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How to Avoid Moving Mistakes

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When talking to people about their moving experiences, I often hear the same problems, mostly to do with disorganization and moving company complaints. After receiving a few emails from readers who are also suffering from the same moving issues, I thought I'd compile a list of the most common mistakes people make when they move.

Thinking you have more time than you do.

If you've never moved before, or if it's been a while, we often forget just how long it takes to get things organized. Now, some of you won't have a choice of timing or the amount of time you have to plan, perhaps due to an employment-based move or because of a personal emergency. For the rest of you, it's all about organizing and timing your move in order to avoid last-minute panic.

Whenever you're planning a big event, like a move, it's best to work backwards; determine your move-out date, whether it's determined by a home sale or end of rent period or end of school term. Once you have your move-out date, count back to at least eight weeks, ten is preferred. I do recommend an extra couple of weeks just to give yourself time to hire movers (if that's part of your move), sort your belongings and figure out a solid budget.

Use the 8-week guide to moving to help prioritize tasks and figure out exactly what you need to do so that on moving day, you're not panicking because the movers haven't shown up yet!

Not thoroughly checking references for at least 3 moving companies.

Call as many moving companies as you can - I recommend at least five - then do thorough reference checks. Even knowing that your mover has not had any unresolved complaints still does not mean that your move will be smooth, but you're certainly more apt to be able to resolve any problems that might arise. Moves are tricky. Things can get broken or go missing, which is not always the fault of the mover; however, you can limit the stress and unnecessary hassle if you do background checks before asking each to come over for an estimate.

Not asking all the questions you need to ask of the movers and not carefully reading the paperwork or contract.

Before you hire, make sure you ask all the questions you need to ask to ensure that you're getting what you need out of the moving company. Find out about their estimates, if the insurance will cover your things, and if there are any extra costs for services rendered. This isn't the complete list of questions you need to get answers for, but it's a start. For a more complete list, check out this article on hiring moving companies.

And when checking paperwork, another mistake a lot of people make, is not rechecking the inventory sheet to ensure that all the items packed on the truck, arrive at their destination. This is particularly important if your household items are sharing space on a trailer; it's easy for items to be left behind. If something is missing, do not sign the inventory sheet until the item is found.

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