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Man Sitting on the Couch Among Moving Boxes

16 Moving Tips for Moving By Yourself

Moving to a new home by yourself? A lot of preparation goes into making a move successful, and handling all of it alone can be as overwhelming as it is rewarding. Whether you’re relocating for a job or moving into your first apartment, here are 16 tips to help you prepare for moving alone.

Go Through Your Belongings

Decluttering is an essential first step to any move, and it’s especially helpful when you’re moving on your own. By getting rid of the things you no longer need now, you’ll have less to move by yourself later on. As you sort through your belongings, decide whether you want to sell, donate, or throw away items. Consider selling old furniture before moving so you don’t have to move large, heavy items alone. If your items are in good condition, consider hosting a garage sale so you can make some extra cash to help with moving-related costs!

Plan Your Move

Computer and Date Book Sitting on a Desk. Photo by Instagram user @drew_kern

Photo via @drew_kern

Once you’ve decided when you’re going to move, be sure to create a detailed moving day schedule. Prepare for the distance you’re moving, the potential weather you’re going to experience, and the physical demand of moving. When you don’t have anyone else to load, drive, or help you navigate, it’s important to have potential roadblocks identified ahead of time so that your solo move goes off without a hitch.

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Reserve a Moving Truck Early

If you’re moving without professional help, you’ll need to find the perfect moving truck or trailer. There are tons of rental truck companies out there that offer vehicles of various sizes that can accommodate your needs. If you’re getting a truck, try to find a pickup and drop-off spot near your destinations to save time and money, as you’ll likely be paying for every mile. If your vehicle can handle it, trailers are great alternatives to moving trucks since they’re often less expensive and take up less space than traditional rental trucks. Whatever you plan on using to move your items from point A to point B, make sure to reserve it early!

Rent a Self Storage Unit

Self Storage Unit Open and Filled with Extra Space Storage Boxes and a Small Desk

Whether you have too much to move in one go or you’re moving items you don’t need right away, using a storage unit while moving can be beneficial. Seasonal decor, household appliances, and small items like books and movies are perfect for keeping in storage. This can be great when downsizing your home, too. After you move into your new place, you can move in the items from your storage unit whenever you want! Although this could lead to more back-and-forth trips, using temporary storage can take some of the pressure off of the big moving day when you’re doing it alone.

Find Moving Boxes

Reusing old boxes is a great way to save some money during your solo move. You can find free boxes from a wide variety of retailers. Ask your local grocery store if you can take some boxes off their hands after they get a shipment in, and you’ll probably score enough free ones to supply your move! If you’re unable to find free or discounted cardboard boxes, you can always go to your local home improvement store or Extra Space Storage to purchase new moving boxes.

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Gather Packing Supplies

Woman Taping a Moving Box Closed. Photo by Instagram user @foxmoving423

Photo via @foxmoving423

The most important aspect of your DIY move is making sure items get to their destination safely. Packing supplies like packing wrap, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, packing tape, and mattress bags can go a long way in protecting your belongings throughout the move. Many professional moving companies provide these through their services, but you can also find these supplies at stores like Walmart and Target. To keep your packed items organized, get a tape gun to speed up the packing process and use a black marker to label all boxes. Staying organized will keep you on track and save you some time on the back end of your solo move.

Pack Boxes Strategically

For a solo move, how you pack moving boxes is incredibly important. In each box, place the large or heavy items at the bottom and place lighter objects near the top. Try to pack heavy items or packages into smaller boxes so they’re easier to carry. This can include plates or books that might not be heavy alone but heavy in bulk. Larger moving boxes are perfect for carrying a lot of light items like clothes or bedding.

Track What You Pack

Woman Writing On a Moving Box. Photo by Instagram user @apacrelocation

Photo via @apacrelocation

Create a detailed list of all of the things you packed and where they’ll be going in your new home. Make a list of rooms and assign items to those rooms. Then, pack and label your boxes accordingly. For example, label all of the boxes with cooking utensils and dishes as “Kitchen,” or, if you want to be specific, “Kitchen Utensils.” This kind of organization will be hugely beneficial as you start to unload and unpack. There are also helpful moving apps available that you can use to track what you pack!

