Helpful Tips to Make Your Moving Process Easier

Let’s get moving

You have found a new home. Now it’s time to start the moving process. Be sure to keep the emotional situations moving in the right direction. Communicate often and positively. Get the whole family involved and keep them involved.

Elderly Care

Perhaps you are moving away from elderly parents, and it may be time to look at getting them into an assisted living or downsized home. There are organizations that specialize in these services and can be found at the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Search NASMM online.

Move File

Don’t forget the Move File. Keep all legal documents, supplier invoices, receipts, information on your home, and suppliers’ business cards. Keep all important documents and relevant information in your Move File and keep it with you on moving day (do not pack it away).

Canada Tax

If moving for a new job, check with an accountant pre-move and explain your situation if you are paying on your own, being reimbursed, or working on a lump sum. Ask for advice as to your best tax solutions.

Check with an accountant or Canada Revenue Agency before you move for any changes or updates

Moving Expenses can reduce your taxes. In Canada, if you are moving over 40 kilometers closer to your workplace, certain expenses can help reduce your taxes. For more information, contact an accountant or visit and select ‘M’ in the index, see ‘Moving’ and refer to the T1-M form. Click here to take a look at the CRA tax page.

Canada Expenses Deduction

Generally speaking, you can deduct reasonable amounts spent on moving yourself, your family, and your household possessions. Please speak to an accountant or Canada Revenue Agency for all options.

Eligible moving expenses if moving over 40 kilometers for a new job include such things as:

  • Transportation, packing, hauling insurance and in-transit storage of household goods (including items such as boats and trailers).
  • Travel expenses to move your family to your new residence (15 days)
  • Legal or notarial fees for purchase of new residence as well as tax paid (other than GST/HST or property tax)
  • Cost of selling your old residence, including advertising, notarial or legal fees, real estate commissions, and mortgage penalty when mortgage is paid off before maturity
  • Cost of changing address on legal documents
  • Replacing driver’s license for non-commercial vehicles
  • Utility hook-ups and disconnections

Up to $5000 can be deducted from the cost of maintaining your old (unoccupied) residence when it was vacant after you moved, as long as reasonable efforts were made to sell the old residence (cannot deduct if home is rented).

Expenses you cannot deduct:

  • Work done to make home more saleable
  • Any loss from sale of home
  • House-hunting trips before you move
  • Items movers cannot take (plants, food, paint, cleaning products, etc.)
  • Job hunting trips, travel, etc
  • Mail forwarding

For more info, call: (800) 267-6999

Is it worth moving?

Take a good, hard look at your furniture. Is it worth moving? If you are moving a long distance and using a mover, an old, large appliance (over 10 years old) or a large sofa may cost more to move than what it would cost to buy new on the other end. Give each item three options: keep it, sell it, or ditch it… (Recycle it)

Floor Plan

Use the photos and measurements you took on your house hunting trip to decide what pieces of furniture to take and where to place the items. The more organized you are on move day, the better. Remember, local moves are charged by the hour, so the more organized you are, the less you pay.

Sell or recycle

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so before you ditch, see if you can sell or recycle your treasures. Take a photo and post it online.

Ditch it

There comes a time when things are beyond use. There are several options in the disposing of clutter, including your local garbage pick-up. Search ‘junk pick-up’ online.


Start using up the food in your freezer, stop stocking canned goods, etc.


Books average about 50 lbs. per 2 cubic foot box, so they add up fast. Go through your library and donate to retirement homes, hospitals, schools, church sales, and libraries. If you are moving long-distance, you pay for the weight; 10 shelves of books can be 500 to 800 lbs.


If you are moving a long distance, some plants won’t make it. Water them well, wrap in paper, and hope. You may wish to, again, give them to family and friends as a reminder of your friendship, donate to a hospital or a retirement home, or take them into the office as a farewell gift.

Garage Sale

Go online and search ‘garage sale’ or ‘yard sale’ for tons of info and tips.

Environmental Responsibility

Your home has hundreds of toxins in it, including cleaners, bleaches, paints, electronics, plastics, etc. Check with your local municipality for safe, environmental disposal of materials, or donate non-admissible items to friends and neighbors. Some moving companies even have environmental programs.

Cubic Foot Pricing

Unless you are using a container service, DO NOT use a mover that charges for the space or cubic footage in a truck (cubic foot pricing). They can float your load over the entire floor of the truck and charge you for the space. Long-distance moves are charged by the weight of the goods, and local moves are charged by the hour, period. This is one of the biggest scams in the moving industry… do not use a mover that charges for space in their truck.

Full-Service Move

Moving is a lot more than schlepping boxes, and a professional move is truly one of the best investments you can make during your relocation. With a full-service move, all the trucks are fully equipped with moving pads, straps, dollies, hand carts, and floor runners to manage any size or type of move.

