Wednesday, July 14, 2010

15 Tips for an Efficient Move

         Image via Martha Stewart

In preparation of our move, I compiled some moving tips that have always worked for me in the past.  Here goes:


1.  Breathe.  This is going to be fun.  Or at least it will be once you are actually unpacked and settled in to your new place:)

2.   Make a list.  So many things have to get done in preparation for moving (getting boxes; packing; hiring movers (if you're going to use them); changing your address; changing electricity, cable, internet*, phone service;  arranging daycare if you have little ones you don't want "helping" on move day.  Keep a little log in a small notebook of what you need to accomplish, give yourself a timeline, and then you can keep your notes with contact information right there in the notebook.  Crossing the "to dos" off your list feels oh so good.  *A word about the internet/cable- it’s best to make your appointment in advance so you can ensure that the installation will be on or close to your moving day.  You could also arrange to have the cable/internet/phone, etc. installed before you move in to make sure its ready to go when you move in. 

3.  Get boxes.  Start collecting boxes early.  You're gonna need a LOT of boxes.  More than you think.  It's a bummer when you're down to packing your last few items and you run out of boxes.  You lose steam when you have to go out and find (or, in desperation, buy) more boxes at the last minute.  You can get FREE (love free) boxes at grocery stores, liquior stores (they have great boxes with dividers for your wine and glasses) and big-box retailers (WalMart, Target, Home Depot, Costco).  Those stores typically stock at night and will be willing to let you take their empty boxes off of their hands. (I learned that Target will actually set aside boxes for you when they stock at night if you tell them you need boxes in advance.)  You'll also need boxes in varying sizes.  Big ones for comforters, pillows, small appliances and smaller ones for books, dishes, etc. (don't want them too heavy!).   You can always purchase boxes at places like Public Storage, but who wants to pay for boxes that you most likely will use once then be rid of? 

4.  Edit.  As early as you can, begin to edit your house.  It's amazing how much stuff we can amass and how much of it we keep hanging around because we get complacent with it. If the things in your home have no intrinsic value, don't fill a need, aren't lovely, or you simply don't care for them, don't keep them!   It helps me to let things go by donating them because I rationalize that someone else may actually appreciate those things. This is especially true of our wardrobe, shoes and bags. If it doesn't fit, you haven't worn it in 2 years, is stained, in disrepair, or just not your style, pass it on!   Don't forget to edit your pantry, fridge and freezer too!

5.  Donate, Sell, or Recycle.  If you have the time, ideally you could do a garage sale or place things for sale on Craig's List before you move.  Otherwise, it's great to donate or recycle things you no longer want or need and that you don't want to pack and take to your new home.  (If you don't use it in your old house, why waste the time and money to pack it and move it to your new house?) 

6.  Compile your important papers. Financial documents, medical records and bills. You may need to have easy access to these records and its easy for them to get lost in a sea of boxes. 

7.  Clean.  Now is a good time to wipe down your dirty appliances, dust the picture frames, furniture, lamps, and books because you want to move clean things into your new house:) 

8.  Schedule your moving company.  Try to find a referral from a friend.  Good movers are like gold.  I like to be the company's first move of the day because I find that if you have an afternoon appointment, they are more likely to be late if their first move runs too long.  If you are moving yourself, find a truck and enlist some friends.  I hear beer and pizza help entice, but it's been a long time since college.  The movers appreciate at least some cold drinks too, moving is hard work!

9.  Change your address (you can do it online at; provide your new address to your work, friends and family, magazine subscriptions, and bills; transfer your electricity, cable, internet, and phone service. 


10.  Label your boxes.  When you start packing, you want to clearly label your boxes with the (a) room the box should be delivered to, and (b) the contents of the box.  It's best to be specific so you can find things later.  I think its easiest to just use a giant marker for this task, but you could certainly stick actual labels on the boxes.  You can buy stickers that are designated by color and room.  You should also label more than just one side of the box (and the top) so that you don't have to rearrange boxes once you move to see what's inside. 

11.  Pack in sections.  Things you don't use that often or can spare to be without for a while get packed first.  Items in the coat closet or hall closet or on the high shelf in the kitchen.  Books.  Vases, candles, photo albums, picture frames.  I also find it's easiest (if you've done a LOT of editing) to pack everything just a few days before you move.  Maybe I just don't have that much stuff.  I don't like living out of boxes and find that it's easier to do one marathon packing session and then move shortly thereafter, than to pack way ahead of time and then need something and have to hunt it down. 

12.  Keep a few things out for the last minute.  Some dishes, cups and utensils.  Your cleaning supplies and shower supplies.  Clothes.  Food/snacks/drinks.  Garbage bags. Toilet paper people!

13.  Use a suitcase.  Put the things you need easy access to in a suitcase that you can keep with you, like an overnight bag.  For instance, a change of clothes, something to sleep in, shower supplies and a towel, toothbrush and toothpaste, snacks. 

14.  Make one personal box.  This is the box you put your Bible in, medical records, grandma's jewelry, anything that you want to keep with you and transport yourself. 

15.  Final Tour.  Take a final tour of your old house to make sure you didn't leave anything behind. 


After packing our house with my husband, I decided that it would be fruitful to add one more bit of advice to the list:

16.  While packing and moving, as often as necessary, repeat silently to yourself, “must not kill spouse. must not kill spouse.”  :)


                      Image via Zsita


  1. haha Megan, I think you would have had a heart attack if you saw all the boxes of JUNK Randy has been lugging around for SO many years. I'm going to submit him to Hoarders. :)

    Can't wait to see your house when you get settled in!!

  2. I could not help but laugh when I read #10. Label your boxes. We have moved 2 times in 2 years (about to move again this month out of state) and my husband and friends laugh at me because I do bullet point about whats in my boxes and put a check mark on them so I know if I will be needing to unpack it right away or if its okay to unload last.

    At least I am not the only one!

  3. This is such a very interesting post. These tips are all very useful and will surely make a move easier and less stressful. I have to admit that I am also the type who labels his boxes. Sometimes I put colored stickers and on a separate notebook, I enumerate the things in it. The thing is, usually I do not unpack everything in a day. It usually takes days and with such a list, I get to take out the most important ones first without the hassle of going through every box. This will be helpful for those who are planning to travel or move (with the help of movers Nebraska for instance).

    1. Oh, thank you, Dianne! How are you? When I was moving I used company. I think it's much better than all other services in my area.


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