Start packing your belongings several weeks before the moving companies are set to arrive. You can start with items that you don’t use on a regular basis, like things in storage or clothing that is currently out of season. As the big day gets closer, you can start packing things that you use on a more regular basis. Starting early allows you to take your time and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Make sure to label each box with its contents and the room it belongs in. This will make it easier for you and the movers to unload and unpack everything at your new home.

3. Protect Fragile Items

There’s nothing worse than moving into your new home, opening up boxes, and discovering that items were broken in transit. While moving companies will usually do everything in their power to keep your belongings safe, there’s not much they can do if fragile items aren’t packed properly. You can use packaging materials like bubble wrap and foam peanuts to protect fragile items. It’s also important to label boxes as ‘fragile.’ This lets the movers know that the boxes should be handled with care and shouldn’t have other boxes stacked on top of them. Some moving companies also offer packing services. You could hire movers to pack your most fragile items. That way you can be sure that the boxes were packed properly and will be handled with care during the move.

4. Disassemble Furniture

Want an easy way to save time and make your move as quick as possible? Disassemble the furniture before the movers arrive. This includes beds, couches, tables, and anything else that needs to be broken down into parts before it is loaded on the truck. When the moving companies get there, everything will be ready to load directly onto the truck. While many moving companies will disassemble your furniture for you, you can save a great deal of time by doing it yourself. An added bonus with this is that you can keep track of all the nuts, bolts, screws, and other hardware so you know where it is when you get to your new home. Put these parts in baggies and label them so you can quickly reassemble your furniture.

5. Pack Valuables and Important Documents

There may be some items that you want to transport yourself so you can be sure they don’t get lost or damaged. This could include things like valuable jewelry, family heirlooms, and even important documents like Social Security cards and birth certificates. Put these items in a safe container that is clearly marked, and drive them with you in your vehicle. That way you’ll know exactly where they’re located and won’t risk losing them. Do not pack these items in boxes that will be loaded onto the moving truck.

6. Prepare Appliances

Appliances are always tricky in the moving process. You may be leaving some of your appliances behind, but there could be some that are coming with you. Before moving, appliances such as refrigerators, washers, and dryers should be cleaned and emptied of all food, liquids, and personal items. It’s a good idea to plan your meals in advance of the move so you can use what is left in your refrigerator. If you have food leftover, you may be able to pack it in a cooler with ice, especially if you have a short trip to your new home. Either way, make sure the refrigerator and other appliances are clean and ready to move when the movers arrive. This will make it easier for moving companies to handle these items, and will also prevent any spills or leaks during transportation.

7. Plan for Pets and Plants

It’s also important to plan for plants and pets on moving day, so they survive the trip with as little stress or trauma as possible. If you have pets, you may want to make arrangements for them. Consider putting them in a boarding camp, or even have them spend the day with a friend or relative. Even if your dog or cat will be riding with you, they should be out of the way when the movers are there. The stress of having strangers in and out of the home could be too much for your pet to deal with. They could also get in the way of the movers, making their job more difficult. For plants, make sure they have all the water they need and consider transporting them in your car, so they still get sunlight. You can also pack them in boxes with ventilation, but if you do, be sure to label the boxes as fragile plants so other boxes aren’t stacked on top of them.

Ready to start planning your big move with one of the top moving companies around? Contact Olympia Moving & Storage today. Moving can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. We can help you plan every aspect of the moving process. We can even help you determine how many boxes you need when you should start packing, and how long it will take to load and unload your belongings. Let’s connect today and start planning your move.