Seven Common Mistakes That Can Make Your Moving Day a Disaster

It’s here! The big day when your movers arrive to pack up all your belongings for their trip to or from the Hawaiian Islands. You may be feeling excited, stressed, or anxious. Or maybe all three.

A professional moving company will do everything it can to ensure an efficient, hassle-free move. Additionally, there are a few steps you can take on your own to reduce potential issues.

Our family of companies has been in business for 90+ years. We’ve moved hundreds of thousands of people, so naturally we’ve seen a lot of interesting things–good and bad. Over the years, we’ve noticed seven common mistakes many people makeCheck out our list of moving day tips below to avoid these pitfalls—and make your Moving Day a smooth one.

Mistake #1: Letting Kids & Pets Roam Free

Imagine trying to pack and move an entire house with children weaving in and out of your legs or, even worse, a dog who bolts for the street every time the door opens.

Your movers need a path that’s physically clear to move your belongings safely. Additionally, they would never want to endanger the health and safety of children or pets in your house.

On Moving Day, your best bets are to:

  • Plan a play date out of the house for your children.
  • Crate your pets or even board them for the day.

While boarding your pet may seem extreme, in our experience, many pets, especially dogs, get psychologically stressed when strangers move items out of a house. Sending them to doggy day care for the day can help reduce any potential anxiety about the move.

Bottom Line: Keeping your children and your pets elsewhere during a move will significantly improve the efficiency of your move and reduce stress on everyone involved.

Bonus Tip: Make sure your pets have the right documentation for your final destination to ensure a smooth transition to your new home. For more information on moving your pets to Hawaii, check out the state’s Animal Quarantine information.

Mistake #2: Forgetting to Disassemble Any Yard Items You Want to Take

While your movers will disassemble standard items in your house—such as beds and furniture—they typically won’t disassemble any items outside. Any jungle gyms, trampolines or sheds that you want to take with you need to be taken apart before your movers arrive.

Otherwise, if these items aren’t broken down, they may not make it into the truck on Moving Day, and you may be forced to leave them behind.

If you have any questions as to what your movers will and won’t disassemble, make sure to ask the surveyor who comes out to your home to create your estimate.

Mistake #3: Trying to Ship Hazardous Materials in a Container

There are some items that simply can’t ship in a container, and you might find some of them surprising. You’ll want to review this list before Moving Day to avoid any surprises:

  • Combustible liquids, such as alcohol in a container larger than a gallon, anti-freeze and fluid cleaners like that innocent-looking bottle of Shout spot remover.
  • Corrosive liquids, including dyes, anti-rust compounds and paints, including any household paint.
  • Explosives, such as fireworks, signal flares or spear guns with charged heads.
  • Flammables, including glues, ammonia, charcoal briquettes, cleaning fluids, gasoline, propane, turpentine and insecticides.
  • Compressed gasses, including fire extinguishers and scuba tanks that have not been certified purged.
  • Aerosol cans like spray paint, some bug sprays, hair spray, WD40 and Lysol spray.
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons in, for example, lava lamps.

This is not a complete list. If you have any questions about what can and can’t ship, check with your moving company. You’ll need to either dispose of these items or make other provisions to move them before the big day.

Otherwise, you may find yourself scrambling for a solution at the last minute, which adds yet another item to your already full to-do list.

Mistake #4: Leaving Valuables & Irreplaceables to Be Packed by Your Movers

Put yourself in this scenario: You watch your movers pack all your stuff into a giant moving truck, marveling at how expertly they position your items. Then, right before they shut the door, you realize you have no idea where your family’s passports are—or any of your important family papers, for that matter.

Talk about stressful.

Take the time before Moving Day to collect your important paperwork and the items that no amount of money could replace. Consider items like:

  • Passports, birth certificates, wedding certificates and other important legal paperwork.
  • Prescriptions—carry at least enough to get you through the next few weeks.
  • Valuables like cash, stocks, expensive jewelry and coin collections.
  • Anything irreplaceable that holds significant sentimental value, such as your wedding album, family heirlooms or boxes of physical photos that you can’t just re-print.

Make sure you put these items away in a place where your movers won’t accidentally pack them, a place where you can easily access them after Moving Day.

Bonus Tip: Find a secure, out-of-the-way place to put your valuables before the big day. For example, if you’re not shipping your car on Moving Day, put everything in the trunk and shut it before the movers arrive to keep all your valuables together. Just don’t forget to take them out of your trunk before you fly out!

Mistake #5: Scheduling Cleaners During the Move

Maybe it seems like a good idea at first: Have the cleaners come a few hours into the move so you can get absolutely everything done in your old house at the same time.

However, bringing in cleaners before the move is finished creates a significant amount of chaos that you’ll want to avoid, for two reasons:

  1. Your movers won’t pack “in order.” Your movers need to balance the weight of your shipment, so they may take a few things from the bedroom, then a few things from the living room in order to keep the load balanced. As a result, it’s not as easy as you might think to find a room that’s “done” that the cleaners can start on. If they’re in the house at the same time, your movers and your cleaners will be in each other’s way.
  2. Your movers need a clear path to move your things out of the house. If the cleaner wants to work on the carpets in the front hallway, that may make it extremely difficult for the movers to get items out of the house, throwing a wrench into your move. If they have to use a side exit, it may keep them from moving larger objects out at all, significantly delaying your move.

Although it may seem like the efficient way to move, don’t bring your cleaners in until your move is entirely finished. Otherwise, you’ll create additional chaos and challenges.

Mistake #6: Leaving Appliances to the Last Minute

If you’re taking your appliances with you, you need to do a few things to avoid a crisis on Moving Day:

  1. Make sure you have an electrician or plumber lined up to get your appliances disconnected and ready for transport. Your movers won’t disconnect hoses or gas lines, and if those lines aren’t disconnected, they can’t move your appliances.
  2. Defrost and dry out your refrigerator and freezer. The less moisture in your refrigerator, the better. Moisture promotes mold, and no one wants mold in their shipment. A week before your move, unplug your fridge and defrost it, allowing it to dry out. A few days before, put a few boxes of baking soda in the unplugged fridge and shut the doors to help absorb any odors. The night before, open it up and towel out any remaining moisture.

Doing these two things will ensure that your appliances get the green light to go on Moving Day.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to return your cable box! In many cases, it’s the only way to truly end your contract with the cable company. If you can get it out of the house before Moving Day, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Mistake #7: Skipping the Final Walk-Through

Once your mover takes your shipment and you sign the Bill of Lading, it’s very difficult to get additional items into your shipment. Make sure you check these often-overlooked areas to avoid a surprise after the truck has pulled away:

  • Attics, basements and crawl spaces – Make sure to bring everything out from these areas before your movers arrive.
  • Your oven – Many people store cookware in the bottom drawer or in the oven itself. Make sure to do a double-check.
  • Your dishwasher – We can’t tell you how many people run a load of dishes the night before, then forget to empty them in the morning. Don’t forget to peek inside on your final walk-through!
  • Your washer/dryer – Nothing ruins a move faster than finding two loads of laundry waiting to be finished and folded. Make sure you give these appliances the once-over before your movers leave.

Recognizing these seven mistakes will help you avoid the most common hiccups that derail Moving Day. By taking a few simple steps before your move, you’ll set yourself up for the smooth move you deserve.

Our Certified Moving Consultants can also help you prep for success. Schedule an appointment today for an in-person survey. Our experts will make sure you’re prepped and ready for the big day.