Services can include full packing and wrapping of all your goods, disassembling and reassembling your goods, appliance servicing, third-party services for pianos, pool tables, light fixtures, entertainment units, gym equipment, vehicle moving, and pet care. Anything that is in any home can be moved by a professional mover.

All Van Line agents are backed by national brands with offices around the world, to take care of you at both origin and destination.

Partial Service Move

Many of the major Van Lines and local movers offer partial moving services, in that you may wish to do your own packing and some of the disassembly or even loading and unloading. This reduces your cost and allows you to sort your goods during the packing process. The movers are still responsible for any damage if they mishandle the goods, but if they are careful, and there are no visible signs of negligence to the exterior of the box, then you are responsible for the contents.

Ask your mover for a price with and without packing. The mover can also provide a fragile pack only, making sure all your china paintings and breakables are properly packed and protected. Ask if they offer a ‘you load, they drive’ service. Explain what you are willing and capable of doing, and let them suggest a service that suits your needs.

How flexible is the mover?

Talk about timing, special care items, and how flexible the mover is. Are they able to customize their services to meet your needs? Do they come up with solutions to your concerns, or do you have to work inside their restrictions?


When using a container, you are dealing with volume, not weight; the cubic interior footage of the container. Make sure that the container is fully utilized, and have a backup plan for items that may not fit. For example, wait to load the ugly, old sofa last, and if it does not fit, dispose of it. Use every inch of the container, and ask for loading instructions from the provider. Pack the container like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and do not waste any space. Not only is it cost-effective, it is also safer, as the goods will not shift if they are packed tightly.

Transit Time

If moving long-distance with a mover, or on your own, you must take transit time into consideration. How long will it take you to get from point A to B? Movers will give you a TTG (Transit Time Guide). This is the schedule that establishes your delivery date. It is dependent on the weight of your shipment and the distance you are moving. It specifies a minimum and maximum number of days it will take to get your goods to destination.

This is a guide, and the goods could arrive on any day in that time period. If they go over the time, however, the mover is responsible for some of your out-of-pocket expenses; get clarification from your mover. Ask the mover if they can hit the dates you want.

If driving yourself, give yourself a realistic timeline so that you are not pushing yourself; more accidents are caused by fatigue than any other reason. It is recommended that you do not drive over 500 miles per day.

Storage in a warehouse

All major Van Lines, and many local movers, have climate-controlled warehouse storage. The goods are unloaded from the truck, wrapped in pads, and placed in wooden vaults stored inside a secure building. Most are climate controlled with security and fire systems. On long-distance moves, the goods are covered for any damages under the original move bill of lading/contract for up to 60 days. This is called short-term storage or storage-in-transit (SIT).

If a longer time is needed, you enter into a long-term storage contract (LTS), with the mover. You have access to your goods, but it is limited access, as you have to pay for labor to access your goods; so be sure you have everything you need. There are three costs that make up storage, the storage the warehouse handling and the delivery of the goods. Ask your mover for details and pricing, and be sure to visit their facility if possible.

Container services

Most Van Lines, as well as several container companies, have container services. Goods are loaded directly into and stay in the same container for storage. You can do this yourself, the mover will do it, or you can hire labor to load for you. The container reduces handling, but again you have access restrictions. Some containers are stored outside in the elements, so ask about the storage location; do they offer indoor or outdoor storage.

Check size of container, pricing, location, and insurance. You are limited to space and container sizes, so you may have to rent an entire container, even if you are only using a portion of that container.


Self Storage facilities are also available you load the goods into a room or locker. You have access but the facilities are usually a single area so goods have to be stacked into the area. When it is time to move in you will have to move the goods again, so it does not cut down on the handling of the goods. Movers will deliver or pick up at a self-storage facility but will not leave their moving pads when delivering. You may also get into a responsibility situation with a mover if there is damage or a claim. Keep old blankets or cardboard to protect your goods when stacking your goods in storage or ask the facility if they supply material.


Use your old home to store your goods. If you have to move, but your old home has not sold yet, leave your goods in the house and use it to store your goods. Ask your mover about a pre-flow or pre-move option. Major Van Lines base the cost of a long-distance move on the weight and distance of the move. The more weight the lower the rate. You can access the lower rate, and have some goods shipped ahead of time if you are moving the remainder of the goods at a later date; it’s called a pre-flow. It is cheaper than a small-load rate. You can partially furnish your new home, or a temporary residence, and use your old home as the storage locker. The home shows better, and you avoid costly storage.

Extra pickup or drop off.

If you are giving some furniture to family or friends, or if you are picking up goods at another location, ask the mover for a price on an extra pickup or drop off. It may be a lot less expensive, and a whole lot easier, to have the mover handle the extra service.

