Tips for Making a Move Easy and Organized

While the thought of moving into a new home may be exciting, just thinking about preparing for the move can make any person anxious. As you get closer and closer to moving day, do you already feel tired of all the work you have to do to move? Moving has the most extended list of to-dos, and it’s no wonder that it sits high on the list of life’s most significant stressors – especially if you’ve lived in your current house for a while and gathered a lot of stuff. Anyone who has ever moved once knows the process can be tiring and stressful.

Luckily, this process can be made easy and organized by following these steps:

1. Prepare early.

Moving takes a lot of work – no tip or advice can help make it effortless. But you can make it a little less stressful and strenuous if you prepare and organize ahead of your moving day. Often, people are quick to blame the movers when things go wrong, but while there are times that this is justified, not all moving stressors are made by the movers. Leaving everything ’til the last minute can make moving a complete nightmare for you, your family, and the people you hire to transport your stuff.

Don’t do all the decluttering and packing until a few days before – you’ll make it hard for yourself. Eliminate moving stresses by preparing in phases. Two to four weeks before packing, start the purging process. Identify the items that you won’t bring with you to your new house. Among the things you want to purge, decide what you want to throw away, donate, give to family or friends, or sell. Make a list of them, too – including what goes where or to whom, so you can assign that task to another family member and move on to other moving tasks yourself.

Once you eliminated the things that you are not going to bring along to your new house, you can start packing your belongings. You can start weeks from your moving day, starting with items you are not using every day. If you get too eager to pack, you may end up living out of boxes for some time. Depending on the size of your house, five to seven days must be enough time to pack once the purging process is already done.

2. Be realistic.

While no two moves are the same, the challenges are pretty much the same. Things may not go (and probably always never do) exactly as planned. Emotions can get in the way. You may go over the budget, and the schedules of the people you expect to help may change. Plan your move with an open mind and remain as objective as possible throughout the process. This will help you let go of things that don’t really have a purpose, and you’ve probably never going to use them again, but only keeping them for the memories.

Give yourself more time – you would also need time to rest, so factor that in your schedule. Create a hard deadline and work backward, and be ready to modify any existing moving checklists. Get estimates, and allow for more room for unexpected expenses when you create a budget. Factor in unexpected circumstances and have a plan B if you can.

3. Break down a to-do list.

Creating and maintaining a to-do list is very helpful in tracking everything that needs to get done. It’s the way to keep yourself organized and avoid forgetting things. A to-do list for a move should be comprehensive, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Keep it manageable by breaking it down into sub-lists.

For example, you can list the main errand as “Pack kitchen items” and break down things like “Bubble wrap plates and glassware,” “Fold together tablecloths,” “Stack up food containers and lids.” Under “Set up utilities,” you can break down things to do like “Call Spectrum to transfer Internet service.” You get the gist.

Make your to-do list actionable and keep them specific by starting it with a verb. For example, “Buy packing tape” is better than just listing “Supplies.” Because you have lots of things to do, you might forget what “supplies” is all about. Help your future self by being specific with your list. This way, you can also get the help of other family members more easily without them going back to you, again and again, to explain what to do.

Here’s a sample moving to-do list categories:

  • Areas to declutter (bedroom, kitchen, living room, attic, under the stairs, etc.)
  • Items to sell or give away
  • Supplies to buy
  • Services to hire (Cleaners, movers, vehicle rentals)
  • Utilities to set up, cancel, or transfer (electricity, internet, cable, etc.)
  • Items to pack
  • To do before the day of the move
  • To do on the day of the move
  • To do after moving
  • Cleaning

4. Use helpful apps.

Utilize the power of technology to make your move an easier, more organized, and smoother experience. Since we are already wired to our smartphones, why not use them to help our move-related tasks? This way, it would also be easier for your other family members to be on track with the progress, so they can help easier without needing you to go back to the notepad where you have a list. Here are some apps that you can consider downloading:

List keeping apps:

  • Trello
  • Google tasks
  • Evernote
  • Todoist
  • Wunderlist

Packing and organizing app:

  • Sortly

Moving services apps:

