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How to prepare for a move:

The Bellhop Move Prep Guide

Being prepared to move by the time your Bellhop Pros arrive enables them to work as safely and efficiently as possible—and also saves you time and money. To this end, we’ve gathered the most helpful practices we’ve learned over the course of 300,000+ moves.

We've also compiled our best advice into a handy, printer-friendly guide. Click the link below to download a PDF with step-by-step instructions to manage your move seamlessly.

Get Organized and Make a Plan

Donate or sell items you don’t need

The less stuff you have, the quicker (and cheaper) your move will be. Think of your move as an opportunity to get rid of all the items you may have accumulated over the years. As a starting place, it’s a good idea to inventory your furniture to determine what will fit in your new home.

Then consider having a garage or yard sale; selling your belongings on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay; and/or scheduling a donation pickup.

Get boxes and other moving supplies

It can be tough to estimate how many boxes you’ll need come move day! While this number is highly variable based on the amount of stuff you have, we've shared some general guidelines in this chart. It’s a good idea to buy wardrobe boxes to protect your clothing in transit (and makes unpacking clothes into a closet much easier). Make sure you have sturdy tape, permanent markers, and old newspapers or bubble wrap.

Pro Tip

Save money by looking for free boxes at liquor stores, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Plan Ahead


Make a family “move day” plan

If you need time off work to move, be sure to put in the request ASAP. If you have kids, consider hiring a babysitter or making other childcare arrangements for move day.


Reserve freight elevator

If you live in an apartment building with a service or freight elevator, be sure to reserve it well in advance. This simple task will save a LOT of time on move day!

Bellhop Trucks

Acquire parking permits

Think through the best (i.e. closest) place for a moving truck to park outside your residence. If you live in a city, you may need a special permit to reserve truck parking on the street.

Pack Like a Pro

Start with the spaces and things you use the least

When beginning the packing process, start with the “furthest corners” of your home, such as your basement, attic, and garage. Pack items you won’t use immediately: off-season clothes and outerwear, books, holiday decorations, and other non-essential items. Make sure all boxes are sealed with packing tape and clearly marked with their destination (and the term “fragile” when appropriate).

Pro Tip

When packing up your infrequently used items, take a photo of the contents of each box along with its label. Because you don't need/use these items as much, you are more likely to unpack them last (and therefore forget what is in each box).

Pack fragile items

It’s a good idea to take stock of any items that will require special attention, such as delicate glassware or artwork, and pack them in advance. Use smaller, sturdy boxes when packing fragile items; you can pad the contents with bubble wrap, crumpled newspaper/packing paper, styrofoam peanuts, or even towels and blankets. Make sure that these boxes are labeled and clearly marked “fragile.”

Make sure to empty the drawers of your dresser(s) and any other furniture that houses clothing. Use wardrobe boxes to pack anything that is already hanging in your closet (these also make unpacking a snap). Set aside a suitcase or two with clothes and toiletries that you’ll want to have handy during the first few days at your new home.

Remove any art, framed photos, and mounted pieces (e.g. shelving) from walls, and make sure to store mounting hardware in a safe place.

It’s difficult and expensive to transport perishable foods, so start eating your way through your fridge and freezer. Alternatively, you can make a plan to donate your perishable food a couple days ahead of your move.

Pro Tip

Store any screws or hardware in a plastic bag that is clearly labeled with the item it corresponds to. Don’t tape the bag to the item (it can get knocked off in transit); instead, keep all of your labeled hardware bags in a central place for easy access.

2-4 Days Before Your Service

Dispose of hazardous liquids and materials

…or make a plan to transport them yourself. Please note that Bellhop Pros cannot move certain hazardous items, including but not limited to: paint, compressed gasses (aerosols), or anything flammable (ammonia, bleach, gasoline, motor oil, etc). Many common household cleaning products fall within this definition. Additionally, take care to remove gasoline and/or batteries from your lawnmower, yard tools, and/or gas grill before move day. Please review our Terms of Service below for a full list of items we cannot move.

