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If you’re like many people buying a home in Baltimore County or Howard County, you know that you’ll eventually have to hire movers to pack up and ship your goods from your current house to your new one. But how much do you really know about hiring movers, other than the fact that you should do plenty of research before choosing a moving company to handle all your possessions? This guide gives you insight on the things movers wish their customers understood to get you started.

7 Things Your Movers Wish They Could Tell You

Check out these seven things your movers wish they could tell you:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack.
  2. Choose good, high-quality boxes.
  3. Moving takes longer than you think.
  4. You’ll save time if you label your boxes.
  5. Lock up your pets.
  6. Hand-carry your most important items.
  7. Tips and cold drinks are always appreciated.

Here’s a closer look at each.

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #1. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Pack

You’ll make things easier on yourself if you start packing early – as in weeks before your move. When you start early, you’ll have enough time to organize your boxes (and you won’t have to pile items from the kitchen in with items from the living room, for example, because you’re in a rush). The more organized your boxes are when you pack, the easier they’ll be to distribute and unpack in your new home.

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #2. Choose Good, High-Quality Boxes

Good, high-quality moving boxes will protect your belongings far better than older boxes or those you got from the supermarket. Though you may not want to spend your hard-earned cash on things you’re only going to use once, good boxes – and other good packing materials, like strong tape and bubble wrap – are a worthwhile investment.

Related: 7 essential steps to prepare your home for sale

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #3. Moving Takes Longer Than You Think

The actual process of getting your belongings from Point A to Point B takes longer than most people think it will. Even a short move across town can take several hours – especially when you expect your movers to handle your belongings with care.

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #4. You’ll Save Time if You Label Your Boxes

Label your boxes on the outside with an inventory-at-a-glance sheet, and note which room they belong in, too. That way, your movers can put them directly in the rooms where they belong; that saves you the energy of moving them from room to room when they could’ve been put in the appropriate space in the first place.

Related: FSBO, explained

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #5. Lock Up Your Pets

To keep your pets and your movers safe, it’s best if you put your four-legged family members in one closed-off room. Make sure there’s a sign on the door that says “Do Not Open – Pets Inside” or something similar. If you can, it’s actually best to send your pets to a sitter or to stay with someone you know for moving day to keep them safe.

Related: The complete guide to moving with a dog

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #6. Hand-Carry Your Most Important Items

Your valuables and important documents should travel with you from your old home to your new home. Jewelry, kids’ birth certificates, pets’ vaccination certificates and keepsakes that you’re really concerned about belong with you, in your own vehicle or suitcase, rather than on a moving truck.

Things Movers Wish They Could Tell You: #7. Tips and Cold Drinks Are Always Appreciated

You don’t have to tip your movers, but it’s always acceptable to do so. Generally, people tip between 5 and 10 percent of the move’s total cost, or to tip up to $5 per hour per mover. Cold, bottled drinks in a cooler (non-alcoholic) are always welcome, too.

Related: 5 things you risk when you sell “for sale by owner” (and how to avoid them)

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