Agreeing to have someone come and take all your stuff calls for a healthy dose of cash and a great leap of faith.

  1. Choose a mover. Obviously you'll want a mover who can meet your budget and your needs. That information you can get by checking out web sites such as which contain directories to movers nationwide. But another strong element to look for is whether you mover is accredited by the AMSA, the American Moving & Storage Association. Anything that you can use to filter your choice of mover is clearly worth keeping in mind, and you can easily weed out the sketchy groups by asking for their accreditation. This web site has the goods on AMSA accredited movers.

  2. Get an estimate. You're obviously going to want a precise estimate of how much it is all going to cost you. There are two types of estimates: binding and nonbinding. Binding just means that they can't change their mind on you later. Not a bad idea, but it doesn't really matter too much. To get an accurate number for either, you have to show them everything (EVERYTHING) you plan to move. So clear out under the beds, empty the closets, bear it all.

  3. Plan your move. If you're going for full service, the mover will pack your stuff for you. But you may want to keep an eye on the process, since this is when they'll be compiling your inventory. You will need to show up at some point to sign the Bill of Lading-the document listing all the items being moved. Obviously you should check this list very closely.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW move to a new city?