Whether you’re looking for moving tips for an apartment in the city or a house on the beach, you’re in the right place. You’re probably feeling disoriented and stressed as you’re trying to figure out how to prepare for the move, but we understand! We’ve moved a thing or two, and it is a mountainous job!
That’s why we compiled helpful packing and moving tips, and have even thrown in a nifty moving checklist that will make this your best move yet.
Table of Contents:
**Click to auto scroll by section
- Find a New Place
- Make a Packing & Moving Timeline
- Gather Your Packing Materials
- Put Heavier Items in Smaller Boxes
- Pack Non-Essential Rooms First
- Pack with a Friend
- Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff Before Moving
- Rent a Self-Moving Truck
- Hire a Professional Moving Company
- Arrange Furniture in the Truck Wisely
- Have Essentials Accessible on Move-in Day
- Keep a Moving Checklist
Where to Start the Moving Process
Find a New Place
If you’re here, you most likely have already accomplished this but we’re going to say it anyway — if you haven’t signed a contract for a new house or apartment, this is a great first thing to do. It’ll usually give you a concrete deadline for when your home should be packed and ready to move.
Make a Packing & Moving Timeline
Once you know when and where you’re going, grab a calendar. Take a long realistic look at how many days you have to pack, update addresses, inform doctor offices, break the news to friends, etc. Being realistic is key! Obviously take into account all current life commitments, but also make sure you make room for spontaneous happy hours, movie nights, or whatever else you’re into. Unless you have to move ASAP, giving yourself wiggle room will keep your brain from scrambling into a fistful of packing peanuts.
It’s important to start packing before you think you should start packing. The reason for this is simple: you have a ton of stuff. Even if you’re a minimalist and you swear you JUST Marie Kondo-ed, there’s going to be a dark and dusty corner just waiting to surprise you with the amount of stuff you have! Not only that, but life happens! You need to have a few rest days in reserve for when you just absolutely do not have the time or patience to pack.
Now, to plan for packing, be honest with yourself and know how much packing-per-day you can manage. Here are a couple packing plans we’ve come up with:
- The “Short Spurt High Intensity” packing plan. This works best if you can pack for 1-2 hours every day leading up to the day you move. Those with short attention spans benefit the most from packing in short but daily intervals. It’s also great for people that have jam-packed schedules and can’t afford full packing days. Depending on how much you have to move, you need to start several weeks or even months before it’s time to move, especially if you want to allow for “off” days.
- The “Classic” packing plan. If you prefer a ripping-off-the-bandaid method, set aside several days and estimate each room will take about 3-5 hours to pack. That’s a very general time frame though. How long it actually takes depends on how many drawers, cabinets, nooks and crannies you have accumulated stuff in. Do this a weekend or two before you have to move just in case you run out of steam and leave yourself with a half-packed home.
Gather Your Packing Materials
Surprise! You need cardboard boxes. These are quite expensive when you buy them brand new, so save yourself some money here because, if you haven’t noticed, moving is expensive! You can get free used boxes from places like Target, book stores, friends that recently moved, and basically any location that is accommodating to customers.
Call the location in the morning since that’s when stores typically unpack new inventory and therefore have loads of used boxes. Some places have their delivery trucks on specific days, so calling will ensure that you can get your hands on a few before they dispose of them.
Sizes of boxes that you need depend on your home! Keep in mind that beggars can’t be choosers so if you’re getting them from a store, ask for the boxes to be a range of sizes.
Here are the basic sizes of boxes that you may want:
- Small box. Store small, heavy items in here like canned goods, books, candles, electronics, important papers, etc.
- Medium box. Basically anything too big for the small box, but too heavy for a large box should go here. This can include pots and pans, toys, kitchen appliances, lamps, etc.
- Large box. Save your back by putting large but light items here such as pillows, blankets, bedding, clothing, etc.
- Wardrobe box. If you can get a few of these, you’re in for a treat. They’re large and typically have a metal bar inside that makes it easy to transfer clothes on hangers from your closet to the wardrobe box! Not only do these wardrobe boxes save time, but they also keep clothing from getting wrinkled during the move to your new home.
Keep in mind that not everything needs a box! Some things are safer in boxes, but if you run out of them, don’t be afraid to get creative. You can use other plastic containers, shoe boxes, trash bags, and more. For example, mirrors. There are mirror boxes, but they can be difficult to come by for free. You can get away with covering mirrors in blankets or towels and then, to secure the covers, circling it with lots of plastic wrap or tape like you’re wrapping a mummy. Speaking of tape!