  • TaskRabbit
  • Thumbtack
  • Parking app:
  • ParkMobile

Selling apps:

  • Nextdoor
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • OfferUp
  • Craigslist
  • eBay

5. Declutter thoroughly.

We’re going to repeat it again: purge. It’s important to declutter so you don’t bring that extra stuff into your new house, where it will most likely pile up and gather dust. Move room by room, storage by storage, and leave no stone unturned. Look in every drawer, cabinet, and closet and consider the items that fall into at least one of these categories: you still use it, love it, or have strong sentimental value. Even the little storage boxes that you keep for jewelry, pens, crafts supplies, sewing supplies, accessories, and other sundries – inspect them and see if you’re keeping any trash and other items you won’t use anymore. Pack the things you want to save and group the rest in buckets or bins to give away, sell, or throw away.

6. Label smartly.

Create a system to keep track of all your items so you don’t get to your new home and realize you can’t find something you need to use and have to open all the boxes just to find that one thing. During a move, labels are your best friend. Label the contents of each box along with a number and what room they belong, and keep a corresponding checklist for reference. For boxes of clothes, you don’t have to make a checklist for everything, though. You can label “Bedroom: Baby clothes” or “Master’s bedroom: Dad’s work shirts.”

Many expert movers also suggest color-coding your boxes by printing off multi-colored labels or using different colored masking tape to assign each room its own color.

7. Don’t skimp on packing material.

It’s tempting to just go to your local grocery store and ask for some cardboard boxes for free. However, grocery boxes and reused moving boxes can be compromised due to moisture and wear, or worse, a bug infestation. You don’t want a box to fall apart in your hand while you’re moving, so invest in quality moving boxes. They are relatively inexpensive, and the added durability can be worth the cost in the end. Also, buy lots of packing tape (color-coded if you want to be more organized), labels, plastic wrap, and bubble wrap.

Don’t forget to bring lots of scissors and box cutters with you, and keep them in your tote that you will bring (and not a box), because you will need them for unpacking at your new home. You don’t want to arrive at your new home with all your boxes and have nothing to use to open them.

8. Pack your items properly.

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, decluttered, and sorted out stuff, it’s time to pack your items. Here are some tips to make moving easier:

  • Create a designated “do not move or pack” area for items that belong to your house.
  • Sort items by room, then by size.
  • Back up your computer.
  • Use the right size of boxes. Place heavy items like books in smaller boxes where they can all fit in and lighter items like stuffed toys in larger boxes.
  • Pack the items you rarely use but don’t want to donate or throw away.
  • Label the boxes on the side and not on the top.
  • If you need to pack items that need to be disassembled or connected to each other, take pictures of them first so you can have a reference once you need to put it back together again. When packing up electronics, take a photo of the back configuration so you would remember which cord goes where. Put the screws and bolts into small plastic bags, and tape them to the back of the furniture or appliance.
  • For clothes in hangers, slide them directly to garbage bags and seal. You don’t need to remove them from their hangers only to bring them back to hang on your new closet at your new home.
  • Stack the items by weight – the heaviest ones should be at the bottom.
  • Wrap fragile items such as plates and glasses with bubble wrap, newspaper, or even dish towels and tablecloths. Ceramics, china, and crystals need to be carefully packed with lots of padding. Pack fragile items in smaller boxes. Highlight “fragile” on the label so that movers would give extra care while carrying them.
  • Use plastic wrap to avoid leaks. Anything that has the potential to spills, like shampoo bottles and liquids, must be plastic wrapped, even if they seem tightly sealed. Also, keep all toiletries and liquids in separate boxes from dry items.
  • If your necklaces and other jewelry are on display and not on a jewelry box, keep the chains from tangling up by placing them through straws. Use a plastic pill case with small divisions to transport your extra small jewelry like earrings and rings.
  • Don’t leave empty spaces inboxes. Fill in any gaps with packing paper, fabric materials (clothing, beddings, jackets, tablecloths, etc.) or foam peanuts to prevent items from shifting around while it’s being moved.
  • Tape the bottom and top seams and around the edges of the boxes well. If you experience ordering a boxed product online, take a cue from them on how they wrap and tape the items so they won’t break or get damaged during shipping.
  • Clothes can take a lot of space, and they can take up most of the moving truck if you’re not careful. To help take up little space as possible, use vacuum sealing for your clothes. Roll some of your clothes instead of folding to save space.

