Happy young woman in apartment with moving boxes.
Moving Tips

10 Tips to Make Your Move Smooth and Simple

ByEssex

November 21, 2019

Moving is one of those things that, on the surface, may seem like a piece of cake. All you have to do is pack your belongings up, load them into your vehicle (or onto a rented truck if you want to get it all in one go), then unload and unpack. Easy right?

Well, if you've ever actually tried to move somewhere before, then you know that it is far from the reality of the situation. However, you can combat this struggle with planning and preparation to help you save a lot of effort when moving day finally arrives. So, if you have a move coming up, here are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure things go as smoothly as possible between point A and point B.

Tip 1: Pack an Overnight Bag

While it's true you'll have all your belongings when you get to your new place, they will all be in boxes. The last thing you want to deal with is realizing that you packed all the things you need most first, so it's behind a wall of cardboard, clothes, and dishes.

For that reason, it's a good idea to pack a small suitcase or overnight bag. You want all your toiletries, a few changes of clothes, a towel, medicine, and your other necessities on-hand and ready to go. This will allow you to refresh yourself for a few days while you get everything else situated in your new home and figure out exactly where everything is going to go in your new abode.

Tip 2: Wrap Your Breakables in Clothes Instead of Bubble Wrap or Newspaper

When packing, the first thing you want to do is gather bubble wrap and newspaper to pad your more fragile objects before you put them all in a box and tape it shut. However, our homes are already full of shock-absorbent padding—padding that you'll be folding up and putting in a different box anyway!

So why not make the most of it and save yourself a trip?

Before you swaddle your dishes, glasses, and tabletops in bubble wrap, remember that you have towels, clothes, pillows, and blankets that are all making the move as well. Instead of spending money and wasting space with a considerable amount of additional padding, just use what you already have to cushion your breakables. It saves you some serious green, and it means there are fewer boxes you'll have to cram into your moving truck when all is said and done.

Tip 3: If You Don't Need It, Don't Move It

You get attached to your belongings. Even if they're things you thought you'd lost, or completely forgot you had until it was time to pack it up and move again. That's one reason that Good Housekeeping calls moving the ultimate opportunity to declutter your home and your lifestyle.

In short, if you aren't using it, and don't need it, don't bring it with you.

A good metric to use for a possession purge is whether you've used this item in the past couple of years. Do you have several paintings in the back room that you keep telling yourself you'll hang one of these days? Do you have spare metal bed frames just in case something happens? Have you been telling yourself that you'll lose enough weight to get back into those old jeans ever since you first moved out on your own?

Do not bring all that dead weight with you.

If you can recycle it, do so. Give your unwanted items away to friends, donate them to charities, or in the cases of metal items like the bed frames, just take them to your local scrap dealer. List things on Freecycle or auction it off on eBay. Whatever you do, though, don't drag it with you to your new home.

Tip 4: Check Your Measurements

"Measure twice, cut once," is an old saying that anyone who took a wood shop class will remember hearing. However, one of the most important things you can do when moving to a new place is to make sure that all your current possessions will actually fit in your new home.

Now, you don't have to measure everything. Your dishes, your clothes, etc. are probably going to be just fine. However, you should take a tape measure to your big items like your bed, your couch, and your dining room table to make sure it will fit in your new abode. There's nothing worse than hauling big, bulky items to their final destination, only to realize they're two inches too wide to fit through the door.

Tip 5: Pack by Category, Not by Room

One of the most common things we do when packing up is to pack everything in a room, then label all the boxes from that room. However, the place you're moving to isn't going to be exactly the same as the one you left. And in the interim between packing and unpacking, you might have trouble remembering exactly which room a given item was in.

That's why you should pack by category instead of by room.

Don't separate out your novels, cookbooks, and old textbooks; put them all in the same box. By the same token it doesn't matter which room particular towels were in before you started packing; put them in the same box as all the other towels. This may require a little extra shuffling when you get to your destination, but if you're looking for linens, you won't have to dig through three boxes of different people's bedrooms before you find what you're looking for.

Happy couple and dog in an apartment with moving boxes.

Tip 6: Pack From Least to Most Essential

Another mistake a lot of us make when moving it to try to pack up entire rooms at once. Instead, it's a lot easier to pack from your least to most essential items.

For instance, you can take down wall hangings, photos, and paintings first. They're purely decorative and putting them away early won't inconvenience you. The same is true for your good plates that are only used on special occasions, as well as formal clothing you won't need in the near future. The closer you get to your moving date, though, the more your everyday essentials like your electronics, your clothes, your towels, etc. will need to be packed up. Save your kitchen contents till last, unless you plan on eating out for every meal a week before you move.

Tip 7: Use Clear Plastic Bins for Your Most Important Stuff

In addition to your overnight bag, you're going to have some things you'll want to-hand when you first get to your new home. Some basic silverware and plates, extension cords, individual sets of sheets, your Internet router, etc. Basically, all the stuff that will let you get back to a feeling of normal and establish your foundation so you can unpack and get settled without feeling like a stranger in your own home.

Pack these items in a clear, plastic tote. This will make them extremely easy to spot among the sea of brown boxes, and you'll be able to reuse said tote for storage once you get your home squared away.

Tip 8: Take Pictures of Electronics Setups

Most of us forget what a pain it is to properly hook up all our electronics. If you've got a complicated array, then make sure you take a picture before you disassemble it. This will help you recreate it later (and possibly improve on it if you want to keep your cords from getting all tangled up).

Tip 9: Keep Your Papers with You

There is nothing worse than that moment of panic when you realize you have no idea where in the mess of your stuff all your most important paperwork is. So, collect all your paperwork (passport, social security card, certificate of deposit folder, your car's ownership documents, things like that), and keep it with you in your personal vehicle when you move. This way you have everything you'll need if you need to change your driver's license, open a new bank account, or any of a hundred other little details that can take you by surprise.

Tip 10: Pack Your Closet with A Garbage Bag

Instead of taking down your hangers and folding your clothes, consider just scooping them all into a trash bag while they're still hanging. Cinch the bag around the hanger hooks, then lift them off the closet bar. This method of packing takes almost no time, and when you get your clothes into their new closet, you can just hang them up, and remove the bag. No re-hanging necessary, and it takes a minimal amount of time and fuss to use this transfer method.