Moving to a new home is an exciting time. However, moving out is the unavoidable task that is typically stressful, difficult and tiring – in short, a complete pain. Fitting all of the contents of your house in boxes is really a job that is tiresome, and most people wait to the last minute to start packing, only to end up mixing up random things in random boxes because there is no time to sort out.
With a bit of planning and organization, moving out can be an easier task (even fun for others!), and you can smoothly unpack your belongings on your new home.
1. Get organized early
Do all your packing and labeling before your moving day. Don’t rush in the last minute to pack everything and organize it all in one day. It’s advisable to start packing for a weeks before your big move. Create a packing schedule and stick to it.
2. Seize the opportunity to sell, donate, give away or throw out items
Moving out will give you the opportunity to cleanse and get rid of everything you don’t need. This needs planning for a few months before your big move so only the things you need will remain on that day. When you go through all your belongings, decide whether it’s absolutely necessary for your daily life, something you’ll be using in the future, or something you don’t want or need anymore.
Get rid of the items you no longer use (or you don’t see any use for in the future) by holding a yard sale for a few days before your move. Or you can donate some clothing and toys you don’t need any more to charity or an organization. Pack them weeks ahead and arrange for them to come to pick up the items a week or two before moving. For furniture, clothing or any items that you are not planning to use anymore, try to put it on sale on Craigslist, eBay or Etsy at least six weeks before moving to make sure it will be already sold by the time you move. For things you don’t want to sell, give it to some of your items to your friends, neighbors or anyone who might need it.
3. Secure boxes as soon as possible
Don’t wait for the last minute before you secure boxes. It’s also best to save money on packing materials by going to grocery stores and online for free boxes. Each time you visit a grocery store weeks before you start packing, make sure you ask for a few boxes. Avoid packing things in garbage bags, because well-meaning family members or friends who would help you pack could accidentally throw them out on moving day.
4. Color code your boxes for each room
Most people label their moving boxes, but it’s better to use color coding. Pick a color code for every room and label the boxes accordingly. Taping pieces of colored paper to boxes would be easier for the eyes to sort and unpack once you’ve reached your new home. Put these labels on the side of the boxes, not on top, so it will still be visible even when the boxes are stacked. Label the door of each room in your new home with the corresponding color so movers would know where to place your boxes.
5. Hire a babysitter and/or a pet sitter on your moving day
If your children are old enough, they can help you move out and pack, but if they are still very young (especially babies), they must be left with a babysitter during moving day. It’s should also be done to pets who can be traumatized by a move. Dogs could get in the way of your movers by constant barking, so be sure to arrange a pet sitter to avoid this hassle.
6. Pack an overnight bag for your first night on your new home
After a long day (or days) of moving, chances are you’ll be too tired to go through your boxes and suitcases to find your essentials. Packing an overnight bag will relieve you from that hassle. Place a few pajamas, toiletries and a few changes of clothes, especially if you’re going back to work the next day. Place in there also your laptop, gadgets, medications, and other things you use on a daily basis. You may also need to place in there your valuables, such as cash, bank cards and jewelry, which could run the risk of getting stolen during a move.
7. Keep your important documents with you
Besides the overnight bag, it’s also a good idea to keep your important documents in hand. Keep all of them on a safe bag or case in which you will put close to you while you move. This will ensure that things like your lease information, IDs, proofs of purchase, and your child’s birth certificate will less likely get lost or get mixed up with other stuff you have packed, making it easy to retrieve whenever needed.
8. Pack cords, wires and any small parts of things in sandwich bags
When transporting your electronics, it would be a good idea to use its original packaging. But chances are, you have already thrown it away. Utilize sandwich bags for holding any small parts of things you need to take apart, like mounted flat-screen TVs, curtain rods and electronics system. This is also very handy when it comes to cords of your electronics. Place together in one sandwich bag the items that go together, and tape the bag to the back of the item they correspond to. If it’s not a great idea, just label the sandwich bags. Another great tip: take a photo of how the wires of your electronics are connected so you can remember where and how the wires go.
9. Use small boxes for heavy items
Yes, it would be easier to simply pack all heavy belongings in one box (such as books), but think logistically – it would be very hard to carry. It’s best to let yourself of extra trips to the car rather than try to lift a heavy box that you might end up dropping on your way down to the stairs.
