Showing posts with label driving a rental truck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label driving a rental truck. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Make a Smooth Move With These Moving Day Tips

Did you know that May is National Moving Month?  May kicks off what is the busiest moving season of the year.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 38 million of us move every year, with the average American moving nearly 12 times in their lifetime.  And according to the Employee Relocation Council, the only events more stressful in your life are death and divorce!

As a person who has moved more than 25 times in the course of my life, all but one being a self-move, I offer up these four moving day tips designed especially for you, the do-it-yourself mover.

Moving packed boxes


Tip #1 – Purposely overestimate the scope


There are two easy ways to mess up a move (trust me on this; I've done both). And having helped many others move, I can tell you that these are common moving day blunders.  Either one of these errors will add enormous stress to your move day. They are:
  • Underestimating the amount of time it's going to take you to pack up everything in preparation for move day
  • Underestimating the size of truck or trailer that you need to transport all your stuff
Picture this. You're scheduled to pick up the rental truck at 8 AM on Saturday. It's now 10 PM Friday, and you are sitting in the middle of the dining room, literally surrounded by piles of dishes, knickknacks, photo albums, and whatnot. You are out of packing boxes of the right size. The one remaining packaging tape roll just ran out, and the nearest supplies stores are all closed. And you still haven't figured out how in the world you're going to get that stereo system all packed up safely for the trip.

Sound familiar? I hope not.

Maybe you've avoided that fiasco, but now, picture this.  It's moving day. You and maybe a friend or two have spent the last eight hours taking countless trips between the house and the rental moving van. The sun is starting to go down, and the truck is nearly full: only two feet to spare. Then you sigh, realizing you haven't even started loading everything from the kitchen.  Nor the backyard.

You're in a real fix now. Do you throw everything away? Do you try to find a larger truck to rent now, even though it means starting all over, moving everything from the first truck to the second, when you're already exhausted?  It's too late for a yard sale, and too late to take everything to the nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill store.

Sound familiar? I hope not.

The best way to avoid either of these fiascoes is to assume that you need more time and more space than you think you need.
  • Start packing things up long before the target move day.  If you think you need 12 hours to pack up everything, budget 36.
  • If you think you need two rolls of packing tape, buy four. 
  • If you think you need an 18-foot truck, rent the 24-foot truck. 
If it turns out that you have an extra day in your schedule than you needed, or have leftover boxes or tape – and especially if it turns out that you have leftover space in the moving van – that's all right. All of these scenarios are significantly less stressful than running out of any of those things.

Large moving truck


Tip #2 – Plan for safety


Most of us don't do our daily commute driving a big truck or transporting a large trailer attached to our car.  You'll need to mentally shift gears to prepare for driving safely with all this extra girth and reduced maneuverability and to avoid these all-too-common moving day accidents:
  • Backing up into things by underestimating the total length of the rental vehicle;
  • Damaging the top of the truck and nearby trees or objects by underestimating the height of your vehicle;
  • Not allowing adequate turning space at a corner, damaging the tree, power pole, or mailbox that had been sitting there, minding its own business.
And yes, I'm guilty of one of these. No, I won't tell you which.  But to avoid these and other common moving day accidents yourself, remember to:
  • Read the instructional brochures that accompany your rental vehicle, which will remind you of all of the things you need to remember while driving the rental vehicle or trailer that you don’t normally have to think about when driving a car;
  • Plan in advance by checking for tree clearance or building eave clearance at the house you are moving from and to;
  • Know your rental truck height, and read the height clearance notations of any gas station's overhead awning.

Tip #3 – Go slow!


A common and extremely dangerous thing to do on your moving day is drive faster than the recommendations on the rental trailer or rental truck. Trying to keep up with the fast lane car traffic can put you on the road to disaster, especially when trailer towing – the leading loss-liability risk in the equipment rental industry.  Wind can create unstoppable trailer fishtailing at high speeds.  Braking takes longer.  Curves create control issues and tipping hazards.

Make sure to budget enough travel time that you do not feel rushed. Remove all Mario Andretti thoughts from your mind. Think mellow, relaxing, 55-mile-per-hour thoughts, and enjoy the idea of staying in the right lane.


Tip #4 – make your reservation early


It's especially important if you are moving during busy seasons to schedule your rental as far in advance as possible. Your local truck rental store may run out of vehicles if you wait to the last minute.

Moving packed boxes


The big goal – a smooth move and great memories


For more guidance on having a safe and successful moving day experience, see the Better Business Bureau's article on How to Find a Trustworthy Mover or check out one of these useful Moving.com guides to help you have a successful do-it-yourself move:
Moving day can actually be a fun adventure for the entire family if you can minimize the stress and maximize the enjoyment. Heed these tips and you'll already be halfway down the road to great memories and a successful move.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer