Everyone who has moved before has a horror story. Couches tumbling down apartment stairwells, shattered china cabinets in the back of moving trucks, you name it. But just because moves can go wrong doesn’t mean that your move has to be fraught with pitfalls.

At Alliance Moving & Storage, we’ve spent years developing a process that delivers smooth and successful moves each time. To help you out with your next move, we’ve distilled some of our best advice into this list of 12 steps to a successful move.

1. Build a Moving Checklist

When most people think of how to successfully move, they tend to think a lot about how to handle lifting and moving furniture. While this is an important part of moving, it’s by no means the most important piece. In fact, we can’t put it any better than General Robert H. Barrow of the U.S. Marines, who said, “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” Military operations and relocations may be rather different, but they do share this truth.

If you want to be successful during your next move, make sure to put together a checklist of what needs to get done. A checklist, particularly one that is in chronological order, will help you to see all the pieces of your move as it takes place, ensuring that no steps get left unfinished. If you need a checklist to start from, we’ve got you covered with the only moving checklist you’ll ever need.


Let’s face it; setting a moving budget is one of the most important parts of your move. Even though the process has the potential to be expensive, there are plenty of ways that you can cut down on costs while still prioritizing efficiency and safety. Before you move forward with a move, you’ll want to sit down and determine what your budget is. How much you are able to spend on your move will dictate whether you should opt for a full-service move or make it more of a DIY move. It’s important that you are realistic when setting your moving budget so finances don’t become an additional stressor during this already stressful process. 

3. Sort and Trim Your Belongings

First-time movers often make the mistake of loading all their belongings into boxes as soon as they know a move is impending. But cutting down on your belongings first can save you time and money. If you plan to hire movers, cutting down the number of possessions you have can change how much time it takes (and how much money it costs) to move. Even if you tackle the move solo, having fewer things to move will be a big relief when facing that third flight of apartment stairs.

4. Host a Garage or Yard Sale

Garage Sale

Just because you plan to leave an item behind doesn’t mean you can’t get something out of it. Hosting a yard sale provides three powerful benefits: it reduces the number of items you have to pack, turns those belongings into cash, and gives you a chance to say goodbye to your neighbors all at once. Even if you live in an apartment, putting some items on Craigslist or a similar community website can net you a few dollars and a lighter load.

5. Collect Packing Materials

Packing materials can quickly add up in cost, especially if you’re moving an entire house. Swing by your local grocer or a retail store to see if they have any boxes they’ll give you or sell for a discount. And make sure to get a wide array of box sizes so you don’t end up with ridiculously heavy or impractically small boxes.

6. Create an Inventory Tracker

One of the most commonly forgotten steps to a successful move is keeping track of your belongings. It can be tough to stay on top of where your items are located during a move. Building a spreadsheet that lists your belongings and the last location they were in is a big help. This way, you’ll be able to keep an eye on items more passively, and you’ll know where something likely is if you lose something along the way.

7. Hire Movers

Another rookie mistake lots of movers make is believing they can handle a whole move by themselves. While it is possible, it adds a lot of unnecessary stress to your plate. Moving companies like Alliance Moving & Storage have years of experience helping people relocate to homes, offices and apartments. This wealth of experience, plus the additional helping hands, makes hiring movers a huge boon to any relocation.

8. Make Arrangements for Pets and Children

move with dog

Everyone loves pets and kids, but they aren’t often the most helpful moving assistants. Making arrangements for younger children and pets to be out of the way on the day of the move can save a lot of time and stress. To help you move efficiently, we’ve created guides on how to move with children and how to move with dogs that you can reference while planning your next move.

9. Clearly Label Boxes While Packing

Don’t get caught up in the rush of moving. Make sure to clearly label your boxes with both the room they will go in as well as a general overview of the contents of each box. If you hire movers, be sure to label fragile boxes so that your movers handle them with extra care. This may seem like an unnecessary step during a successful move, but it saves you from having to investigate each box’s contents while loading them into the house.

10. Gather Important Documents

Compared to moving furniture and appliances, papers may seem like lower priority items, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Be sure to set aside important documents such as medical records, insurance policies, birth certificates and immunization records so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

11. Pack an Essentials and Treasured Items Suitcase

Before moving day, be sure to pack a suitcase with essentials and your most treasured belongings. Movers always do their best to ensure everything goes smoothly, but putting items like jewelry and heirlooms in your vehicle rather than the moving truck ensures their safety. Also, keeping essentials like toiletries with you guarantees that even if there are delays, you’ll be prepared.



It’s likely that you have dressers that are filled with clothes and other items. As long as there is nothing breakable in these drawers, you can keep them full during the move. Clothes and other nonbreakable items can remain in your dresser to make transporting them that much easier. Before you load the dresser onto the moving truck, you’ll want to wrap it with shrink wrap. This helps prevent the drawers from spilling open while on the truck. As soon as you arrive at your new location and the dresser is in the right spot, simply take off the plastic and your items will be as they were!

13. Stay With the Movers to Answer Any Questions

Movers handle a lot of relocations, but their primary responsibility is your satisfaction. Stay close by while the movers load and unload the truck to make sure everything is done to your satisfaction. This also helps the movers tackle the loading of items in a more efficient manner if you have a specific preference.

14. Pack Essentials Last and Unload Them First

Be sure that essential items (the ones that aren’t already in your essentials bag) get loaded into the truck last. Doing this provides quick access to the most important items you’ve brought. Make sure to unload them first so that you have everything you need to take a break during the move-in process.

Ready to See How Smooth Your Next Move Can Be?

No move is perfect. But hiring Alliance Moving & Storage can get you a lot closer to a perfect move than you might expect. Our movers have years of experience helping families and businesses relocate smoothly and efficiently. If this is your first move and you don’t know where to start, there’s no need to worry. Every one of our customers receives access to our helpful move coordinators, who work to put you on the path to a smooth move. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve a successful move.