It’s officially November, and that means we move this month!
Can you even believe it? I can’t. I’m still not sure I believe it’s really happening. But, we’ve already closed on this house (we’re doing a leaseback until we’re settled in the new place) so things are decidedly very real and very much happening.
At least, I hope so. Because if not, we’re going to be homeless in a few weeks.
One thing I’ve learned as we’ve gone through this process so far is that I know absolutely nothing about moving. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve taken to Instagram Stories or my email newsletter to ask you guys what in the world I’m doing, and you’ve given me so much great advice – I don’t know how I would have done this without you!
I thought I’d put together a quick roundup of some of the moving packing tips and tricks that have been the most helpful to me (or that I anticipate will be the most helpful – we haven’t actually moved yet!). The prospect of packing up and moving your entire life can be so intimidating – every little bit helps!
Oh, and if you’re prepping to move and have missed any of the posts in my series on moving, here’s a quick list:
- 4-Week Decluttering Challenge
- 7 Things to do Before Listing Your House
- How to Stage Your Home
- 6-Week Moving Checklist
20 Moving Packing Tips & Tricks to Keep You Organized
- Purge your home before you pack! I’ve harped on this a lot lately, but it bears repeating because it’s mega-important. Before you even start packing, clear out your home of any unwanted items, clutter, or furniture that won’t work in your new home. You don’t want to have to deal with moving things you don’t plan on keeping, and purging now will make the moving process easier. If you need help, I did a 4-week challenge to help me purge my house before our move – you can take the challenge too!
- Use different colored tape (or markers) for each room. We didn’t do this because I’m cheap and tape is expensive, but it really is a genius idea. Have a list of what color corresponds with each room (blue is for the kitchen, yellow is the master bedroom, etc.) and post it on the front door, or have a piece of paper on each door with the color for the room on it. Then, whoever is helping you move can quickly and easily move the right boxes into the right rooms without constantly double checking what goes where.
- Use trash bags to pack your clothing. This is a technique I started doing when I was moving in college, and lately I’ve seen it all over Pinterest as some sort of revolutionary idea. It’s actually really simple – don’t bother taking your clothes off the hangers or putting them in boxes. Just grab a trash bag and flip it upside down, rip a small hole in the bottom and push the hangers through the hole. Pull the bag down over your clothes and tie it off. I can usually manage 10-15 shirts or so per bag, and it’s such a quick and easy way to pack – and unpack – your clothing.
- Use a utility knife to cut handles in your boxes. They can be hard to lift off the ground when there aren’t any handles – but if you grab a small knife and cut a small, triangular-shaped hole on either side, you’ve got easy handles that’ll make lifting the boxes a little simpler.
- Don’t forget to defrost your refrigerator a day or two before moving. If you wait until the day of the move and just unplug it, you may end up with a wet mess. Instead, try to eat as much as you can, grab an ice chest for the stuff you want to bring with you, and thoroughly defrost and clean your fridge before you move.
- Put some tape on your mirrors. It won’t necessarily prevent breakage, but it can prevent a giant mess if the mirror does break. A simple X-shape with some painter’s tape will go a long way to keeping shards of glass off of all your stuff.
- Use your luggage! Don’t let your bulky luggage be a total space waster during the move. Rolling luggage is great for heavy items (think books!), and that’s one less box you have to use. Pack those suitcases as full as you can before you load ’em up.
- Pack a “Night One” box! Pack a special box with all of the essentials you might need for the first night – paper plates and cups, toilet paper, a few snacks, toiletries, pet supplies, bedding, etc. Mark it with some special tape or paper so it’s easy to find, and make sure it’s the first thing you unpack. This way, you don’t have to stress about trying to track things down on that first night, and you’ll avoid a zillion trips to the store for essentials.
- You’ll also want a “last week” bag. We did this when we moved here from our duplex and it was a lifesaver – when we got to the last 5 or 6 days living in our house, I packed a suitcase full of all of the personal things we’d need over the next week. (clothing, medications, etc.) and then I was able to freely pack the rest of the house. It meant I didn’t need to worry about saving clothes to wear when we packed, and we were able to finish packing everything else in the house that week. Our bag was mostly clothing and toiletries, and when we got to the new house it was easy to just take all of those (now dirty) clothes and toss ’em in the washer. Don’t forget a pair of pajamas for the first night in the new house, and an outfit for the following day!