Hundred Weight CWT

If you are getting a full pack (packing all of your goods in boxes; dishes, books, pots, and pans, etc.), make sure the mover is packing your goods ‘by the hundred weight.’ It will show up on the estimate as ‘pack per cwt’. That means the mover charges a flat price per hundred lbs. to pack everything in your home. This avoids what is called ‘balloon packing.’ Balloon packing occurs if the mover is packing, and charging you on a per box basis or what is referred to as a ‘unit pack’.

When they charge per box, an unscrupulous mover could underutilize the box and charge you for it. For example, if the mover is charging you per box (unit pack), they could use 15 china barrels by just using more packing paper, when in reality they could have got everything into 10 china barrels. If you are getting a full-service move, always have your goods packed by the hundred weight.

The only time to get a ‘per unit pack’ is when you are only packing a few items, or what is called a partial or fragile pack. In this case, be very clear as to what you want packed, and get the price from all three estimates as to the number of boxes they estimate they will use. Question the estimate if they are not close.

No Surprises

Make sure the mover includes everything in the original estimate. Ask specifically about all ‘assessorial charges’; things like shuttle services, long carries, hoisting, fuel charges, and service charges. Also, make sure they include tax in all estimates. Tell the mover, in no uncertain terms, that you want all charges in the estimate.

Use Google Maps to view the destination for accessibility; print the photo, and show it to all the movers. There may be some unforeseen issues on delivery at destination, but it is up to the moving consultant to make sure there are no hidden costs at origin; when they are at your home, they have to check access, etc. The more info you can give them about the destination, the less chance of confusion on delivery.

Guaranteed Price

Most movers guarantee the price within 10%; ask for a firm price, or at least an estimate within 5%. If they are competing for your move, and everyone is estimating within 10%, rest assured that at least one, if not all of the three estimates will low-ball the weight, and collect the difference on delivery (sad but true). So always factor the guaranteed percentage into the final cost.


Ask about extra care protection or insurance; what are you covered for? What is the process if there is damage? Who handles the claim? Do they cover the property as well as the goods? What is your maximum refund in the event of a total loss? How long do you have to inspect the goods before submitting a claim? What is the process? Do they have a toll free number or email address? Do you deal with the local agent? All movers have basic coverage, but it is very minimal.

Make sure you are clear on the extra protection offered; what you are covered for, the process if a claim arises, and the cost. Ask them about their claims ratio standing and if they have any third-party insurance statistics about their firm's claims record.

Too Good to be True

All prices should be within a few percentage points of each other. If a price is too good to be true, there may be a surprise waiting for you. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Are all the movers pricing for the same services? Are you comparing a local mover to a Van Line agent? Are they using an alternative method of transporting the goods, like a freight service? Is it an off-season price, resulting in more creative pricing to keep employees working?

Ask the mover why the prices are so low. Margins are very slim in the industry, and the competition is fierce. Make sure you will receive a great service for your dollar with no surprises. Ask the competitive mover to take a look at the low estimate; they are the best auditors. A few hundred dollars in estimated savings can result in a few thousand dollars in headaches. You are entrusting everything you own to the mover; would you buy the cheapest parachute you could find?

Reserve early

Book your mover as soon as possible. Get a letter of confirmation on their letterhead for dates, times, etc.

Paying for the move

Most movers take credit cards, certified checks, or money orders; ask the mover what cards they take. Make sure you have the fund limit on the card to cover the move. If paying by check, it must be certified and paid before the mover unloads the goods. Long-distance moves are based on actual weight, so be sure to have the moving company inform you in advance of the actual weight and charges. To be safe, get a certified check or money order for about 90% of the estimated cost and have the remaining, up to the guaranteed cost, in cash.

Commitment from friends

If you are moving yourself, get letters of commitment from friends (so to speak), nail down times, dates, and people early and remind them often.


Boxes have many sizes and uses. The smaller the box, the heavier the items placed in the box.

DescriptionDimensions (in Inches)Suggested uses
2 cu ft. carton18 x 15 x 12.5Small carton for heavy items such as books and canned kitchen goods.
4 cu ft. carton18 x 18 x 21Useful for toys, light and bulky items, small lamps and lampshades, or pots and pans.
5 cu ft. carton18 x 18 x 27Holds large, bulky items such as pillows, blankets, sheets, lampshades, and toys.
Lampshade Carton22 x 22 x 18-
China Carton (Barrel)18 x 18 x 30Heavy-duty carton; can hold complete dinner set for 12 - also useful for crystal, glassware, and fragile items.
Small Mirror Carton37 x 3.5 (Telescopic)Several sizes of telescoping cartons to fit most small pictures, mirrors, or glass.
Large Mirror Carton42 x 4 x 36Several sizes of telescoping cartons to fit most large pictures, mirrors, or glass.
Wardrobe24 x 24 x 50A “portable closet” which keeps clothes hanging. Suitable for drapes as well.
Mattress BagsTwin, Double, Queen, KingUsed for wrapping mattresses. Can also be used for sofas and other furniture - especially useful when storing.
Newsprint25 lb bundleWrapping dishes, china, breakables, etc.... No Ink = No Mess
Bubble Wrap24" wide 48" wideWrapping dishes, china, breakables, pictures, etc.

