Getting ready for a big move? We’ve put together 22 moving tips & moving hacks to help make your move as smooth as possible and help you avoid some of the common moving mistakes.
Moving can be stressful. Believe me, I know. I’ve moved enough times in my life to have had some that have been complete disasters and some that went as smooth as silk. Well, as silky as one can expect when moving an entire household’s worth of personal items, furniture, and clothing from one place to another.
A big move can be a lot of fun, especially when you’ve picked the perfect house. It can be a little daunting to actually get everything done, though.
Moving from your apartment or house can also bring up some different emotions for different people. You might be excited about settling into your new home, but don’t be surprised if you also feel sad at the idea of leaving behind an old place where so many memories were made.
On top of all these things, packing up every single thing in order to move them into another home on wheels will add even more stress onto your already full plate! These types of things can be pretty heavy, so it’s important to take care of yourself during the move.
Between packing, hiring movers (or a truck), changing your address EVERYWHERE, unpacking, and figuring out your new home, be prepared for your stress levels to skyrocket. It’s unavoidable.
It may be tempting to pack everything before moving day but don’t underestimate how long it will take you. If possible, start packing as soon as you can so that you are completely finished packing at least a day or two before your move, and try not to wait until the last day. Otherwise, everyone will be exhausted from packing on move day!
Household items are best packed in small boxes, use less paper and more bubble wrap to protect fragile items. Make a list of all the items that need to go into each box so they get put back together once you arrive at the new house. We recommend not putting anything valuable or expensive into one box alone as these can become an easy target for theft if left unattended on your driveway while en route!
However, there are some ways to help ease that stress. Keep these 22 moving tips in mind while you’re packing and preparing your move, as well as on move day, to help ease some of the stress on move day.
Need a more comprehensive list of moving tips and to-dos? Download our Free Printable Moving Checklist.
It contains 7 pages of detailed moving tips and to-dos to make sure you don’t forget anything critical come move day.
And, when I say ‘detailed’, I mean ‘DETAILED’.
However, to ease you into that level of detail, here are some of the key moving tips that I have learned after many years of packing, moving, and unpacking.
22 HANDY MOVING TIPS | HACKS TO HELP YOU MOVE LIKE A PRO
Enough with the chitter-chatter, let’s get at what you came for. Here are our top moving tips and moving hacks learned over many, many, many years.
Check Your Dimensions
Make sure you understand HOW you will load your larger items into your new home, especially if they won’t fit through the front entrance. You don’t want to show up with your oversized sectional and realize – on move day – that it won’t fit through the front door. Measure twice, Move once!!!
You’ll want to determine how you will load your furniture into the truck and then take it out of the truck at your new home.
If you have a larger sectional or dining room table, please consider if those items can fit through the front door before loading them onto a moving van. If they won’t fit inside, don’t place them on top! Measure twice and move only once so that everything fits together perfectly without any problems along the way. Next, decide how you will unload these heavy items from their space in the moving van – do not forget about this step as well! Finally, make sure all boxes are labeled with where each item goes within your house for an easy transition upon arrival! This information is also helpful for movers and other helpers who can then easily figure out where to place your furniture.
Move Mid-Week (If Possible)
Mid-week moves tend to be cheaper for moving companies than weekend moves. If you can, aim to move in the middle of the week, but book the remainder of the week off so that you have those days and the weekend to get your new home organized. The same applies to the middle of the month, as most rental properties start their contracts on the 1st of the month.
Try and book in off work so that you have plenty of time throughout your new home – especially if it’s going to take a while. Lastly, try booking around month-end when most rental agreements start because there is less competition from other potential renters looking for somewhere to live.
Stack Boxes Close to the Front Door
If possible, move as many of your packed boxes into a room close to the front door (or the door where you are planning on moving in and out through) before move day. This will speed up the move and can save you time & money.
Next, put boxes that you will need closer to the same location as their corresponding furniture within your new home. For example bedside table next to the bed and end tables beside your couch & TV stand. This is a great way for movers and helpers to easily figure out where everything goes without any hassle!
But make sure they are tucked out of the way so that larger pieces can still be moved before the boxes are.
Book The Elevator Well in Advance
Most apartments and condominiums require you to book a dedicated moving elevator, which will be put on service for you. Sometimes, they also put up moving pads inside of the elevator to remove damage.
