Moving is exactly the type of activity where my super type-A personality really shines. I am the queen of designing efficient systems and then executing them to a T.
But, I haven’t always been this way.
When I was younger, moves were chaotic, things were shoved into random boxes, and we just tried to get to the next location without breaking too many things or killing each other.
I’m here to tell you that moving does not have to be this way, friends.
Moving is never a blast, but it can be organized, easier and faster.
Let’s dive in to my best moving tips and tricks I have learned over the years! This doesn’t include any of the things you should do before packing and moving, but I do recommend donating and selling anything you don’t really want to take with you. No reason to pack and move it if you don’t love it.
Also, I had a designated Moving Bin where I put all the things I needed while packing, so I didn’t have to run around looking for scissors, box cutters, tape, colored labels, etc. And, affiliate links are used below.
This one is going to save you a lot of time. Buy cling wrap in bulk.
Then, you are going to cling wrap any container that is open with things stored inside. Here are some of the things you can cling wrap:
- Utensil holder in the kitchen
- Knife block with knives in it
- Makeup organizers in bathroom drawers
- Organizers with tools in the garage
- Put over opened toiletries to keep them from leaking
- Cling wrap entire dresser drawers so you don’t have to pack all of the clothes!
Just take your cling wrap and roll it around your container multiple times, until everything inside is nice and secure and can’t get out.
Then stack them in a box, with the heaviest on the bottom.
When you get to your new location, take a pair of scissors to make a cut and just pull the cling wrap off and place the fully loaded tray right where it belongs.
BAM! I just saved you hours.
2. Color Code Each Room:
Give each room in the house a color and that is the color for how you organize that room.
There are several ways to color code your packing efforts, but my favorite way is to use colored labels and print them with the name of the room on them. Or, use plain white labels and use a thick font with the color for that room.
You can use colored dots, too:
There are even pre-made moving labels like this:
Then, stack all of the boxes by color and have movers load them by color, too. If you’re hiring movers, they will automatically see the system and do this. If you’re using helpful voluneers, they may need a reminder to keep color groups together to make it easier.
Next, create a page-sized sign in that color with the room name and when you get to the new location, stick those signs on the different rooms so anyone moving boxes can just match the color of the label to the sign on the door.
Voila. Every box goes straight to the right room the first time.
This helps with houses that have multiple bathrooms or bedrooms. You don’t want all of the master bathroom stuff loaded into the downstairs powder room and then just have to lug it all up later when you are exhausted.
Move it once to the right place.
3. Pack a First Night Box:
You’re moving all day. You’re tired, hungry and sore. You finally get all the beds assembled and the boxes moved in, but how do you get a good night’s sleep?
Enter: the first night box.
Pack a bin with all of the essentials you’ll need that first night and the next morning. This bin will look a little different for each person, but here are some things you might put into it:
- Sheets for beds
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Phone chargers
- Mini-hygiene kit
- Dog or pet food
- Water bottles
- Sentimental stuff for kids, like blankets, lovies
- Some toys/books to keep kids busy
- DVDs to play on a laptop or tablets until a TV is hooked up
- A set of towels and wash cloths for baths
- Change of clothes for the next day for everyone
Put this bin aside and make sure it isn’t packed too far away. I put this right on my passenger seat and made sure it stayed in the car until all the craziness was over. Then, I brought it inside and knew I had the essentials for the first night and morning.
4. Label Cords:
Wait – before you rip all those cords out of the electronics and walls, use a little tape to write what the cord was for and where it goes.
It takes just a couple of seconds per cord and it’ll save you hours on the other side trying to figure out where everything goes.
5. Bag Small Pieces:
Keep a box of ziploc bags near you when taking something apart. Put all the nuts, bolts and pieces that go with that object in the bag. Label the bag and then use packing tape to tape it to the object.
Make sure to put the tape where it won’t damage the item. Ideally, you use packing tape because a gentler tape is more likely to come undone.Or, you can label the bags and put all the ziploc bags in a box together, so when it’s time to build something, you just go to your ziploc bag box.
6. Don’t Overfill Heavy Boxes:
When packing heavier items, especially books, leave some room, or fill the space with light and soft items from the same room, such as pillows.
Or, put heavier things in smaller boxes. It’s much easier to carry smaller boxes of heavier things. You don’t want to destroy people’s backs.
Moving is a marathon, not a sprint.
7. Put Heavier Boxes on the Bottom:
This works in two ways:
- Put heavier items on the bottom of the box when packing.
- Put heavier boxes on the bottom of the stack when stacking boxes.
Just one of the many ways you can keep things from breaking or getting ruined.
8. Buy Tape & Bubble Wrap Online:
I was forking out the dolla dolla bills for bubble wrap and tape at local stores. I even thought that I was getting a good deal, because I shopped sales or went to discount stores.
Then, I found these highly rated brands online and started actually saving money.
