Moving into a new place can be so exciting! And… maybe a little bit daunting…
But don’t worry – you’ve got this! I’ve done plenty of moving (7 times and counting!) and I can tell you, moving doesn’t have to be a mess! Here are some of the my tips on how to make your next move simple and fun!
#1 Get started early!
Moving almost always takes longer than expected. Between losing your keys, getting stuck in traffic, and finding out you had twice as much stuff as you thought, it can end up taking two or three times as long as you expected – and that’s just to pack!
Maybe your case isn’t so extreme, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by underbudgeting on time. My advise is to get started way earlier than you think you need to, and do it a little at a time. That way you never have to worry about rushing through the process. See? Feels less stressful already. You could even stop for a cup of tea if you like.
#2 Consider a moving budget
Will you be using a moving service? If so, you’ll need to shop around to find a trustworthy company for a good price. What about renting a van? Buying boxes? Renting a dolly? Will you want to have moving insurance? These are all things to include in a moving budget so that you don’t end up overspending and stressing about the numbers.
Of course, you don’t have spend tons of money to move, check out my post on moving cheaply for more how to save money when you move.
#3 Call the utility companies first thing
This step can be so easy to overlook – especially for first-time movers. Getting this done early in the process can get it out of the way, and prevent you from forgetting to do it later on.
#4 De-clutter before you even start packing
Before you start putting things in boxes, think about what you might not need anymore… that broken blender? Yeah, throw that out. What about that old box of who-knows-what sitting on the top shelf in your guest closet behind all the stuff you actually use? Just a guess here, but maybe you don’t need to keep it.
The more you can get rid of, the less you’ll have to move! That means less time spent packing and unpacking, less money spent on those extra boxes, less storage space needed in whatever vehicle you use to transport your stuff, and less gas on all those back and forth trips! That’s a win, win, win, win!
#5 Take photos of your stuff before packing
This step is especially important if you’re hiring movers, or having someone help you move. This way, if something goes missing, you can (1) provide a picture of what to look for (2) prove that it existed and was actually yours (3) have something to show the insurance company – if you are using moving insurance.
Unfortunately small items can easily be misplaced in a move, and even more unfortunately, I’ve heard some sad stories of bad apple moving companies “losing” a lot of expensive or heirloom items in big moves. Don’t let it happen to you!
#6 Make sure you only use quality boxes!
This is a simple one but can save you a lot of headache. When you choose your packing supplies, go for sturdy, higher quality boxes that close all the way around. Otherwise you risk having your stuff fall out the sides, or weak carboard giving way as you’re carrying it down the driveway – No Bueno.
#7 Pack strategically
This tip might be my favorite, and it might seem obvious but if you’re in a rush, it’s easy to neglect. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this one!
Try to think ahead to what you will need when you get to your new home. Toiletries? Chargers? Towels? Pillows and Blankets? Put whatever you’ll need on that first night, before all the unpacking is done in a separate box (or boxes) and place in an easily accessible spot so that when you need them, you don’t have to go digging.
Having those first night essentials handy will save a ton of time and inconvenience, but why stop there? Take this strategic thinking a bit further and make sure you pack the stuff that needs to be unloaded first, closer to the door of the vehicle, or take it on your first run. Trust me, do not bring all your books and clothes in before you bring the bookshelves and the dressers. You’ll just just end up tripping all over your boxes and bags while you’re carrying heavy furniture. And that my friends, is a recipe for disaster. Definitely avoid it if you can.
#8 Labeling is key
You might be tempted to toss all your stuff in the nearest box to save time packing. But I promise it’ll save you way more time when you’re deciding what to unpack first, and sorting through all your stuff at your new place.
#9 Don’t over-pack your boxes
This is a classic. You want to be able to stack your boxes neatly and safely, without worrying about them falling over onto your expensive vase or your cat. Bulging boxes can be dangerous and messy if they burst open while you’re moving them from point A to point B. Who wants their stuff exploded all over the back of the truck? No thank you!
#10 Pack your heavy items in small boxes
Unless you’ve got the hulk helping you move (Please contact me if so – I’d love to meet him!), you probably don’t need your 18x18x24 boxes filled with only your favorite novels. Consider packing books and other heavy items in smaller boxes that you could lift yourself. Alternatively, put just a few heavy items into each large box, and fill the rest with lighter items such as pillows.
#11 Fill up all the space in each box
Don’t leave empty space between items in your boxes. This allows the contents to easily shift, move, rip, bend, tear, or break inside. Rather, for more fragile items, or in boxes with too much left over space, place socks, towels, blankets, etc. in between as makeshift packing material. Or use packing material – they make it for a reason!
#12 Save space! Don’t box everything
Some people think that when they move, everything has to go in a box, but it takes up way too much of your precious space! Some items, like clothes on hangers, for example, do very well just wrapped in plastic. When I moved to college my mom had me use the top of the hangers to poke through the bottom of large trash bags. And hey! What do you know? DIY dress bags!
#13 Pack safely
It’s important to know what household items should not be packed together. Some items can create messy spills, and should be packed very carefully, and away from other items they could potentially damage. Once, my roommate packed her nail polish without a plastic bag around it for a trip. Bye-bye favorite swim suit. It was a sad day.
#14 Track the move!
This hack was too cool not to share! One of my friends told me that when she moved across the country once, her mom put a fully charged iPad in one of the boxes in the movers truck. Then she was able to track the location of the families stuff herself! How clever!
These days you may be able to find a mover who offers digital route tracking as a complimentary service. But in case you don’t, now you know how to DIY it!
#15 Make sure the moving truck has a parking spot
You’re almost there! Don’t let the details create a hassle. Make sure there is a place available for the moving truck to park, or at least come up with a backup strategy. Planning ahead on this is key if you’re moving to a place in the city or to an apartment with limited parking. The movers will appreciate it greatly.
# 16 Flatten those boxes and store for later
Last tip is this: You probably will move more than once in your life, and now that you know what it’s like, you cans save yourself some of the hassle. Flattened boxes are so easy to store at the back of closets or in the garage, so why not store them for next time? Who knows? They may come in handy for something else in the meantime.