Four mistakes to avoid during a DIY move

writing on boxes
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto:

With rising costs encouraging 25% of Americans to leave cities for the suburbs, taking on a few tasks yourself during your move can help you to relocate within a budget. Suppose you live in an expensive city like Las Vegas, which has an average cost of living of $2172, you may not have enough money to spare to hire professionals for each and every aspect of your DIY move. This process can be challenging as you take on different tasks, from packaging to organizing. Of course, you are more than capable of completing these tasks, especially if this is not your first move. However, here are a few mistakes you should avoid when you have an active role in your relocation.

Not hiring the right movers

Firstly, avoid lifting heavy boxes or furniture yourself, as you may accidentally drop and damage them. Not only is it a physically taxing process, but it is also time-consuming. You may want to handle this aspect of the move yourself, yet not hiring movers for this stage can be a big mistake. Considering that one in four homeowners regretted not hiring movers speaks volumes about their importance. It may be a DIY move, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need a little outside help.

It’s worth hiring professionals to do the heavy lifting to avoid damaging your belongings and making your relocation smoother. Not only can they spare you the effort, but they also guarantee the safe transportation of your things. However, remember to compare the costs of different movers to get the best offers. The price can be more or less depending on the type of service, your destination, and where you live.

Especially when you’ve lived in Las Vegas, Nevada’s 5th most expensive city, every penny counts since you might have limited savings. Nonetheless, you can hire professional help at an affordable price by contacting multiple Las Vegas long-distance movers and getting a free estimate on their services to choose what fits you best. However, carelessly choosing the cheapest option is also a mistake you should avoid. It would be best to select a trustworthy moving company by looking up reviews and accreditations.

Hiring professional movers to help you lift heavy items and streamline your loading and unloading process can lift a massive weight off your back, both figuratively and literally.

Not getting rid of stuff during your DIY move

The more items you bring to your new home, the more work you’ll have cut out for you. You’ll spend more time packing boxes and moving them into a truck. Besides the extra effort, not getting rid of some of your belongings can increase the cost of your move. You’ll have to arrange more packing materials and rent a larger truck, which is more expensive than transporting fewer items. These difficulties are why 19% of movers last year wished they had removed items instead of moving them. 

To avoid the chaos of transporting too many items, you must declutter. It would be best if you started decluttering as soon as you start packing because it can help you avoid wasting resources on things you won’t use in your new home. Start by creating boxes of things you wish to either donate, sell, or discard. This method lets you get rid of things smoothly and streamlines the decluttering process. You should also consider selling furniture you plan on replacing or clothes that don’t suit the climate of your new city. It can help fund your moving expenses.

moving boxes stored in a side room
Photo by Michal B on Unsplash

Procrastinating on your DIY move

Moving can be an overwhelming process where you might not know how to start. The momentous task ahead of you can be challenging, making you procrastinate. This accumulation of negative emotions makes you dread the journey and leave everything for the last minute, creating room for costly mistakes. You may end up misplacing essential documents, forgetting to label certain boxes, or putting things in the wrong package. 

This panic-induced packing can cause you a lot of harm, but it’s okay to feel stressed. You’re not the only one facing this issue. In a 2022 survey by HomeBay on Americans who moved last year, 44% admitted they cried at least once during the process. With such heightened emotions, it is common to procrastinate. However, how can you overcome it? You can try the following tricks: 

  • Break your moving process into small and manageable steps
  • Create a list of weekly goals 
  • Start by clearing out kitchen drawers or side tables 
  • Allow yourself to take a break to prevent burning out 
  • Get your family and friends involved
  • Set deadlines to ensure you pack everything in a timely manner 
  • Plan 2 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule 

By breaking larger tasks into small achievable goals, you can streamline your moving process and decrease the emotional strain it causes. When you have a plan for what you want to do, it can help make you feel more in control of things. However, remember to give yourself a break and avoid doing everything at once. Taking small steps every day is better than packing everything overnight. 

Arguing with family members

The stress of moving can potentially strain your relationships, especially if you feel like you’ve taken on the entire responsibility of the move. Fights occur more often than you think. 43% of Americans fought last year during their relocation and were 1.2 times likelier to feel negatively about their move. Emotions can run high and cause you to lash out at your loved ones, but remember that you are all in this together.

Instead of arguing with family members about what to do, you can delegate tasks to make everyone’s role straightforward. Let each person clear out their own rooms and declutter their belongings. You can also attach a sticky note on the fridge with daily goals for every member to let them know what to do. Turning your move into a fun household challenge allows you to bond with your family while completing essential tasks. Remember not to do everyone’s work for them. Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for this move and work as a team by communicating your needs effectively. 


Depending on how you handle the process, moving can be an exciting adventure or your worst nightmare. Though having an active role in this journey can help save money and give you more control over your relocation, it would be best to leave some things to the professionals. Remember, it is okay to ask for help when you need it. As long as you avoid the mistakes in this article, you can accomplish this task like any other!

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Steven Weissman
I grew up working on my family's small farm in western New York state. We did a lot of projects ourselves, which taught me not to be intimidated by DIY projects. So now I like to write about DIY topics to help others gain confidence to try to do things on their own.