Using garbage bags or dumpster diving for boxes at the grocery store? That might've helped you move out of the dorms, but you're supposed to be a grownup now. It's time to invest in some professional help when it comes to packing up your life and hauling it across the country (or even across town). They'll save you a lot of time and stress. After all, moving is such a bitch.
Looking for movers? Ask trusted neighbors or real-estate brokers for recommendations. Many victims of shady movers say they found their haulers on the internet. That's not to say you couldn't find trustworthy movers on the web, but you should try more traditional channels before going online.
Look for companies that offer flat rates up front. And make sure to tell potential movers about any challenges they may face (either at your current location or new home): sleeper sofas, parking problems, multiple flights of stairs, etc. That way you can ask for any possible charges that may arise. Be sure to have them disclose the cost of common cost inflators like gas or packing materials.
Grab a pack of color stickers ($3) and designate a color for each room. Tag each box before it leaves and when you get to your new place, put the matching sticker in the doorway of the corresponding room. The movers will instantly know where each box goes.
Sure, you're the boss, but it's always smart to be nice to the guys carrying your HDTV and computer. Introduce yourself and ask if you can get the crew anything to drink (or maybe call in a pizza for lunch). Then make sure to get the names and cell phone numbers of the crew delivering your stuff. A little personal responsibility should make them a bit more careful with your possessions.
Pack your favorite clothes (the ten-percent of your closet that always gets worn), along with underwear and socks in a suitcase. You'll easily be able to spot your suitcase, but you could be fishing in boxes for your favorite jacket for weeks.