These last few weeks have been absolute chaos. We are all moved in to our new place and everything is slowly getting put together. There were boxes everywhere, the first day we had a small, narrow pathway from the front door to the bed. It was a long and exhausting process to move and when I mentioned to Jeff that I wanted to write a post about moving tips and how to make a move go smoothly and stress-free, he looked at me incredulously and asked what secrets I had been holding out on. Our move was unorganized, chaotic, and extremely stressful.
We knew we weren’t renewing our lease with our old complex well before our lease was even over. And yet we still didn’t find a new place and sign the lease until two days before we had to be completely out of our apartment. In our defense, we were waiting on Jeff’s friend to decide whether he wanted to move in with us and he was being extremely flaky. I was getting extremely stressed and frustrated and decided I didn’t want a roommate anymore when he finally started to be responsive and look for a place with us.
So we didn’t even get the keys to start moving stuff in until the evening before we had to be out. We packed up a few boxes of miscellaneous items that we wouldn’t need and drove them over that night, but we gave up after our first trip because Jeff was tired and he had to work for a few hours in the morning…on moving day. This was much to my displeasure because I knew we would need all the time we could get and he didn’t end up getting home until after 2:30… We had to have our stuff all moved out and keys returned by 6pm. There was no way that was happening.
Thankfully one of Jeff’s old coworkers came to help and the two of them managed to move all of the furniture (I’m useless when it comes to moving the heavy stuff – I have a “bad shoulder”). Then we were left with packing up the tedious stuff – groceries, clothes, stuff from the bookshelves and drawers, cleaning supplies, and I don’t even know what else, but there was a ton of it. Every time it seemed we were almost done, we made ten more trips to the truck and barely seemed to make a dent in what was left. We didn’t finish moving everything into our new place until 4:30 in the morning. And then we still had to return the Uhaul truck and go pick up the entry mat at the old complex – of course we forgot something. When we finally laid down in bed, my whole body was throbbing and poor Jeff had to get up for work an hour later.
We really should have planned better, so I’m going to share with you the moving tips we should have utilized so that you can hopefully have a much less stressful move.
Moving Tips: Making Your Move Stress Free (ish)
Before You Move
Allow an overlap period
Moving is stressful and tiring. Make it less stressful by giving yourself an overlap period where you have both your new place and old place. It gives you time to clean and organize as you go. It also gives you the option to call it quits for the night if you get tired, hungry, or just don’t feel like moving anymore. Unfortunately we didn’t have that option. I had hoped to give us a two week period of overlap so we had time to move and have an organized move.
Don’t procrastinate/plan ahead
Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing. Because then when you run out of tape you won’t need to worry, you can just stop for the night and get more tape the next day. Also, it gives you time to organize your packing so you know where everything is. Create a checklist of everything that needs to be done prior to your move and stuff to remember to do.
You can also start packing up stuff that isn’t necessary a couple weeks out. For example, you can pack up off-season clothing since you won’t be needing it and you can start packing up the wall decor. If you have a spare/guest room, you can dedicate that to storing your boxes. If not, maybe start packing closer to moving day so you’re house isn’t cluttered with boxes.
A great idea is to plan what needs to be packed as well as when it should be stored away. For example, off season clothes and wall decor can be packed first. You can live for a few weeks without paintings on your walls. Create a check list of things that need to be done so you don’t forget anything.
Get rid of stuff
One of the best moving tips anyone will tell you is to throw away all your junk. You don’t realize how much stuff you accumulate throughout the years. Moving is a great time to get rid of stuff. Take a look at all your belongings and think about whether you use them regularly or not. Do you wear that shirt anymore? Will you ever actually wear that funny sweater you just had to have that you’ve never worn? Probably not. Just donate them, someone else will use them and will appreciate them. The more you get rid of, the less you have to move.
One great way to get rid of stuff is to sell it. We like using LetGo, I feel like we’ve gotten faster responses. It is great because you end up with less stuff to move, some money in your pocket, and room to fill your new space. This is especially useful if you’re downsizing, your furniture won’t fit, or if you just want to redecorate.
Have old books and textbooks you don’t want or use anymore? Donate them to the library. Or you can sell them at a local used bookstore. Another place to sell books is online through Amazon or Powell’s.
Getting rid of stuff also includes eating the food in your refrigerator and not stocking up at the grocery store. Again, you’ll have less to move but you also won’t have to worry about anything going bad or melting during your move.
Don’t blog in the middle of moving
I started brainstorming and writing this post while Jeff was taking apart the bed. He was a little irritated I wasn’t helping pack up anything else so this one was entirely his suggestion. And I must admit, it is a good one.
Be specific when you label your boxes. We did a pretty good job at labeling our boxes, but we were very general. We only wrote “clothes” on boxes, so we had no clue which clothes were in each box. So when Jeff had to get up for work (an hour after we finished), he couldn’t find any work clothes. Or socks. Or deodorant.
One option to better organize your boxes is to use different colored tape on your boxes. For example: pink means important/necessary stuff to be opened first, blue means stuff that isn’t a priority, and green means lowest priority stuff – stuff that hardly gets used and can be opened last. Or alternatively, you could label them pink meaning clothes, blue meaning bathroom supplies, green meaning kitchen, etc. This way you can separate where boxes are put and what boxes are more of a priority.
