You may have read on here or on Instagram that my family and I moved to a new house a few weeks ago! We only moved a couple towns over, but even if you’re moving next door, to the next town over, or across country – moves are never easy. Okay, moving is the worst!
Even though I feel like I’ve moved so many times in the last 10 years, I still hate moving and I reached out to a lot of you for some advice on your best moving tips and tricks. These tips have often times included cleaning and renovating some important extensions of the house, before moving, as a gesture of goodwill to the new occupants of the house. Either way, some of you were even so awesome as to send me like a full on email with all of your moving tips! You. Seriously. Rock!
Anyway, after having now moved for like what feels like 150th time in the past 10 years, and putting into practice some of the tips I already knew plus some of the tips you guys shared with me, I thought I would compile a list of 10 of the BEST tips that we got and that we actually used!
The Top 10 Best Tips for Making Moving Easier
*note: sorry I don’t have many great pictures to show you examples… I had already packed my DSLR camera away when we started the packing / moving process, so my iPhone was where it was at! note to self: next time, keep the DSLR out!
1. Do a huge, major, insane clean out of EVERYTHING. In advance.
We went through every single room and every single item we owned and we put it in four piles: sell, donate, trash, keep. If we hadn’t used it in over a year, we asked ourselves, “DO we actually NEED this item?” 9 times out of 10 the answer was no. So then, we decided if the item was worth selling (could we make some money off of it to help pay for moving expenses?), if not, then we donated it, and if it was in really bad shape, we took it to the dump.
This made a HUGE difference in the amount of packing we had to do and it really lightened our load. I am a bit of a sentimental pack rat and have a really hard time parting with things, but I got a lot better this time around because I just didn’t want to deal with all the STUFF.
This also really helped with de-cluttering our house for staging and putting it on the market.
2. Create a plan of action and break the packing of the house down by room.
When you think of the move as a whole it can be really overwhelming. At least it was for me… When I thought about all that we had to do and all that we had to pack, I would get anxious and not want to do it.
SO, we created a simple shared Google doc spreadsheet and we broke the whole process down by room, what needed to be packed up, how it needed to be packed (in boxes, in bags, hand-carried, etc.), and when the room would need to be completed. We also made a list of things that needed to stay unpacked until the last minute (like things you use on a daily basis such as bathroom toiletries, certain clothes, etc.).
Then, we just tackled a little bit at a time each day and it was much more manageable. I remember thinking we had WAY more to do than we actually had to do and by the time came the day before we moved, we had almost the whole house packed.
3. Keep hanging clothes ON HANGERS and pack them with large trash bags.
This was such an awesome tip that I learned… I just gathered large trash bags for our clothes and smaller bags for Lilly’s clothes, poked a hole in the bottom and put a bunch of clothes on hangers through the hole and tied them together on the bottom.
We piled those bags of clothes in my car and then when we got to the new house I was able to just carry the bags in as is, pop the hangers on the rack in the closets, remove the bags, and BOOM. Closets and clothes we hung and ready to go. It was SO easy and made that portion of packing such a piece of cake and SO much less of a headache!!
If you have storage boxes / baskets in the closets, keep those items in those, too… you can just pack the storage baskets as is!
4. Assign each room a “color” and then label each box you pack with a color dot that matches the room.
For example, “Office” was a red dot, “Master bedroom” was a green dot, “Kitchen” was a blue dot, “Nursery” was a yellow dot, “Garage” was a white dot, “Bathroom” was a black dot, etc. etc. etc.
Label EACH box with the room it needs to go to in the new house, put a color dot on it, and then when you get to the new house, put the corresponding color dots on each room. This made it SO much easier for people helping us to move boxes in the new house so they knew exactly where things were supposed to go and they didn’t have to ask every five minutes which room was which and which box needed to go where.
5. Pack paper plates in between dishes
This is a tip I did NOT use and really, REALLY, really wish I had. Packing the kitchen is pretty much the worst room of the house to pack and I was in such a hurry to just get it done that I just used newspapers and I wish I hadn’t. Everyone told me to use paper plates and paper cups to separate and pad dishes and glasses, but I was foolish and didn’t listen and a few glasses got broken in the move. Luckily that was the only damage, but I think it could have been avoided had I been more careful.