Learn from me. Buy in bulk online. The Duck Brand on Amazon is great.
9. Use Stuff To Wrap Breakables:
Get all your towels, tablecloths, blankets, etc., and use these things to pack breakables, too.
For example, I wrapped my dining room vases, candlesticks, candle holders, pictures, with the linens I have stored in that room. This saved me in bubble wrap and kept everything together.
10. Get Boxes For Free:
Boxes add up – and using them once isn’t going to wear them out (usually). So, hop online and find local Facebook groups or your local Nextdoor site and put up a post that you are looking for boxes.
If you start doing this weeks or even a couple months in advance of having to pack, you’ll end up with a ton of boxes from people who are super happy that you’re coming to get the boxes out of their garage.
When you’re finished, list them for the next family that’s on the move and pat yourself on the back for keeping them out of a landfill.
After the boxes have served their time, look for a box recycling place or bin, so they can be recycled.
11. Wrap Hanging Clothes in Trash Bags:
This is another idea like the cling wrap one that will save time and money. Take trash bags and wrap groups of clothes on hangers, tying the bag to keep the clothes together.
Then, just stack them and hang them right back up in the closet on the other side.
This saves the time from packing all the clothes only to re-hang them and also saves money from buying the big boxes with the closet bars in them.
12. Use All Containers As Boxes:
No bin, suitcase, bag, laundry basket, box, etc, should be moved empty. Use all containers as vessels for moving. Just fill them with items from that room to keep things together.
13. Keep Snacks & Water On Hand:
Keep snacks and water that don’t need to be refrigerated in a bin that anyone can grab while they are working. Take it with you to the new place and keep it in an accessible area.
If you have kids, include or only use kid safe foods, so that kids can feed themselves as needed. You won’t want to stop 100 times to get a snack or water.
14. Kid Bins for the Win:
Not just snacks – plan a bin per kid with their favorite toys. Let them choose what goes in that bin and make sure that bin doesn’t get lost in a big moving truck. Keep this with the first night box and have it accessible as soon as you get to the other side.
15. Set Up Beds First:
If you hire movers, they should automatically start building beds after unloading the truck.
If not, plan to do this right away. It’s really tempting to start digging in to all the boxes or just plop on a couch and rest, but you’ll regret it the next day if you haven’t slept on a real bed.
Build the beds right away before you get too tired.
16. Find Local Food:
Before moving day, look up some local food places that you can pick up food or that will deliver if you are too exhausted. You won’t want to wait until the last minute and then everyone is starving.
Or, grab some frozen pizzas and easy meals that you can toss in the freezer and have ready in minutes. Just make sure they aren’t meals that require pots, pans, utensils, or other cooking supplies you may not have unpacked yet.
17. Track & Number Boxes:
Use a notepad or numbering system to track how many boxes are in each room. If you know you numbered 11 boxes in the kitchen, but only find 9 on the other side, you won’t have to wonder if you’re crazy when you can’t find certain things. You’ll know 2 boxes are somewhere.
This also holds movers accountable as they will know that you are tracking the boxes closely.
18. Keep Valuables Close:
Keep valuables close and all important documents in a special place. For us, this mean packing up social security cards, birth certificates, precious items, all together and putting them in the front of the car first before the rest of the moving started.
19. Use Rubber Bands:
Rubber bands are your friends in so many ways! Here are just some of the ways you can use them when moving:
- Use a rubber band to keep lids on things
- Use rubber bands to hold doors closed on small cabinets
- Use rubber bands to hold locks open on doors. You put the rubber band over one door knob, cross the rubber band over the door lock and then wrap it around the knob on the other side. This will keep the lock from coming out when the door is closed.
20. Grab Doorstops:
Don’t lose battles with doors slamming closed on you when you’re holding a heavy box or shutting on small fingers.
21. Snap Pictures:
Take a picture of how things are assembled or how cords are arranged if you think you might forget.
After all, you’ve probably tossed the instructions a long time ago, so the picture will be your guide.
22. Defrost Your Fridge:
Empty out and defrost your fridge 24 hours before moving. Any leftover food that won’t make it can be donated to neighbors or local friends and family.
It’s also a good idea to stop buying food about 2 weeks before moving to give you time to work through your food before moving.
23. Vacuum Seal Bulky Items:
If you haven’t already experienced the wonders of vacuum sealed bags, now is your chance! For large blankets, big winter clothes and jackets, thick sweaters, and any other items that are lightweight, but take up a lot of space, use vacuum seal bags to shrink them down.
24. Pack Stemware in Socks:
I know I said to keep everything from a room together, but this is one time when it’s okay to break that rule. Using socks to keep stemware from breaking is smart, but also economical.
The boxes designed for stemware are some of the more expensive, so you can use a regular box and socks to protect stemware.
Or, use a stemware box and socks for added protection!