10. Wrap your fragile items in soft materials
Breakable items like dishes must be wrapped without saying. You can use bubble wrap, but remember that you can also use your sheets, clothes or towels to wrap fragile items like dishes and glassware. Hitting two birds with one stone, right? This will also save you money on bubble wrap and other packing supplies. By the way, your plates must be packed vertically, like records, so they will less likely break.
This logic also works for your cosmetic items. If you own a lot of makeup and you have a big makeup box for it, place extra cotton pads or balls inside to keep them from breaking during the move.
11. Stop buying groceries a week before your move
Before you move, you must consume all the food items you have, so stop buying groceries at least a week before you leave. Defrost and empty your refrigerator and freezer to avoid moldy food. It’s not advisable to pack your food leftovers, as it might get stale and not suitable for consumption after a while. If you still have unwanted food left over, you can donate them to your friends or neighbors.
12. Pack the items you will be needing first in a clear plastic bin
Having a clear bin will allow you to see what’s inside, and it also separates itself from all your cardboard boxes, making it easier to reach for. Put in your box cutters, paper towels, eating utensils, some cookware, trash bags, toilet papers, phone chargers and other things you will be needing immediately after you move.
13. Use suitcases, laundry bins, hampers, baskets, and containers work
Cut down on boxes by making use of any item that can be used as a container. Since you’ll be transporting them as well, it would be best to use their interior space to save boxes and save space. Try to nestle smaller items inside bigger ones, like placing plastic dessert plates inside a food container where they can all fit.
14. Buy a stretch wrap
Your cabinets and dresser drawers are their own moving boxes. If it contains mainly clothes and other non-breakable items, let them be, and just cover the furniture fully with stretch wrap. This will not only prevent those cabinet doors and drawers from opening; this will also protect your furniture from being scratched or scuffed. You may also use this for the clothes hanged from your built-in closet. Pack them easily by wrapping around a stretch wrap to keep all those clothes together. This keeps your clothes on their hangers, so when you unpack them on your closet in your new home, you only need to hang the hangers and remove the stretch wrap.
15. Cover the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap
The last thing you’d want during unpacking is to find your shampoo spilled out all over the contents of the box or bin where it was placed. While it would be best to consume all your toiletries before the move, it’s not always possible, and it would be a waste not to take with you that half-full bottle of shower gel. Cover the lids of bottles and dispensers of your toiletries to keep it neat and secure during the move.
16. Call in your moving help as early as possible
Do you want to ask a favor from your friends to help you move? Make sure to ask them in advance, at least a month before, so they can’t back out. For sure, if they are your good friends, they will know that you’re moving soon and make themselves available to help you out. If you’re a person who’s fortunate enough to have good friends who are willing to help you even with packing, make sure you come up with a plan on what specific tasks they must do and orient them on how to do it. This way, you can all move in the most efficient way as possible. If you prefer to hire movers, book them weeks in advance. Also, check out their rules and see if they seem reasonable for you. For instance, some movers will only move furniture and things placed in boxes, so you need to pay them extra for other stuff like bags.
17. Be ready for your movers before they show up on your moving day
Don’t be that horrible person who makes everyone wait around or ask to help you pack, especially if you only asked help for moving in the first place. Their time is important too, so give them some respect by being ready on the pick-up time you have set. If you hired a moving staff, making them wait and do extra will increase your cost. Another helpful tip: If you have a lot of friends to help you move (and it’s a big group), you can split them up into shifts. Like for instance, the first group can help you move your stuff from the house to the truck, and the other group can help with unloading stuff into your new home.
18. Treat your movers right
If you hired a moving company, tip them adequately and make sure you take care of them throughout the day. Provide them some bottles of water, drinks or snacks. If noontime passes and they’re still working (or just have finished), treat them for lunch to show your appreciation. For your friends, provide food and drinks as well. Let them have anything you originally planned to sell or donate as an extra perk for helping you out since you won’t be paying them money.
19. Hire movers if you have a lot of fragile valuables
If you own a lot of China, expensive artwork or any fragile valuables, hiring movers would be more advisable. A lot of them come with insurance, so if something breaks, they have to pay you for it. Let’s face it, not all of your friends can be trusted to really handle fragile things with care.
20. Be nice to your new neighbors
It’s best to start off on the right foot by being nice, polite and friendly to your neighbors. If you’re moving on a weekday, make sure you place your truck somewhere where no one’s exit is blocked. Be nice to the people around, since your new neighbors will be able to direct you and help you out about living in the new area. Some of them may even volunteer to help you out!