There are 115 million housing units in the United States and, amazingly, nearly 20% - roughly 21,000,000 - will have new occupants within the next 12 months. That's a lot of people moving! And research ranks moving as one of life's most stressful events -- right behind the death of a loved one and divorce. So it's important to plan ahead and use the right supplies. Collecting boxes from the local supermarket or liquor store might save you a few bucks but is hardly worth the time and effort. At best, they're likely to be smaller and more poorly constructed than real moving boxes. At worst, you may discover after your move that those second-hand boxes were either soiled or infested with roach eggs.
The first thing you need to do when preparing to move is to determine how much you want to do yourself -- everything, nothing or somewhere in between. Your budget and desire to save some money will likely impact your decision. When selecting a moving company, make sure to ask friends and family for suggestions. Whatever you do, don't simply go with the lowest bid. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always ask for (and check!) references before selecting the moving company that is going to help you move. Quick calls to your local Better Business Bureau and State Moving & Storage Association will also be well worth your while.