You probably have tape lying around somewhere, but if not, you should get a good amount of it. And the really good sticky kind too. Do not be stingy purchasing tape or when taping boxes shut! When it comes time to unpack, you can use a box cutter, car keys or knives to open even the most extreme cases of taping frenzies.
Avoid the misfortune of having that irreplaceable glass treasure from your travels drop through the bottom of the box, while you, helpless and horrified, watch it shatter all over the ground. That should’ve been wrapped a million times over in bubble wrap in the first place… speaking of which…
Bubble Wrap, Packing Paper, & Alternatives
Unless you go ahead and purchase them, you most likely won’t get bubble wrap for free. To make sure fragile items stay secure and in one piece, you can use all sizes of towels, blankets, foam, paper, newspapers, t-shirts, and more. It could be argued that not using bubble wrap is more efficient since you are technically packing those towels and blankets at the same time. It’s really a win-win situation this way, but do whatever feels best to you.
Large Garbage Bags
Moving is messy, messy, messy! Be ready for the enormous amount of trash you’re going to throw out. Spread out a few trash bags around your home so that no matter where you are, you will have somewhere to get rid of the trash. While this won’t eliminate the clutter packing and moving tends to create, it knocks it down a lot. Also, remember you can use garbage bags for storing non-fragile things like clothes, shoes, toys, or pillows. However, be careful with this because while it’s clear to you your things are not garbage… it may not be so obvious to those helping you. Just sayin’.
How to Pack for the Move
If you have been following our moving tips and tricks, you should now have a timeline, a plan, and all of your materials. Now we’re moving on to actually packing. Don’t over-complicate this part. It’s quite simple and even if you completely ignore all of our packing tips for moving, a good start is to just go ahead and begin packing. It’s better than postponing it and you’ll start to see that it’s not so bad once you start. Imagine us encouraging you a-la-Shia-LaBeouf! Just. Start. Packing.
Put Heavier Items in Smaller Boxes
By avoiding making huge boxes too heavy you prevent physically hurting yourself or anyone that is handling your boxes. If you only take one packing tip from this article, this would be the one to take with you.
Pack Non-Essential Rooms First
Which rooms to pack first is subjective, but we suggest you start packing rooms you can live without for a while. For example, the media room. You may choose to keep your TV and a gaming console still connected since this can be a stressful time and you’re going to want to wind down. But, you should go ahead and pack or get rid of those bulky gaming chairs, projectors, DVDs and DVD players that you don’t absolutely need between now and the move.
Pack with a Friend
Struggling to get packing? As the Beatles sing, “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.” Seriously, get a friend and you’ll find packing way more enjoyable! Just keep in mind you won’t know what is in every box or how they’re packed. If you like keeping tabs on your things, maybe save the help from your friends for loading the truck. If that isn’t a concern, keep everyone on the same page by labeling each cardboard box with a sharpie. So, get going, grab a bottle of wine (or two), and put some music on. Singing out of tune is always more fun with a friend.
How to Get Rid of Stuff Before Moving
Doing some pre-moving junk removal is a wonderful weight off the shoulders! We love a good purge. If you’re moving in with someone, decide whose dining table, couch, TV, etc. are being used in the new place. This not only saves you space in your truck, but it will also save you time when you’re in the new place dealing with many other double items!
If you’re not moving in with someone or don’t have to deal with double items in general, you should still declutter before a move and get rid of old furniture or appliances that you are dying to throw out. Now is the time! Do it! Just do it! Don’t know how? Well, that’s what we’re here for.
Donating appliances and furniture is a great way to declutter! Just be prepared to get the item there yourself. If you do not have a vehicle that can fit the item then you’re not going to get very far. If you have a vehicle that can, that’s great! However, it can be pretty darn draining so make sure you’re not doing this all on your lonesome.
Another option is hiring a junk removal service. Getting your stuff taken out of your home without lifting a finger means you get to stay focused on the rest of the moving process. We know we don’t need to remind you, but moving is expensive and the surprise costs are the worst. LoadUp gives transparent pricing before the truck arrives at your place. No surprises! Plus, we take virtually everything while striving to recycle as much as we can. Still aren’t convinced? Check out how we stack up on Move.org!
