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Moving is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life! Packing up all your belongings and trying to keep it all straight while relocating can be super crazy! Add kids and/or pets into the mix and it’s total chaos.
I never moved growing up, and while I’ve only moved a handful of times in my adult life, I never had much more than bedroom furniture to relocate. That is, until I got married and lived in a 4 story townhome. My husband (then, fiance) and I moved in together in 2020, and spent 2 years completely furnishing our home together. Which made our move this summer one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done!
Experience is the best teacher and I took as much precaution as I could to be organized when moving into our current home. Since we just moved last week, I thought it would be helpful to share my top 10 moving tips for a stress free move!
1. Start Small
Simply starting is truly the hardest part. You know deep down it’s such a massive project and it can be unbelievably intimidating. *Cue the procrastination!*
My advice is to just start! Make a list. Make a phone call. Order some moving supplies. Find some boxes. Clean out a drawer. Just do something!
This usually will get things “moving” and motivate you to do more! It doesn’t have to be huge, you just have to start!
2. Choose 1 Thing Per Day
Going along with my last point of starting small, my goal when I started working on the house was to do one task per day that had to do with moving.
Whether it was just one shelf, one cabinet, one drawer. Basically, whatever I had time for! This, of course, led to one dresser and eventually one closet!
On days I had time, I could work through a whole room. On days I had zero time, I would clean out one drawer while I ate breakfast. But I still did one thing a day – Progress is progress!
3. Start WAY Before You Think You Need To
This project is going to take a while. It’s not too early to start, trust me! If you’re putting your house up for sale or moving even in a few months, get started now.
When it gets closer to the move, you’ll already feel like you have to take a month off of work because there’s so much to do.
There is plenty you can do now to prepare: Start taking down family pictures and home decor. Start packing seasonal items and clothing. Start packing baby items that you know you’re not ready to give away yet but you’re not using currently. You catch my drift.
Start with things you don’t need in the near future. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done by focusing on those categories.
4. Use Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap anything you can when packing. Think of how furniture and other random items are packaged from factory to the store. They’re wrapped together with plastic wrap!
I used plastic wrap just as much as I used boxes in our last move.
Instead of packing the clothes in our dresser drawers away in boxes, simply remove them from the dresser and wrap them with plastic wrap! When we got to the new house we just cut the plastic wrap off and slid the drawers back in. Super easy and you can do this with SO many things!
Every toy basket or box that doesn’t have a lid, just wrap! Leave the handles out if it has any and you’ve got yourself an enclosed basket! Too many “odd” items to throw in a box? Wrap several random items together to be their own unit that is protected and easy to carry.
For our dining room table, we took the legs off and wrapped them together as one “set”. Then we wrapped the set of legs underneath the table itself as one large unit.
Use plastic wrap!!
5. Cut Triangles in Sides of the Boxes
Have you ever been carrying a box and said the words “it’s not heavy… it’s just awkward to carry!” That is probably because your box didn’t have handles.
When you’re packing a moving box, before you put anything in it, take your scissors or box cutter and slice a triangle on two opposite sides. Ta Da! …Handles!
This may sound like a silly suggestion… but I can’t tell you how much it makes a difference when moving and how many people who helped us commented on them too!
Which leads me to the next point…
6. Get Help
I know it can be hard to ask for help but when it comes to major life changes like deaths, weddings, moving or having a baby… asking for help is a valiant act of self-love! You’ll not only need help loading and unloading, but also with packing and cleaning! (Don’t forget someone to help with kiddos and pets!)
If you’re worried about asking too much of people, I suggest two crews: one to load the truck at the old house and another to unload at the new. That way, no one gets too worn out or “imposed upon”.
If you can swing it, I strongly suggest hiring a company to help you move. Even if it’s just for part of the move. Some moving companies will pack everything for you, and then load/unload everything for you as well. (Now that’s the TOTAL package!) But if you’re like us and have help already, you may need them for just one item or only part of the move.
For example, we hired a moving company for our recent move since we were moving heavy bedroom furniture down 3 flights of stairs. They helped move all of our large furniture to a storage unit, while we lived with my in-laws during our house-hunting efforts, and then moved all of the furniture and boxes from our unit into our new home. Hiring movers is a GREAT investment!
ICANN Moving Company in Texas offers a variety of stress free services for you which can help you and your family. I love that they want to help move even the heaviest of furniture including pool tables, beds and more. They also offer all sorts of other moving help for those moving to Tyler, Texas or anywhere in the state!
7. Master List
Here’s the real stuff. Make. A. Master. List!
This is probably the most important thing in your move besides having a game plan of packing your things.
Many people go “old school” and write on the sides of the boxes the contents of the box. But how will that be helpful if you can’t remember which room or which box contained that specific item?
When we moved to our current house, I had a master list of each box. Every time I packed a box, I wrote a number on it and which room it would go to at the new house. On my master list, (a good old fashion legal pad) I would write the box number, the room it was headed to, and then list the contents.
This way, if I was searching for a specific item, I could skim through my list by room, find the item and the corresponding number on the side of the box. Total game changer!
This made unpacking a breeze as well! I knew which boxes carried the important items and which boxes could wait. After such an organized move, I will never go back to the old ways of writing a list on the side of the box! Not only is it more organized, it also is more secure. By writing only a number and the room on the side of the box, it keeps people from being tempted to rummage or even steal the box after reading the contents!
For peace of mind and even further organization, you can put your master list on a Google spreadsheet. This way you can access it on several different devices, you’ll never lose it, AND you can search for a specific word so much easier than flipping through a thousand pages of handwritten notes.
So next time you move, make a master list!
8. Make Four Piles
When you’re cleaning out those dressers and closets, have four different piles :
- Items for Donation
- Items for trash
- Items ready to move
- Items needed until the move
Grab several trash bags along with some tubs and/or moving boxes. Make one of your trash bags for things you’re just going to toss altogether. Make a trash bag to give away to Goodwill or wherever you choose to donate. In the tubs and boxes, pack away whatever is ready to move and keep out the things that will still be needed until you move.
9. Find a Place to Stay
This one isn’t always possible, but if you can, find somewhere to stay at least during moving week. Even if for just a couple nights.
In our particular situation, we lived with my in-laws for 2 months after our lease ended so we could take our time looking for a house. But staying with my husband’s folks several days before and after closing was a tremendous help!! If you’re moving from one house to another, staying somewhere can give you the ability to use your old house like a storage locker. You don’t have to worry about having a functioning kitchen or bedroom and dismantled beds/furniture can be moved as close to the front door as possible. By the time moving day rolls around, no one has to tear anything down or pack anything up!
Pack a bag for the week and live out it as if you were out of town.
If you don’t have friends or family you can stay with, (and you don’t have pets) stay in a hotel for a few nights or an AirBnB! This will make your moving days go so much quicker and give you a nice, clean, (functioning) space to come “home” to at the end of a long day.
10. Take Breaks!
Lastly, this is a given. Take lots of much-needed breaks! Find ways to take breaks not only throughout the moving day itself, but the whole process itself. This is one of those projects that can be (and during the week or two of closing and the move itself -will be!) all consuming.
Do your best to live your life as normally as possible while you’re cleaning out those cabinets and closets. But, take a break! Go out to eat, grab a drink in the evenings with friends, watch a movie at home, take a bath. This is stressful stuff, and self-care is a MUST! So stay hydrated, stay nourished & stay well-rested. Be sure to “de-stress”, relax and celebrate a bit after accomplishing tasks (no matter how big or small) during the day.
You can do this!