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If you’re a bit strapped for cash or if you don’t have too many belongings, moving by yourself – and not with the assistance of a moving company – can be a practical option. You’ll save money, work out those guns of yours and probably be able get some free help from your friends and family. But this doesn’t mean it’s easy; self-moving requires a lot of work and effort. If you prepare and plan well ahead before your move-in date, you should have no issue with your self-moving experience.
Firstly, you need to make sure you’re in suitable condition to move. If you’re sick, injured or just too weak to pull off a moving job, then you shouldn’t be moving by yourself. Therefore, you should contact a moving company. If you’ve had severe injuries in the past, such as back injuries, you should most likely avoid self-moving in case the injuries re-surface. Also, check your insurance to see if you’re covered for accidents, injuries and damage to your goods if you self-move.
If you’re in good shape, then start planning your move. It is highly recommended that you acquire the assistance of friends or family – you don’t want to be lifting all those heavy boxes by yourself. Make sure they are in good physical form to help you out. But don’t forget to reward them with some pizza and cold beverages; you want them to still talk to you, right?
Now, start planning for your move. Make sure you have arrangements for your move-in day at least two to three weeks in advance. As well, as time narrows down to move-in day, compile a list to keep you organized while packing. Head down to the local store and get the materials that you’ll need: boxes, tape, box cutters, permanent markers, work gloves, plastic wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.
Most likely, you’ll have to rent a truck from a rental truck company. They have trucks that vary in size, so even if you don’t have a lot of possessions or smaller pieces of furniture, you can still rent a relatively small truck or van. But if you do rent a truck, make sure you have the required licence to drive one. Most of the time you’ll be able to get away with your regular driver’s license if you rent a smaller truck, but you may be required to get a special one if the truck is larger.
Once you get your truck, make sure you load all you possessions properly into the truck. Start with heavy furniture at the back of the truck and heavier boxes at the bottom. Load lighter items on top of heavier items. Use plastic wrap and rope for any items that may topple or need extra sturdiness. Make sure you pack important documents and items last, or carry them in a different vehicle, not the truck. And don’t forget to lock it too!
If you have never driven a truck before, then you may want to practise. Remember, these are much larger than your car and they move a lot differently. Here are a few tips for driving, loading and unloading a truck:
Drive with caution: Especially when you have all your belongings packed in the back, trucks won’t go too fast – so don’t push it. Drive at or slightly below the speed limit and try and avoid driving in the far left lanes if you’re on the highway. Patiently take turns and when approaching a stop begin to break earlier than usual. Keep an eye out for smaller vehicles and pedestrians.
Backing up: Try and avoid backing up as much as you can, but if you need to, get someone to help direct you from the outside. Use the side view mirrors and take your time when executing the back-up.
Don’t exert yourself: If you’re driving long distances, try not to drive more than 6-8 hours at once. Allow some time for rest. When unloading the truck, make sure you lift with your knees and not your back. As well, maybe rent a trolley or hand jack to easier manoeuvre boxes around. Drink lots of water.
If you don’t trust yourself driving a truck or don’t want to, you can always hire a self-moving company. Essentially what these companies do is drive the truck for you, but you’ll have to pack, load and unload the truck. You do all the moving, they do all the driving.
Self-moving can be difficult, but it doesn't mean it’s impossible. You can save lots of money if you’re prepared and have the right amount of help. If you keep focused, energized and positive, your moving experience will be less stressful and easier to handle.