Worried about putting your whole life into boxes, and carrying it to a new place? Lots of people are. Moving to a new home is disruptive, but it doesn’t have to be chaotic. Here’s our 50 best moving tips to help make sure you have a smooth transition, with minimal stress.
1. Budget and Research
Before you do anything else on this moving checklist, begin researching moving companies in your area. This will help you get a good estimate of how much the process will cost, and you can begin budgeting right away.
2. Create a Moving Binder
Set aside an easily accessible binder or folder. Keep all of your moving related information here, especially any quotes or other necessary paperwork from the moving companies you’re researching.
3. Hire Reliable Movers
After deciding on a company with excellent customer service, competitive rates, and a reliable track record, put down a deposit to reserve your moving date as soon as possible.
4. Take Extra Care with Specialty Items
A reputable moving company will have specialized knowledge on how to handle particularly delicate items such as pianos, computers, or automobiles. Make sure that you and your movers have a plan in place to transport these items safely.
5. Clear out Clutter
Now the fun begins. As you go through your house, start a pile for items that you can get rid of. Of all the packing tips you will read on this list, perhaps the most important is this: if you don’t have to bring it with you, don’t.
6. Plan a Yard Sale, or a Mass Ebay Listing
About six weeks before your scheduled moving date, take the opportunity to make a little extra cash off of those unwanted items. Yard sales are a quick and easy way to accomplish this, but if you are moving in the winter, you might have more success with listing your items online.
7. Charity Pickup
Any items that don’t sell can be donated to a charitable organization. In fact, many organizations are happy to come and pick them up directly from your house. Schedule a pickup for after your sale.
8. Pack Everything Before the Movers Show up
This may seem obvious, but it is also vitally important. Plan out your packing schedule in such a way that all of your belongings will be in boxes before your movers arrive. If you are concerned that this will be too big a job for you, ask your moving company about their packing services. Many will be able to do all of the packing for you.
9. Invest in the Right Boxes
While the regular, rectangular boxes can certainly hold many things, some items require special care. Get prices for wardrobe boxes, TV boxes, lamp boxes, and boxes specifically designed to protect extremely fragile items.
10. Look for Boxes with Handholds
Heavy items such as books can be more easily moved when the boxes have handholds punched into the sides. Professional movers will be able to handle all sorts of boxes, but the handles can be especially helpful to you, as you move the boxes around your house while packing.
11. Keep Your Packing Supplies Together in a Container
As you run around your house gathering your belongings, it can be easy to lose track of your supplies. Keep your packing tape, labels, markers, utility knives, etc. together in a single (easily portable) container.
12. Protect Your Fragile Items
The last thing you want is to arrive in new home with a box full of broken crystal stemware. bubblewrap, packing peanuts, and even soft household items can be used to help protect your most delicate items.
13. Label Your Boxes With Contents AND Room
Packing is a big job, but unpacking is also a big job. You can make unpacking much easier on yourself by clearly labeling each box with its contents, and the room it should be placed in when you arrive at your new home.
14. Use Color Coding
Labeling is good, color coding is even better! You can use colorful tape on labels to help you easily identify which boxes contain what items. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself in need of a certain item in a hurry.
15. Know What You Can and Can’t Transport
Certain items and substances cannot be placed on a moving truck under any circumstances. Some of these are obvious, like gasoline – while others might be a little more surprising, like fire extinguishers. Get a list from your moving company and keep it handy while you are packing.
16. Stretch Wrap is Your Friend
A large role of stretch wrap can add a lot of stability to your packed items. Find out if your moving company offers stretch wrap, and put it to good use while packing.
17. Make Good Use of Your Suitcases, Baskets, Hampers, Etc.
Boxes are good, but don’t forget that you are already transporting some containers, and these containers can be filled with items prior to your move. Hampers, laundry baskets, suitcases, etc. can easily contain items like clothing or linens.
18. Use Kitchen Trash Bags to Pack Closets
Wardrobe boxes are important, especially for suits, formal attire, or any clothing that needs a little extra TLC. However, for everyday clothes, you can also use kitchen trash bags to safely pack them, hangers and all.
19. Use Egg Cartons for Small Jewelry
Not sure what to do with all of those smaller earrings, or more delicate bracelets? You can use an egg carton to keep your jewelry safe, and separated (this also helps avoid tangled necklace chains).
20. Use Fitted Sheets to Cover Mattresses
There are many packing tips out there for how to move mattresses. Here’s an especially easy one: use two fitted sheets – one on the top, and one on the bottom, to completely surround your mattress. This keeps it safe during the moving process.
21. Put Seasonal Items in Storage Bins
If you do not already have your seasonal or holiday items stored in plastic bins, here’s your opportunity to get them organized. Clearly label the bins, so that they can be put into the basement, attic or other storage areas in your new home.
22. Use Oven Mitts to Protect Knives
Sharp knives might seem like a packing challenge, but they don’t have to be. Potholders and oven mitts can be safely slipped over the blade, protecting you during both packing and unpacking.
23. Use Your Soft Items to Protect Fragile Items
Throw pillows, the kids’ stuffed animals, extra blankets – these can all be put to great use to help add some extra padding around delicate items. Packing soft things in with breakable things is a smart use of space.
24. Tape Your Mirrors
Use masking tape to put an “X” across the surface of your mirrors, and even your framed photos that have class fronts. The tape adds extra stability and can protect delicate glass during the move.