Hire Professional Movers

Moving Truck Parked in a Driveway. Photo by Instagram user @pricemoving

Photo via @pricemoving

Hiring a moving company is a great way to take some of the stress off moving some heavier or bulkier items by yourself, especially if you’re moving cross-country. Make sure to vet both the movers and company ahead of time by talking to friends and family and also checking online reviews. You want to avoid hiring movers that won’t take the proper care when handling your belongings. Another cost-effective moving solution that doesn’t require you to do the move yourself is shipping container services. With a moving container, the company will drop it off, have you fill it up, then they’ll come pick it up and transport it to your destination!

Use Moving Equipment

Moving by yourself can be physically demanding. That’s why having good moving equipment is essential. Both four-wheel and traditional dollies can make moving heavy items a breeze. Furniture pads and blankets can help keep your large items from scraping, sliding, and damaging your other belongings. Lifting straps and supports can take a lot of the pressure off your body when picking items up and handling heavy items by yourself. Ropes, straps, and bungee cords can also help you keep items tied down and stable during the move.

Pack an Essentials Bag

Luggage Back Sitting on the Floor. Photo by Instagram user @kuuno

Photo via @kuuno

Before your DIY move, put together a bag with all the essentials so that they’re organized and easily accessible during your trip. If you’re staying in a hotel or temporary housing, you won’t want to fully unpack until you get to your new home. Keeping the items you need on hand like toiletries, electronics, phone chargers, and a change of clothes is a great way to ensure you’re ready in an emergency. It also saves you from digging through all of your already-packed boxes for the things you use the most!

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Move Unessential Things First

Do you have an overlap of your previous lease agreement and your new home move-in? If so, try moving in smaller batches throughout several days. Stat with unessential items first. This can include seasonal decor and clothes, electronics you don’t use every day, and furniture that doesn’t have a vital function. Moving a little at a time is a simple way to lessen the pressure of loading and unloading everything in one day when you’re moving on your own.

Start Moving as Early as Possible

A good solo moving tip is to start moving early in the day. If you can hit the road early, you could avoid some delays from rush hour traffic that many large cities experience. More importantly, you can leave more time to unload later, so you don’t have to worry about working into the night. And it’s overall a good idea to account for your move to take longer than you expect especially if you’re moving without help.

Be Careful When Moving Large Items

Large furniture and appliances don’t just require proper preparative measures to move safely—they also need considerable care when loading and unloading. Without the right support when you move heavy items, you can do serious damage to the item and, worse, yourself. If you can’t find anyone to help and don’t have the budget for movers, the best option is to use equipment like furniture sliders, straps, and dollies. You might also break down furniture back to base parts, if possible. Regardless, take your time and don’t push yourself too hard!

Properly Load Items on a Vehicle

Man Moving Items into a Moving Truck. Photo by Instagram user @qtimemovers

Photo via @qtimemovers

It’s important to make sure to give yourself the time in both your rental agreement and schedule to fill your moving truck properly. You can even rent the truck for multiple days if you anticipate it’ll take a while to load your truck solo, or even if you just want to spread out the loading process. It’s best to load heavy items first, near the front of the truck or trailer to prevent the back end from fishtailing while you drive. The last thing you want is to be caught with truck problems while you’re making your move alone.

Unpack & Settle In

Fresh Flowers Sitting on a Table. Photo by Instagram user @binswood_end

Photo via @binswood_end

Instead of opening all of the boxes and sorting them after the move, you can simply put boxes in their designated rooms to save yourself time in your new place. Then, go one room at a time to unpack. Be sure to prioritize the rooms you’ll need the most right away—like your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. This will help you tackle unpacking by yourself and make it easier to do in smaller chunks.


Need a place to store your belongings while you make a solo move? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage locations across the country that can help with your move. Find a storage unit near you!

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