So you’ve decided to take on the task of moving yourself. You’re not alone. Thousands of people each year move without hiring movers (DIY MOVE) with no problem. But, that’s not saying it’s an easy task.

Even when hiring movers, the moving process can be stressful, but deciding to move yourself without hiring movers is even more tough. But, thankfully for you, we’ve put together this simple step-by-step process guide.

So, how do you move yourself? Here’s our guide:

Step 1: Decide How You Will Move

Family Moving Themselves

This first step requires you to pick a method of moving. The earlier you pick your method, the better chances you’ll be able to secure what you need on your move date. Also, the earlier you choose, the better you’ll be able to prepare your home for whichever method of moving you need.

Moving Options For Your DIY Move

  • Rent A Moving Truck (Uhaul, Ryder, Penske, Enterprise, or Home Depot Truck Rental) – To rent a moving truck from Uhaul, all you need is a valid drivers license and be at least 18 years old. Unlike rental cars you don’t need to be 25 to rent a Uhaul moving truck.
  • Rent A Trailer (Uhaul) – To rent a trailer from Uhaul, all you need is a valid drivers license and be at least 16 years old.
  • Use A Container Service (PODS) – A container service is great if you’re moving a small home or small amount items from your home. It’s also great if you need a short-term storage option before you move. If you live in an apartment, they won’t be able to drop off a container in an ideal location. The great thing about a POD or similar container service is that you can have it dropped off and move items in at your own leisure over a span of a few days. You can also utilize one of these if you need to move out of your home but your new home isn’t ready yet to move into yet.
  • Use Your Friend’s Pickup Truck – If you have a small number of items and you are moving locally, you can always ask to borrow a friends pickup truck. You can also rent a pickup truck from Uhaul or car rental places.
  • Pack Yourself & Hire Movers To Move The Heavy Items – If you have somewhat of a larger home, 3 bedrooms or more, it might be best to go with this option. You can still have low moving costs if you pack and prepare everything yourself and hire the movers to only wrap and move the furniture and boxes. Here’s a great checklist on how to prepare for movers to save money.

No matter which option you choose, the quicker you line up your moving option the better. Especially during the busy seasons from May-August.

Step 2: Donate Or Get Rid Of Unwanted Items

If you’re looking to save money on your move, the first thing to do is get rid of or sell items you don’t want anymore. The less you have the easier it is to move.

Consider having a garage sale before you move so you can actually make some money to put towards moving costs like boxes or renting a moving truck. You can also schedule a free donation pick up with these charities.

Also, check out this article on how to get rid of used furniture before moving.

Step 3: Find Helpers For Moving Day

Moving yourself doesn’t mean moving by yourself. Moving isn’t an easy task, and you don’t want to end up hurting yourself. When carrying out a DIY move its best to find at least 2-4 capable helpers (friends or family) to help you with your moving.

Give your friends a few weeks notice for anyone who is willing to help on moving day.

When hiring your friends to move, understand that there is a more likely chance of a few things going wrong since they are not professional movers. If you really need to save money and your furniture is cheap then asking your friends is fine. Just make sure you provide them with ample drinks, food, and maybe take them out for a drink or meal at the end of the day.

You can also use a website called Hire A Helper to find able body people to help you move any large items you may not be able to lift.

Step 4: Get Packing Materials

The best place to buy moving boxes and packing paper for your move is stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Items such as tape, mattress bags, and tape dispensers can be found online for much cheaper. We recommend these moving supplies if you are looking to buy online.

Use your blankets & linens – Instead of going out to buy expensive moving pads to protect your furniture, you can use your own blankets and linens to protect your furniture. You can wrap your furniture with those items and secure it with tape or large rubber bands (if you want to buy them).

Packing Materials Needed

  • Boxes – Small, Medium, Large, Dishpacks, and Wardrobe Boxes. Here’s a great guide on how many boxes you need for your move.
  • Packing Paper
  • 3-6 Rolls of Packing Tape
  • Mattress Bags
  • Tape Gun
  • Markers
Packing Paper

Packing Paper – 10 lbs, 320 sheets

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Moving Boxes

Moving Boxes Kit – 30 Moving Boxes

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Tape Dispenser

Heavy Duty Tape Dispenser

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Mattress Bag

Mattress Bag For Moving & Storage

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TV Cover

Foam Flat Screen TV Cover

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If you’re looking to find cheap packing materials, check out this post: 13 Places To Get Cheap or Free Moving Materials

Step 4: Begin The Packing Process

Knowing how to prepare for a move is important. The earlier you start packing the less stressful moving will be. It’s always recommended to start packing at least 1-2 weeks before moving day. And if this is your first time moving and you have never packed before, it’s best to learn as much as possible about packing moving boxes.

