Cleaning & Organizing
16 Tricks to Make Your Moving Day as Stress-Free as Possible
Moving is not exactly fun, but we have good news for you. We spoke to several top professional organizers and moving experts who shared strategies for prepping for a move. We hope you’ll never feel stressed-about-moving again!
To avoid spending time and money packing, moving, and unpacking unwanted/unnecessary items or furniture that won’t fit, do a deep (decluttering) dive. “This is a great time to get rid of old bath and beauty products that you’ll never use, old, ripped or stained bedding and towels, and kitchen items that are never touched,” says Melissa Picheny of Declutter + Design, a professional organizing company in New York City. “You can use this as a time to donate your clothes and shoes to your favorite local charity.” Here’s where you can donate just about anything.
Pack for where you’re moving to
Your new place may have different rooms than your current one. For example, you may never have had a mudroom before, which is why you should pack and label according to the rooms you’ll have, says Amelia Meena, owner of Appleshine, a professional organizing company in New York City. “Let’s say your two kids have always shared a room but in the new house they’ll have their own room; label their boxes accordingly.”
Keep fragile items together
Though it might be tempting to tuck fragile items in with soft bedding or towels, professionals urge you to reserve a few boxes for all of your breakables and pack them together instead. “Collect your breakables, statuettes, and heirlooms and mark the box ‘fragile,’” says Meena. “You can even move those yourself instead of having the movers transport them.” Here are the 15 secrets moving companies won’t tell you.
Keep your kitchen pack-up super organized
Depending on how much stuff you have, the kitchen is often the lengthiest room to pack up. Still, your goal is to stay as organized as possible when packing this room. “Place kitchen items into categories,” Picheny suggests. “And mark these boxes more specifically (i.e. dishes, flatware and cups, mixer etc.). This way you’ll be able to find what you need quickly even if you haven’t had a chance to completely unpack yet.”
Stay in the clear
Ditch the brown boxes. Instead, always use clean plastic bins (in addition to clear bags) when you are packing items for your move. “Using any type of storage unit or bin that is see-through will provide an easy way to account for items you are packing, while protecting and preserving personal items, memorabilia, photos, and books,” says Jane Abrahams, a professional organizer and owner of Jane’s Addiction Organization in Port Washington, New York. Here are more tips for making your next move as painless as possible.
Invest in labeling tape
Using color-coded moving tape with the name of each room on it will save you lots of time, says Picheny. “It means you won’t have to spend time writing labels on your boxes,” she says. “And you can see it a lot easier than the writing if your box is buried under others.”
Create your own micro-moving system
When packing boxes, label each room-by-room and category-by-category, Picheny suggests. For example: MB (master bedroom)-bedding; MB-his clothes, MB-her shoes, etc. “Then use the labeled packing tape to wrap it up,” she says. “Keep repeating until you’ve packed everything up.”
Number your boxes
Not only should you number your boxes, but you should create a master inventory sheet that corresponds with the number. Put a short description of items that are in each box, so if you really need something you’ll know which box to look in, suggests says Jennifer O. Laurence, president and founder of Luxury Lifestyle Logistics.
Let hangables hang
Wardrobe boxes are there for a reason. “Clothes can easily be moved from your closet into wardrobe boxes which comes with rods for hanging thing up,” suggests Aly Finkelstein, a contributor at Houzz, a home design website. “You just put the clothes in, seal up the box, move, and then unpack and hang the clothes in your new closet after the move.”
Be smart with your art
The best way to pack wall art is by using towels and flat pieces of cardboard, says Finkelstein. “Wrap each photograph or piece of art in towels and tape the towel around the piece so that the towel stays in place,” she says. “Then you can place wrapped items in a box and put a piece of flat cardboard between them for added protection. Tip: Cut-up wardrobe boxes are a great source for large, flat pieces of cardboard.”
Have a designated contact person for the movers
“Have one person be the designated go-to person for questions on location of items,” says Laurence. That way the movers know who to direct all their questions to and they aren’t getting conflicting info from multiple family members. Make sure the person knows he or she is in charge on moving day.
Have large trash bags available on both ends
You’ll collect a lot more junk than you think. “Having trash bags or cans readily available allows you to throw away packing supplies, items no longer needed, or anything else that needs purging during the process,” says Laurence. Once the bag is full, bring it to the curb and get a new bag and repeat the process.
Don’t forget to shut off utilities
Most utility companies have very user-friendly websites. “You can do almost everything online including suspend, transfer, or shut off utilities,” says Garrett O’Shea, president & CMO of PockitShip, a moving company in the D.C. area. As important as it is to turn everything off at your old house, you want to make sure all the utilities are turned on at your new digs. Schedule everything to go on at least one day before the move.
Book movers for first thing in the morning
Moving companies will typically perform several moves throughout the day. “The crews are at their best in the morning when they’re fresh,” says Ryan Carrigan co-founder of moveBuddha. “The workers will get the move done faster which will save you money” Plus, since they are not tired from a long day of moving, they’re less likely to drop or scrape your furniture. Always try to be the first move on the schedule.
Send your kids and pets away for the day
Have them stay with grandparents, cousins, or friends for the moving day. “It’s much less stressful to know that the kids are not underfoot and pets aren’t getting freaked out during a move,” says April Masini, author and etiquette expert. “If drama does occur, not having kids and pets around just makes the drama that much easier to sort out. Knowing they’re all safe and sound elsewhere, will be a big help,” she says.
Pack a suitcase
Your first night in your new home will be overwhelming enough so be sure to avoid the mad scramble to find a towel, a pillow or your toothbrush, says Marissa Hagmeyer, co-owner of Neat Method, a home organizing and unpacking company. “Make sure the boxes that contain the things you need that first night are well labeled and loaded last on the truck so they are the first off,” she says. “That way it will be easy to make sure your beds are made well in advance of the end of move day.”