Therefore, if you’re moving into an apartment or condominium (any place that has an elevator) make sure to book the elevator as early as possible and confirm your booking 2- 3 days before the move.
If you do not book the elevator with enough advance notice, you could end up in a sticky situation where you’ve arrived at your new home and are not allowed to unload the truck!
Confirm Access & Parking for the Moving Truck at Your New Home
Check the access points for the moving truck to make sure that the truck size you will need can fit in your driveway or on the street without blocking traffic or your neighbor’s driveway. For apartments or condominiums, make sure the truck can make it through the parking lot to the loading area.
Years ago, we moved into an apartment building and the moving area was at the back of the building, but we could not fit the truck around the corner and down the back alley so we ended up having to carry most of the stuff about 150 feet from the furthest the truck could fit in relation to the loading area. A slightly smaller truck would have fit all our stuff AND fit down the alleyway… so lesson learned there.
Saran Wrap Bottle & Jar Tops
It is FAR too easy for the push or flip top lids to come open during a move. And even your normal screw-on lids can lose their seal when bouncing around in a moving truck.
To keep bottles from leaking during the move, open the bottle and place plastic wrap across the top and down about 2 inches on all sides. Screw the cap over the plastic wrap to create a better seal.
You can use this moving hack for shampoo and conditioner bottles, cleaning supplies, and more. Basically any bottle or jar with a screw-top lid. This helps create a stronger seal and prevent leakage during the move.
Find Free Boxes
Consider searching on Craigslist for free, used moving boxes. Flatten and put your moving boxes back up on Craigslist when you’re done with your move. You can also check your place of business, local liquor stores, grocery stores, and drug stores as they are usually a good source of sturdy, used boxes.
Of course, one of the advantages of buying moving boxes is that you can purchase them in standard sizes, which makes them easier to stack. But at an average cost of $2 -$3 per box, that expense can add up quickly, especially if you are moving from a large home and have lots of stuff to pack.
Add LOTS of Color-Coded Labels to Your Boxes
Label boxes on the top and 2 sides, so that you can easily see what’s in the box while you’re carrying it or after it’s buried in a pile of other boxes. Few things are as frustrating as trying to find something that is in a box that is buried in a pile of other boxes and you can’t tell which box is which.
Using Colored labels or tape helps provide visual cues for where the box should go. This can be as extensive as a different color for every room in the house, or as simple as one color for the top floor, one for the main floor, and one for the basement. This will speed up the unloading time AND help make sure everything ends up in the right place.
Assign a Moving Traffic Cop (With a Guide to Your Color Coding)
Give one of your helpers the job of watching as things get unloaded and directing them to where in the house each item should go. They should understand your color-coded system (see note above) and know which room in the house is which.
That way, when people arrive at the new doorway with a box or a piece of furntiure, this person can quickly guide them to exactly where that item should go, which saves you a lot of time rearranging things later.
Use Textiles to Wrap Fragile Items
Socks, scarves, and towels can often be used in place of packing peanuts for an environmentally friendlier way to protect your fragile items.
Don’t Empty Your Dresser Drawers or Closets
For most local moves, you can leave the clothing in the dresser drawers but pack up any small, loose, or valuable items that could get lost if the dresser drawer tipped over during the move.
Hanging clothes can be left on their hanger, wrapped in plastic bags (large garbage bags often work), tied together, and then hung back in the closet until it’s time to move.
In case you haven’t noticed, these moving tips are in no particular order… much like your new home will likely be immediately after the movers have left.
I thought about trying to arrange these chronologically or in order of importance, but the order I do things (and how important things are to me) might not be the same as how others would. Therefore, I decided to keep them in more of a random order.
Donate What You Don’t Want/Need
Moving is a fantastic opportunity to purge stuff that has been sitting in storage for many years. There’s no point in moving stuff to the house if you don’t want it or need it.
Purge your closets, storage areas, donate canned goods to the local food bank. Create ongoing donation boxes (if you’re anything like me, you’ll need several of them).
You can either take them to a local donation center or contact one of the charities that will pick clothing and household goods from your home.
Start Packing Even While Your House is On the Market
Don’t waste precious packing time waiting for your house to sell.
Even if your current home is on the market, you can still pack. Just make sure to stack boxes neatly in one corner of the room and try to keep them out of line of site from the front door.
