Thirty-five million Americans move home each year. Despite that 15 percent of the population is on the go, packing up your house, moving it, and then unpacking it in a new location never gets easier.
Moving is hard because it’s not just a matter of logistics. It often comes with life changes like new jobs, new relationships, and leaving your comfort zone behind.
Because moving is more than just packing and unpacking, you can’t just throw things into boxes or garbage bags and hope for the best. You’re moving house, not fleeing the local mafia. To move properly, you need a game plan to save you time, money, and energy.
We compiled the best moving tips we could find to help you get out of your old place, into your new house, and start your new life off on the right foot.
Clean House Before You Move
When you have more things, then you move more things.
Moving is the perfect time to reassess the stuff in your house. Much of it could easily be donated, given away, or sold. Maybe you have a few things in mind already.
Like most people, you might balk at the idea of getting rid of your precious things. However, moving shows you what you do and don’t need.
Here’s a good test. If you’re willing to put it into storage for six months, then you can live without it (unless it’s a family heirloom). You’ll forget what’s in that storage locker sooner than you think.
If you think you’ll miss it, consider taking a photo or imprint of it before giving it away.
Cutting down on extra stuff lying around your house will save you time, money and energy. It means you’ll pack less, save money on moving costs (or even earn money from valuable items), and it means you will load and subsequently unload fewer boxes.
Fewer trips up and down the stairs on moving day and extra cash to fund a pizza feast in the new place? Sign us up.
Don’t Buy More Food Two Weeks Before Moving
Stop buying food at least a week before you move. You may even stop earlier if you’re the type that buys in bulk and always has a full pantry.
Bringing food with you means packing your kitchen will take twice as long. All that food will take up more space, cost you more trips in the car or moving van, and require more trips in and out of the house as you carry everything.
Use up everything you can before you move. Come up with creative meals in the weeks before the big day to use up foodstuffs you forgot you had.
Then, treat yourself to a nice pre-move dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant before riding off into the sunset (or down the block).
Pack an Overnight Bag
Take all your daily essentials and pack them into an overnight bag that stays in the front seat of your car. Do not put it in with the boxes.
What goes in the essentials bag? The same things you’d pack if you plan a weekend away.
Throw in your:
- Two days of work clothes
- Personal care and hygiene items
- Extra pair of shoes
- One thing that makes your new house a home
- A small reward for getting through your move
Keep everything you need for the first 48 hours in your new place in that bag and keep it near you. Avoid letting it get lost in the shuffle at all costs.
By keeping everything together, you give yourself permission to settle in and relax without digging through boxes to find your toothbrush or slippers.
Don’t Move on the Weekend
Moving on the weekend is a waste of a weekend. More importantly, everyone else will also schedule their big day on a Saturday, so joining them means you’ll limit your rental trucks and moving company options.
If you can move on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, do it. You’ll save time and money, and you won’t feel like the movers are squeezing you into their schedule.
When a weekend is your only option, book early and call around. You’ll want to confirm there are vehicles and space available to you well in advance to avoid being left behind on moving day.
Pack Early and Pack Completely
Start packing up rooms you don’t use weeks or even months before you move depending on the size of your home and the number of boxes you’ll need.
Packing early means you’ll have time to pack methodically, and it gives you time to troubleshoot later. You’ll also find it easier to part with more items that you don’t need if you have a moment to sit with them and say goodbye.
When you do begin packing, go room-by-room rather than haphazardly. Pack up a guest room that you don’t intend to use or a second bathroom. Pack up the garage or the basement if you don’t have any upcoming projects.
Packing one room at a time keeps you organized and holds everything you need in one place in case you have to dive into a box between now and move-out day. It will also significantly aid your labeling system and be profoundly easier.
Finally, it is tempting to leave your kitchen last, but we recommend starting to pack your kitchen at least a week before the move. Pack up all your specialty cookware and leave yourself with the essential pots and pans. Stick with compostable or recyclable dishes for the last few days before you go. Who wants to do dishes while you pack up your entire house, anyway?
Pack Only the Essentials in Clear Boxes
Like most people, you will find yourself shocked and appalled at the amount of stuff collected in your current home. Of course, you still want to bring it with you. But how do you keep your everyday necessities separate from all the junk in your basement?
The trick is using clear boxes for high priority items. Put your plates and cutlery in a clear plastic box where you can find them. Bedding, towels, and other essential daily living items also go in a clear plastic box.
You’ll keep those clear boxes in with the other boxes in their group (kitchen, bedroom, etc.). However, it will help you identify the priority items immediately upon arrival, so you don’t find yourself drying yourself with a hand towel after your shower and after a long day of moving.
Label All Your Boxes with a System
Label every box. Seriously, every single one needs a label. It is worth reiterating because it is crucial.
You will label every one of them not only on the top but on the sides, so you can see the labels even when everything gets stacked to the ceiling.
If you can, try to use a different color one for every room you pack while utilizing the clear box technique for the essential items.
Use a labeling system that makes the most sense for you, but make sure it’s consistent right the way through the process.
Hire Movers (and Read the Fine Print)
Think you can move everything on your own? Think long and hard about how much moving your own house is worth to you.
Whether you have a small apartment or a mini-mansion, you can benefit from professional moving services.
When you hire professionals, you only have two jobs: make sure everything is packed and stay out of the way.
The stamina it requires to pack, organize, and prepare everything for a move combined with all the other stress happening in your life means that the process of physically moving the boxes feels like the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
A rare few will enjoy the process of unloading boxes only to unload them a few hours later. But you’ll never do it as efficiently or safely as professional movers.
Change Your Address Before You Move
This hack will leave you thanking yourself months after you settled into your new place.
Change your correspondence address with all your essential accounts two weeks before moving. Two weeks gives the biller enough time to update the system and send out a final letter before you leave and they’ll start sending mail to your new place right when you arrive.
Be Overcautious with Furniture
A broken plate or glass is often replaceable and may be a casualty of a stressful move. Damaged furniture, on the other hand, is far harder to cope with—and costlier too.
Protect your furniture by adding more blankets than you think you’ll need and consider shrink-wrapping your furniture before loading it into the truck.
Protecting your furniture is another good reason to hire professional movers. They pack the vehicle in such a way that protects your furniture from door to door, and they know how to get sofas through doors without smashing frames, woodwork, or fingers in the process.
Don’t Make Moving Harder Than It Needs to Be
The number one rule for moving without losing your mind is to avoid making things harder than they need to be. Start early, commit to an organization system, and ask for professional help when you need it.
If you can follow these rules, you’ll make not only your move out day easy but the weeks before and after as well.
Do you have any tips for moving house? Share yours in the comments.