In my teen years I worked as a mover in Long Island and Westchester County. I then worked a couple of more years in my late 20's while making a career change.
My second time around I speacialized in packing which is by far the most important aspect of the move. Below I am going to pass on some valuable tips for the inexperienced packer to help ensure everything makes it in one piece and the move in general goes smoothly.
1) Get Estimates - Be very careful who you hire! Always remember you get what you pay for and always read what you sign. Have a few reputable moving companies come and give you estimates.
Some do flat rate, by the pound, by the hour, and others by the size of the home and estimated sq footage needed in truck space. Be very clear as to which plan you are agreeing to and ask as many question you need to until you get the clarity you are looking for.
Driving time usually gets added after a certain distance so always factor that in as well. Another great way to choose a mover is by referral, we all know word of mouth is always the best referral.
2) Clean Out Prior To The Move - Have a tag sale, moving sale, any kind of sale that will help clear out all your unwanted salable stuff. Other ways to lighten the load are charitable donations, depending on the condition alot of companies will come and pick up the stuff.
Also get rid of anything before you move, there is no sense in bringing unwanted stuff to the new place and getting rid of it there. All that does is add to your bill and headache. This may sound like a no-brainer but I can tell you first hand it's not.
3) Pack - If you can, try to do as much of the packing yourself otherwise you will pay by the hour for the professionals. Between materials and man power the hours will add up.
If you have to go this route then you do but if you don't save yourself some money. Anything that can go in a box will make the loading of the truck much easier. When it comes to packing boxes the trick is to pack it tightly so that NOTHING moves once closed.
It's the shifting or jingling of fragile items that cause the breaks. Start by stuffing all bottom corners and coat the bottom of the box with crumpled newspaper to make it more of a cushion. Always pack glasses and dishes straight up and down, NEVER flat.
Think of it as you would an egg, staright up and down is much harder to break then laying flat. Always wrap the glassware in a couple of sheets of newspaper to act as a buffer for the next dish or glass. Once packed stuff all open holes with paper to make a tight fit, then crumple a bunch more to completely fill the top until the box closes tightly.
Remember the movers will stack the box so you don't want there to be any give in the top of the box. Let the movers handle anything you are scared to wrap as they can do a few things the day of the move, but don't save a ton of packing for the day of, do as much as possible prior. ALWAYS label the box with the items inside and the ROOM they will go in at the new home.
4) Measure And Label - Try to measure doorways in your new home prior so you can catch any potential problems for furniture that won't fit or go upstairs. Having the movers strategize and attempt the difficult can eat up alot of moving time and cost you more money.
Try to remove any handrails in the home if you think furniture going up or downstairs my have a problem getting by. Also try to label each room and box so that once the movers exit the truck with an item they will know what room to go to.
5) Don't Stress - Most think moving is a very stressful experience, for some it is. I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be. Most feel this way because they don't know where to begin and get completely overwhelmed.
If you have a plan in advance and a mover that works with you as a guide your move can actually be a pleasurable experience. Being organized is your key to success!