Essential moving tools to save your back, your sanity, and maybe even your marriage

Essential moving tools to save your back, your sanity, and maybe even your marriage

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

essential moving toolsTis the season to be moving, fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, UGH.

Over 40 million people will move to a new home this year, and when you throw in parents moving children to a college dorm there is plenty of pain and frustration to go around.

I have some essential moving tools to help you get through the task with more joy and less stress. Whether you’re hiring interstate movers or doing it yourself, these moving tools will make your move that little bit easier!

I think it was at least three houses ago my husband and I declared: This is it. We are never moving again. We are done. When we leave, they will be carrying us out in a box. 

Not only did we continue to move, but this last time we packed our cars and a twenty-eight foot trailer to the roof and headed 1,000 miles south to the beautiful state of Tennessee.

Needless to say, we have learned a great deal about moving over the years, and I am thrilled to be able to share some of that knowledge with you.

As always, be safe and smart with your choices!

Essential moving tools

Work Gloves.  Save your hands and your sanity with these soft and lightweight, latex-coated gloves. Atlas makes the brand we have used for years. They are comfortable, available in different sizes, provide an outstanding grip because of the latex-coated palms, and they are machine washable, too. The link will take you to Amazon, but you can also find them at department and home stores, for around $5-$8.

Free Moving Boxes.  U-Haul hosts a Customer Connect area on their website where you can “Connect with other customers to share or exchange boxes, moving supplies or rides.” I find that Craigslist and Freecycle are also good places to find boxes, as well as your local liquor store (sturdy boxes for books!). We’ve also asked folks who have recently moved if they’d like to get rid of their boxes, and they were thrilled to have us take them off their hands.

Free Packing Materials.  In addition to the places listed above, tap into your workplace or that of friends. My husband worked for a manufacturing plant, and he was able to gather lots of pre-used packaging: sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and large sheets of plain paper. Not only was this double usage good for the environment, but it was great for the pocketbook! I have included free boxes and packing materials as essential because if you have to buy them, the cost of your move will be significantly higher. Just know you will need much more than you think!

Packing Tape Dispenser.  Whether you are packing boxes to store or move, be sure to invest in a quality tape dispenser. Not only will you be glad to have it at moving time, but it will become an indispensable part of your household toolbox. ULine, a family owned packing and shipping material business, carries several types. I like both the heavy duty tape model as well as the comfort grip dispenser, each under $20. In our house we have a saying: Buy once, buy quality, and that is especially important for tape dispensers and tape.

Pre-marked Tape.  Mark your boxes with at least the name of the room the contents came from. That way, you won’t have to constantly direct helpers to the place the boxes in the right part of the house. UHaul makes Smart Move tape that is both color coded and has messages so organization is easy. If you do a search on Amazon for Moving Tape or Labeling Tape, you will find more choices, too.

Evernote.  We went one step further beyond marking and numbering the boxes. We used the free software Evernote to list the boxes and their contents. Evernote can be accessed across your laptop, mobile devices, and your desktop, which is incredibly handy, especially when you are in the middle of a move. We were able to do a quick search in Evernote to find a specific item and just go to the correctly numbered box to find it.

Stretch Plastic Wrap.  Imagine heavy duty, extra-stretchy, Handi-Wrap on a handle, and what you have is an inexpensive tool—generally $8 to $20 for a large roll—you can’t do without. Rather than using rope, heavy tape, or ties, the stretch wrap holds things together with a minimum of effort and material. We especially love the brands, like U-Haul, that have a handle that allows for tension control.

Got unwieldy skis, poles, hockey sticks, etc? Put a bit of wrap at the top, bottom, and middle of the group. Want to seal the edges of those plastic tubs? Use the wrap. Want to make sure the ziploc baggie of screws stays with the furniture? Wrap them together. Just a word of warning: If you use this on finished wood furniture, it can leave marks if left in storage for months. Just saying . . .

Hand Truck.  We bought a little red beauty from our local Tractor Supply for $55, and it was priceless, especially since it’s rated for 600 pounds! You will be amazed at how handy these are to have around, and they are much easier on the back than carrying those bigger boxes and items. Amazon offers a lightweight, fold-up version rated for 250 pounds that has gotten terrific reviews, too: Wesco Steel Maxi Mover Folding Truck.

Forklift Straps.  These are the gadgety looking things you might have seen in the As Seen on TV! store displays, but don’t let the ads fool you into thinking these are junk. These straps are one of the most helpful tools for moving, especially in regards to keeping your marriage healthy and happy.  I get frustrated that I can’t pick up and/or manage bigger, heavier, things like my hubby can, and these straps help level that playing field somewhat. You can find them at home and department stores, as well as Amazon, starting at around $20 in black, safety orange, and pink, too! Consumer Reports tested them, and you can watch the short video here.

Big Slider.  Innovation and Technology News had this to say about this nifty moving tool:

It was invented by a woman looking for a way to move large items around her house when her husband wasn’t around. The resulting product is a flexible plastic sheet that can move up to 500 pounds on concrete. Best of all, no lifting is required – a person simply tilts, loads and slides the piece where it needs to go. The possible uses are endless; the Big Slider Web site even notes over 100. Among them, moving furniture, transporting machinery in a work area, and hauling bags of grass, mulch and fertilizer around the yard.

We just learned about this, and it is definitely on my list. Plus, think it would make a great gift for a college student, young apartment dweller, or folks who find themselves moving heavy things by themselves. You can learn more and buy it here, where the smaller Sliders start around $25.

Moving is difficult enough on your body, without the added potential of more stress in your life and relationships. Make your moves, whether across the room or cross-country, as easy on yourself and your marriage as possible with these essential moving tools!

Question: What is your favorite tool or tip for moving?

About the Author

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy to help you build stronger and more joyful relationships through offerings of fresh perspectives and practical advice. Having been a wife for thirty years and a mom for almost as long to two daughters, she also shares occasional cautionary tales of her own character building life experiences. Kim recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-Thirty Days to a Happier You. You can connect with Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, too!

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(4) comments

Great tips here, Kim. I love the idea of listing box contents in Evernote so you can find your stuff easily when you arrive. I have used furniture slides with many clients because they are so small and easy to have on hand. I’ve never seen the Forearm Forklift before but it seems like a wonderful tool!

Reply

Thanks, Seana! Even though it’s been almost a year since we moved, we still have some stuff stored in boxes. Evernote is our go-to place when we need to locate something in storage.
Furniture slides? Great idea! I haven’t ever used those, but will certainly keep them in mind. Thanks!

Reply

This is a most unexpected topic and very useful too. With the need to shift home because of job opportunities increasing, your tips can help many couples. Shifting from one place to another is hectic work and your suggestions have made it look easy.

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    Glad you found this useful, Mathi. I agree-moving is hectic work!

    Reply
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