Moving Tips: The ULTIMATE Guide

Person-Holding-Box

Moving can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Relocating all of your worldly possessions, leaving your home, and moving to a whole new neighborhood would be taxing on anyone. But it can be made to go much smoother with some moving tips. We are professional movers and have been doing this on a daily basis for more than 3 generations. If anyone has some great moving tips I would think it’d be us. So listen up! Take notes, print this off, and have a successful move.

(Read: What You NEED to Know When Hiring Movers)

Moving Tip 1: Plan Your Moving Timeline

plan-your-move

If you pre-plan your move you will lessen the opportunity to forget something and have to scramble under a deadline. Here is a sample moving timeline checklist to get you started. Consider writing these things on a calendar or setting reminders on your phone.

6 weeks before your move: Identify your large ticket items that you will not be taking with you on your move and put them up for sale. Craigslist, Ebay, and Etsy are some of the most popular places to sell your unneeded possessions. Facebook “For Sale” groups are another good place to post them. You will want to give yourself plenty of time for the perfect buyer to come along and give you the best price. A few less things to move and a little extra money in your pocket is always a good thing!

4-6 weeks before your move: Look into the required registration forms and doctor’s physicals that you will need to have completed prior to registering your children into a new school or sports team. It is much easier to get this done before you move rather than attempting to find new doctors, packed away paperwork, and adding more to your overflowing to-do list after a fresh move.

moving-sale

4-6 weeks before your move: Plan a garage sale for your smaller ticket items that you will not be taking with you on your move. You want plenty of time to organize this. Schedule it for a non-holiday weekend, ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have any items to sell to boost your inventory, and promote the heck out of it on social media and in the newspaper. Again, less stuff you have to move and more money in your pocket.

(Read: The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Moving Sale)

4-5 weeks before your move: If you have plenty of fragile valuables, you will want to consider hiring professional movers. They have insurance to compensate you for any damaged or broken goods. Your friends and family do not. And they are professionals, so the chances of broken or damaged goods is significantly reduced. But you will want to reserve them in advance – especially during the summer months when moving is the most common, hence, moving companies are the busiest.

Moving Tips

2-3 weeks before your move: Hire a babysitter to watch your children and pets during the day of the move. The last thing you, or your children, want is to be bored out of their mind while you haul boxes back and forth to a box truck while trying not to trip over Fido. Give them a fun day at the park instead and be worry free while you relocate your home.

2 weeks before your move: Send in your change of address to the Post Office and your major monthly bills. The last thing you want is to accrue late fees because they sent an invoice to the wrong address.

2 weeks before your move: Take inventory of your current food supply. You want to have the least amount of food as possible for the move. Food quickly goes bad, it’s hard to pack, and you are forced to unpack it immediately rather than other household goods that should take priority. Make your last trip to the grocery store at this point with a minimalist mindset.

(Read: Complete Moving Checklist – Printable)

1 week before your move: Cancel your cable, newspapers, utilities, lawn care services, and anything else that you don’t want accruing charges for you after you leave. Tell them your move date and they should easily work with you to coordinate the stoppage in service.

move-out-cleaning

1 week before your move: Schedule a cleaning of your old house. Once you’re out, do yourself the favor of not having to come back and clean. Your Realtor will even schedule this for you if you’d like. Pre-plan to get the best price with a reputable cleaning company and never look back!

1 week before your move: Set up your cable and utilities at your new address. It will be hard enough to spend the first night in your new place with nothing but boxes – you don’t want to do it without power. Just let them know when your move-in date will be and they will work with you to ensure you have a fully functioning home upon arrival.

24 hours before your move: Defrost and clean out your fridge. Wipe up all of the water that will surely drip out and put some baking powder or coffee grains in a sock to keep things smelling fresh. You will be happy that you didn’t buy more food on your last grocery trip!

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Moving Tip 2: Organize All Your Stuff

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Organization is the key to a flawless move. It will make packing, loading, and, eventually, unpacking so much easier on everyone. Choose a room as your “Moving Headquarters” to use for your sorting, labeling, boxing, and storage until the actual move date.

Moving Supplies

To begin, you will want to make sure that you have enough moving supplies to get you through the whole move. Start with boxes. You will use more than you think, so get plenty. You can buy these from moving companies, get them for free on craigslist, or ask your local liquor store for if they have an extras laying around (They do). There are specialty boxes for your valuable items such as TVs, framed art, mirrors, and wardrobe. If you want to protect your valuables I suggest investing in the proper moving boxes. In addition to boxes, you will want plenty of packing tape, markers, color coded stickers, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Buy in abundance. Anything that you don’t use can be returned after you move is completed. Just keep your receipts. Store all of your newly acquired moving supplies in a nice basket, bucket, or spare box so you aren’t losing everything that you set down. Moving can get hectic. Just make sure you put each item back into the box after you’re finished using it.

