By following these 7 tips to prepare for a smooth move, moving day won’t be so incredibly difficult.
Moving has to be one of the more difficult situations in life. While it’s not one of the top stressors – those are reserved for situations like death, chronic illness, divorce and marital problems, or imprisonment [Source] – it’s unsettling to pack up your entire life and move it.
After moving 12 times in 18 years, I know the stress – and mess that comes with moving.
- I know what it’s like to try to pack everything in boxes – and wonder why it seems like our belongings have multiplied in boxes.
- I know what it’s like to need to clean out a new home while still moving out and cleaning up an old home.
- I know what it’s like to heft boxes down flights of stairs and cram the heavy boxes into a car/van/moving truck.
- I know what it’s like to move all of your belongings into a storage unit until you can find a new home.
- I know what it’s like to sit in a new home, surrounded by boxes, and cry because you’re just so exhausted – and you have no idea where to find what you’re looking for.
- I know what it’s like to set up new utilities and services in a brand new town and cancel the others, all the while paying deposits and activation fees.
7 Ways to Prepare for a Smooth Move
Moving is filled with headaches and hassle – there’s just no way around it.
You can prepare for a move, though, and make it a little easier. Over my moves, I’ve collected 7 tips to a smoother move.
As soon as you suspect you’re going to move, start purging your belongings. Ruthlessly go through your stuff. Sell nice belongings at a garage sale or on craigslist or eBay. Donate what you don’t sell. Throw out any and all garbage. Eat through the food in your pantry so you don’t have to bring it with you. Get rid of what you can now before you have to pack and unpack it.
Once you know you’re moving, start gathering boxes. Ask your friends. Ask at work. Go to the grocery store and find out when you can collect empty boxes. Check your local liquor store for very sturdy, rectangular boxes that are perfect for packing kitchen breakables.
Gather packaging materials
While you’re gathering boxes, gather packaging materials, too. Look for tissue paper, old newspapers, and bubble wrap.
One of my favorite ways to wrap breakables is to use T-shirts and towels that I need to pack anyway.
Stay organized in your packing
Make sure each box is packed with belongings from the same room. Don’t jumble up rooms just to squeeze things into a box … or you’ll be sorry when you’re unpacking.
Create an color-coded system
The easiest way to move is by creating a color-coded system based on the room. Assign each room a color. Then make sure every box in a room is labeled with the correct color. You can either write on the boxes with colored marker, tape on a colored piece of paper to label the box and contents, or use pieces of colored duct tape.
After making a couple moves with colored paper labels, I noticed they were easy to tear off during the middle of a move. That wasn’t what I wanted to happen. I switched to duct tape and love how it sticks on your boxes.
Cater to your level of organization
If color coding rooms is a huge step of improvement for you, stick to that method. If you’d like to be more helpful in the unpacking process, though, write a quick description of what’s in the box. It takes an extra minute but saves so much time and frustration.
Also, during your labeling efforts, be sure to clearly mark fragile boxes.
If you’re ultra organized, keep a running list of what’s packed away in boxes for each room. You can even number the boxes to keep track of them on your master list. (This is way more organized than I can manage during a move, but still a fantastic idea.)
You know you’re moving … so get packing. Start with items you know you won’t need to use for a while, and start filling boxes in any spare moment. Forget about free time – you’re moving. You need to get busy. Pack and pack and pack and watch your stack of boxes get higher and higher and higher.
By your moving day, you should only have your necessities left to pack. As long as you’re packing these belongings last, then you’ll know to take them along with you and not stick them with the rest of your boxes. That way, when you reach your new home, you’ll have your necessities separate, ready for you to use when all of the packing madness calms down. (I usually stick mine in an overnight bag and toss it in the car so I know I have it with me.)
When it’s time to finally load your moving truck, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE PACKED.
Unless you’re hiring a moving company, your movers shouldn’t be expected to pack a thing. They’re donating their valuable time. Use their willingness to actually move things … not pack up your household. (It’s called moving day and not packing day for a reason.)
By following these 7 tips to prepare for a smooth move, moving day won’t be so incredibly difficult. It may still be filled with headaches and hassles, but you’ll have a much smoother move.