9. Use household items as packing materials.

Repurpose the things you have – hampers, suitcases, laundry bins – for storing some of your clothes and household items. Rather than leave a big space as you bring them to your new home, use them to lessen the things you need to box up.

10. Don’t overpack a box.

One mistake people make when moving is cramming everything in the few cardboard boxes they have around the house. Use as many boxes as you need to create easy-to-lift loads and make unpacking and organizing easier when you get to your new home. Keep your largest boxes to contain no more than 50 pounds of load.

11. Pack by room.

The process of packing and unpacking will be a lot easier if you pack room-by-room. Make sure that each box contains items only from one room. Even if a box has extra space, avoid adding additional items from another part of the house. Then, within each room, you may also want to pack groups of items like pots and pans, books, clothes, or glasses into their own boxes.

12. Pack an overnight bag.

When you first move into your new home, it’s unlikely that the first thing you’re going to want to do is to unpack your clothes for the next day, do grocery shopping, find your toothbrush, and un-tape the shampoo and lotion bottles you brought. Moving can take a lot of your energy, so make sure you pack an overnight bag with essentials you will need before fully unpacking, like clothes, towels, beddings, toiletries, electronics, and chargers.

13. Move your valuables.

Keeping your most valuable possessions safe is essential for a stress-free move. The best way to move your valuables (important documents, jewelry, laptops, iPads, cash, etc.) is to do it yourself. Store them in a safe deposit box, a backpack, or luggage that you would bring yourself on the day of the move. You don’t want to be in a situation where your valuables would get damaged or lost.

14. Know what not to pack with other household items.

Some things can be hazardous during the moving process, so it’s best to move them separately or dispose of them before moving. Painting equipment, cleaning chemicals, and tools must be packed together in labeled boxes. You may also need to use plastic totes to prevent messy or dangerous leaks. These items must be packed separately:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Ammonia
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Bottles of cleaning solutions
  • Auto batteries
  • Chlorine granules

15. Set up your new house in advance.

While you’re busy packing up and getting your stuff ready for the move, make sure that your new home is set up and ready to accommodate you. Here are some things to prepare so your new home can be ready for settling in:

  • Home insurance for your new house
  • Utilities like Internet connection, water, and electricity
  • Spare keys

It also helps if you can compare your home phone, cable, internet, and security system offers and reevaluate things for your new home. Also, make sure to update your address in advance.

16. Organize parking.

The day before your move, make sure a parking spot for the moving truck at your new and current home is secured. This can be done in several ways, like recruiting your family or friends to park their cars in front of your place on the day of the move to reserve the spot. The closer your moving truck is to your place, the less moving costs and the less effort it will take to move.

17. Set a timeframe for unpacking.

After you’ve already brought all your stuff into your new home, take it all in and unpack on your own timeframe. We recommend you to get started immediately, but work at your own pace and what works best for you. Since moving is exhausting both physically and emotionally, you can take some time to breathe, rest, and order up some food on your first night at the house. Take a minute to enjoy your milestone moment and celebrate the fresh start with your family. You can do the unpacking the next day, as long as you’ve got an overnight bag prepared and loaded with all things you need to make you comfortable sleeping and waking up the next day.

Before unpacking, give yourself a realistic goal and try to hold yourself accountable. Whether it’s the whole house in a week, or one to two rooms per day, setting a timeframe will help you stay focused and motivated on your goal.

18. Make some organizing plans.

Once you’re unpacked, and the boxes are gone, plan an organization strategy. Start by taking the dimensions of the space you want to organize so you can shop for product supplies that can take advantage of every height, width, and depth of your space. Buy a few different options to see what works best and some extra in case they are needed. You can always return anything left over or use them in another place in the house.