Putting them out on the curb is another option but you may still get stuck with them if no one comes by to take them. Many garbage disposal services do not pick them up, and HOAs may send a letter of disapproval or even a fine.
If none of these options tickle your fancy, look into other ways of disposing of your furniture! Even if you get to your new place and realize there’s some post-moving junk removal needed, that works too! The point is to get your new place set up with without the junk, and we are all about that.
Moving? Give old furniture a new home!Learn More ❯
Rent a Self-Moving Truck
Alright, moving day is coming up! If you’re using a self-moving truck rental company, such as U-haul, make an appointment before the day that you want to pick it up. Not all locations have the truck and accessories you require, so avoid running around like a chicken with its head cut off and make an appointment. Also, think about getting a truck with a ramp because it makes unloading easier on you and your furniture.
Depending on how long of a journey you have, and if you have someone helping you drive, you may consider towing your vehicle to the truck. Look at the cost of the tow dolly and compare it to the gas and mileage it will take to get your car to the new place. It may also be worth towing if you prefer riding in the truck with your friend, partner, parent, etc., especially if it’s a long haul drive!
When looking into companies, spend more than two minutes when selecting a moving company! Shop around to find the best price, but if you stray from mainstream companies make sure you look at their reviews and get a feel for their customer service. Since this is the mode of transporting you and your home, the quality of truck, packing accessories, and customer service can make or break your move!
Hire a Professional Moving Company
How to choose a good moving company can be difficult, but researching a few is well worth the time and effort! There are companies that service local moves, long-distance moves, and some will even store your stuff until you need it as well.
Ask for referrals! Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, even your kid’s soccer coach! You never know who may have the connection to the king of movers. They will be honest and can explain their experiences better than reviews that you’ll find online. That said, reviews online are still a good resource if you can’t find anyone that has used a moving company.
Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included! Some movers charge extra for throwing out garbage and old furniture or appliances. Again, you do not want any surprise charges. Get quotes from more than one company so you can get the best deal.
Tips for Arranging Furniture in the Moving Truck
Get ready for a real-life game of Tetris. Never assume that where you set something down is where it’s going to stay. Rearranging is key to fully taking advantage of your truck!
Here are some tips on how to arrange large furniture in your moving truck:
- Mattresses take up less space when they’re leaning up against the wall of the truck, not laying down.
- Desks/Tables can be flipped upside down and can have things put on the underside between the legs, or you can put them in an upright, vertical position.
- Chairs that are flipped upside down can have the cushion part placed on top of boxes so that the space between the legs is now available for small boxes.
- Couches save space when they’re placed in an upright, vertical position.
When loading the truck, moving dollies, tarps, straps, furniture padding, tools, and other materials will make it easier to pack for moving. If you’re moving on a budget, know that these moving materials are not 100% essential. Consider how many people are helping you move, tools you may already have, and things you could borrow.
Keep essential materials for arrival day accessible. What could these essentials be? We’re glad you asked…
Essentials for Move-In Day
It’s go time! To avoid constantly going to the grocery store when you just moved in, make sure you have the bare minimum human needs already and know exactly which box they’re all in. Think about your future self in your new place. What are their needs going to be? A shower, perhaps? Definitely going to need to use the toilet unless you have a bladder of actual steel. Caffeine addict? Keep your coffee maker close, and the mug closer.
Plan for your pet’s needs as well. Depending on how well they do with a lot of commotion, you may consider putting them in the crate to keep them safe while you unload the truck.
Here are some essentials for move-in day:
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels
- Tools, scissors, box cutter
- Cooking utensils, silverware, and plates
- Easy to make food such as pasta or soup
- Drinks such as soda, coffee or tea
- Dish soap and detergent
- Shower curtain
- Toilet paper
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
- Clean clothes
- Pet food, toys, and accessories
Preparing for these needs will make sure you spend your time being productive and not losing time running out to find coffee or dinner.
The Ultimate Moving Checklist
If you follow the moving tips and tricks in this article, you should be set up for a great move. To make your move even easier, here is the printable moving checklist we promised. Everyone’s home and needs are different so make sure you take advantage of the “other” section to make it work best for you!
Remember to not over-complicate packing. If you followed our tips, you should have a plan and feel way less stressed. Who knows, maybe you’ll find packing and moving fun. Good luck!
Click here to download your Ultimate Moving Guide Checklist!