How to plan for the “Big Day”

Everything comes together on moving day, when a flood of last-minute details can seem overwhelming and the trip to your new home looms in front of you. Being prepared ahead of time for the little things and having a plan for the big day and for surviving your trip can get you through this crucial event.

Confine your pets

If your dog is frenzied because of the moving day activity, confine it somewhere away from the action. Movers shouldn’t have to confront a snarling dog (or worse, trip over it) each time they return for another box.

Provide refreshments

If it’s a hot day, as it usually is in southern Louisiana, you should set out water and snacks for the movers. On cold days, offer them hot chocolate and coffee. If your friends are helping you move, be sure to provide food for lunch and dinner as well as refreshments during the day.

Be considerate to your neighbors, old and new

Make sure the moving truck doesn’t block a neighbor’s driveway. Don’t block the sidewalk with furniture waiting to be loaded. Make sure the movers don’t walk over your neighbor’s lawn or through their flowerbeds. Try to move during the daytime, but not too early or too late. Don’t leave trash, unwanted furniture or other debris on the sidewalk. Place it in proper containers, and if it begins to overflow, go to the local dump or ask your movers if they offer a dump service.

The Golden Rule of moving

You should leave your old house as clean as you would like to find your new house. Clean as much as you can before moving day, and then make a final check after everything is out.

Finishing up

Be available to answer any questions your movers may have, which means staying around until they’re finished. Professional movers will ask you to sign a bill of lading and do a walk-through the home for a final inspection. The bill of lading is a government document required for transport services to move your personal property. Read documents carefully before signing. If you’re satisfied with the way the movers handled your possessions, it’s customary to tip the movers about $20 each, giving them more or less depending on the difficulty of the move and the quality of service you received. If your friends helped, provide food and drinks for a post-move celebratory meal.

Coordinating with the professional mover

Your goal is to get to your new home in time to greet the movers. Arrive late, and you’re likely to be charged for the movers’ wait. Before you depart, exchange cell phone numbers with the driver so you can stay in touch in case one of you is delayed. Plan for the unexpected by making backup plans, such as arranging for someone else to greet the movers. Notify the mover of any changes to your schedule as soon as possible.

Give yourself time

Finally, be conservative in your time estimates. It may be a good idea to plan out the day in half-hour increments. Seeing a picture of the day will ensure that you have some extra time between each leg of your journey. That way you can accommodate unexpected delays that could otherwise throw off your schedule.