25. Lightweight Items Can Stay in Drawers
Dressers will often be moved out of the home in one piece. Is perfectly fine to keep some lightweight items such as socks and underwear in the drawers. Just remember to use either tape or stretchwrap to keep the drawers shut.
26. Put Plastic over Toiletries Bottles, Then Reclose
Even tightly closed soap and shampoo bottles can leak accidentally during transit. Good tips for moving these include unscrewing the lid, wrapping the opening with plastic wrap, and then screwing the lid back on. No mess!
27. Stack Plates Vertically
If you are not using a box specifically designed to protect plates, you may feel tempted to stack plates horizontally on top of one another. This is a mistake that can lead to breakage. Stack plates vertically, with either bubblewrap or other packing material between each plate.
28. Use Plastic Bags to Label Small Parts for Reassembly
If you need to take anything apart before the move, place all small parts such as screws and washers in a plastic bag, and then clearly label that bag. It will make reassembly so much easier.
29. Snap Photos of Your Electronics Connections
Before you disconnect or disassemble any of your electronic setups, take a picture of the wires and connections. This can be very helpful when it comes time to plug everything back in at your new home.
30. Plan Meals
About two or three weeks before moving day, begin planning out meals for the remainder of the time in your current house. Aim to use up all of the perishable food you have, without buying more food unnecessarily. Crockpot meals are a great way to do this.
31. Notify Utility Companies
Depending on where you are moving, transferring your new utility service to your new home may be very easy. Of course, there are some exceptions. Begin calling your utility company about a month in advance of your move to find out what you need to do.
32. If You’re Renting, Take Photos of Your Cleaned out Space
As you empty out rooms and begin cleaning your rented space, take pictures of the rooms. This can be very helpful in getting back the security deposit you put down when you first moved in. Also, take pictures of your new rented space before you move in.
33. Fill in All Nail and Screw Holes
As the pictures come down off your walls, take a minute to fill in any nail or screw holes left behind. You can do this with spackle, but there is also a clever trick you can do by rubbing a bar of soap over the nail hole to fill it in.
34. Change Your Address and Notify Contacts
The post office usually needs about two or three weeks notice to execute a change of address. Don’t forget to update any magazine subscriptions, and to let your banks and credit cards know that you are moving. Send out an email with your forwarding address to friends and family.
35. Arrange for Childcare or Pet Care
Moving day will be busy, and your attention will be needed elsewhere. Arrange for babysitters and pet sitters so that you can focus on the process, without worrying about kids or pets.
36. Drain Gas and Oil from Lawn Equipment
Lawn equipment can be moved, but the gas and oil inside them cannot. Carefully drain all gas and motor oil from any lawn equipment. Contact your township or borough to find out where you can safely dispose of these materials.
37. Have Your Locks Changed at New Place
Arrange to have a locksmith come out to your new home on moving day so that the locks can be updated. Make sure you ask for enough keys for everyone in your family.
38. Transfer School Records and Medical Records
If you have children who will be attending school, be sure to request their current school records, and have them forwarded to their new school. The same goes for all medical and dental records. Be sure to ask for copies a few weeks ahead of time, so that you have them available for the move.
39. Transfer Prescriptions/Get Refills
Transfer any prescriptions you have over to a pharmacy near your new home. If you can, get prescriptions refilled before you move, so that there is no danger of running out.
40. Have Cash on Hand during the Move
Unexpected expenses may pop up during the move. These could range from small things like grabbing lunch during a long drive, to more expensive things like repairing a flat tire. It is best to have some cash on you so that you can deal with these situations quickly.
41. Back up All Computers
Before moving your computers, be sure that you create backups. You can transfer these backups to external hard drives, or back them up to a cloud service you subscribe to.
42. Arrange for Pet Transport
Don’t forget your furry friends! Some pets have special requirements for transport. Make sure that you have made all necessary arrangements ahead of time.
43. Defrost the Fridge At Least One Day Before Moving
Defrosting the refrigerator means allowing any accumulated ice to melt before moving the appliance. Make sure that you are prepared with containers and towels to avoid a mess.
44. Pack a Bag With Your Essentials
Pack a suitcase for yourself as though you were going away for the weekend. Make sure you can easily access all of your essentials, including a change of clothes. Do this for every person in your family.
45. The Items You Need to Access First Should go in Clear Bins
The most essential items should be packed in clear bins. This way, you can easily see where they are, and access them more readily. Try to think of the things that you will need when you first move into a new home, and fill these bins with those items.
46. Show up Early and Clean
If possible, get to your home earlier than the moving truck so that you have the opportunity to give the house a thorough cleaning. It is much easier to clean without furniture or boxes in the way.
47. Protect the Carpet
A good moving company will always put down dropcloth or hallway runners to help protect your carpet. Make sure that they plan to do this before moving day.
48. Keep all Necessary Paperwork Handy for Moving Day
Keep your moving binder with you on moving day. This will have all the necessary information about your moving company, as well as some important forms that you need to sign.
49. Take Family Pictures at Your Old and New House
Even though the day will be busy, try to set aside a few minutes to take some special pictures both at your old home, and at your new one.
50. Leave a Note for the New Residents
If there is anything in particular you think the new residents should know, be sure to leave them a note. Place this on the kitchen table or kitchen counter – anywhere that you think it will be the most noticeable.
If you found these tips helpful, be sure to download our week-by-week moving checklist. This guide will take you through the entire moving process, making sure nothing is overlooked, or left undone until the last minute.