My family and I have moved six times in the last 10 years. Most have been cross-country relocations that required tons of logistical preparation and hard work. Over the years, we have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting ourselves, our lifestyle and our things to a new location. Today, I’m sharing our 10 best tips for making a stress-free and successful move!
Tip 1: Get Organized
Relocating involves many moving parts! From setting up and canceling leases and utilities to hiring movers and finding new medical providers, there can be a lot of information and paperwork to keep track of. So that you have a landing zone for all things move-related, create a moving binder. Place anything into it that you may need during your move, and add to it as you acquire paperwork, receipts and other items along the way!
Tip 2: Do Your Research
Save yourself weeks of stress and chaos by researching as much as you can about your new hometown before moving. Investigate school districts, neighborhoods, public transportation options, access to shopping, the closest grocery store, medical providers, fitness centers and more. Prior research will allow you to hit the ground running once you arrive, smoothing the transition for all.
Tip 3: Prepare Weeks in Advance
Use the weeks leading up to your move to sort, purge and organize. Hold garage sales and use Craigslist to get rid of unwanted items. Organize and group items that should be packed together so they are in the right spot when unpacked in the new home. If packing yourself, scout big-box stores for (free!) empty boxes and collect newspapers from neighbors (always ask first!). Remove light bulbs from lamps, place dry goods (like flour and sugar) into sealed Ziploc bags, and bag up any loose or small items that can make a mess of boxes. Heading into packing day with everything organized will make the experience easier!
Tip 4: Designate “No-Pack” and “First Unpack” Items
Whether or not you are using professional packers, be sure to clearly dedicate zones or items that should not be packed into boxes. No-pack items can include things for the trash, things you will transport personally in your suitcase or vehicle, or things you need to return (like cable boxes and remote controls). Additionally, pack an “Unpack First” box that contains living essentials like sheets, towels, shower curtains, basic cookware, eating utensils and clean sets of clothes. Once you get into your new place, this allows you to easily access your necessities instead of digging through all the boxes!
Tip 5: Take Apart Unstable Furniture
Depending on how far you’re moving and how your stuff is being transported, it may be essential that you disassemble furniture. Keeping furniture in tact makes for less hassle getting setup on the other end. However, keeping things fully assembled can also lead to unnecessary damage! We’ve found it best to take off table and chair legs, shelving units with removable shelves and any awkward or oversized items. If you know your furniture has weak spots or previous damage, alert the movers (or your helpers!) to disassemble and/or wrap it appropriately.
Tip 6: Keep Track of Hardware
One of our best tips is to attach hardware to whatever you are disassembling with Ziploc bags and packing tape. Whether it’s a full piece of furniture or simply the screws that attach a shelf to the wall, keep everything together. This not only keeps you from losing hardware along the way, but it makes putting furniture and the house back together much easier. When it’s time to hang that shelf, everything you need will be there!
Tip 7: Label Boxes
Take the time to label boxes really well. Once things get unloaded on the other side, it can be frustrating when all the dishes get placed into the bedroom because the boxes are poorly labeled. Clearly label every single box with a good description of the contents inside and where it will go in the new place. Use color-coded markers, tape or stickers to sort and organize boxes by room.
Tip 8: Use the Right Materials
Proper packing materials make all the difference in ensuring your items arrive in tact. If you have fragile items (like dishes, china, frames or figurines), invest in special boxes (dish packs) and paper for transporting such things. Wrap furniture, especially painted furniture, in plastic wrap or blankets to prevent nicks and scratches. Use original boxes and packaging (when possible) for electronics such as televisions, speakers and computer devices. Lastly, don’t pack boxes (or the truck or car) too full. Items get broken when you stuff things in. Use an extra box or make an extra trip to ensure everything travels safely.
Tip 9: Bring What You Can
Setting up a new home can be very expensive. From buying furniture to fit your new space to restocking the pantry and cleaning supplies, new home purchases can add up fast. When possible, bring items with you. Professional packers often won’t pack foods, liquids, hazardous materials (like propane or fire extinguishers) or live plants. If possible, bring these things with you so you don’t have to spend the time or money to replace them.
Tip 10: Ask for Help!
Whether you use professional packers or do it yourself, moving is exhausting. From prep work to packing boxes and loading the truck all the way through unloading and getting settled, there is a lot of work to be done. Many hands make light work, and it’s worth calling in favors. If you can, hire movers. If you can’t, enlist the help of friends and family along every step of the way. From packing boxes to loading heavy items to watching the kids while you pack, every little bit of assistance will help you get moved and settled quicker and easier!