If you’ve already found a new place to live, your next big worry is probably getting ready to move. Let’s face it – moving is usually pretty awful. Follow these tips to make it, well, slightly less awful.
In the weeks leading up to the move:
Downsize! If you haven’t used something in the last year, or it won’t be necessary in your new place, don’t move it. Donate it or sell it.
- Return things you borrowed from other people.
- Use up cleaning products, food, toiletries and paper products before the move. Buy new after you’ve moved in!
- Pack out-of-season clothes and infrequently used items first.
- Set a moving-day budget. Consider the cost of professional movers or a rental truck, boxes, packing material, and incidentals.
Change your address with any necessary providers, and arrange your new utilities, cable and internet hook-ups.
General packing tips:
Label the boxes, starting with 1 – that way you know a) you should unpack in reverse order, because you’ll be packing least used items first and b) you’ll know right away if a box is missing.
- Label boxes with the contents, and what room it should go in (e.g. Dishes, Kitchen)
- Pack heavy items in the bottoms of boxes, and light items in the top (e.g. half books, half blankets)
- Use smaller boxes for very heavy items so that you can still carry them
- Use your clothing, towels, sheets, etc. instead of buying packing paper
- Seal opened liquids (such as moisturizer or cleaning products) in freezer bags to prevent leaking, and pack in plastic tubs instead of cardboard boxes
- Instead of emptying and packing the contents of dresser drawers, simply take the drawers out of the dresser and wrap them in saran wrap – instant moving box!
- Wrap furniture, especially delicate pieces or anything that sticks out (like legs or handles) in saran wrap to prevent scuffing
- Label sandwich bags for the small pieces of things you have to re-assemble (e.g. the screws for a piece of furniture, the cords for the entertainment system)
- Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember where everything goes
- Stuff clothing or balled up newspaper in any empty spaces in boxes to keep contents from shifting around; never under-fill a box as it will collapse when stacked
- Keep clothes on their hangers and just put a garbage bag over them from the bottom up; all you have to do to unpack is hang it in the new closet and take off the garbage bag!
Remember, the more valuable and irreplaceable an item is, the more time you should spend packing it.
The last thing you pack should be your “essentials” box – this will be going with you in the car. Include basic toiletries, cleaning products, scissors, garbage bags, tools, snacks, beverages, toilet paper, soap, important documents, and anything you might need for the first 24 hours after your move.
On moving day:
- Arrange childcare so the little ones don’t get underfoot during the move; if no one can watch them, try to give them a job or activity out of the way
- Send pets to a family member or kennel; pets can get very stressed if there’s too much activity and will be much happier once you’re all settled in
- Have a good breakfast, and keep bottled water and snacks handy
If you’re using professional movers, be prepared to tip them when the job is done. If friends and family are helping you move, they deserve pizza and cold beer for all their hard work!