Pack an Essentials Box for Moving Day
Keep the emergency/essentials in a separate box or storage tote and bring it to the new house first, that way you have what you need at your fingertips, just in case. Keep things such as bottled water, toilet paper, paper towel, Band-Aids, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, a box cutter, your child’s favorite teddy bear, etc. in the essentials box. You just want enough to survive for the first few hours until you can start unpacking.
Move it with you (don’t put it into the truck) and use a box or tote that looks unique or mark it with big, bold writing so that you can easily spot it if it ends up in the wrong place.
Once, not that long ago, I was in the middle of moving into my new home. As the sun set and I went to turn on the lights to be able to see what I was doing, I realized that the previous owner had removed and taken with them every single light bulb in the entire house. Since then, I always include light bulbs in my essentials moving day box as well.
Keep Track of Incoming Mail
Make a running list of all mail that comes in over a 30 – 60-day period. This will help you remember the important places that will need your new address. After the fact, your “forwarded” mail from the old address will let you know who you might have forgotten.
Change Your Address with the Post Office
No matter how hard you try to remember everything, or how much your convince yourself that you get everything digitally now, you will forget at least one (or more) important piece of mail. I’ve had checks arrive at my house for the old owner MONTHS after they moved out.
By putting a change of address in with the United States or Canadian Post Office, they will forward your mail to you and you can then catch and update anything you missed.
Move Valuables and Extremely Fragile Items Yourself
If you get possession of your new home before move day, you can do some of these things early, such as moving valuables and very fragile items, setting up your utilities, and changing the locks.
Change Your Keys, Not Your Locks
Take your existing locks (and the keys) to the local hardware or home improvement store and they can change the locks for FAR less than it would cost to hire a locksmith or replace the entire lock set.
Give Away Your Old Moving Boxes for Free
Flatten boxes as you unpack them and collect them in one place. You can post them on Craigslist or a local classified site for free pickup by another mover.
Not only does this help someone else save time and money finding or buying moving boxes, but it also keeps your boxes out of the local landfill.
Keep Last Minute Boxes Handy While Movers are Loading
Keep two or three open but unpacked “last minute boxes” so that you can easily pack up anything you find during your final check.
No matter how thoroughly you thought you had packed, there’s almost always about 3 boxes worth of stuff that you find at the last minute.
The boxes should be assembled with the tape gun and moving labels handy so you can pack those forgotten items and get them onto the truck likety split.
Pack a Travel Suitcase, Enough for One Weekend (or Two Days at Work)
Pack a set of clothes, toiletries, and other essentials to last for two days in a suitcase and move that with you (not in the moving truck) and place it somewhere handy in your bedroom.
What you pack in the suitcase will depend on what you need to do over the next two days, so it can be casual clothes if you have the time off or work clothes if you immediately have to return to the office.
That will give you enough to stay freshly cleaned for the first day or two while you locate and unpack the rest of your stuff amidst a sea of boxes.
Take a Digital Photo Inventory
Before you start packing, take digital pictures of EVERYTHING in your home. At least everything of value. That provides a digital inventory in case disaster strikes and allows you to prove the condition of an item should something get damaged in the move.
That can include furniture, jewelry, clothes, tools, your collection of vintage books, etc.
The pictures don’t need to be fancy – you’re not trying to become InstaFamous here – just something that shows what you had before the move started.
You can also take pictures of your electronics and how they were connected so that you have a reference point when you are trying to reconnect them at your new home.
Moving Tips, Learned by Trial and Error
It has taken several moves (more than I care to count) and several moving disasters to put together this tried and true list of moving tips & packing hacks.
We hope these moving tips & packing hacks help you have a safe and easy move, and that your new home brings you nothing but joy and happiness!
Before you start packing, don’t forget to download your free PDF copy of The Ultimate Moving Checklist.
Free Printable Moving Announcement Cards
As a thank you for spending your time with us today, we have pulled together a few Free Moving Announcement Cards that you can customize with your family name and your new address to let friends and family know about the big move!
Simply click on the image of your choice to open the printable PDF file and right click to save the file to your computer. Then add your family name, address, and housewarming details (if you wish).
Have More Moving Tips to Share?
If you think we’ve missed something in this list of moving tips, please add your own hacks to the comments below! (We reserve the right to blatantly steal your ideas an update this list accordingly!!)