Moving can be the greatest experience you’ll ever have. Here are some tips to make your move easier! Maybe you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a larger home for a growing family. There are a lot of positive and wonderful things that come with finding a new house and the excitement of starting your life in a new space. Moving to Alaska was probably one of the best experiences of my life. We moved to a place that we fell in love with almost immediately. It almost felt magical here for the first little while and in a way it still does. I walk down my street to get my mail and I’m sometimes filled with immense happiness because I live somewhere that I absolutely love. With all that said, moving here was probably the hardest and most stressful thing we’ve ever done. I think we can all agree that finding a new home is joyous and great, but the actual move is almost like torture. It is so stressful! I don’t think it matters if you’re moving 30 miles away or 3,000. Moving is rough. This is a list of some packing tips that I’ve learned along the way. That will hopefully help you ease a little of that stress so you can get moved in and start feeling that joy that comes with having a new home faster!
30 tips to make your move easier
Start with a list!
Create a step-by-step timeline with everything you need to get done and add it to a binder with all the info for your move. Stay organized to make everything run as smoothly as possible.
Declutter and have a yard sale
Before you start packing for a move go through your house room by room and declutter. In each room have a box (or two or three) for items that you don’t need anymore or that you don’t want to bother moving. Throw a yard sale and price your items to move! You can earn a little money for the move and get rid of junk to make your move easier at the same time. Don’t forget to donate all items that didn’t sell at the end of your yard sale. Don’t bring them back into the house. Find tips for having a yard sale here.
Start getting moving boxes right away
Start collecting moving boxes two to three months before you move. It might sound premature, but having a good stock pile of moving boxes will save you money as the move gets closer and it will save you some time as you can start packing holiday items and other things you won’t need for a long time. If you wait to get boxes you may have to purchase pricey boxes just so you have them.
Find cheap (or free!) moving boxes
There are some pricey things about moving, but moving boxes don’t have to be. They certainly can be pricey, but if you plan ahead you can get some good deals. As long as the boxes haven’t gotten wet at some time, reused boxes are still strong and will make it through another move with no issues. There are a few different boxes that I DO buy, I will talk about those later, for everything else try this: First, check craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups for people that are getting rid of moving boxes. Most of the time people will give them away for free and sometimes they sell them for super cheap. Next, call your favorite retail stores and ask about their shipment boxes. A lot of times the store will empty the shipment boxes and break them down and recycle them. If you call and ask for them sometimes they will put them aside so you can come get them. A lot of times it saves them a trip to the dumpster. Not all stores have shipment boxes and not all stores will give them to you, but it doesn’t hurt to check. I get all of my moving boxes from a shoe store and I’ve never had a problem with the boxes.
Use the right size of box
Pack heavy items, fragile items, and books in smaller boxes. Books get heavy fast and you might not realize that you can’t lift the box until you’re done piling all of the books inside. Make things easier for yourself, your movers and/or friends that are helping you move by packing heavy items lightly.
Use rolling luggage for books
If you’re all out of small boxes, use luggage with wheels for books. It makes them a little easier to transport. While we’re on the subject, use all of your luggage for packing. Fill all the empty space when packing.
Use a bin to keep moving supplies organized and handy
Keep an organizing bin full of moving supplies like permanent markers, box cutters, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc. Move it around with you from room to room as you fill boxes. Believe me things can get a little crazy as you’re packing for a move and it can get easy to lose things. Not having a permanent marker when you need one can really slow you down and be super frustrating.
Label the top and side of each box
Labeling your boxes can make things so much easier for you when you move into your new place and it makes things easier for your movers. Label the top and the side of the box so you can see where each box goes even when the boxes are stacked on top of each other. Label with the room it belongs in and what is in the box. When you get to your new place you will know which room to take each box, which will save you time and a lot of backache once you’re unpacking.
Anything you can pack ahead of time will save you tons of time down the road. Think of things that you typically keep in a storage room and pack those first. Holiday decorations, boxes of photos, books, movies, artwork, collectables, seasonal clothing etc. Remember to go through these items and purge or sell anything that you don’t use anymore.
Give each child their own box for toys
How many toys you decide to move is totally up to you, but when we moved we knew we wouldn’t have space for a ton of toys so we gave each kid one plastic bin for their toys. They got to choose which toys to move, but once the box was full that was it. They were a little less devastated when they were in charge of what they kept. Be sensitive with your children, a move is a big deal and can bring a lot of stress and anxiety, so if your children are having a tough time getting rid of toys, be kind. See what you can fit and see what they can absolutely live without.
Kids sell their toys at yard sale or online
We let our kids keep the money they made selling their toys at our yard sales and they used that money to choose a new toy or two when we moved and settled into our new house. This helped with the sting of leaving so many toys behind. They also thought it was pretty fun.
Take pictures with toys
When we moved our kids had one of those enormous bears from Costco. They loved the bear, but there was no way we were going to be able to fit it in our small trailer we were moving to Alaska, so we had to sell it. We took pictures of them snuggling the bear and playing with the bear before we moved and that helped a little. I have pictures of my kids with many of the other toys we had to sell or donate and that really seemed to help.
Use packing tape
It might be tempting to use duct tape to close the moving boxes. There are a lot of bright colors and duct tape is awesome, but use packing tape. Not only is it cheaper, but it works really well with moving boxes. The one and only time I used duct tape on my boxes was when I was moving to college. All of my boxes were in the back of my dad’s truck and we were on our way when all the tape came undone and half my belongings ended up on the freeway. Use packing tape.
