22 Organization Gurus Reveal Their #1 Moving Tip
To solve this problem, we spoke to Certified Professional Organizers and Organization Gurus and asked them the tough question:
“What is the most important moving tip or trick you would use when organizing and planning for a move?”
From packing tips for clothes to knowing how to pack in a hurry, the insights and tips that we received from these 22 organization experts were nothing short of amazing and we are sure that you can easily use these moving tips and checklists in your next move. Let’s take a look at what they have to say.
1. Pack your essentials in a suitcase
When planning a move, there are steps you can take to increase your odds of a smooth experience and decrease your stress level.
First, begin paring down your possessions as soon as you know you’re moving. Six months ahead of time is ideal. Whether you donate, sell or trash, the goal is to only keep the things that really truly deserve to move with you.
Once you’ve edited your possessions, pack up as much of the remaining items as you can into labeled boxes and store them either in your basement or a storage unit.
Pre-packing in advance of your move gets half the work out of the way, and if you’re selling your current home, all your clutter will be packed, so potential buyers don’t see it. To a buyer’s eye, your home will feel furnished, but not full. Clutter makes a home look smaller, and it’s a fact that staged homes sell faster.
Finally, pack a suitcase of “must have” clothing, toiletries, and personal items for each person to get you through the first week in your new house. This way, you can function even if it takes several days for your boxes to be unpacked.
2. Be brutal with your belongings
The most important moving tip is to be absolutely brutal as you go through your items. Do you love it? Is it useful? Do you use it? Do you need it where you are going? The best feeling as you open you boxes in your new home is that you will find no clutter – just what you really need. Moving is perfect for really being honest with yourself about what you need and what you want to keep. In Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” he says “Less, but better”. I couldn’t agree more!
3. Plan to sell the items you do not need early
Before you get close to moving time, I recommend purging and clearing clutter. Not only will this help sell your current home, but there’s no point in moving stuff that you no longer need or love. Diligently go through each room, each closet, each drawer and cupboard, and decide what can be sold, donated, trashed or kept (if you can start boxing many of the items, I’d do that during this process too).
Note: If you plan to sell several items, have a plan to have a moving sale SOON or to list items online right away. Get it out of your way now because when you move in there will be plenty of other things to do. Besides, it’s not going to be financially beneficial to take up a moving truck with things you can only sell for a fraction of their original price. Is the time that it would take to pack, load, move, unload and then set up for a garage sale at your new home worth what you might make back?
When it’s time to move, box everything by room and label accordingly. Whether friends or a moving company help you get into your house, everyone will know exactly where to take each box. It also helps to be able find things as you need them before everything gets unpacked. Including the contents of each box is a good idea, just in case you wind up with 15 boxes for the “bathroom” and need to know which one has towels so you can take a shower. If you want to be really fancy, The Container Store has an entire moving section with boxes and labels for every room in the house.
Once in the home, I recommend unpacking the kitchen first. Typically there’s a lot of eating out that happens in the days and weeks surrounding a move. Personally, it’s one of my favorite spaces to set up in a new home, and then you’ll be able to start eating home-cooked meals again!
4. Use box labels for each room and be super specific about what is in each box
First, here is an AMAZING moving kit! Getting everything organized is half the battle, right? Our Moving Organization Kit is so helpful! http://www.thedatingdivas.com/moving-organization-kit/
Here is a compilliation of 101 Moving Tips & Hacks that we love! It includes ideas on ways to prep for your move, packing hacks, cleaning hacks, moving day tips, and things to do after you move! http://www.thedatingdivas.com/101-moving-tips-hacks/
Ferren’s moving tip: Use box labels, for each room and be super specific about what is in each box, it has been a life saver for me!
