5 Unexpected Moving Delays

Out of all possible moving tips, the biggest one is no surprise: plan ahead.

But even when you’ve done everything “right”—you’ve picked an optimal moving date, you hired a moving company before they were booked, and you left plenty of time for packing—the unforeseen can happen.

That’s why these five moving tips cover the second most important piece of advice when you relocate: expect the unexpected.

1. Moving trends meaning a busier industry

You may not consider moving a very ‘chic’ activity, but there is some aspect of trend and fashion to it. For example, in 2020 you saw many people moving out of dense cities and into more mid-sized areas.  California, as well, saw a sizable exodus that became apparent to most people when celebrities and business leaders started in on the trend, leaving California in favor of (typically) Texas.

These trends mean there is a significant amount of outbound traffic from an area, and there can be moving and shipping delays as a result. This is a consideration you should take into account when hiring a moving company, as smaller “mom and pop” shops won’t have the available resources to provide flexibility on dates, and ability to get your goods where they need to go as quickly.

A moving company that, while still local, also has a national footprint and partnership with a large van line like Atlas (as Suddath does, for example) means more flexibility, both in choosing your move date, and in the services offered, like storage, car shipping, piano moving and full-service packing.

2. Packing takes longer than anticipated

When people relocate, it’s human nature to focus on big items—like furniture—and essentials like clothing and kitchen supplies. It makes sense, you focus on the things you see and deal with every day.

Your eye will just glide over the things your brain weeds out on a daily basis, things you don’t really need most of the time. Unfortunately, you still need to move those things.

What often surprises people at the last minute are items that don’t fit an obvious category, that you might have left off of your checklist, like those miscellaneous garage, attic or closet items.

To make sure none of this causes a delay in your move (because if movers show up on move day and everything isn’t packed – it will cause a delay) the best way to start off your move planning is to do a thorough inventory of every corner of every area. Get up in the attic, pull down things from shelves – really make sure you’ve done a thorough visual inventory. Also make sure you understand what can’t be moved, and properly dispose of it before packing.

While doing this, try to picture the mismatched items from each room in volume rather than categories: how many boxes will it take to pull them together when you relocate?

This can be difficult for people who don’t move every day to estimate. The obvious solution is to look into full or partial packing services – think about the time you would spend on supplies and the actual packing itself (away from work or family) and weigh the cost of that versus having professionals come in to accomplish the task for you. This speeds up the process of packing, especially since you won’t have to make extra trips for boxes and packing supplies you didn’t account for in the beginning.

3. You forgot about cleaning

The expectation after closing is that each party moves into a relatively clean house.

The rooms don’t have to sparkle, but they shouldn’t include any debris, cobwebs, or new stains on carpets or walls that were not visible during showings. Sometimes it’s only after moving furniture out of the way that hidden messes emerge, and you’ll want to find out sooner rather than later if professional cleaning will be required.

Because of this, you may want to make furniture a first step in your moving process: move all large items into one or two rooms to assess any hidden surprises in advance. As for your new house, there’s really no way to know what kind of mess was left for you until the final walkthrough, which may occur on the same day as your closing. Leave extra time for cleaning your new home, as well. If you’d rather not deal with it, Suddath can help to coordinate a home cleaning service for you as part of your home move plan.

4. The weather, or traffic, turned bad.

You can anticipate moving in the heat based on the season, but moving in the rain is usually a surprise. Have extra supplies on hand like bottled water for the heat or extra plastic bags for the rain, to help keep certain items dry. If there is snow before your move, make sure the walk is shoveled and salted, and thus safe for you and the movers.

As for traffic, plot out your routes in advance, taking into account road closings, which are to be expected if you’re moving on a holiday weekend.

Like with everyone, traffic and weather can delay your movers as well. This is where your move coordinator will come in, to assist in updating the move day schedule, and making you aware of any changes due to those unforeseen circumstances.

5. There are crossed signals with the mover

Being on the wrong page with a mover happens fairly frequently during moving and is probably one of the biggest stressors and causes of delays.

This is why every Suddath move is assigned a dedicated move coordinator – there are a lot of moving parts (pardon the pun) during a home move, and it is easy for things to get lost in the process. It just makes sense to have someone coordinating it all and making sure everyone is working from the same move plan. It makes for a smoother, quicker, less frustrating process on both sides.

A move coordinator is also there to make sure that whatever issues come up along the way – driver is delayed because of weather, if you have an issue pop up unexpectedly, they are there to either inform you first, or answer the phone when you call, instead of you spending time listening to an automated answering service, and then getting passed around to different people.

Some of the quick tips to make sure you are sure about your move plan are:

  • Make sure you and your mover have agreed upon dates and times for pickup and delivery. It’s the homeowner’s or renter’s responsibility to confirm a time, and the mover’s to be there at that time.
  • Create a moving binder. This can be filled with quick-reference items you may need on moving day, and can contain your “bingo sheet” which is a check off list to make sure all your items made it to destination. So for example, as movers are bringing things in, you can be checking off Box A1, B4, C8 all the way down the line until you’re sure everything has arrived.
  • Assign someone to be in charge of the bingo sheet on moving day. This is very important, especially in a long-distance move, because oftentimes, moving trucks are so large that they are carrying the goods of three or more homes that need to be delivered. There is an organizational system, but the bingo sheet is there to double check.
  • Expect the unexpected. When you expect the unexpected, best case scenario you’ll have extra time, supplies and mental preparation for everything that can go “wrong,” and more time to make the rest of it go right.

Most importantly, try and have fun and enjoy your move. It’s a big moment for anyone, and we work as hard as we can to ensure it’s as stress-free as possible.

Need help with your own local, long distance or international move? Feel free to contact us