Moving Etiquette: How to Make a Move More Pleasant for You and the Neighbors

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Planning to move soon? No doubt you’re feeling a bit stressed trying to manage a lot of large and small details. But as Miss Manners would gently tell you, that’s no excuse to stress out your neighbors on both ends of the move as well.  

Moving etiquette can be complex, given that there are so many variables involved. For example, the dos and don’ts can vary considerably depending on whether it’s a detached home in the suburbs versus a condo or apartment building. Whatever your particular situation, it all comes down to common courtesy with a touch of empathy tossed into the equation.  

So how can you be more courteous? Here are some guidelines you need to know to make the move go smoothly for yourself and everyone around you. 

Take Charge of the Situation 

If you’re moving with a reputable long-distance mover like Mayflower, you’ll find they’ll have experience dealing with many issues—like loading a van efficiently—that can otherwise make the neighbors cringe. If it’s a DIY move, you need to organize, prioritize and plan your strategy well in advance, including finding people to help you pack not only your belongings, but also the van itself. That said, most professional movers will offer options that let you deal with the things with which you feel most comfortable while leaving the rest in their hands.  

Frame Out a Timeframe 

An “after dinner” DIY move that carries well into the next morning is a nightmare for neighbors trying to get some well-deserved rest. Do your packing, loading and unloading during normal “awake times” (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.) and you’ll avoid a lot of hassles. Most professional long-distance movers will automatically schedule acceptable pick-up and delivery times once the move quote is locked in—a big plus for everyone concerned.  

Turn Down the Volume 

A move is not a social event. While some music and pleasant conversation might help ease the stress, the neighbors deserve a bit of peace and quiet, too. Remember you’ve got a big job to do, especially in a DIY situation. Focus on the task at hand, dial down the volume on tunes and talk, and plan to chill out once you’re settled in. Feel there’s a move-related argument about to explode? Take it inside. 

Make Things Perfectly Clear 

If you expect that a neighbor’s car, mailbox or trash receptacle will be blocked while you’re in moving mode, let them know in advance and come up with a mutually agreeable solution. If you don’t have a driveway at all, be aware of any parking restrictions in the neighborhood and whether permits or advance notice are needed for oversized vehicles. Think of the movers, too. If a sidewalk needs clearing or the front porch is full of clutter, get the situation under control. 

Clean Up After Yourself 

Remember, a good neighbor is a tidy one. Don’t let packing materials, trash or belongings spill over into other people’s yards and driveways. Once you’ve arrived at your new place, break down and flatten moving boxes to add to your recycling over time. Instead of a messy pile, stack it all neatly by the curb or in the recycling bin. If you’re using a professional long-distance mover like Mayflower, check whether they provide a debris removal service—or whether they can recycle or reuse your packing boxes and materials. 

Be Nice to Your Movers, Too 

Make sure they’re well supplied with snacks and drinks throughout the move process. If you’re using a professional mover and they did an amazing job, tip them if you’re so inclined. Go online and see what the typical tip would be for a move in your area. If it’s a DIY team of your friends, money might be a bit awkward. Instead, spring for a pizza or some takeout Chinese in your new space. 

And Now, a Few Words to You Condo and Apartment Dwellers… 

Let’s start off by saying that just about all the above applies to you but expect the intensity level to be kicked up a notch or three.  

Because you’re dealing with closer quarters—and people—you need to be especially aware of potentially inconveniencing others. For example, if you live above another apartment, don’t start packingand draggingyour possessions around in the middle of the night. Also, be aware that there may be one or more remote workers in the building who won’t appreciate being interrupted. Keep hallway conversations to an absolute minimum. 

In an elevator building, you’ll need to schedule your move to minimize the impact on others’ ability to access their space. If the building has a service elevator, make sure the management has you on their schedule. If it’s a walkup situation, select a window of time that won’t have you pulling a sofa or mattress up a narrow stairwell when people are trying to get to work. And as soon as possible make sure hallways and shared spaces are cleared of all your stuff. 

When it’s all said and done, you’ll probably still get a few weary sighs and knitted brows from your new neighbors. But take heart: They no doubt experienced the same when they moved in. 

We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®.  

Moving or about to move? Get a no-obligation quote from Mayflower.  

Want more tips and advice? Check out our state and city guides, decorating ideas and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.   

Oh, and did you know Mayflower has a channel on Spotify? Move and groove to tunes that get you to your new place — and settled in — in style.  

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