Everything You Need for a Successful DIY Move

You are certainly worried about how to pack your overloaded household into a moving truck as you planned to embark on a do-it-yourself move. You may later enjoy the savings from the move as a match for the labor.

Regardless of the types of move you’ve had in the past, there are two sides to each relocation; the joy of moving to a new place and the reality of how to plan, organize and execute the move.

Everything You Need for a Successful DIY Move

In this article

As reported by a director of National Consumer Sales Programs at Penske Truck Rental, Dave Baptisti, “DIY movers save between 50% and 75% compared to those who hire full-service national moving companies. There is no need for extra lessons on how to pack before you move by yourself.

The difference in the overall cost of a DIY move and long distance movers is up and maybe more than thousands of dollars. Sit tight and continue reading this post! A DIY move can be made with not much stress and cost.

Available Do-It-Yourself Options to Consumers

There are many benefits in a DIY move, such as being able to move based on your own plan. It also presents you with affordable means to relocate. You can rent a moving truck, a moving trailer, or a moving container to reduce the cost of your DIY move.

With these options, you can relocate your household or business without hiring movers. Although there may be need to allow expert movers, to help you handle special items such as piano, hot tub, highly-prized items, and other heavy items. You can, however, handle all other items with the help of family or friends.

Handling a Do-It-Yourself Move

You need to have a proper plan for your move regardless of the distance involved. You definitely don’t want any lapses on your moving days such as unpacked towels or unboxed dishes.

Below are some tips that will make your DIY move easier.

You need to have a proper plan for your move regardless of the distance involved. You definitely don’t want any lapses on your moving days such as unpacked towels or unboxed dishes. Below are some tips that will make your DIY move easier.

Start Early

Most people make the mistake of rushing when it comes to do-it-yourself move. To complete a move, you will need at least a week to prepare unless you are living in a dorm room where you do not have many belongings.

You must make sure there is enough time to prepare for your move after making the decision to relocate. You will be able to accomplish so many tasks before the actual moving day when you create enough time to prepare.

The first task is to dispose of your junk. Most people do think they don’t have many items when looking around their homes. Don’t get lost in this as you certainly have more than you are thinking right now.

Begin by checking your attics, closets, drawers, and basements and start disposing of items that you don’t even know you had, and you have no use for again.

You can as well throw a garage sale or donate the items to charity. Becky Harris that works with ABF U-Pack moving states that packing in a rush will cost you a great deal; so she advised that you start packing at least 4-6 weeks before your move. Damage can come to any of your items if you leave packing until a week to the exact moving date.

Below are the items you will need:    

  • Moving boxes
  • Packing tape dispenser
  • Black marker.
  • Sandwich bags for hardware, furniture, and appliances.
  • Packing paper.
  • Packing tape

Create a Moving Checklist

Moving involves various steps such as buying of moving supplies and transferring your utilities. You can easily forget a step that may not seem important but later turn out to give you a headache. You can consult our moving checklist for items that you might not think of or even forget while packing.

Rent your Moving Vehicle (Truck or Trailer)

You will find your DIY move easier when you rent a moving truck or trailer. The rental also comes cheaper. You will spend about $40 to rent a 26ft moving truck that can hold up to 5-bedrooms from U-Haul.

The total cost will be determined by the amount of time the truck spends in your care and any additional services required. You will have to make a reservation for your moving truck or trailer before your exact moving date, especially when you are relocating during a season when most people relocate.

Make sure the size of your moving truck will fit all your belongings before you rent. It is advisable to go for a moving truck that is a bit higher in size so that it will contain all of your possessions if you are not certain if the truck size will contain all your items.

Make sure you also consider the closeness of the pickup and drop-off center of the rental company to you before you decide to rent from them. You will need to check the ability of your moving trailer if it can haul your load if you choose to go with a trailer.

Check the truck rental center at movingfeedback.com to determine the perfect moving truck’s size for your belongings. You will also find information and discounts from various moving truck rental companies like U-Pack and Penske there.

Pro Tip

If you need to ship a car, we have many moving companies that also offer car shipping services, but not all of them offer this service. If your hired moving company doesn’t offer a car shipping service, check our list of the best auto shipping companies to get a trustworthy car shipper for your vehicle.

