Did you know May through September is the most popular time to move? If you’ve ever tried to find an apartment this time of year, you are probably nodding your head profusely.
Loading the moving truck is probably the most tedious part of the entire process (you may be nodding your head profusely again). It’s also one of the most important parts of making sure that your truck rental is a smooth ride.
If your truck isn’t loaded correctly, you’re in danger of damaging your belongings — and, as someone who once accidentally destroyed a decorative six-foot mirror while moving (and had to sweep the remnants of a decorative six-foot mirror out of the back of a moving truck), this is a real possibility.
Self storage is a popular tool when moving, and when you rent with Uncle Bob’s, you get a free moving truck to haul your goods to your self storage unit. If you’re going to take advantage of the free truck rental, here are some tips to make sure that your trip is a success.
Like you’ve done it before: Best practices for a safe moving truck
1. Have a plan. Winging it is a terrible idea. Pre-planning how you’re going to pack and load cuts down on extra time and energy, and saves you (and your kind friends who are helping you move) from wasting a lot of time.
Get boxes and packing supplies weeks your moving day. Pack non-essential items early. Start making small trips to your storage rental to clear out the clutter that will take up unnecessary room in your moving truck. When the big day comes, you want your living space — and your haul — to be as streamlined as possible.
2. Operation: No Movement. After your house and your car (assuming you have those things), your furniture is probably your most expensive investment. If that investment is compromised because you cut corners when loading your moving truck — well, you will spend a lot of time kicking yourself when you see your next credit card statement.
There’s no such thing as “too secure” when it comes to packing a moving truck. You want everything to stay as static as possible during the jostling, bumping, and turning of the move from Point A to Point B.
Stay away from plastic totes or boxes you collect from the produce department at your neighborhood grocery store — these boxes are not made to handle the rigors of moving household items, and may be full of gross things that you don’t find until it’s too late.
Invest in moving-grade boxes, which are designed to fit squarely in trucks and can handle a little extra pressure (you can find them at Uncle Bob’s and most moving supply stores).
Make copious use of bubble pack. Wrap large items in paper padding, plastic wrap or furniture pads — especially any wood or upholstered furniture. Be generous with the padding! Remove any shelves or drawers and wrap them separately, if possible.
Most moving trucks have tie-down rings — use these to secure large belongings with rope or bungee cords. Remember: the goal is to restrict the movement of the items in the moving truck as much as possible.
3. Loading your items. When you’re ready to load your rental truck, make sure you can get from the door of your living space to the ramp in one smooth path. You may want to designate helpers to stay in the truck while others do the moving items from your soon-to-be-former home to the curb. This will help improve efficiency.
It’s best to first fill what professional movers call the I-zone (this is also sometimes known as the T-zone). Imagine a birds-eye view of your moving truck, and then imagine a capital “I” filling the space.
You’ll want to load your heaviest items, such as large furniture or boxes filled with unbreakables, following the I pattern — up against the front wall (nearest the cab), down the middle, and along the back of the truck.
Carter Schimpff from SML in Texas says that following the I-zone technique ensures balance in the truck and provides the most security for your items.
“By placing your heaviest items in the I-zone,”Schimpff says, “your truck is far less likely to sway side-to-side while driving and ‘lean’ while turning corners. The I-zone also helps distribute load evenly across the truck’s suspension, which can greatly reduce the amount of bouncing that the rear of your truck does.”
According to Schimpff, your truck is going to bump, jolt and shake “like the spin-wheel in a dryer,” no matter how slowly or carefully you drive. Without the I-zone technique, you take a greater chance that your belongings will move around, crash down or flatten boxes.
it doesn’t have to be that way. “You’ll stand a much better chance,” Schimpff says, “of avoiding all of this and arriving at your destination with all of your belongings safe, sound and unharmed (with the I-zone). “
4. Protect yourself. While you’re busy worrying how to fit things here and there, it’s easy to forget that loading a moving truck can be taxing on your body.
Be careful not to overdo it — don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially with loading heavy items. Use a dolly. Make sure the blades are centered and completely under what you’re moving. Walk with the dolly in front of you, and avoid loading items onto the dolly higher than chest-level.
Avoid wearing clothing that is too loose or that may get snagged on doorways or furniture. Wear gloves, especially when handling large, heavy objects with sharp edges or loose splinters. Wear durable, supportive footwear with an extra-solid grip. Avoid open-toed shoes.
Think you can handle all of this? I know you can. Good luck on your move!