Moving can be stressful, make your next move easier with these moving tips, tricks, printables, and hacks from a military family with over 20 moves!
Over the years I’ve blogged through quite a few moves as the Army has transferred our family from place to place. We’ve gone from North Carolina, to Washington DC, moved to England, and now settled here in Georgia.
While the military does offer the option to have movers pack and move you my husband and I prefer to handle our moves ourselves (the DIY genes runs deep in our family!), the only moves we didn’t do ourselves were our overseas moves to and from England and Italy!
As I am preparing for our current move I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to help better organize your move as well as save your time and sanity!
Plan for your Furniture
We learned the hard way over the years that not all furniture fits with every home. We’ve had doorways blocked off by our large sectional couch because that’s the only way it would fit, mattresses that wouldn’t fit up staircases, furniture that had to be moved into a house with a crane through a balcony-you name it, we’ve been there, and it’s no fun!
Plan ahead for bulky furniture that may need to stored or sold to avoid chaos during the move.
How to Declutter Before a Move
If you follow along on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen pictures from our ginormous garage sale this past weekend. Now, being a hoarder by nature and a DIYer that always tries to see potential in anything, this went against my very nature. But, drastic times call for drastic measures and storage space in our new home will be limited so I sucked it up and got rid of my junk treasures. Plus who wants to pay for boxes to pack stuff you don’t need?
When we started going through the closets and boxes I was actually embarrassed how much I had kept-from bedding for a mattress size we haven’t owned in 5 years to two strollers I literally had no idea I still owned I realized along the way that this purge was long overdue!
When our sale was winding down I sorted the remaining items into categories-donate, sell, or keep. The items we decided to donate were loaded straight into our truck and taken to Goodwill as soon as the sale was over-no need to waste time and energy bringing them back in the house! The items I wanted to keep trying to sell were photographed and listed on Craigslist or eBay before storing them back in the garage and the items to keep or give to friends or family were put away inside.
Once the garage sale was over I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and we had some extra cash to buy things for the new place and help offset moving costs.
Planning Ahead for a Move
We started planning out our move 3 months ahead of time since we had plenty of notice.
I usually create multiple Google documents to keep myself organized but we’ve done physical pen and paper lists in the past. For our current move, I have a list for packing suitcases when we travel as well as packing lists for furniture to ship to our new home or put in storage while we’re gone. Here are a few lists that could be helpful to make:
- Travel Packing List, including items and important papers to hand carry to your new home
- Shipping Packing List
- Storage Packing List
- If moving overseas, necessary passports/visas/documentation
- To Do list of turning on/off utilities
- To Do list for leaving current home-cleaning requirements, walk throughs, etc if renting
- Pet requirements-boarding during packing if necessary, vet papers, kennel, etc
By making a checklist of moving tasks in the months and weeks leading up to your move you can help take some of the stress off those last few weeks when things get hectic! (Click on the Checklist image below to download a printable pdf copy for yourself!)
Printable Moving Checklist
When Should I Start Packing to Move?
Packing as early as possible can take some of the stress off a move. Pack boxes of off-season or rarely used items far ahead of time to reduce the amount of work just before your move.
I find it helpful to create a staging area in my home to keep packed boxes so the entire house doesn’t look cluttered for weeks (in the case of our current move, that is my office.)
What is the Best Way to Pack for a Move?
Pack by zones-don’t throw your blender in with your hair dryer-keep items stored in the same room/area grouped together in boxes for easier unpacking.
Be sure to label boxes not only with their contents but also what room they belong in so that you can easily unload them at your new home and place the label on the SIDE of the box, not the top so you can see the contents when boxes are stacked.
I actually use two labels per box on opposite sides so I don’t have to play ring around the boxes to find the label when unloading. Print these box labels on sticker paper and cut out for easy labeling! (Click on the image below to download a printable pdf of moving labels!)
Printable Moving Labels
More Moving Tips
I also find it helpful to use a particular colored tape on the “essential” boxes that I’ll need to unpack first at the new place. Think bright colors for easy spotting!
We take down our pictures and other wall decor about a month before the move to allow ample time for patching holes and touch up painting.
In addition to those tasks think about scheduling your carpets to be cleaned after your belongings are loaded in your moving truck as well as general home cleaning, yard maintenance, and any other tasks that may be necessary. The days before and after your move will be hectic so planning ahead for tasks like these takes some of the pressure off the final preparations!
Use the Printable moving checklist above to keep track of required tasks.
Moving Hacks to Save Time & Money
Minimizing waste during your move can help offset the added expense moving normally brings. Here are a few more helpful tips I’ve picked up during our moves:
- About a month before your move start “eating the freezer.” Plan meals using things you have in your freezer and won’t be able to take with you to your new home, this helps reduce the amount of food that gets wasted one you move.
- Pack your pantry items using gallon storage bags to store items that may leaks (like opened baking mixes) or smaller items like spices.
- When packing liquids like cleaners or toiletries take the top off, cover with cling wrap, then replace the top-this helps reduce the chance of spills.
- Wrap items like silverware organizers, desk drawer trays, toy bins and jewelry trays in plastic wrap to keep items together and organized during the move.
- Don’t pack boxes too heavy! While it’s tempting to fill large boxes to the max it’s often better to pack smaller boxes so they are easier to lift and carry during the move.
- Overestimate how many boxes you need-they are used very quickly. Many large moving supply companies have box “buy back” policies where unused boxes can be returned for a refund.
- To reduce the need for bubble wrap, I use linens to wrap fragile items-I always wash and refold them once I get to my new home so why not have them pull double duty?