There are few things more stressful than a move. Not only does it uproot your life, but the actual physical process of moving and packing is hard work and often overwhelming.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered with moving tips that cover all phases of the process, from packing to unpacking and everything in between.
Moving Tips and Hacks
If you feel overwhelmed by the moving process, start by breaking down the job into smaller bite-sized tasks. Plan to complete a few tasks each day as you prepare for the move to your new house. Advance planning will make moving day go by as smoothly and efficiently as you could hope for.
Ready to learn some more moving tips and tricks?
Whether you are embarking on a DIY move or are hiring professional movers, the following 30 tips for moving will help you prepare like a pro and avoid common mistakes and pitfalls.
1. Create a Schedule or Timetable First
It’s all too easy to put things off until you realize with a panic that you’re not ready for moving day. Avoid the last minute scramble by planning out how much time you have, how long you think it will take to pack each room and create a schedule with adequate time built in.
You should start planning and preparing about a month before moving day. Create a moving checklist to start following early on to make your move less stressful when moving day arrives.
2. Only Pack What You Need and Want in Your New Place
Take a long hard look at your closets and other stuff to see what you can donate. Get rid of items that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Sell or give away on wanted items on craigslist.
A purge of your unwanted items will help lighten your load and save you from wasting time packing things you aren’t going to end up keeping in the long run.
3. But Pack All the Chargers
The exception to the above packing tip is chargers and cords. Put all the random charges you come across in a box and see if you can match them up during the packing or unpacking process. The last thing you want to do is accidentally donate your lap top charger. Better safe than sorry!
4. Pack an “Open Me First” Box
Pack one moving box with all the things you can’t live without to survive the first night in your new home. Include personal items, as well as other necessities like toilet paper, a toothbrush, bed sheets and blankets, prescriptions, eyeglasses, toiletries, and maybe that book you are almost done reading — really anything that you might be tempted to haphazardly tear through all of your boxes to find in a crisis.
5. Keep Important Items Out of the Moving Truck
Keep your “Open First” box, along with any important documents and other key items and valuables (you know like your keys) with you in case the moving truck doesn’t arrive when you do.
6. Clearly Label Your Boxes By Room
Unloading boxes in the right room the first time, means less shuffling for you in the long run. When labeling, use a color code system to avoid having to write out “Living Room” 10 times on all of your boxes.
Assigning each box a color that corresponds to a specific room in your home will make sure your movers unload cardboard boxes in the right spot.
7. Use Colored Packing Tape
Even easier to spot than a marker is different colored packing tape for each room, so you’ll know at a glance where each box goes.
8. Know Whats Inside Each Box
Write down a brief summary of the contents on each of your boxes. You might want to immediately access your everyday dishes, instead of trying to remember exactly which box you put them in. You can also photograph contents with your smartphone before taping them up. Use the photo editing tools on your phone to number each photo. Use a notebook to write down each box by number and what is inside them.
9. Don’t Make Boxes Too Heavy
Even if you hire movers, they aren’t supermen. Save your back, and theirs, by putting items in the correct moving box size.
Put dense, heavy items like books in small boxes to make it more manageable to carry. Also place fragile items inside small boxes so they you don’t stack any extra weight on top of them. Pack light items inside of large boxes to keep them from getting overloaded.
10. But Pack Them Full
Fill empty spaces with packing material so your items don’t shift, which can lead to breakage. You can also pack light items like towels, pillows and blankets to fill empty space without adding extra weight.
11. Take Photos When Taking Furniture Apart
People struggle with putting back together furniture after disassembling them. Use a smartphone to take pictures so you remember what goes where. Make sure to label all the pieces. Take pictures of electronic set-ups too so you can get back to your latest Netflix binge ASAP.
2. Pack Breakables Together
Pack fragile items such as pint glasses and tea cups as pairs, oriented like shoes in a shoe box. Wrap each individually, then use larger sheets of packing paper to draw the breakables together into a tightly packed brick shape, which makes the breakables more durable.
13. Use Towels and Blankets In Place of Bubblewrap
Wrap breakables in your own blankets and towels to do double-duty and save money on packing and padding materials.
14. Get Good Boxes (For Free if You Know Where to Look)
You don’t want your boxes to fall apart on you. Sturdy boxes can be obtained at liquor stores and big-box stores, or spend a few bucks on new ones. Whenever possible, pack electronics like your big screen TV in their original boxes.
