When you hire movers for a big move, you have the choice as to what — if anything — you should hand-carry or keep with you during the actual transportation. Some people prefer to let the movers handle as much as possible, while others are reluctant to let anything out of their control.

The best option, though, is to weigh this decision and find the right balance for your particular situation. How can you do this? Here are five questions to help you choose.

1. Can You Handle It?

Before deciding to move something yourself, be honest about whether you can realistically handle it. While your wedding gown is irreplaceable, it may not be practical to use up your entire airline luggage allotment to move it with you. Similarly, trying to move your entire saltwater aquarium in your vehicle could be disastrous. Your expensive jewelry, though? Most pieces are relatively easy to pack in your bags.

2. Will It Be Safer?

Ask yourself whether the item will truly be safer with the movers or with you. Professional, trained moving experts have moved hundreds of other clients successfully. They likely have encountered items just like yours and already moved them safely. So the real question is whether you can provide the item with a superior moving experience.

You may be the right person for the job if it’s a piece of unusual technical equipment for your niche job or your grandmother’s handmade art. But other things, like that saltwater aquarium, may truly be safer in professional hands with the right tools and experience.

3. Is It Insured?

Your household belongings and vehicles are generally insured against loss and damage. Talk with your insurance agent or carrier about specific questions you have, such as if your art collection is sufficiently covered by homeowners insurance or if you might add a rider. In addition, ask the moving company what sort of liability and general insurance they carry in case of emergency.

Once you know your valuables are covered, does there remain a good reason to be overly protective of it? While no one wants to have to use their insurance coverage, this is exactly the type of situation for which you buy it. You get peace of mind so you don’t have to obsess over every item worth money.

4. Is It Replaceable? 

The point of hand-carrying items when moving is to prevent their loss. To determine who should move certain items, assess the actual consequences of such a loss. How irreparable would the damage really be?

Certainly, your prized baseball card collection is unlikely to be replaceable. This may be a prime candidate to keep with you as you travel. Similarly, you generally can’t just go out and buy replacements for your jewelry collection, the kids’ favorite doll, or your business documents. But the contents of your aquarium? Likely the equipment is replaceable, so you can let it go and focus on protecting just the fish.

5. Will It Help You? 

There is one category of goods that you should likely transport yourself: practical items for your trip. Everyone should pack a personal bag as though they were going on vacation or a business trip — including a few extra days in case of emergency. You may also need to carry personal documents (especially those needed for the trip), some kitchen items to get started, and toiletries.

As you honestly answer these questions, the decision about what to move yourself and what to leave to the professionals will become easier. Want more help finding the right balance? Call the moving pros at Island Movers to discuss your specific concerns. With more than 60 years helping customers move both long and short distances, we will aid you in crafting the safest and most convenient move possible.