It really is such a simple tip, I don’t know why I didn’t just do it! So, learn from my mistakes, people!
6. Label things you KNOW you will need right away and keep them in easy-to-access boxes or bags!
There is nothing more frustrating than needing something and you have no idea what box it is in. Make a list of the things you know you will need right away at the new house (clothes, underwear, socks, diapers, wipes, pajamas, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) and keep those things separate. Even better, pack them in YOUR car and unload them yourself. Know where those items are at all times!
7. Pack towels and blankets in with your canvases, picture frames, and other delicate decorations.
You have to pack your towels and blankets anyway… so why not kill two birds with one stone and pack your fragile frames and decorations together WITH those towels and blankets? What I did was in a large box, I’d lay a blanket down, then a frame, then a blanket, then a canvas, then a towel, then a knickknack, and so on and so forth. This made a HUGE difference and kept my precious personal items safe!
ONE MISTAKE I DID MAKE… I also wrapped a canvas in my yoga / exercise mat thinking the yoga mat would pad and protect the canvas. Well, little did I know that the yoga mat actually got STUCK to the canvas and totally ruined it. I was heartbroken! There were pieces of yoga mat all over the canvas and they were not coming off. NOTE TO SELF: Do not pack yoga mats against anything that it could get stuck to.
Side note: The people at Canvas on Demand (the company that I originally purchased that canvas from) sent me a new canvas FOR FREE to replace the one that got damaged. They totally did NOT have to do that and just goes to show how awesome their customer service is!!
8. Use suitcases to pack dressers.
You have suitcases that need to go to the new house anyway… so, utilize them for what they are good for… packing clothes! We have four suitcases and I was able to pack ALL of my shoes, clothes from my dresser, John’s dresser, AND Lilly’s dresser in them! Made it SO much easier!
9. Accept help.
I will be the first to admit that I am TERRIBLE at accepting help. I want to give out help all the time, but when it comes down to having other people help me, I am no good. This time around, I learned to just say, “Yes, thank you, I would love your help.” And I also was not afraid to ASK for help.
My mother-in-law helped to finish packing our kitchen (my least favorite room to pack), and she and our sweet friend Kathy helped to UNPACK our kitchen at the new house. It was the biggest help to me to not even have to THINK about those things. It took a huge weight off my shoulder.
My friend Dani came over and just entertained Lilly so I could help with the movers and all that jazz. If you have a little one, I HIGHLY recommend you have someone just come entertain them, take them out somewhere, or SOMETHING… just so that way you don’t have to worry about having to watch them AND deal with the stress of orchestrating all the moving pieces of a moving day.
10. HIRE SOMEONE.
If we could have afforded it, we would have just hired a company to do the whole thing. Oh man, one day, our next move… we will do that. However, we couldn’t, SO we asked around and we hired a company to come and JUST move the heavy stuff like furniture!
The company we used ended up being kind of a nightmare customer service-wise… BUT, it was a huge help to have two big strong dudes move all the bulky things like couches, desks, dressers, and tables.
So, if you’re on a budget and you can’t afford to have a company do the whole move for you, ask them if they’ll just do the big stuff for less money. Most companies are happy to work with you on that!
And then, a lesson learned:
PAY ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE THINGS. We got rushed at the last minute and we did a poor job of packing those last minute little things and so there were about 4-5 random boxes of stuff that just had anything and everything in them. So, when it came time to try and find some of those things or unpack some of those things, it became a huge headache and area of frustration for us.
It was totally our oversight and we should have done a better job packing those last few smaller items… but inevitably, every move has one of those things that’s just a headache.
Overall, this move was the easiest move I’ve ever had and it was because we implemented most of these tips. So, I hope that these are helpful to you guys and that you are able to implement some of them yourselves the next time you have to move!
What tips did I miss that I should have included in my top tips? Any tips that surprised you? What is the biggest headache for you when you have to move?