1. Pack an overnight bag containing all the essentials.
Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things. You’ll want your essentials within easy access, including a change of clothes if you’re going back to work the next day as well as all your toiletries. It’s also a great way to transport a laptop, which could run the risk of getting stolen during a move.
2. Pack the items you will need FIRST in a clear plastic bin.
This includes things like a box cutter, paper towels, trash bags, eating utensils, select cookware, power strips, phone chargers, toilet paper, tools, etc. The clear bin allows you to see inside; it also separates itself from the myriad of cardboard boxes.
3. Wrap your breakables (dishes, glasses, etc.) in clothing to save on bubble wrap.
Two birds, one stone: you’re packing your clothes and kitchenware at the same time.
4. For extra padding, pack your glasses and stemware in clean socks.
5. In addition to labeling what’s in your boxes, add what room they’ll be going into, as well.
When you arrive at your new home, unpack BY ROOM. The unpacking process will feel more manageable.
And remember to label the SIDES of the boxes, not the tops. This way, you’ll be able to identify them even if they’re stacked.
6. If you can, show up to your new home before the move and pre-clean the bathroom and kitchen.
Put up a new shower curtain liner and stock some new bath towels and toilet paper, as well. You’ll want to take a hot shower after a long day of moving.
7. Place an extra cotton pad or ball into your powder cosmetics to keep them from breaking.
This is a great tip for traveling in general.
8. Cover the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap, then put the tops back on.
This will keep your toiletries from breaking and leaking all over your stuff during the move.
9. Pack plates vertically, like records. They’ll be less likely to break.
10. Keep drawers intact by covering them with Press’n Seal.
Dresser drawers are like their own moving boxes — this will keep you from having to unpack and re-fold their contents.
It’ll also make moving the actual dresser much more manageable.
12. Buy a roll of stretch wrap.
It works like Press’n Seal but on a bigger scale. You can group items together, and it’ll protect your furniture from getting scuffed and scratched.
13. Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs.
Tape the sandwich bags to the back of the item they correspond to.
ALSO: use this method with the cords for your electronics.
14. Beer boxes are the best for books because they have handles on the sides.
So be sure to hit up your local liquor store.
15. Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember how and where all the wires go.
16. Cut down on boxes by making all of your baskets, laundry bins, hampers, and suitcases work for you.
Pack them with stuff! Use the wheeled suitcases for heavy things like books.
17. The fastest way to pack a closet:
This also keeps your clothes on their hangers, for much faster unpacking.
18. Vacuum seal your out-of-season clothing.
Not only will they take up less space and be a breeze to pack, but they can go directly into storage in the new home.
19. Along with food and alcohol, give your friends who help you move first dibs on anything you originally planned to sell or donate.
It’s just an extra perk, since you won’t be paying them.
20. Make sure everything is completely packed before your friends show up to help you move.
Don’t be that horrible person who makes everyone wait around/help you pack.
Another note: if you have enough friends, split them up into shifts — one set to help you move in the morning, and another to help you move when you get to your new home.
21. Enlist the color-coding system.
Pick a color code for each room and label that room’s boxes accordingly. Label the door of each room with the corresponding sticker/tape so that movers know where to place the boxes.
22. It doesn’t hurt to number your boxes.
Make a detailed corresponding list of what’s in each box by number. This makes it easier to make sure you didn’t forget any boxes, or god forbid, someone stole one. AND, if there’s anything valuable in there, you won’t be broadcasting it to the world by writing it down right there on the box.
23. If you have a lot of fragile valuables, hiring movers as opposed to asking friends can end up paying for itself.
Many movers come with insurance, which means if something breaks, they have to compensate you. You might want to weigh the pros and cons though — they won’t want to be responsible for a television that isn’t properly packed in its original box and could end up charging you upwards of $150 to pack it as they see fit.
Also remember to book them weeks in advance — you’re not the only person trying to get out of your space on the last day of the month.
24. If you do hire movers, be sure to read the fine print and find out if they have any weird rules.
For instance, some movers will only move things in boxes, not garbage bags. Which means you’ll be paying them extra for unnecessary boxes at a marked-up price.
25. If you’re renting, take photos of your cleaned-out old home and your new home before moving in.
This is essential if you ever hope to get your deposit back. It will save you major headaches with difficult landlords who charge you cleaning and repair fees unnecessarily when moving out.
26. Fill the nail holes in your previous home with a bar of soap.
27. If you’re doing a cross-country move and you don’t need your stuff immediately, consider shipping via Greyhound.
It’s an inexpensive shipping option for large items. Just remember to pack your stuff really well — your boxes WILL get a little beat up along the way.
28. Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving.
This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable but don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve also got Amazon, PayPal, credit cards, your bank, magazine subscriptions, and your mail to worry about.
29. If you own items that you want to get rid of but are too valuable to just give away, start selling on eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist at least 6 weeks before moving.
It’s an easy way to make you feel like you aren’t procrastinating, and you might be able to make enough money back to pay for the entire move itself.
But it takes time for things to sell on Etsy and eBay so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
30. Arrange for a charity organization to come pick up the items you don’t want at least a week or two before moving.
It’ll save you the trouble of having to take it there yourself.
31. Make your last grocery trip two weeks prior to moving.
The more food you end up using before moving, the less you’ll have to throw out.
32. For same-city moves, hire a sitter for the children and pets.
The last thing you need is to be worrying about losing track of your kids or pets on this stressful day.