(Read: The Best Moving Boxes Guide Ever – Get Them FREE!)

Separating Your Belongings

Now that you have your supplies and headquarters set up, it is time to start separating your possessions. You will want to make 4 piles of items. One for items you plan on moving with you, one for items you plan on selling, one for items you plan to donate, and one for items that can be thrown away. Before putting your electronics in the “keep” pile, snap a picture of how the cords are all plugged into the back. This way you will have no problem remembering how to hook that Playstation back up when you get settled in to your new home. Wrap the cords up nicely after you take the picture and tape them to the back of whatever electronic device they belong to. This will make it much harder for you to lose, or confuse, your electrical cords. You should also tape any owners manuals, bolts, screws, and remote controls to their corresponding components.

donate

Take your time and think through which pile you put things into. Don’t rush. At this point you will be feeling like you have way too much stuff. And that’s natural. If you don’t love it, don’t need it, or haven’t used it in the last 6-12 months you should strongly consider selling it or donating it to a local charity. There are plenty of good causes that would be happy to come pick up that old couch in the den. A moving sale a few weeks before your move date is a great way to make a little extra spending money to offset any expenses that you incur while moving. And for those of you who haven’t done some Spring cleaning in a while, you should think about renting a dumpster and recycling bin to purge all the things that might have gotten water damage or chewed on by creepy crawlies while being stored in your garage and basement.

(Read: Your Storage Options)

Lastly, when organizing your things, know what items that moving companies will NOT move. Your movers should give you a full list, but the most common things are going to be perishable foods, explosives, any hazardous materials, and corrosives. You will need to sell these, throw them away, or move them yourself. Anything that is irreplaceable to you, such as an old family picture album or your engagement ring set, should be kept with you. While moving companies are professionals, and most of them are trustworthy, it isn’t worth the risk. If you can take the things with you that you can’t live without, or that can’t be replaced, then you should.

(Read: The Complete ‘Non-Allowable’ Items List)

Moving Tip 3: Packing Up Your Life

suitcase

Now for the fun part. Packing. Putting your whole life into an assortment of boxes in hopes that you can transport it without damage. Lucky for you I happen to be an expert on the topic and can give you some simple moving tips that will make packing a breeze. Now that you are organized, and have plenty of packing supplies, start thinking about your “First Night Box”. When you get moved into a new house you will be sitting on the carpet surrounded by boxes and eating a pizza off of a paper towel. What are the things that you are going to NEED that night and the next morning? Toiletries, shower supplies, your reading glasses, a good book, a change of clothes, your laptop, and any medication that you or your family may be prescribed are a few good things to have. Also consider 2 plastic cups and a nice bottle of wine. Pack these things into a clear plastic bin, label it clearly, and pack it last so that it can be unloaded first.

(Read: Moving Companies vs. PODs)

No one wants to get out of pocket too far with moving expenses. You can save on the amount of boxes that you use by putting your laundry baskets, suitcases, gym bags, backpacks, garbage sacks, and dresser drawers to work. They are harder to stack and label but if you have a lot of stuff then it might save you a substantial amount in box fees. You can pull your drawers out and just wrap them in saran wrap to keep everything inside and in place. Super easy. Garbage bags will slip over your clothes hanging in the closet without much trouble. Just remember to use clear bags so that you can differentiate between your clothes and actual garbage. You don’t want to start your move by throwing your favorite jeans in a dumpster. Save on wrapping paper by putting your breakable glasses in clean socks. Your larger breakables can be wrapped in sweatshirts and blankets for protection in place of bubble wrap. And always remember to pack heavy items in small boxes and light items in large boxes to avoid rupturing the bottoms and spilling your belongings all over the street.

Wheaton glasses wrap

Packing up your dishes can be one of the most difficult things to do. Obviously your plates and bowls are breakable. Unless you populate your cupboards with plastic, in which case, skip this paragraph. There are a few things that you can do to limit the chances of china fatalities. Your plates will be less likely to break if you pack them vertically in the box. Try putting a disposable foam plate in-between each plate as a layer of padding. Wine cases work great for glassware since they have the sectioned off cardboard inserts. And if you are able to afford it, they have special moving boxes made specifically for your dishes. If you take your time, and pack things correctly with bubble wrap, wrapping paper, and proper spacing, then you shouldn’t have a problem getting your glass and ceramic from point A to point B.