Quick Packing Tips For Moving Yourself

Knowing how to pack moving boxes is essential if you are conducting a diy move. Here are some tips to help you when moving yourself.

  • Use Actual Moving Boxes – It may be tempting to go to your local grocery store or liquor store to find cheap used boxes. It’s best to ditch that idea altogether. Those kinds of boxes aren’t meant for moving and many of them are soiled with food or have liquid damage. The best place to buy boxes is from Home Depot or Lowe’s. They’re about $1-$3 a box.
  • Know What Goes In What Box – Heavy items like books, CDs, paper, small electronics go into small boxes. Large boxes are only used for light items like pillows and comforters. You’ll want more small and medium-sized boxes for moving and not so much of the large.
  • Pack Room By Room – Packing room by room ensures that items don’t get mixed up. You’ll want to label each box according to the room and some items so you know what is in each box.
  • Use Packing Paper – You may be tempted to use bubble wrap for all your kick knacks and fragile items, but packing paper more affordable and actually can be better at keeping your items safe if wrapped the right way.
  • Create a Daily Essentials Box – This box is for items like toothbrushes, deodorant, medications and anything else you might need on a daily basis. That way you won’t have to search in endless boxes for these items when you need them.
  • Tape Your Boxes Correctly – To correctly tape a moving box, you need three pieces of tape on the bottom and three on top. The first piece is stretched tightly over the middle of the seam, then two more stretched tightly on each side of the seam about a half-inch off the middle. For added protection, you can also wrap another piece of packing tape around the box to secure the sides of the last three pieces of tape.
  • Use Heavy Duty Dish Packs For Fragile Kitchen Items – Heavy duty dish packs are double-walled boxes that are thicker than regular boxes. The thickness keeps your fragile items more protected if you drop a box or it gets smashed.
  • Use Towels & Linens – You can use your towels and linens to wrap somewhat breakable items to keep them safe. It will also help you save some money on packing paper.
  • Use Suitcases – Make use of your suitcases and pack them with heavier items like books. Since your suitcase has wheels, you can pack it heavy and not worry about not being able to lift it. It will also save you a few bucks on extra boxes.

Step 5: Hire A Baby Sitter or Pet Sitter For Move Day

There’s nothing that will slow you down more on move day other than your small children or pets. Pets may be a bit easier to deal with since you can put them outside or in a specific room on moving day, but your small children may need someone to watch them on moving day. You can have a family member take them out to a movie or the park on moving day.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure your small children or pets aren’t in the way on moving day. They can slow the process down and they can even get hurt.

Step 6: Gather The Moving Equipment Needed To Move

If you are renting a moving truck, they should also rent out the tools and items needed to help you move. If you are renting a moving container, you may have to visit a local U Haul store to rent the needed equipment. And of course, if you’re hiring movers to just move the heavy furniture items, you won’t need any of these things.

Needed Tools & Moving Equipment

  • Furniture Dolly
  • Appliance Dolly w/straps
  • 4 Wheel Dolly
  • Extra Straps & Tie Downs
  • Furniture Pads and/or blankets

You’re going to need these items if you want to move safely. It’s always better to move items on wheels than carry them yourself. Here are a few videos to help you with the techniques of moving furniture and other heavy items.

Step:7 Learn The Basics Of Moving Boxes & Furniture

Right below we’ve included few videos and links to learn how to move furniture and other items yourself, without hiring professional movers. Before taking on the task of moving yourself, make sure you spend a bit of time learning these methods to help keep your body and items safe on moving day.

How To Use A Two-Wheel Dolly

This video shows some great tips for using a two-wheeled dolly. Two-wheeled dollies or “hand trucks” are the most important piece of moving equipment for moving yourself. You can rent a two-wheel dolly from where you rented your moving truck or at your local Uhaul.

How To Pack Dishes & Fragile Items

Your fragile kitchen items are most prone to breaking inside the box when you move. This is a great video explaining how to properly pack dishes and fragile kitchen items. You can also use this method for other breakable items around your home, not just the kitchen items. you’ll need dish pack boxes, plenty of packing paper and packing tape.

How To Wrap & Move A Dresser By Yourself

This is a great video for learning how to wrap and move a dresser yourself. Now, if you’re a professional mover, you might have some critiques, but this method is very suitable for moving yourself.

How To Move A Washer Downstairs By Yourself

Another great video on the techniques to move a washer yourself. He first starts by wrapping the item in pads, then stretch wrap. Take note of the way he loads it onto the dolly and moves the item down the stairs.

How To Move A Sofa By Yourself

This video shows you how a professional moving company wraps and protects a sofa and get’s it ready for moving. You’ll also see the proper techniques on how to load it to the dolly and move it into the moving truck.

