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Do-it-Yourself Moving Tips

Do-it-Yourself Moving Tips

Millions of Americans take on the task of moving every year, whether it’s for a job opportunity, to be closer to family, or to simply try out living in a new place. Whatever the reason for your move, you can make the task more pleasant by planning ahead and taking advantage of resources designed to make moving easier.

Whether you’re moving out of a just-the-basics apartment or a large family home, one of the tools you’ll probably need is a moving truck. Because we’ve been serving customers on the move for more than 40 years, we have a few tips to get you started:

* Packing prep. Tackle packing bit by bit. By starting early, you’ll avoid the stress that comes with rushing. If you’re concerned you’ll need a certain item that you’re packing, pack it and leave the box open. It’s a lot easier to tape up boxes on moving day than it is to frantically pack at the last moment. Buy sturdy boxes in a variety of sizes, along with foam and bubble wrap to protect your fragile items, a good supply of packing tape and bold markers for labeling boxes. On the big day, moving blankets and hand trucks will make the experience more enjoyable – be sure you’ve got them on hand.

* Lighten your load. As you start planning your move, you should also consider planning a moving sale. While packing, set aside a designated space or boxes for items you can sell. A good rule of thumb -- if you haven’t used it in the last year, it can probably go. If there are unsold items, donate them to a local charity that needs what you need to get rid of.

* Mark and group.Label the outside of your boxes as you pack. First, list the room that the items belong in, and, if you want more detail, you can list an overview of what’s in the box. As you move, keep the boxes for each room together as much as possible.

* Get trucking. For people moving across town, it’s exhausting to make multiple trips between their old and new homes. For those moving across country, it’s an impossibility. In either scenario, renting a moving truck will make the process easier and faster. Reserve at least two weeks in advance to avoid getting stuck without transportation -- we guarantee a truck for every reservation. Most movers find the 12- or 16-foot truck perfect for moving a few large items or the contents of a small condo or apartment. For guidance with larger moves or your truck selection, visit for more information.

* Pack smart. Load the heaviest items on the truck first. When you’ve got a sturdy base of the heaviest items, you can start stacking on top. This is when it’s handy to have a list on the outside of the box, detailing its contents. If you have friends and family helping you, they’ll know not to set books on top of your china.

* Think green. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the SmartWay Transport Partnership to promote more environmentally friendly transportation. Penske is an active supporter of the program and its mission to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. To further "green" your move look for earth-friendly packing materials or even shred your unneeded papers to make your own packing material for your boxes.

* Safety and security. Trucks are taller, wider, heavier and require more stopping distance than the vehicle you are used to driving. Take extra precautions, especially when the truck is loaded. Watch out for low-hanging tree branches and building overhangs and use extra caution when cornering. To protect your belongings, park in well-lit areas and padlock the rear door.

To make sure you’ve got everything you need on moving day, create a travel bag for keeping important paperwork, credit cards, identification, change of clothes, drinks and snacks close at hand. For a complete list of moving tips or to schedule a truck rental reservation, visit

By "Move Ahead" Staff