Moving into a new home can be an exciting life change, but it comes with its own set of stresses. Whether it is cross-country, cross-town or even the same neighborhood within the Memorial area, a move requires a lot of work to pack up your belongings, transport them and lug them into your new home. Professional movers can be a big help because they do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can even pay them extra to pack and unpack your things!

However, preparation is the key to making sure your move will not take longer than it needs to and be even more stressful or expensive (most movers are paid by the hour, after all). Here are a few tips to get the best out of your experience with the pros.

1: Know What Can and Cannot Be Moved

For obvious reasons, most moving companies will not move cash and other valuables for you.

Professional movers will not just move anything. Many moving companies have lists of items they will not transport for safety reasons, such as household chemicals, paints and liquids. They may also have a list of things they will not move for liability reasons, like cash, important papers, photographs, pets, food and medicine. If you plan on bringing these items with you, you will have to pack them up and transport them yourself.

2: Have a Packing Plan

Before your moving day, determine whether you or the movers will be responsible for packing and unpacking your belongings. If you are doing the packing, make sure you use plenty of newspaper, bubble wrap or blankets for padding. This is important because if what you pack breaks during transport, the movers may not be held liable for it. Be sure to have enough boxes on hand and label them with your name, room destination and contents so it is easier to keep track of where it all needs to go in your new space.

Once everything is packed, try to sort the boxes by weight to make loading easier for the movers. Keep piles of boxes away from the doorways so everyone can easily walk around. Avoid piling stuff on heavy furniture that will get loaded into the van first. There are several home moving checklist apps such as, Google Keep, Moved, MoveAdvisor, that can help you organize your move. 

3: Have Insurance

Regardless of whether or not you choose to use the moving company’s insurance services, make sure your belongings are financially protected. Accidents can and do happen, so it is best to have a security blanket in case something breaks or gets lost along the way.

Moving companies offer different types of insurance coverage. Two popular options are by the pound and comprehensive. Insurance by the pound is cheaper, but it does not cover much. For example, if your antique dining table gets scratched during the move and needs to be repaired, this type of coverage will only pay a certain amount depending on how much the table weighs. It may not cover all — or even most of — the repair bill. Comprehensive coverage is more expensive, but it will cover all damages and losses.

4: Have Drinks and Snacks

A few bottles of water can really help movers on a hot day. Professional movers often have packed schedules. This is especially true during the summer months, when more people tend to switch residences. Movers often do not have much time to take a lunch break or make a quick trip to a convenience store to grab a drink, so be sure to have refreshments on hand. Go with portable food options like energy bars, and have a variety of beverages to offer thirsty workers. During the hot Houston summer months make sure you give a few bottles of water or sports drinks to each worker because they will definitely need the extra hydration.

5: Have Cash for Tips

The movers have been moving your things all day, and if you have a long-distance move, the process is just beginning. They may have a long drive ahead of them to your new house, or they might need to pack several households’ belongings into a large semi trailer and make several stops on a cross-country trip. Any way you pack it, moving is a tough job, so have some money on hand to show that you appreciate their hard work, especially if they do a quick, thorough job of taking care of your belongings.