Another idea to make sure you have all your necessities is to pack them into a plastic storage bin or suitcase. It will stand out among the rest of the moving boxes so you will know where your immediate essentials are. Or load it into your car and keep it with you so it won’t get lost in a moving truck. Pack like you’re going away for a long weekend, all the stuff you’d need and take with you – toothbrush/paste, shampoo & conditioner, face wash, medications, a pair of pjs, and a few days worth of clothes. Don’t forget that you’ll have to set up your shower as well, so bring any shower rods and curtains you will need and towels.
Have enough packing materials
It is always better to have extra. You’d rather have too many boxes than not enough. We decided to make a trip before our big move so we could reuse boxes. And thankfully we did because we weren’t able to put together the last few boxes because we ran out of tape. We became really inefficient in our packing and moving, having to resort to paper bags.
We try to use all of our towels to protect our dishes and other fragile items first. You have to pack them anyways, so why not use them for something and hopefully save some space. Plus this saves you money on buying bubble wrap or packing paper.
Set up utilities
Don’t forget to call and set up your utilities to turn on/off before you go. It’s super simple and you can do it online, but it’s better to do it ahead of time in case there are any problems or a delay in processing your request. Sometimes the cable and internet company will need to come out and install something and you don’t want to end up without tv and wifi access for a few days because you didn’t plan ahead.
I am a huge germaphobe, so I like to clean everything thoroughly before we move in to a new place. Go to your new house/apartment with some cleaning supplies and do it before you move anything in. I like to Lysol wipe down everything (handles/knobs, surfaces, and any other place I might touch) as well as clean the bathroom thoroughly.
Prepare to move the pets
This move, we moved the dog by letting her sit passenger in the Uhaul truck with Jeff while I drove over with the cats. Have you ever driven in a car with a cat?! Thankfully we didn’t have to go very far. We waited until we had moved everything out to move the cats and we only have one crate for three cats. The kittens (they’re not kittens anymore, but I still refer to them that way because they’re my babies) go in the crate together. But with only one crate, we had to leave the kittens behind while we took the other cat to the new house. That way they would be left with each other and not alone. But it was absolutely heartbreaking to see them sitting in the window watching us walk away. So make sure you have a crate or multiple to move all your pets at once.
Also remember to pack their food in your essentials bin, or at least pack a few days worth of food in plastic bags. Don’t forget their food and water bowls!
Rent a box truck
There is nothing worse than having to make 100 trips because you can only fit so many boxes in the bed of the truck, or one piece of furniture at a time. We have a pretty big sectional couch, we would have had to make five different trips to move one piece at a time. And I hate making multiple trips, I will carry every bag of groceries inside in one trip, even if my fingers are burning and I can’t see where I’m going. It’s also a pain having to find a friend who has a truck that is willing to lend it to you or willing to help you move. We rented a box truck from Uhaul and it made the process so much easier. They have dollies or hand trucks (apparently that’s what they’re called, who knew) available to rent, which really come in handy when moving big stuff.
Alternatively, you could research and hire a good moving company which will save you time and a lot of stress but it will cost you a lot more. You will only have to pack your boxes, but you won’t have to load/unload. Just remember to do this ahead of time, you’re not the only one trying to move. If you go this route, don’t forget refreshments for the movers or a tip when they’re done!
Don’t pack the tools
You’ll definitely want to keep your tools handy for setting up furniture or installing hardware if necessary. Don’t pack your tools, it’s a great time to buy a toolbox or tool kit if you don’t already have one. We bought this Makita drill set that was on sale and this Husky tool bag from Home Depot.
Set up the bed first
All the bed pieces take up a lot of space crowding the room so you can’t put the rest of your furniture in the room. We had a lot of boxes of clothes we had to put away first before we could set up the bed. But we couldn’t put them away because not all of our dressers were in the room. One was in the kitchen with its drawers all over the living room because it’s easier to move the dresser without the drawers.
We had to move boxes out of the room to set up the bed. Then we were able to unpack boxes, putting away the clothes we could and piling the rest on the bed. This gave us the room to move furniture into the room and clear up the kitchen and living room to organize and unpack out there. Plus, it was nice to have the bed set up to sleep in!
When you’re moving, you are on your feet running around and lifting heavy boxes for long periods of time. Make sure you wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable to move around in all day. I wore sandals and it was not one of my best decisions. My feet were in so much pain that when we finally went to bed I couldn’t sleep because my feet were throbbing.
A great way to speed up the moving process is to bribe your friends into helping you. Offer pizza and beer or have it ready for them.
Have sustenance available
Have a cooler filled with water bottles (or beer) to stay hydrated while you move. Trust me, you will get thirsty. Also have some quick and easy snacks available to keep your body fueled for moving. Or take a break and order pizza. Plus it’s a great way to bribe your friends into helping you!
After You Move
First things first, you’ll probably want a long shower, or a bath. Moving will leave you feeling really gross.
Then sit and enjoy a glass of wine. You did it! Now you can relax and start planning, organizing, and putting together your new place. Have fun with it!
Sell or give away your boxes on Craigslist so someone else can use them!
What moving tips do you have? How do you keep your move stress-free?