(Read: Long Distance Moving Services)

Bonus packing tips: Put small, themed, items in zip lock bags. You can drop these see-through packages straight into moving boxes and it will keep all of your tiny treasures together. You can use egg crates to easily package your jewelry for relocation. If you fasten your necklaces through a toilet paper roll it will prevent them from tangling during transfer. To prevent your liquids from spilling and ruining the rest of the contents of a box; unscrew the lid, wrap the bottle in saran wrap, and then reapply the lid. You should be safe from spills even if the box falls over or gets put upside down. Label the sides of the boxes rather than the tops. This will enable you to distinguish between your belongings even when they are stacked. Label the contents of the box as well as what room they will be going into for easy organization on your move-in day.

Follow these moving tips and your packing will be a breeze.

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Moving Tip 4: Moving Day

moving-day

The day finally comes. Moving day. If you have given yourself enough time and followed these moving tips then you probably are excited to relocate and start your next chapter. If you haven’t followed these moving tips then you are probably freaking out. Either way – it’s go time.

(Read: Local Move Services)

An easy moving tip to carry your seemingly endless inventory of boxes is to use a box cutter and slice triangles in the side of each box. With the tip of the triangle pointing to the ground, these will act like nice carrying handles for you to use. Don’t make them too big because you don’t want to weaken the box. And be careful not to cut too deep so you don’t cut the items inside the box – or even better – you can do this while the box is still empty. Place all of your boxes and furniture out in the driveway or on the lawn before you place it into the moving truck. This will allow you to pack the truck correctly and avoid an avalanche of cardboard when you inevitably take a corner too fast. Make it a game. Try to fill the truck like you are playing Tetris. Go for the high score. Secure any unstable items with bungie cords or rope. And remember to put your overnight bag in last so it can be the first thing you take out upon arrival.

Friend-Helping-Move

If you are having friends and family help you move you should have a plan B in place. Too often last minute complications come up, or people show up late, and you are left with no safety net. Hiring professional movers is the best way to avoid this all together. Do your best to treat whomever you employ to assist you with your move, whether family or professionals, as well as you can. Remember that your possessions are in their hands – literally. Coffee, snacks, water, and a good attitude are always appreciated and really help make your move go much smoother. Ensure that the oil and gas is drained from your lawn equipment before you load them. If your weed whacker falls over onto your box of church clothes you will have a tough time getting those stains out.

(Read: Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Olympia)

Once you have everything cleaned out of your house you can do a final inspection. A little known moving tip is that you can fill nail holes in your walls with a bar of soap. Quick, easy, and cheap. Perfect. Take pictures and videos of your pristine former abode. You will want to document your cleaning efforts to enable a full refund of any deposit that you made when you first moved in. Not saying that your landlord isn’t trustworthy but there are plenty of horror stories about move-out charges that break the bank. Do the same thing on your way into your new place. If you have hired movers and/or shippers, take a note of your shipment’s registration number so that you can track it on it’s travels or reference it at any point. This makes customer service easy. Help them help you!

Moving Tip 5: Unpacking Your Move

child-in-moving-box

You’re almost done! Almost. You just need to get the stuff you shipped into the new place you live in as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you hired professional movers you are probably patting yourself on the back at this point. If you didn’t – you’re probably exhausted and vowing never move again. Either way, there are some simple ways to make the last stretch to the finish line all down hill.

(Read: Local Office Moving Services)

When you are the maestro of a move it is essential to coordinate several people at once. One way to get your team on the same page is with colorful stickers. Put a sticker on the door frame of each room. Give all the rooms a different color. Then put a corresponding sticker to each box that goes into that room. If your bedroom got the purple sticker then put a purple sticker on your bed frame and dresser. This will help get boxes to the right places without you having to watch like a hawk. Pro moving tip: Place a rubber band around the handles of your front door. From the inside knob around to the outside knob. This will hold the latch in and prevent the door from closing and forcing you, with arms full of boxes, to reach down and turn the handle.