Pack a little at a time

Start packing 5 to 8 weeks before your move; do 1 or 2 boxes a day. Don’t lug around heavy boxes. Pack the boxes in an area, and carry the goods to the box. Little by little, you will have everything ready to go on move day, with very little effort or stress. Slow and steady wins the race.


If packing yourself, colour-code the boxes for destination placement. Write ‘location’ on the top and on the front right corner of boxes for easy identification as they may be stacked.

Non-Admissible Items

You should not move anything explosive, corrosive, or flammable, such as: ammunition, paint cans, bleach, BBQ tanks, gas cylinders, welding tanks, turpentine, kerosene, gasoline cleaning fluids, or aerosol cans. Ask the mover for a list, or visit a Van Line website.

Moving Dressers

Leave non-breakables (clothing, linen etc.) in dressers or chests. Do not pack any breakables in drawers. Do not pack any liquids in drawers. Do not pack books or paper in drawers. Movers will move the dressers with the drawers full. If moving yourself, this may be too heavy for you to carry, in which case, empty the drawers into smaller boxes or carry them out one at a time.

Do not pack

There are some items that you should not pack, as you will not be able to easily access them during the move. Designate an area in your home for these items; perhaps a spare bed or table. Place items in that area as you think of them.

Some items that should not be packed are: your Move File, passports, eyeglasses, prescription drugs, phone and phone charger, legal documents, driver’s license, music, keys, registration, ownership, wallet or purse, airline tickets, money, clothing, etc. For high-value goods, such as jewelry, stamps, coin collections, etc., use a good suite case for carry-on or car.

Perhaps you are going to be getting early access to your new home, and camping out before the goods get there. Sleeping bags, picnic, bathroom tissue, corkscrew, cleaning supplies, paper towels, munchies, a few pots and pans, utensils, can-opener, vacuum cleaner, etc., should not get packed away.

If staying in temporary accommodations for any length of time, think of seasonal clothing, photos, kid’s toys, entertainment, video games, movies, and books.

As you think of something you may need, place it in the area, then pack it and keep everything with you. If using a mover, tell them not to pack that area, or better yet, have it out of the way when they get to your home.

High-value electronics

Take a photo of, and write the serial number of high-value electronics. Make sure the mover sees they are in good working order. You may wish to have expensive works of art or antiques assessed prior to the move for insurance purposes. Take all high-value items (jewelry, coin collections, etc.) with you.

Defrost your freezer

About a week prior to the move, start to defrost your freezer. Fill an old sock full of baking soda or charcoal, and drop it in to absorb odours. Leave the door slightly ajar.


Ask for a referral; doctors are scarce, so try to get one lined up before you move. A good tip is to look for the new crop of graduating doctors in July; contact the local university department of family medicine and ask for web sites or a list of new doctors taking new patients.


Schedule a checkup and cleaning for the whole family. If moving out of town, make sure that all records are forwarded, and ask for a referral.


Make sure you have all your shots up to date as well as a check up to make sure your pet is good to travel any distance.

Pet Moving

If moving a long distance, you may want to use a pet-mover for the transportation. They move anything with fins, scales, feathers, or fur, so don’t be shy (some, but not many, restrictions may apply).


Find and arrange boarding for your pet on move day.

Automobile Leasing Company

If you are moving out of the country, you cannot take a leased vehicle. Check on any restrictions on the lease.

Place of Worship

If moving to a new city, this can be a great support group. Ask for an introduction to the new congregation.


Have any prescriptions transferred to your new location, and make sure you have a supply of medication to last over the duration of your transition.

Change your address

Go to the post office to get Change of Address Cards (you may need some ID), email friends and contacts your new address, and update your Facebook page. Be careful when sharing information through social media sites, as the information is open to anyone.

Get car serviced

If driving a long distance, have your car serviced to make sure all fluids are topped up and ready to go.

Credit card

Notify your credit card companies of your new address. If using a card to pay for the move, make sure you have sufficient funds.

Final Sweep

Take a final sweep through your home to make sure you have all items. Check crawl spaces, lockers, attics, etc. If you are using a mover, it is your responsibility to ensure that everything is on the truck.

Exact contact information

If using a mover, give the driver your exact contact information, including your cellphone, hotel number, etc. Get the driver's cellphone number and the toll-free number for the van line or his/her agency. If there is a delay or change in plans, the driver will contact you or you can contact the driver.