5 Useful Tips for Moving With Roommates

Moving by yourself is already stressful, but when you add non-family members to the mix, it can be downright nightmarish if not done properly. Of course, that doesn’t mean your next move with your roommates will be unsuccessful. You will, however, need to communicate with each other and organize properly in order to prevent potential issues. This helpful guide should make the moving process easier.

Set a Budget

One of the biggest issues when it comes to moving with other people is the budget. Chances are, each of your roommates have different incomes. However, a moving budget is something everyone needs to agree on. Take some time to discuss all the moving related expenses and decide how you want to split everything up. In most cases, creating a communal fund where people chip in an equal amount might make the most sense if you all make around the same amount of money. However, if there’s someone who makes significantly less, you might want to adjust your budget so that they are not completely broke after the move.

When you talk about the moving budget, think about everything that you’ll need to pay for. That includes:

  • Professional moving companies
  • Rent
  • Deposit
  • Packing and cleaning supplies
  • Utilities
  • Storage

Once you’ve agreed upon a budget, be careful not to go over it!

Create a To-Do List

Once you’ve created a budget, your next step is to figure out what exactly you need to do before moving day. This is especially important when moving with roommates as you want to avoid any misunderstandings or duplicated tasks. Define together everything that needs to get done, no matter how small the task. Then assign the tasks to each person. Certain tasks might have to fall on specific people. For example, only the person whose name is on the utilities bill can shut off these services. When it comes to packing up common areas, come up with a system for packing and labeling so that it’s consistent across the board. That will make it easier to unpack once you’re in your new home.

Everyone should know exactly what they need to do to make the relocation successful. Once you’ve completed the list, distribute a copy to everyone and then check off all the tasks as they are completed. If you’re at a loss for what tasks you should include, here are some common ones:

  • Canceling bills/utilities
  • Purchasing packing supplies
  • Hiring moving company/Rent a truck
  • Packing common areas
  • Decluttering the apartment/house
  • Turning on utilities at the new place

Set Aside Extra Time

We all have busy lives, but it will do more harm than good if you wait until the last minute to start preparing for your move. Avoid doing everything the day before as you’ll only be exhausted and stressed come moving day. Instead, start the process as early as you can. More importantly, make sure your roommates are on the same page and that they don’t try to put things off until the last minute.

No one wants to be nagged, so instead of starting early on your own, work with your roommates to create a schedule and/or timeline of when each moving task should be completed. Once you’ve agreed on the timing, make sure to put the due dates on a shared calendar for everyone in your household so they know when a deadline is coming up. If possible, try to organize an overlap in leases of a few days so that way you don’t have to move out and move into your new place the same day. Of course, this isn’t always possible, so at the very least try to get the day after the move off from work so you can relax a bit.

Decide if You Need a Moving Company

Hiring someone else to literally do the heavy lifting for you can drastically reduce your stress levels. However, if you and your roommates have a very limited budget, it might not be an option. Instead, you might need to enlist the help of family and friends and rent or borrow the biggest van you can afford. The more people you can get to help, the less tired and angry you and your roommates will be! When moving heavy boxes and furniture, make sure to remind people to use proper lifting technique by using their legs, not their backs. You don’t want to deal with injured people in the middle of your move!

If you’re able to scrape up the money to hire professional movers, make sure to book them at least two weeks before your move, though earlier is better. If you’re relocating during peak moving season, you might want to book a month in advance. Many professional moving companies offer extra services to make your life easier such as partial or full packing and unpacking and storage options. So decide what exactly you need before you call for a quote and make sure to let them know what add-on features you might want.

Clean Your Old and New Home

To give yourself the best chances of getting your security deposit back, you should give your old place a thorough cleaning. Naturally, each roommate should clean their own room, but when it comes to shared spaces, make sure to reference your to-do list. Your cleaning task list should include:

  • Removing any personal property including furniture, closet items, and wall art
  • Vacuuming all the floors, stairs, and hard-to-reach areas
  • Dusting and wiping down every surface including windows and fireplace mantles
  • Cleaning inside cabinets
  • Wiping down appliances
  • Scrubbing and cleaning toilets, sinks, and bathtubs and making sure all mold, rust, and mildew are eliminated
  • Removing all nails and wall anchors from the wall
  • Filling holes and repairing drywall
  • Repainting any walls to their original color
  • Cleaning and sanitizing the fridge and freezer
  • Mopping all hard surface floors

If all of this sounds overwhelming, consider hiring a cleaning service. While it will eat into your budget, your security deposit might depend on having your old apartment as clean as possible. If you’re able to squeeze some extra money from your budget, this is a great option.

Once you move into your new place, make sure you don’t neglect cleaning while the place is empty! Not only will you be able to get any leftover dirt or trash, it also gives you the opportunity to find and document any damage from the previous tenant. Make sure to send any photos to the landlord and roommates immediately. That way, you can protect yourself against false damage claims should you move out in the near future.

Work With Your Roommates

Your roommates all have their own personalities and some might be more organized than others. However, it’s imperative that you all work together to come up with a moving plan that you can all stick with. Maybe that means checking in once a week to make sure everyone is on target or perhaps it means keeping the checklist on the fridge to track everyone’s tasks. Ultimately, your method is up to you! The most important thing is to always have open communication with your roommates to make sure you’re all still on the same page. Hopefully, these tips can help prepare you to move with your roommates!


Will movers charge more if I move with roommates?

No, movers will charge you hourly for local moves or per weight/volume for long-distance moves. The amount of people doesn’t affect the price.

What happens if we haven’t finished packing when the movers arrive?

If you haven’t finished packing, you can continue packing while the movers are loading the truck or you can ask them to pack what’s left. In either case, you can expect to pay more money than the estimate as it will take more time and, in the case of packing, will be an extra service.

Do I need to tip the movers?

While it’s not required, you should tip the movers after the job is completed as a way to thank them for their hard work. In general, you should tip $5 per hour of work completed per person.