Professional Moving Labor

You are most likely to need help with loading and unloading of your belongings regardless of any moving truck or moving container you choose to opt for. You will need help with your large-sized bed.

There is the option of hiring labor-only movers via HireAHelper in case your friends and family are not available to lend you a hand.

Customers can look for and book moving labor experts through this online marketplace. HireAHelper states that these moving professionals could be labor-only movers that major in loading and unloading services or they are full-service movers that are willing to send their employees out for labor-only jobs.

Purge! Purge!! Purge!!!

Reducing the number of items you move will definitely reduce the moving stress. So, make sure you get rid of junk and clutter before moving day. Begin with your bookshelves, closet, and pantry.

You can throw online sales for items that are still in good condition but not useful for you anymore. You can as well donate some of the items to charity organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill.

Consider the Moving Boxes

Avoid grocery boxes and plastic totes as they are not perfect for your items. Baptisti advised using boxes specially designed for relocation. You can find moving boxes at storage centers, truck rental companies, and movers.

Although packing your possessions into big moving boxes may seem easier, however, for loading sake, it is advisable to use small or medium-sized boxes. To determine the number of boxes, you will need for your move, consult the chart on Penske’s official website.

Organize and Box

Create an inventory of the items you are taking along with you to your new home as you declutter your home. You can create a spreadsheet with different pages for each room. This will help in determining the number of moving boxes needed. Create a task calendar that contains the list of things to be done before moving day.

This should also contain deadlines for completing specific tasks such as packing the room and cleaning the rooms. The estimated time for each task should also be included in your calendar.

This will enable you to accomplish tasks at the right time. That implies that you should add extra time to the estimated time so that you don’t rush yourself while on the task.

These things will take a lot of your time, and it is better to do it before the moving day than doing it when you are short on time. Make sure you label each moving box with a number and include the information in your packing spreadsheet. The four sides of all your moving boxes should be numbered using a black marker. This will let you know which box contains which items.

Tackle the Items One after the Other

Baptisti advised that you should first pack non-essential belongings as early as possible. Items such as artwork, seasonal clothing, and any items that you don’t use often can be packed in a moving box. Penske suggests you start this process at least 2 weeks before the moving day. As for Harris, she prefers a room to room method, beginning with the room you don’t use often.

Pack items you don’t use often and pack similar belongings in the same place. For instance, everything in the same kitchen cabinet goes into one box. Pack some of your essential items in one box for your first night. Label them “first night” and place them where you can easily access them in your moving truck.

A list of essential items in this category includes a coffeemaker, toilet paper, paper plates, some clothing, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, eating utensils, and toiletries.

Keep Track on the Packed Items

Use color code for boxes based on room and label with the items in them. For instance, you can use a red label on kitchen boxes and then list the items contained in each box: plates, spoons, skillets, cups, and so on.

Keep the contents of each box using a notebook. If you plan to use a storage unit during the relocation, there will be a need for you to keep track of the items in the boxes.

You can make use of the Moving Van app on iTunes to keep a note of the boxes and the contents for easy reminders when you arrive at your new home. You can as well try out One Simple Move, which is a website that has an interactive calendar, packing tips, moving checklist, and email reminders.


Moving your furniture and boxes from inside your home to outside requires a lot of time than what most people think when it comes to a DIY move. Rushing to get this process done might leave you with many damaged items. The best solution here is staging.

Move packed boxes into an empty room or garage immediately you logged them into your spreadsheet. You will not only be able to remove clutter from your home, but you will also be able to pack other items with enough space and also be able to load the boxes on hand trucks and dollies quickly.

Moving Equipment Rentals

You will need to provide relevant moving equipment for your family and/or friends if you are enlisting their help for the move. This means you will have to get furniture pads for moving chairs and couches to protect the floors from scratching as well as dollies for heavy lifting of larger items such as appliances.

There may also be a need for moving straps, towing equipment, and moving blankets rental. These moving equipment are all available at The Home Depot and the truck rental centers at U-Haul. Your DIY move will run to completion successfully when you use the right equipment.

Pro Tip

The extra drop-off and delivery services included in the rental moving container is an expensive option. It cost about $500 to $5,000 on the average to relocate with a moving container. Pricing is determined by the distance of the move, the number of rental containers, and their size.

Load Like a Professional

If you fail to load your items properly, they may get damaged as you drive through bumps on the highway. Hold your belongings tightly using rope and straps, and load heavy items and large boxes first into the truck.