25. Pre-Clean Your New Place:
There’s nothing worse than showing up to a new place and going to unpack a box, only to find that the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned to your standards or all of the shelves in the cabinets need to be wiped down.
If possible, plan to pre-clean before moving day. Or, even better, splurge on a cleaning service to go in and deep clean the whole place before you move in.
You’ll be so relieved when you’re unpacking and places are ready to go.
26. Pack Plates Vertically:
Pack plates vertically with dish towels between them or fabric napkins to keep them from chipping or breaking. Storing them vertically will protect them better than any other way of packing them!
27. Fill Holes With Soap:
Use a bar of white soap, like Dove, to easily fill holes in the walls from pictures. This can help you get your deposit back on one side and also help you prep walls on the other side!
28. Set Up a Moving Binder:
I not only had a moving bin, I had a moving binder. In this binder, I had the spreadsheets where I tracked the number of boxes for each room, where certain, very important, things were placed, as well as a list of other things like:
- Moving Company Info
- Maps printed for all drivers
- Rental contracts and info for our new place (and then home info for our new home)
- Important phone numbers
- Labels for boxes
- List of expenses
- Envelope with cash
- Lists of things like: Things To Sell, Things To Buy, To Do List
- A weekly planner and calendar planner
I kept binder in the moving bin with the other things. Sound a little crazy? You’d be surprised how many times I referenced that binder!
Here’s a great post with some free moving printables that I used!
29. Change Your Address:
Don’t wait until you are moved! Change your address up to two weeks prior to moving, so that you won’t miss any critical pieces of mail!
If possible, as a neighbor or friend to pick up any mail that still comes to your old address.
You can even sign up for paperless invoices for as many cards and bills as possible to alleviate missing a payment!
30. Plan for Pets:
Have a furry friend? Consider hiring a pet sitter or put them in a pet daycare for moving day. Alleviate as much stress as you can in advance.
31. Hire Movers:
The best decision we ever made was hiring movers for our last move! We read reviews online and asked local people for recommendations before hiring a mover.
I have never seen people stay so positive and organized throughout a move – it was amazing! Then, without even being asked, they started assembling beds as soon as they finished moving the boxes. Amazing!
If you aren’t able to hire movers, make sure to line up help in advance of moving day and take care of your volunteers with food and drinks throughout the day.
32. Rent a PODS:
Do you need to empty out your place slowly or prep it for staging? Consider renting a company like PODS that will drop a large storage bin in your driveway that you fill over time. Then, they will pick it up and store it until it’s time to move it to your new location.
Just make sure there is space on both sides for the container.
This option gives you the opportunity to pack little by little or store a bunch of stuff while your home is listed to sell, without being stuck in a contract with a local storage company.
33. Get Cash:
You’ll need it for things like tipping mover, paying for tolls on bridges, and whatever else.
It’s always good to have cash on hand when moving.
34. Clean As You Go:
While packing, clean and dust as you go. If something is dirty, clean it before packing it. Nothing worse than opening a box of dirty clothes or dingy dishes that have now been sitting even longer.
35. Check Everything:
Once everything is out, designate a person, or yourself, to check absolutely everything in your old place for anything forgotten.
36. Leave A Care Package:
If there are things that are specific to your old place, leave a care package for the new tenants or owners. This can include paint swatches for the paint colors in the rooms, special light bulbs for certain lights, extra pieces that go with something in the house (like we left a bag of replacement crystals that went with a chandelier), instruction books for appliances, extra keys, garage remotes, or anything else that belongs to them now.
Leave your forwarding address in case any mail arrives, too.
37. Print Maps:
Print directions for all drivers and movers to your new address. This will save you if your phones die and you don’t have access to a phone GPS.
Mark rest stops if you plan to get gas and eat together.
38. Take Pictures:
Take pictures of your empty place before you leave and pictures of your empty new place when you arrive.
You may need those pictures in case of any claims from rental companies or new tenants that you caused damage that you didn’t.
Plus, it’s always nice to look back on a space you lived in and remember what it was like.
39. Rekey Your New Place:
As soon as you’re in and comfortable, rekey your new place. If you are renting, this may already have been done before, or may be against your contract if you are in a complex.
But, if it’s not, then it might be up to you to rekey and make sure you are the only people with the key to your place. This includes changing any codes for key pads and garage remotes, too.
40. Transfer Utilities:
Don’t forget to transfer all utilities, services, internet, etc.. Or, shut off the old and set up the new. Sometimes it can take a day or two for these services to be live, so leave time to do this before moving day.
Phew! That’s a lot! I’m not even moving and I am exhausted just thinking about it!
Are you an organized mover? Tell me your best hack in the comments below, so I can add it to the list!
If you love being organized, you might love these other posts:
- Free Daily Planner Printable
- Meal Plan & Grocery Shopping Printable
- Christmas Gift Tracker Printable
Have a fabulous day,