Congratulations, your big day is finally here! It’s moving day; the day you see your entire life packed into a van or truck and moved to a new location. The butterflies are already fluttering with nervous excitement and you’re feeling the stress of jumping into the unknown. Your mind is moving at a million miles a minute and then you hear the doorbell ring or that signature knock at the door telling you the movers have arrived. Time for action!

The question now is do you help movers move or do you stay out of their way? After all, you’re the one most invested in every single belonging your moving team is about to touch. You know what items are especially fragile and need extra TLC. You’re also not the type of person to just stand around looking and feeling idle when there’s important work to be done. Finally, you know your movers are on the clock, so the faster your move goes the less you’ll have to pay – so do you help movers to save money and time on moving day? These are all good arguments for helping your movers, but there are always two sides to every coin. First of all, your fragile items are in experienced hands. Not only do your movers know when to use a gentle touch, but they understand the science behind carefully packing a truck so that nothing gets damaged while on the road. And in the unlikely event that something actually does get damaged during transit? You will get compensated through your mover’s liability insurance. You can read more about that subject here.

Moving teams also work like a well-oiled machine. Each team member is like a cog in a clock and they work best when they work together, understand each other’s responsibilities, strengths and who does what. Insinuating another pair of hands into the mix is an easy recipe for disaster. You’ll also be surprised how quickly and efficiently movers work… without any additional help. Plus, you’re not saving any time if you’re getting in the moving team’s way or packing items in the truck where they don’t belong.

The good news is, there are some other very important ways you can help your movers work more efficiently without providing hands-on moving support.

Purge, sell, gift, donate

The day you know you’re moving is the day to take inventory of all your belongings. Obviously, there’s a lot you can’t imagine living without. But all of it? Take a good, long look at everything in your home and if you don’t need it, get rid of it. Why move something you don’t even need any more? Sell anything you think you can find a buyer for by posting the item on Facebook or Kijiji, or host a garage/lawn sale. If you have friends or family members that may appreciate something you have that you no longer need, give it away and cash it in for a favour at a later date. Then cart everything else to a thrift shop so your unloved items can find a good, new home. If you have clothes you want to get rid of that are in good condition, you may also be able to donate them to a family or homeless shelter.

Pack some of the easy stuff ahead of time Even if you’ve hired your movers to pack all your belongings, they don’t necessarily have to pack literally everything (unless you’re so time-starved you literally can’t). Books are so easy to pack and stack in boxes, even a caveman can do it. Stuffed animals you can throw into boxes or even bags without a second thought. The same goes for clothes, blankets and bedding. So go ahead and pack the easy stuff.

Unpack your walls

This one’s easy: strip your walls bare before the movers arrive. Your pictures and paintings, clocks and mirrors can all come down and get stacked neatly against an out-of-the-way wall or on top of a kitchen countertop. Then pull out all the picture hangers and save them in a small paper bag to reuse when you hang everything back up in your new home. Also, if any of those masterpieces is a Picasso, a Monet or otherwise holds “significant value,” your mover is not legally responsible in the event it gets damaged so, please, move it yourself before or after your big move.

Cut the cord

Another quick and easy way to save your movers time is to disconnect all your electronic devices. Pull the plug on all your floor lamps and desk lamps. Disconnect all your smaller kitchen appliances like your microwave and toaster oven, air fryer and slow cooker. Unplug your TVs and whatever media accessories are plugged into them (but make sure to take a picture first so you know how to connect everything back together again). The only thing you don’t want to unplug yourself is your kid’s Xbox or PlayStation – because you’re bound to mess something up, so leave that one to your resident expert.

Go to the mattresses

Mattresses and box springs are often among the first things a moving team will pack into their truck. Get a head start and strip your beds clean so all your mattresses and box springs can simply be packed into boxes/bags/covers, get carted downstairs and into the truck. Even if you aren’t planning on hiring your movers to do any packing or furniture disassembly/assembly, consider getting help with your bed frames. They’re tricky things to take apart and put back together, especially if you’re doing it alone, while experienced movers can take care of it faster than you can say “goodnight.”

Move things out of the way

The more organized and prepared you are for your big day, the faster your movers can work. If your kids’ train set is still sprawled out in the middle of the living room floor, that’s a tough thing to navigate around while carrying big furniture items and could actually be quite dangerous. Create clear pathways in each room and the make sure whatever doors are being used as exits to the moving truck remain uncluttered. You also probably have some stuff you don’t want the movers to touch such as your fridge and freezer items, plants, financial paperwork, mail and medicine. Set them aside in a special location and let your movers know that’s your “do not touch” zone. Your movers will appreciate that you’ve sorted those things out and you will appreciate not having to figure out what box all your perishable food items are in when you get to your new address.

The honest truth

While helping your movers with an extra pair of hands may seem like a good idea, or even the right thing to do out of social consciousness, the best way you can contribute towards a fast, effortless and stress-free moving day is to use your hands and head to think and prepare ahead. Simply getting ready for your move is a lot of work all on its own. Purging and selling, packing and boxing, emptying the cupboards and walls, pulling out cords and pulling everything out of the freezer and fridge, cleaning the walls and cleaning out enough walking space for your movers to move within. You’ve already done a lot. When your movers arrive, you’ll have deserved the break.