Additional Helpful Tips For Moving Yourself

  • Start packing at least a week before move day.  The earlier you start to pack the less stress it will be when moving day arrives.
  • Take photos of your electronic components before you unplug everything so you know what gets plugged back into what when its time to reassemble.
  • Heavy items go into small boxes, light into mediums and larges. You never fill a box to where it gets so heavy that it’s impossible to move.
  • Load large items onto the truck first and fill the spaces with smaller boxes and other small items.
  • Start early on moving day. There’s nothing worse than rushing your move day or waiting until it gets so hot outside it’s impossible to move.
  • Stretch on moving day. Remember, you’re about to do a few things your body hasn’t done in quite some time. Make sure you stretch and warm up a bit before lifting and moving heavy items.
  • Have a good breakfast. This will give you the initial energy you need throughout the day to carry on the difficult tasks.
  • Drink lots of water. This goes without saying. Your body needs water when doing any strenuous activity.
  • Provide Drinks and food for helpers. Your helpers are kind enough to help you move so make sure you provide them with drinks and food on moving day.

5 DIY Moving Mistakes To Avoid

Upset Man

Whatever you do, you need to avoid these DIY moving mistake at all costs. Making these mistakes can lead to losing money, hurting yourself, or even losing some good friends. Check out these DIY moving mistakes and try to avoid them at all costs.

Assuming DIY Moves are always cheaper than hiring movers

In most cases moving yourself will likely be cheaper than hiring a moving company. But, make sure you factor in ALL COSTS associated with DIYing your move. Depending on what kind of “spender” you are can determine whether or not it will actually cost less than hiring a moving company.

Here are the costs you may run into when moving yourself vs. hiring a moving company:

  • Renting the moving truck – Understand how much it will cost to carry out your specific moving needs, including gas.
  • Renting moving equipment
  • Buying furniture pads
  • Moving Help – will you be paying your friends (in cash? pizza? beer?)
  • Meals & Hotel fees if moving long-distance
  • Possible damage to your items or your body

Renting The Wrong Size Moving Truck

  • Pickup trucks –  A good option for small loads, partial house moves, or home improvement projects.
  • Cargo vans –  A good option for college moves, partial moves, or moving a studio as part of a local move.
  • 10-12 ft. trucks –  ideal for studios or smaller apartments, as well as college moves of all types.
  • 14-17 ft. trucks –  the medium range of truck rentals is ideal for moving 1-2 bedroom apartments, offices, and smaller houses. Not surprisingly, these moving vehicles are always in high demand.
  • 20-26 ft. trucks: perfect for cross country relocation of all household items found in big 3, 4 or 4+ bedroom residences.

It’s always better to get a bigger truck if you have A LOT of stuff in your home or apartment.

Assuming That Safety Is Not A Factor

Moving isn’t as simple as dollying up a few boxes and loading onto a truck. Did you think about how you’re going to move your sofas, your dressers, and washer and dryers down the stairs? Many people underestimate what it takes to move heavy items until they’re underneath them at the bottom of the stairs.

It’s absolutely critical to learn how to move items properly up and down the stairs when carrying out a DIY move.

Forgetting To Label Your Boxes

This is actually more common than you think. There’s nothing worse when it comes to unpacking your belongings than not knowing what’s in any of the boxes. Don’t forget to label your boxes when packing for your DIY move.

When labeling your boxes, make sure you label them on both the sides and tops of the boxes so you can see what’s in each box from whatever angle you’re looking at it.

Not Taking Measurements

Taking proper measurements to make sure certain items can fit into certain rooms is critical. You don’t want to come to a point where you’ve just moved a giant china cabinet only to find out it cant fit around the corner or up the stairs.

Related Questions:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire Movers To Move A One-Bedroom Apartment – If you’re looking to get an idea of what it might cost to move your one-bedroom apartment, you’ve come to the right place. Each and every person’s move scenario is different, so if you read this article carefully, you’ll get an idea of how much it will cost you to hire a moving company to move your one-bedroom apartment.

How Long After Moving A Refrigerator Can I Turn It On? – You may plug in your refrigerator immediately if the refrigerator was moved in an upright position and stayed upright the entire time during transit. If your refrigerator has been placed on its side during transit (which it should never), you’re supposed to wait the same amount of time it has been laying on its side.

If it’s been on its side for 30 minutes during transit, wait 30 minutes once it’s back upright. If it’s been on its side for more than a day, you should wait 24 hours.

First Apartment Checklist (100+ Must-Haves For Your Adults) – Living on your own for the first time is both exciting and a little scary (to be honest). To minimize the fear you might have, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Making your new house (or dorm) feel like home is a MUST! The best way to make your new space feel as comfortable as possible is to make sure you have all of the essentials a home should have. This is a living checklist & a checklist of important things to do when you move into your first apartment.

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