In my lifetime, I have moved 18 times! Some moves were local and some moves were interstate. The farthest move being from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA.
We recently relocated our office and warehousing facilities and I learn something new with every move. I thought it might be useful to share some tips with you which will be great for both home and business.
1) Get a binding estimate - this will ensure that you are informed of all the costs and fees upfront and there will be no surprises because you have it in writing before moving day. (Clark Howard has great advice for dealing with movers.)
2) Do your own packing - It would be nice to rely on the "professionals" but ultimately, no one will take greater care of your items than you. Most moving companies will provide you with boxes, cushioning, and tape. These materials may be included or cost additional. You can also get packing materials at your local office supply store, Wal-mart, etc. If you let the movers pack any or all of your belongings, be sure to supervise. If you are not happy with the way something gets packed, speak up, this will save you a lot of headache later in dealing with damaged items like furniture and electronics.
3) Pack items in a neat and organized manner in each box. Items from the same room should stay together as much as possible. I always write a description on the outside of the box, on the top and on atleast one side, this way, no matter how the boxes get stacked, you have a good chance of finding the description without too much re-arranging. Take extra care to wrap fragile items. As an extra precaution for valuable or fragile items, you can pack individual items in smaller boxes and insert them into the larger box.
4) Garbage bags are great for wrapping items that you want to keep from getting wet. One move we experienced was during one of our famous Florida summer storms. Boxes were getting soaked because they were loaded in the rain and unloaded in the rain. Luckily I had wrapped and sealed my books, and some other valuables in garbage bags.
5) Take valuables with you, on your person, if possible, such as jewelry. If anything is irreplaceable and you feel that the item is safer with you, then take care of it on your own. On our move from Tampa to Seattle, it took the moving truck about 10 days to arrive. If you are making a long move, taking valuables with you might also give you greater peace of mind so you don't fret for days about your belongings.
Overall, the more organized you are about your move, the easier it will be when you unpack in your new home. Most of all, enjoy the journey!