You can as well put larger belongings at the front of the moving truck to prevent it from shifting while in transit.

Read our post on packing a moving truck like a pro.

Pack a Bag

There is every possibility that you may not want to access even find any of your boxes that are essentials during the first night you get to your new place. You should pack a small bag or two that will contain your essential items for the first night in your new home to reduce the pressure of having to unload that same day.

Be sure to pack clothes and other personally essential items for a few days before you actually have the time and strength to unload and unpack your belongings.

Create a Moving Checklist

Moving involves various steps such as buying of moving supplies and transferring your utilities. You can easily forget a step that may not seem important but later turn out to give you a headache. You can consult our moving checklist for items that you might not think of or even forget while packing.

Create a Moving Budget

You are preparing yourself for a lot of headaches and stress if you fail to prepare for your move. You will have peace of mind when you plan ahead of your move. Begin to create a moving budget by conducting research on the cost of your move so that you don’t end up paying more than what you have to.

Rent Plastic Bins (Reusable)

The majority of movers will not lift any heavy belongings placed in cardboard boxes due to a reason. You and your items can be at great risk if the box should break. You can rent a plastic bin instead so that you can save yourself from the heavy lifting. You can also opt for reusable boxes instead of cardboard boxes.

Pack a Box for your Essentials

It will pain you to find out that the box that contains your toothbrush is placed right in the middle of the moving truck after the move. It is, therefore, important to pack a box that contains your essentials for the first week of your arrival. Consider it as packing for a vacation. Make sure the box is placed where you can easily access it when needed.

Additional Tips for successful DIY Move

Record the Move

Your employer might be willing to pay for all your moving expenses if you are relocating for a new job. Tax credit may also be available to you when you file for income tax. Make sure you keep a record of all receipts and expenses pertaining to the move for evidence.

Research Moving Tips

Because moving is mostly common among people, there have been many moving tips around that you can consider to make your move a success. You will find many of these easy, affordable, and useful tips on Moving Feedback. These tips may also save you some money.

Save yourself from Injury

The pain that results from getting injured during a move will not only bring you inconvenience but can also decommission you from embarking on the move. Make sure you put your safety above every other thing.

Avoid any heavy lifting that may cause you back pain and also make sure you do some stretching before you begin the moving process. Eat some carbohydrate foods for strength and also practice some safe lifting skills.

Prepare for the Weather

Weather is one of the major factors that affect moving especially in winter. However, you cannot always control your moving date and so it is important to prepare in advance for towels, ponchos, covers, and tarps. Endeavor to relocate in the morning to avoid the heavy downpour that normally occurs in the afternoon and get more people to help to make it faster.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

We are faced with the problem of heatstroke for most of us in Southwest Florida, and the best solution to avoid it is by drinking enough water. Make sure you have a cooler with ice beside you as you journey to your new home.

Endeavor to take breaks on the journey and sit in the shade, drink some water, and make sure your body stays cool all through the journey, especially if you are moving during summer.

Research Car Towing

If you own a car, rent a car hauling company to have your vehicles transported to your new home to save gas and the cost of an extra driver. Be aware that there are protective measures to be taken when towing your vehicle with the moving trailer.

Research the local trailer rental companies in your area to get the best deal and quality service for your car to be transported from your old home to the new one.

Go for Moving Insurance

It is better to protect your belongings than to take the risk of getting it damaged or lost without any compensation in return. There is a possibility that your highly valuable items might break or get lost while hauling them to your new home. It is important to consider moving insurance for protection. Contact your home or rental insurance providers to see if there is any coverage available with them.

Ultimate General Packing Tips

Packing is one of the most stressful but important parts of moving. You can easily track your items during shipping and unpacking at your new home when you arrange stuff by similar functions, room use, or another basis.

Below are some easy general guidelines for packing.

  • Start with the removal of items you do not need any longer in order to prevent packing, moving, and unpacking such items. You would be surprised at how much this can reduce your entire moving stress,
  • Pack similar items together; use a layer of padding such as bubble wrap, newspapers, towels, or blankets to pack each box. Then pack heaviest goods into the box before lighter ones.
  • We always recommend you label each box by room as well as contents.
  • Pack a box of essentials – items like toothbrushes, hammers, paper plates, drinks, screwdrivers, plastic utensils and cups, snacks, medications, a first-aid kit, and so on are important.
  • Do not be tempted to fill boxes completely. This will reduce the weight and the risk of breaking when they accidentally dropped while moving.

Now let us discuss how to go from one room to another when packing with these checklists and tips.

Start by collecting Packing Supplies Together

The following moving supplies will be needed to move successfully.

  • Get cheap or free moving boxes for packing: Search for used boxes in websites like NextDoor Neighbor or ask your co-workers, family, and friends. Get various sizes of boxes and make sure the boxes are in good shape.
  • Purchase bubble wrap or get for free: Your stuff is protected with bubble wrap all through the move. You can easily buy it at departmental stores cheaply or get it free on Facebook market community.
  • Rent a dolly: Going around places with boxes can lead to damages to your items. This can be prevented by renting a dolly from a mover or home improvement store to make the move much more comfortable.

The items listed above are the basics, but here are other supplies you may need, especially if you plan to DIY the move.

  • Packing tape and dispenser
  • Plastic wrap
  • Soft wrapping materials
  • Packing peanuts – a loose-fill cushioning material to prevent fragile items from damage.
  • Newsprint – to be crushed into balls and place between breakable items packed in a box.
  • Carpet protection tape (36’ wide) – to be used to prevent dirty shoes from the carpet during the moving.
  • Cushioning materials, such as moving blankets and towels
  • Markers
  • Labels for boxes that fragile items
  • Knives for opening the sealed moving boxes

7 Do-It-Yourself Mistakes to avoid when moving

Erring is a very bad thing and could turn worse when it is done during one of the significant changes in one’s life. Any little mistake can make matters worse and lead to much higher expenses when moving by yourself.

Carefully check through these seven major mistakes to avoid during a DIY move, and be prepared for a smooth transitioning experience on your own.

#1 Assuming DIY moves are always cheaper than hiring a professional mover

Most home movers see planning, organizing, and embarking on a DIY move is less expensive than hiring a professional mover to tackle the most difficult part of their moves.

Although the popular belief in favor of DIY move seems to be genuine under certain situations such as a local move that doesn’t exceed 100 miles, availability and readiness of friends and/or co-workers to assist with the move, previous moving experience in planning and executing a self-move, an average smaller home with few household belongings, and so on.

Any willing DIY movers, however, should not forget there are many hidden moving cost that may greatly increase the overall self-moving cost.

#2 Renting the wrong size of a moving truck

Renting a moving truck of the right size for your DIY move is another important task unless you have gotten a suitable moving vehicle from a good friend or family of yours. As a matter of fact, this step is a major determinant of the success of your move.

Choosing a smaller moving vehicle will make you embark on many trips from your old home to the new one or renting an oversized moving truck will also lead to a financial problem. Know that you will be paying for the extra space you didn’t use on your self-move if you rent a larger moving vehicle, or even expose your belongings to damage risk if they are not secured properly.

Even though your moving budget will be affected by both rental options, it is still safer to rent a larger vehicle than to rent a smaller one and make multiple trips to move everything.

#3 Underestimating the time needed to organize a self-move

Mistakenly underestimating the timing of planning your DIY move may scatter everything. Create a moving calendar as early as you can for your DIY move. Sadly, you will find time working against you immediately you decide to embark on a self-move. The majority of home movers find tackling the tasks very difficult before they are forced to relocate because of a lack of moving experience as well as improper moving organization.

It will interest you to know that failed attempts to house relocation are a result of underestimating the quantity of time needed to organize and execute a nice move. “There is still time before the moving day; preparing for my move now is too early,” and so on are the common excuses. Note that such delusions can really deal a huge blow on your move to run into successful completion.

#4 Assuming you were born with expert packing skills

Packing your home for a move is not a simple task that can be taken with levity. It involves many processes that may take your time and energy than you expected. Most homeowners choose to pack all their household belongings into moving boxes by themselves in order to save money.

However, unless DIY packers understand the basic rules when packing a household for a move, the whole packing process could turn disastrous and time/effort waste.

#5 Thinking house moving safety is highly overrated

Actually, you need to prioritize self-protection in every aspect of your self-move. Unlike professional movers, DIY movers don’t always know the certain safety steps to employ in order to stay safe and everyone else involved in the self-move, including pets. Making sure your safety and those involved in your self-move are assured is free of the best DIY moving you can ever imagine.

