As exciting as buying or selling a house might be, either one comes with baggage…literally.
Moving is one of life’s great chores: it’s often exciting and new and leads to a positive result, but it can also be a pain. It’s a lot of work and can come with many headaches. However, a little planning and preparation can go a long way and work in your favor for an easy move.
Here are some tips for planning ahead to help create the smoothest moving experience possible.
Purge your things
Go through your stuff. As you do—don’t be afraid to have a nice and big donation pile (as well as “sell” and “trash” piles too). Getting rid of unnecessary clutter will pay off hugely: less stuff equals fewer boxes, which equals less to move and unpack.
It also helps to do this in the beginning stages of packing so that you don’t have to run to a thrift store or meet a marketplace buyer when you’re stressed in the middle of moving day.
First, have a designated folder for all the relevant moving information. Keep address info, receipts, contracts, records, and contact information (realtors, movers, trailers) in one easily accessible spot.
Next, stay organized in your packing efforts. Pack up by room, label boxes clearly as you go, and create a clear system. If you can, write a description on each of the boxes and give a summary of what’s inside. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also create an inventory spreadsheet that tracks what items are in each box. This would be an extra helpful way to level up and help keep the move smooth.
Any organization efforts will be a huge help when unpacking and re-organizing on the other end of the move.
Before you start packing, you should make a plan for the essentials at your next home. Schedule a date for utilities (power, water, heat) and internet to begin, and while you’re at it, create a stop date for your prior residence.
Additionally, one of the most critical ways to plan is to budget for your move. Costs can add up—from truck rentals to boxes to eating out the week of, so it’s best to save and be prepared.
Get a head start
Even though it sometimes feels like we do our best work under pressure, starting the packing process as early as possible is a huge help. Aim to get all the off-season items out of the way first.
Similarly, try to book all relevant services sooner rather than later. Moving services, rented supplies and vehicles, cleaners, painters, landscapers—any service you’ll need to say goodbye to your current home and hello to your next, should be on the schedule ahead of time. Waiting can lead to conflicts, price surges, and avoidable headaches.
Here are some key tips for efficient packing:
- Get your supplies ahead of time: make a list of must-haves and bulk buy at the beginning; it’s no fun to run out of tape, paper towels, or garbage bags when you need them most.
- Look to rent supplies that you wouldn’t use enough to justify purchasing, like a dolly, tie-down straps, or a carpet cleaner.
- Put heavier items in smaller boxes and lighter items in larger boxes (think: linens and blankets in bigger containers).
- Pack dishes on their sides, with plenty of cushioning between layers and around the whole.
- Keep the boxes organized and separate. If possible, don’t mix kitchen items with bathroom stuff. Staying separated will make your life easier: packing will be faster, as well as unpacking.
- Pack the boxes completely—don’t half-fill any. Fill them up with spare towels, t-shirts, or packing paper if necessary.
- Tape your boxes. One of the best techniques is to use a couple of pieces to secure the bottom and top seams, then wrap them along the top and bottom edges.
- When packing up the moving truck, put the heavier boxes on the bottom and the lighter ones on top.
- Have a small bag of essentials that you keep on you during the move (clothes, toiletries, medications, wallet, chargers, moving folder, etc.).
- When you’re done unpacking, fold down all of your boxes and ask around to see if anyone else could use some free moving supplies. It’s always a great idea to recycle when possible!