Door Hack

When all the boxes are safely inside and the box truck is closed up you should create a list of most important things to unpack first. A priority list will help you feel more organized and in control, less stressed out and chaotic. Also, having your essentials in place first will make your new place feel like a home, faster. While unpacking, unload one box at a time. Empty it completely, fold the box up, store it away. One less box should be in your home now. And don’t just put things into different piles. To help you feel like you are making real progress you should put things in their place when you take them out of the box. If you need a break, take the opportunity to go grocery shopping. You will be much happier if you are able to eat lunch or have a snack while you work. And when it comes time for dinner you will be prepared rather than needing to make a last minute trip after working all day.

(Read: Moving the Elderly or Disabled)

One box at a time the pyramid will come down. Your home will begin to form. And, before you know it, your move will be over.

Moving Tips Conclusion

Moving can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you follow these simple moving tips then it will be much easier. Expect the unexpected but know that it will all be over sooner than later and you will be relaxing in your new home before you know it.

Do you have any other moving tips that didn’t make the list? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

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18 Responses to “Moving Tips: The ULTIMATE Guide”

  1. Ellie Davis

    I like where you suggest sending in your new address to the post office two weeks before you move. My family is moving three states away from where we have lived for almost five years. Although we are very excited, this is a giant move and going to take a lot of effort. I think I need to hire a moving company to help make sure everything gets there and we don’t have to stress about packing and driving everything.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Glad to hear you’re considering a moving company. People often underestimate the amount of effort an interstate move will take, and scramble to find a moving company last minute. Let us know if we can help!

      Reply
  2. Burt Silver

    Our family is currently considering making a move to Hawaii. I like what you said about taking your time. Our family has been rushing to make this happen, but we’re trying to take it our time and enjoy this move and just be glad we’re able to consider an opportunity like this. We only need to find a service that could help us do that!

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Burt, we’re glad to hear you’re taking your time with this move. Our international coordinator handles all moves overseas, including Hawaii, and would be more than happy to give you some insight on how to best prepare for your move. Give our office a call at 877-547-7173 and she’ll be happy to help!

      Reply
  3. Jay

    Thanks for this break down week by week. That makes it way easier to think about. I really like that tip about getting a cleaning service in the week before. That could really show when you start staging your home.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Jay, thanks for sharing! The cleaning service can also help you get your deposit back if you’re renting your home or apartment.

      Reply
  4. Joy Butler

    I agree with all your tips and pointers mentioned here, particularly that moving can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. My family is moving to a different state next year and temporarily will have to leave a few things here as we couldn’t take everything with us once we move in. Nonetheless, we will certainly organize in packing our stuff so nothing will be left and forgotten.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Joy, we’re glad to hear you found a good solution that will work for your family. Moving definitely is not impossible when you have a great team behind you!

      Reply
  5. Joy Butler

    I am grateful for your advice about moving. This is my first time to be moving out from my place as I just got a new job to in the nearby city. I am now looking for a moving service which could help me with my things. Yes, I have already organized my stuff and just waiting for the right moving company who will be willing to assist me.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Glad to hear you’re off to a great start with your move! Let us know if we can help in any way.

      Reply
  6. Monica Chavez

    Thanks for pointing out that it’s natural to feel like you have way too much stuff when you’re starting to pack things up. My sister is getting ready for a big cross-country move next week, and she has so much stuff she’s starting to feel pretty overwhelmed. I think it would help a lot if she got rid of some unnecessary stuff. It would also be really beneficial if she had a moving company to help her, so that she’s not taking this huge project on completely on her own.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Monica, it’s very natural to feel overwhelmed. Decluttering can truly make a difference in not only your emotional state, but also in the overall cost of the move. Having a move coordinator from a trustworthy moving company can really make a difference in helping you prepare.

      Reply
  7. Camille Devaux

    I really liked what you said about color coordinating. This is a great idea that makes it easier on the homeowner because they will not have to watch the process so closely. My aunt might like knowing this as she begins to look at moving services.

    Reply
    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Camille, we’re glad to hear you’ll be sharing these tips with your aunt. Let us know if we can help make her moving process any easier!

      Reply
  8. Hector Uba

    It’s great that you put together this guide to help you prepare for your move and make it a smoother experience. I agree that one of the best things you can do for yourself when you move is to declutter and get rid of all the things you don’t really need. I would imagine that the longer we live in a place, the more we accumulate things that we don’t really need.

    Reply
  9. Dave Anderson

    I think it is so important to plan a timeline. If you know when you want stuff done, and plan what you’re going to do to accomplish that especially when moving, it will get done. My wife and I are thinking about moving and after reading this it reaffirms that planning will help us with whatever we want to do, and will help the moving company too.

    Reply

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