Packing and moving is usually a cause for stress for many homeowners.
It’s a lot of work. I can be expensive if you hire movers or a moving van. And it may be a new city, state, or even country.
The unknown is hard for many, but you can focus on the known by following these tips for packing and moving. Trust the process and embrace the adventure.
Break it down into steps and focus on one at a time.
Step 1: Preparation
Start preparing around 6-8 weeks before your move, depending on how big your move is or how much stuff you have.
Gradually collect boxes from shipments, friends, family, and local businesses.
Declutter and donate everything that you absolutely don’t need or want in your new space. This is a great time to clear space for new memories. And it will make moving easier on you.
You may want to consider renting a storage container in the area (if it’s close enough) you’re moving and making gradual moves with items you don’t need day-to-day.
Schedule your power, phone, cable, and internet shut-off for the day you move out. And likewise, make sure you have all these utilities in your new location scheduled to turn on when you move in.
Change your address and have your mail forwarded to your new address about a week before you move.You’ll also want to notify important institutions, such as your health insurance and bank, of your new address.
If you’re hiring movers, make sure you get your reservation early. Same with renting a van or truck. It’s very unlikely moving companies will have openings the week of your move. A good rule of thumb is 2-4 weeks out. Remember to research companies and gather quotes before making a decision.
It’s usually better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Step 2: Packing
You’ll want your boxes, moving tape, wrap, cushioning, covers, dollies, and anything you need for moving all together. Moving places will have these for sale, but you may be able to find them elsewhere for cheaper.
Keep things organized. If you unscrew or take something apart, put small parts in ziplock bags and staple them to the furniture. Write what a moving box holds on the outside of the box or color-code them for easy unpacking.
Use what you have. Put TVs, dishes, and electronics in their original boxes if you have them. Blankets, sheets, and pillows can work as easy padding. Saran wrap silverware trays and furniture with drawers. It also helps to keep clothes on hangers. Use laundry baskets and suitcases as easy-to-use “boxes;” fill pots with seasonings and food you’re taking with you. They’re taking up space anyways, might as well fill them.
Vacuum wrap items with a lot of volume, such as blankets and clothes, to condense them and make more space.
Step 3: Last-Minute Move List
There are a few things you have to do the last few days of moving. And they’re easy to forget. So write a list a week before. Go through them before you leave.
Here are a few things you might need to remember:
- Clean your home as well as you would like your new home to be cleaned when you move in
- Clean out and defrost the refrigerator if you’re moving it with you (or clean it before you move because it is courteous)
- Empty gas out of tools such as lawn mowers and weed whackers
- Get help from family or friends with watching cats or kids during your move
- You may want to clean your new home or hire professional cleaners to clean it before you move in. Or you could negotiate this when you sell your home. Either way, prepare for it, because you’ll want this new home to be clean and comfortable to move into
- Take pictures of both homes as proof of what condition they are in when you move in and out
Step 4: The Move
Pack your moving vehicle tightly. It’s kind of like playing a game of tetris. You don’t want loose items rattling around and breaking while you travel. And you don’t want any drawers opening either. Use extra blankets and pillows as padding.
Pack your moving vehicle correctly. Yes, there’s a safe and correct way to pack your moving truck. Note the diagram below.
Pack your car well too. Your car has plenty of space for essentials, clothes and toiletries for when you first move in, and any other smaller boxes or pet crates. Plan your trip so that you arrive at your new house prepared. If you arrive during the day, you may have time to do some unpacking. If you arrive at night, you’ll probably just want to order in dinner and spread out some camping mattresses on the floor for the night.
Know how to drive your moving truck safely. You may have to take things slower than you usually do since you don’t usually drive a big moving truck around.
Step 5: Moving In
Remember to schedule moving in around the time you have to return your moving rental, so that you don’t get any late fees. Leave plenty of time for you to get the job done. If you weren’t able to get cleaning done before moving, you may want to consider this in your rental time so you can do so if you wish.
Put the boxes you’ve titled or color-coded in the correct rooms in an organized manner. That way you’re getting the truck unloaded quickly but everything is where it should be.
Unpack your essentials first and some of your comfort items. Obviously you want what you need unpacked, but you also want to be happy and feel good in this new space. So a little bit of luxury is ok and even needed at this stage.
Take a room at a time. And it’s even better if you have family or friends who could come with you to help you unpack and move heavier things together.
**If you hired movers, you have less to think or worry about. Professional moving and packing help would really just require you mark boxes and give instructions on fragile and valuable items. It depends on the company you go with. Make sure, if you go with professional moving and packing help, that you get several quotes and go with a reputable company with insurance and great reviews.**