Have enough boxes for last minute packing
Make sure you put some boxes aside for any last minute packing like cleaning supplies, comforters and clothes.
Pack an overnight bag
Pack a bag with your cosmetics, toiletries, medications, shampoo and a few changes of clothes and live out of the bag a few days before you move. It will make it easier when you’re completely packed and ready to go and you can grab the bag and be on your way.
Pack 1st night essentials in a clear plastic bin
When you finally get to your new home it will be a little overwhelming having a house full of boxes. Easily find things you will need for your first night in your new home by packing it in a clear plastic bin. Some ideas of what you might need would be: bedding, work clothes, pet supplies and food, paper plates and cups, laundry soap and dryer sheets, shampoo and soap, toilet paper, snacks, games for the kids, box cutter and tools for assembling furniture.
Make some freezer meals
You can either make your own freezer meals or buy some of your favorite frozen dinners. Have these on hand for the week or two before you move when you have so much going on it’s hard to plan a dinner. If you’re like me, you might end up eating out way more than you would like and having something quick to throw together from the freezer that is not fast food is always welcome!
Don’t buy more groceries the month of your move
Try to eat what you have on hand. You may need to buy a loaf of bread or some milk, but try to use up what you have in your pantry and fridge. It will end up going bad and have to be tossed when it comes time for the move, so use it now!
Donate unused canned goods to the food pantry
Whatever canned goods you don’t end up using before the move can be donated to your local food pantry. They always welcome donations and would love anything you can give. You might have neighbors and friends that could use your half used bag of sugar or flour or anything else you might be tempted to throw away. We had a neighborhood Facebook group in my old neighborhood and I posted a picture of all my half used food and asked if anyone was interested and it was gone within 30 minutes. Try not to just toss good food out!
Switch to paper goods a week before the move
Simplify your life and use paper plates and cups. It will make it easier to pack up your kitchen if you have something disposable and you won’t be left with more work with dishes each day. It’s also nice to have a few disposable cooking pans to use for dinners.
Keep important documents close
Get a mobile file box to keep all your important papers in so you have them in a handy spot when you move. Things you might want to consider keeping in the box would be social security cards, birth certificates, children’s immunization records, school records, banking documents, insurance cards and information, vehicle registration papers, etc.
Vacuum pack seasonal clothes
If you have a vacuum sealer available save some space by vacuum packing seasonal clothes or extra baby and children’s clothes that you’re hanging on to. It will save a ton of space and you can keep everything vacuum packed in storage when you get to your new house.
Use towels, small blankets and clothes to cushion valuables
Instead of bubble wrap I use towels and small blankets and sometimes even clothes to cushion valuables. We wrapped our computer, picture frames and some of our small kitchen appliances in towels. It works like a charm.
Protect furniture with blankets
Place blankets or towels over furniture to keep it from getting scratched up or dirty in the moving truck. If they’re covered and protected you can stack other items on top without damaging them.
Padding in garbage bags to fill space in truck
Okay, this is my last tip using blankets. This is a good one for blankets that you don’t necessarily want used on top of furniture. Place blankets, pillows and even stuffed animals in garbage bags to help fill up empty space in the moving truck. This will help keep boxes and furniture from shifting too much and will actually allow you to fit more items in your truck. This might also be a good compromise for kids who are having a hard time saying goodbye to all their toys. Keep some of their stuffies for cushion.
Use socks to cushion cups, mugs and shot glasses
I hope I’m not the only one who has a massive bin of matchless socks. I always do and it irritates me to no end, but on moving day don’t toss the socks just yet. Use them inside cups and mugs as cushion or even put the cup inside the sock and stuff the rest of the sock inside the cup for cushion. It might sound gross, but you’re probably going to wash all your dishes again once you get to your new house anyway. Plus you can just throw the socks away as you unload the boxes. I’ve even used socks for little trinkets and treasures. They work just like bubble wrap and you already have them in your house.
Protect mattresses with fitted sheets
Put a fitted sheet on the back and front of your mattresses when moving to keep them clean. It’s an easy way to also move all your extras in your linen closet without using an extra box.
Take pictures of your furniture before taking them apart
If you’re taking apart furniture take pictures of how everything fits together before you disassemble. Maybe even a few pictures as you take it apart. If you still happen to have the instructions for the furniture take pictures of the instructions so you have them ready and easily available when it’s time to put it together.
Keep furniture parts in resealable baggies
Keep all the nuts and screws and parts to the furniture in a resealable baggie and then label the bag and tape it to one of the pieces of the furniture. These baggies full of parts can also be kept in your mobile file box.
Plastic wrap around plastic drawers
If you have any plastic drawers in your house save time and wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap and move it as is. The plastic wrap will keep the drawers from opening. It’s like everything is packed in it’s own box that you won’t have to unload when you get to your new place.
Use CORT Furniture Rental to design your house
Every house is a little different so when you settle into a new home you may find yourself with more space than you’re used to, a smaller house or a completely different house layout. It is hard to decide right away what is going to work or look best in your new home. CORT Furniture Rental makes it convenient to fill your new home with furniture and they make it stress and hassle free for you by delivering it right to your door. CORT makes it easy to get the look you are going for because you can rent furniture for every room in your new home. It takes a lot of money to get a house looking pretty after a move and with CORT you can have every room set up and ready to go right away. Then when you are finished with the furniture you don’t have to feel guilty for getting rid of it or worry about selling it.