Remember to check our terms of service for items we don't pack or move.

Pack up small electronics and appliances

Pack computers, electronics, and other small household appliances into their original boxes (if you still have them). Otherwise, make sure to use small, sturdy boxes with plenty of bubble wrap or packing peanuts to ensure safe transit. Note: If electronics are not in boxes on the day of your move, Bellhop Pros will either decline to move them or ask that you sign a waiver of liability.

Disassemble furniture to save time & money

While Bellhop Pros can disassemble and reassemble furniture, you may choose to expedite the duration of your move (and therefore save money) by taking apart furniture yourself. Plan time to break down furniture that will be too large to fit through doorways, down staircases, or inside elevators. Keep all hardware and screws in clearly labeled plastic bags. Bellhop Pros cannot disassemble workout equipment, so plan to do this task yourself or make other arrangements for your heavy gym equipment.

Disconnect and drain all appliances

While Bellhop Pros can move large appliances for you, they can only do so if these items are empty, disconnected, and completely dry ahead of time. Refrigerator and freezer: Empty of all contents, then disconnect them from their power source. Keep the doors open overnight, with a towel underneath to contain any dripping. Then do a final wipedown in the morning to make sure everything is dry and ready for transport. Washer and dryer: Disconnect them from their power source. Locate the water valves and turn them off before unhooking the cold and hot water hoses from the wall. Make sure to empty the hoses of any leftover water.

Dismount and pack your TV in its original box

Please keep in mind that Bellhop Pros cannot be responsible for dismounting your TV. In addition, any televisions must be packed securely in either their original box or an appropriately sized electronics box. The latter can be purchased from a home improvement store, such as The Home Depot. Note: If electronics are not in boxes on the day of your move, Bellhop Pros will either decline to move them or ask that you sign a waiver of liability.

Pro Tip

Take pictures of your TV’s electronic connections. Having a photo of how the wires are arranged will save you from a headache when it’s time to put everything back together later.

24 Hours Before Your Service

Please make sure there is an unobstructed path (both outside and inside) for your movers to navigate. Anything a mover could stumble on – toys, branches, shoes, small furniture – must be dealt with ahead of time to ensure the safety of your movers and the items they’re hauling.

If you have a vehicle, please park it where it won’t be an obstacle for movers going back and forth.

To ensure your mattresses and box springs are protected from dust, dirt, and water on move day, it’s a good idea to procure mattress bags. You can buy them at your local home improvement store (they typically cost ~$10 a piece), and they’re well worth the investment.

Your Pros will move your items with care, but we cannot replace items of sentimental value (such as antiques, artwork, photo albums, and jewelry) if something were to happen. Pack your personal vehicle with anything you don’t want transferred in your moving truck.

Like you would before you leave a hotel, check all hidden areas like attics, basements, and closet corners. Don’t leave any critical items behind! Commonly overlooked items include mounted light fixtures, things that plug into a wall (e.g. charging cables), wall-mounted mirrors, and wall and door hooks.

Day-of Details

Prep for your packers' arrival

In addition to clearing a path for your Bellhop Pros to move through your home, consider putting down paper, cardboard, and/or drop cloths to protect wood floors and carpets.

Don't forget your pets!

Move day can be stressful or even dangerous for your pets. Consider dropping them off at daycare for the day, or leaving them with a friend. At the very least, we recommend keeping your pets in a quiet room with the door closed (in this case, make sure to inform your Bellhop Pros so they don’t inadvertently let your pets out).

Discuss the plan

When your movers arrive, they'll do a walkthrough of your home to devise a loading plan. This is a good time to point out any fragile items that require special care, or furniture pieces that need to be disassembled. If there are any items that you do not want your movers to pack onto the truck, be sure to flag them at this time.

Additonal resources