by Robin Roenker
While moving to a new place is always exciting, preparing to move is a lot of work. Top on your to-do list may be packing, changing your address with the post office, even saying goodbye to neighbors. But don’t overlook another crucial step before moving day: getting your appliances ready to make the move with you. Most moving companies require that all major appliances are prepared for the move before their crew arrives (some offer this service for an additional fee).
So, whether you plan to move them yourself or hire movers to do the heavy lifting, there are a few basic steps you’ll need to take before your appliances can be loaded and moved. Refer to the appliance owners’ manuals for specific moving instructions before you get started.
- Empty the fridge and freezer of all contents and unplug them at least 24 hours before the move to begin defrosting.
- If your fridge has an automatic ice maker and water dispenser, disconnect the water line (following manufacturer’s guidelines) or hire a plumber to do it if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself. Check to make sure the water line is fully drained.
- Once the freezer has defrosted, clean all surfaces, including shelves and storage drawers, with a cloth and dish soap or mild cleanser. Dry everything thoroughly to keep mildew from forming during the move.
- Remove all racks, shelves, crispers and storage bins or secure them to the sides of the fridge or freezer with masking tape to ensure they won’t become dislodged or broken during transit.
- Keep the electrical cord out of the way by taping it to the back of the unit.
- Run the oven’s automatic cleaning cycle several days before the move. Remove any remaining dirt or food particles by hand, with a damp cloth and mild cleaner.
- Clean the stovetop and remove the electric burner elements, if your stove has them. Remove and wash the elements in a mild dish detergent and water solution. Dry them thoroughly before replacing and securing them to the top of the range with masking tape.
- For a gas stove, clean and remove the surface grates.
- Empty the bottom storage drawer of all contents (baking pans, cookie sheets, etc.).
- Remove broiler pan and oven racks or secure them to the inside of the range with masking tape to ensure they won’t dislodge and crack the glass on the range door.
- If you have a gas oven, turn off the gas supply before disconnecting the line. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, consult a professional.
- Disconnect the range from its gas line and/or unplug it from its electrical power source.
- Remove or tape down all knobs, and tape the oven door shut. Tape the electrical cord to the back of the unit.
- Empty the top and bottom rack of all dishes, and secure both racks to the sides of the dishwasher with masking tape.
- Keep the dishwasher door open after its last use for at least 24 hours to allow the inside to dry out. Towel dry to remove any remaining moisture. Otherwise, mildew or mold may grow — particularly if you’ve got a long move ahead.
- Turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve, usually located under the kitchen sink. Disconnect the drain lines and water-supply lines, or hire a plumber to do it. Keep several towels on hand to clean up any water that may still be in the lines. Check to make sure the lines have drained completely.
- If your dishwasher plugs into the wall, unplug it. If it’s hardwired, disconnect the electrical power lines, usually found underneath the dishwasher. Consult an electrician if you need help.
- Unscrew the dishwasher’s mounting brackets to loosen it from the countertop.
- Dry and wrap the hoses in towels and pack them inside the dishwasher.
- Latch the door and tape it closed. Tape the electrical cord to the back of the unit.
- Empty the washer of all clothes. Thoroughly dry out the washing drum.
- Secure the drum for the move following the manufacturer’s recommendations. (Most manufacturers recommend bolting down the tub.) Go to your manufacturer’s website to locate or order a copy of your owner’s manual, if you’ve misplaced the original.
- Unplug the washer.
- Turn off the water supply, and remove the machine’s water supply hoses from both the hot- and cold-water faucets. Have a bucket on hand to catch any extra water as the hoses drain.
- Remove the main drain hose and let it empty into your bucket. Wrap all of the hoses in towels and store them inside the washer.
- Close the lid and secure it with masking tape. Tape the power cord to the back of the unit.
- Empty the dryer of all clothes. Clean out the lint filter.
- Unplug the dryer. If you have a gas dryer, shut off the gas and disconnect the gas supply line. Hire a professional if you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself.
- Slide the dryer away from the wall slightly to gain access to the vent.
- Disconnect and disassemble the vent, and clean it out, removing any built-up dust, lint and dirt.
- Close the dryer door and secure it with masking tape. Tape the power cord to the back of the unit.
When you’re ready to load your appliances onto the moving truck, place them into the truck first, and use plenty of bungee cords and blankets to keep them from shifting or getting scratched during the move.
Freelance writer Robin Roenker says packing for her last move — with a six-month-old baby in tow — was such a challenge she may never move again. At least, not for a long, long while.