- If your move isn’t very far or complicated, don’t unpack your drawers! Just grab a box of plastic wrap and thoroughly wrap the drawers (this also applies to silverware organizers!) so nothing moves around, and toss ’em in the truck. It’s faster, will save a few boxes, and makes for one less thing to unpack when you get there.
- Use towels and blankets to protect breakables. Yes, packing paper and newspaper is useful, but why not use what you’ve got? Instead of just packing towels up in their own box, use them to wrap around decor and dishes that might break in the move. They’re going to protect things a little better than plain ol’ paper will, and that’s one less box you need to pack for towels.
- Be sure to mark which boxes are essential and which ones aren’t. The last thing you want to deal with as you’re getting settled into the new house is searching through every box to find the things that might be important. All of the boxes that I packed weeks in advance got labeled “non-essential” so I know that I won’t have to rush to get them opened. I also made sure to make which boxes were essential so I could tackle those first. The boxes that didn’t get marked either way will fall somewhere in the middle – I don’t have to unpack them right away, but I should get to it sooner rather than later.
- Set up a grocery delivery for the first night. You’re not going to want to deal with going to the grocery store on the first night in your new home, but you’re also not going to want to be constantly eating out. Go ahead and set up a grocery delivery for the first night (or the next morning) in your new home – get some basics for the first few meals in the house until you’re settled and ready to do a real grocery shopping trip.
- If it’s in the budget, hire a cleaner. I had originally planned on doing the final cleaning of our house myself – after all, I clean my house all the time and why would I spend more money than necessary? But, as I got started packing and planning and thinking about all of the logistics that go along with moving I quickly realized that I would be able to take a lot of stress off of myself by planning on having someone come out to clean the house for us. So, once we’ve got everything out of the house we’ll have someone come in and do a nice, deep clean before the new owners move in. Sometimes you have to consider the cost of your time and sanity, and not just the money!
- Stick to mostly smaller boxes. When you’ve got large boxes, they can become really heavy really quickly. If you want to save yourselves and your helpers a bit of backache on the day of the move, try to stick to smaller boxes. There will be more boxes to move, but they’ll be a lot easier to lift when you’re reaching the end of the day and feeling totally exhausted!
- Speaking of boxes – liquor stores are your best friend! I asked for recommendations on Instagram for the best place to get free boxes, and literally almost every single person that responded mentioned liquor stores, and y’all weren’t wrong! I quickly learned that the liquor store right down the street from our house got new shipments in all the time and were thrilled to have me come in and take the boxes off their hands. They’re perfectly sized, and most of them even come with dividers, which makes packing glasses and other small breakables really easy!
- On moving day, be sure to have some water and snacks on hand. I’m going to plan on hitting up the grocery store the day before we move to grab some waters, sodas, and snacks for anyone who is helping us move. You’re not going to want to stop and deal with tracking down food as you’re moving, and people may just want to grab something small. Pack them in your car (not the moving truck!) so you know exactly where they are.
- Think outside the box. Trash cans, your slow cooker, your laundry basket, and anything with some storage space in it can be used to move things without having to use up a box. Toss small things in there (for example, spices fit great in a slow cooker) and save a bit of room.
- Don’t forget to tape up anything that might spill. No explanation needed here – you don’t want to deal with a sticky mess when you get to the new house.
- About a month out, make a quick schedule to help you know what to pack when. I divided a sheet of paper into four equal sections, one for each week leading up to the move. Then, I listed out every single room and category that needed to be packed and assigned each thing to a different week. It kept me on track as we were getting closer to the move, and it helped ease my fears that I’d put something off to the last minute that should have been taken care of sooner.
Whew. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot so far as we’ve prepared for this move! We have moved before, but it’s always been on a much smaller scale – this is the first time we’ve moving from a house to another house, and holy cow you just don’t realize how much junk you have until you have to pack it all up!
We’ve still got a couple of weeks left before the big move, so I’m still completely and totally open to any moving suggestions you’ve got for me! You guys have been so helpful during this move, and I’m pretty sure I would have been a total mess without you.
What are your best moving tips and tricks?