#6 Assuming your friends are under obligation to help you move

Needless to say, for a DIY move to complete successfully, you need timely help from good friends around you who are willing to help you move despite their busy schedule. Also, do not think because you have many good friends you hang out with, making them obligated to help you move when needed.

There are many factors that may make your close pals unavailable to help you with your move, so do not decide based on the assumption that they will be of help. They may have previous commitments, family responsibilities, busy work schedules, and many more.

#7 Thinking that moving trucks are similar to bigger cars

This is also one of the major advice you can get for your DIY move. Do not assume that a moving truck is just another big car that you can easily load and drive to your destination home without breaking a sweat. You should know that renting the right size of the moving truck will not mean anything if you do not make good use of the vehicle’s loading capacity.

When you make a self-move, one of the major mistakes is to believe you can handle the loading of the moving vehicle in the best possible way because you happen to be the one with the best loading skills among your friends. Even if you have the skills, you need great planning, previous experience, and enough creativity to maximize storage spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the packing supplies I need for moving?

Items like blankets, moving boxes, tapes, a moving vehicle like trucks or trailer, and rope to hold loose items will be needed for your packing.

What day is the best day to relocate?

Weekdays from Monday – Thursday. We recommend picking a weekday for your move because many movers suggest that customers should move from Monday to Thursday when demand is lesser.

Where can I obtain free packing and moving boxes and materials?

Most of us that see moving as a common things to us, we are always sure that immediately someone completes their relocation, their moving supplies will no longer be needed by them. You can get people who want to give free moving supplies on websites like the Facebook marketplace or Freecycle. Be sure to check these out in few weeks to your moving day.

How can I pack dishes for a move?

Use paper or packing peanuts to cushion the base of the boxes. Then use a layer of bubble wrap to wrap each dish then stand them in the box. This way, they are very secure. Make sure you indicate FRAGILE on the box once the dishes are tightly packed.

How far should you plan a move in advance?

Between four to eight weeks. You will be able to create an effective moving calendar and checklist when you know when exactly you are going to move. Booking your movers as soon as you can is a very nice ides; however, 4-8 weeks in advance is generally recommended.

How do I arrange my stuff before moving?

It is better to move from one room to another and arrange items in each room into three separate parts: those you plan to keep, those you plan to trash, and those you plan to donate. Proper organization before moving makes it more manageable as you will only move with the stuff you need.

Do I need a checklist for moving?

Contact and confirm details from your moving company such as arrival time on moving day, cell phone numbers, as well as final minute details. Hire a cleaning service to quickly clean the home immediately the house movers leave or plan for a day to come back and clean the home before new occupants arrive. These are many more should be included in your checklist. Read our Moving Checklist.

How should a moving truck be packed?

Make sure the heaviest items like appliances and furniture are loaded into the moving truck first. Hold them in place with fasteners to prevent them from sliding. Then load the largest remaining stuff before you fill the truck with moving boxes. Pack your highly valuable and delicate items or electronics into your vehicle as they will be more secure there.

What should I first move?

Make sure the normal packing/moving supplies like packing tape, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and any other item that may serve as cushioning like packing peanuts and plastic wrap are available. Then create a comprehensive inventory of your personal belongings.

Which is cheaper between DIY move and hiring a pro mover?

You won’t be driving a moving truck or worry about any cost related to it or the stress involved in renting a moving truck if you opt for professional mover. As you probably expect, self-pack movers are generally less expensive than full-service moving companies and a little higher than renting a moving truck.

What day is the cheapest to move to?

Moving on a weekday, such as Monday through Thursday, is the short answer. This is because the majority of cross country movers offer the best rates during this period as they are not usually busy then.

When before moving, should I start packing?

Moving requires a lot of time, and if you plan to self-pack your belongings, we advise you to do it as early as six weeks in advance of your moving date and carefully plan.


One of the most expensive options to relocate is by hiring the best moving company to pack your belongings. When you pack yourself, you will be left with some money after buying moving boxes and moving supplies. You can get help from Moving Feedback regardless of your decision whether to rent a moving truck, moving container or hire moving labor. Check HERE for more information on available discounts, moving quotes, and other details.

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