ed-moving-boxes_480Moving to a new home? Instead of shelling out big bucks for a professional mover, do it yourself with a rental vehicle and these tips, courtesy of the experts at U-Haul.

1. Plan your move in advance. Since nearly 45 percent of all moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, make your reservation for a rental vehicle at least two to four weeks prior to your moving date.

2. Avoid the weekend rush. Typically, Sunday through Thursday offers greater equipment availability, plus banks, utilities and government offices are open. In addition, rates may be lower during this time.

3. Look into your homeowner’s insurance policy prior to moving, as some policies will cover belongings while moving as long as the insurance policy is in force during the move.

4. Allow time for the rental process. Be sure to conduct a walk-around inspection of the equipment at the time of pickup to become familiar with its features and operation, and to ask any questions you may have.

5. Pack your boxes strategically. Choose a packing room ahead of time and box up a few things each day. Mark each box with its contents and destination room. Have all your boxes packed before you go to rent your truck. Load the heaviest items first, in front and on the floor. Pack items firmly and closely.

6. Read the equipment user’s guide for tips on driving and safety. Monitor the equipment while it is in your possession, just as you would your own personal vehicle.

7. Always secure the back door of the moving van or trailer with a padlock. Always make sure your doors are locked.

8. Always park your rental equipment legally and in a well-lit area. Back up your rental equipment as close as possible to a garage door, building or wall, and if you can, park another vehicle in front of the rental truck.