15. Change Your Address ASAP
Fill out the “change of address” form at the U.S. Postal Service, so the post office will know to forward your mail and inform the senders of your new address. Update any magazine subscriptions and financial services, such as credit card or insurance statements, to make sure you continue to receive important mail.
16. Get a Better Deal on Insurance
Before you move, find out if you are still covered by your current insurance policies, both auto and home. Changing zip codes could effect your rates and present a good time to shop around.
17. Visit the DMV
If you’ve changed states, you’ll need to register your car, but even if you’ve just moved a city over, you’ll still need to get a new driver’s license and register to vote. If you are lucky, you live somewhere that you can request a new ID online.
18. Transition Your Other Services
Make a list of all the services you receive at your current residence — Internet, satellite or cable provider, electricity, trash collection, and so on. Call to cancel them and then reactivate at your new home, typically a week or two before you are planning to move. There is nothing worse than being without power for a couple days because you forgot to call.
19. Don’t Choose Movers Blindly
Check Yelp and other online review sites to make sure the moving company treated other clients well. Ask friends and family members for referrals as well. The moving industry is full of high quality professional moving companies, but there are also many shady outfits that may not have the best reputation.
20. Ask to Be First
This is one of the best moving tips you could follow to make your move go smoothly. Schedule your move late in the day and your crew is bound to be tired from the earlier jobs, which might make them move a little slower, as well as be more accident prone. Plus, you won’t be waiting around if something holds them up during their first job.
21. Opt for Full-Value Replacement Coverage
If the moving company only offers ‘standard’ repair coverage insurance, you might only see an $18 check when your $500 TV is damaged. Full-value replacement coverage is the way to go and provides the most protection for your household goods.
22. Choose the Right Size Moving Truck
In a truck that’s too big, your items can shift around and get damaged
- 10 ft. truck = studio or small 1 bedroom
- 12-14 ft. truck = 450 cu. ft. or 1 to 2 bedrooms
- 16-17 ft. truck = 800 cu. ft. or 2-3 bedrooms
- 22-24 ft. truck = 1,200 cu. ft. or 3 to 4 bedrooms
- 26-27 ft. truck = 1,400 cu. ft. or 4+ bedrooms
23. Know Your Contract
Typical fees include a charge per day for the truck, including mileage, but may also include additional fees for packing supplies, dollies, insurance and more. You should commit these details to memory so you don’t get caught off guard.
24. Pick Your Date Strategically
Moving at the end of the month, when renter’s leases turn over is usually going to be more expensive because of increased demand. Weekends are also pricier, especially three-day ones like Labor Day or Memorial Day.
25. Create a Moving Day Supply Kit
As you prepare to exit your old place, be sure to put together a supply kit to get you through moving day. Gather all of the following items together in a bucket or tote so they are easy to grab when you need them:
- Box cutters
- Garbage bags
- Rubber bands
- Ziploc plastic bags
- Cleaning spray
- Paper towels
These items will come in handy on both ends of your move so be sure to bring it with you!
26. Load Smart
“Don’t just start throwing things in the truck. Load large items first, starting from the front of the truck and work your way back. Put your heaviest items on the bottom of the truck and lighter items on top. Packing everything closely together reduces the chance of items shifting in transit and potentially breaking.
27. Protect Your Stuff
Cover all furniture with protective pads, and tape drawers closed with painters tape so they do not slide open. Sofas and chairs should be covered in stretch plastic wrap. If you don’t have a big enough box, TVs can be wrapped in a blanket or in shrink wrap and stored upright.
28. Unpack Kids’ Stuff First
The best way to make kids feel at home is to set up their rooms right away. Let them decide where to put their furniture, within reason, to make it truly theirs. Plus they’ll have a place to hang out while everything else is unpacked.
29. You Don’t Have to Cook
Eat takeout the first few nights rather than cooking. You’ll want to take your time unpacking and organizing your kitchen items. It’s also a great way to sample new local restaurants in your area.
30. Take Your Time
The best way to unpack is to thoughtfully figure out where everything should go. If you don’t know about a certain item, put it in a separate “decision” box to decide if it really goes in your new place. Put that box in storage, and then as time goes on, consider whether those items should be donated.