My moving tip: I totally agree with Ferren! That saves SO much time in the unpacking stage! I would suggest getting organized well in advance! Know what time you will have the moving truck, what time you want your helpers to be ready to go (if you have friend’s family helping), have plenty of bottled water and Gatorade, as well as other easy to grab snacks for your helpers! Mostly, have your boxes all packed BEFORE moving day! Nothing is worse than having to pack boxes/wrap furniture as you are moving things into the truck. Avoiding chaos is essential for a happy, successful move, in my book! (Plus, all your helpers will be happier too!)
5. Leave as much in the drawers as you can
My best moving tip is to leave as much in the drawers as you can. I just wrap things with plastic wrap (like dresser drawers, jewelry boxes, etc.), so when I arrive, I can just unwrap them and slide the drawer into place. I also try to unpack the kitchen on the first day. That makes the rest of the moving process so much easier.
6. Remove belongings you would be embarrassed of
Edit through your belongings a room at a time before packing it up. When editing through your closet ask yourself if you ran into your ex boyfriend/girlfriend or Hollywood crush, would you be embarrassed to be seen in something? If the answer is yes, then it is time to let that item go.
For the other spaces like your home office, kitchen, garage, etc. ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if again your ex boyfriend/girlfriend or Hollywood crush visited your home. Would you be embarrassed by the furniture or cookware? If the answer is yes, then it is time to let those items go.
This will save you time and money when you move your belongings into a new space. Unpacking will be so much more easier, because you will be bringing into your new home only the things that you love, cherish and are confident in.
7. Envision your new home and develop a plan to let go of items that do not fit the vision
You know you are going to move and you want the move and move in organized. I would ask you first to really think about why you are moving now (downsizing or needing more room – change in location – change in lifestyle). Then really take time to envision how your new home would look and feel. What is the same? What is different?
Now, go through your present home room by room and identify the items that you need and love that will fit into that new vision. Develop a plan to let go of all the items that do not fit the vision. You now have less to prepare for the move and less expense as you are not moving items that will become clutter.
8. Decide Your Budget
Moving is not only stressful, it can be expensive. Plan in advance to make sure you aren’t caught with rush fees close to the move.
Identify and obtain quotes for key services which may include:
- Preparing for a Move (decluttering)
- Moving Items
- Move Management
9. Load the kitchen boxes last so they can be the first to be unloaded
One tip I always think of for someone who is moving or planning a move, would be something a client once said. She wanted to live in her space as though she was moving next month. This helped her eliminate anything she didn’t need or was not currently using. I believe that’s a great way to think about your space – especially with a pending move.
As far as a tip for moving day, we always tell our clients to ask the movers to pack up the kitchen boxes on to the truck last. They are the first boxes you needed upon arrival and usually take the longest to unpack. If they’re off the truck first, we can get busy unpacking and organizing the kitchen while the rest of the move is unloading.
On our website, we have a section of information specifically for those who are moving. Check it out here: https://www.chaostoorder.com/relocations-unpacking
10. Start with the problem areas first
The most important moving tip I have is to get rid of stuff before the movers come.
It is very costly to move clutter. Packers have to pack it in boxes, movers have to move it out of your current home and into your new home, and at some point you still have to deal with the clutter sooner or later.
Delayed decision making is what keeps a lot of our clients stuck and disorganized.
The more time you have before the move, the more you can get rid of unwanted stuff. Start with the worst place, basements, garages, storage rooms and spare bedrooms hold the most unwanted stuff, as people tend to just “put stuff here for now” in those areas.
Then, as time allows, start with some of the more used areas.
Kitchens tend to hold a lot of clutter too, depending on available time, that would be my next hot spot.
There areas will probably hold 80% of the unwanted clutter in your home, the last 20% is easier to do as you unpack.”
11. Set aside time to declutter first
Set aside time to thoroughly declutter every space in your home PRIOR to packing. The last thing you want to do is to spend time and money moving things that you no longer like, use, or want. Another benefit that you’ll reap by decluttering is that your home will appear more spacious and therefore be more attractive to homebuyers (can you say QUICK SALE?)
Need help with the decluttering process? Download your free Declutter Tool Kit at Refined Rooms. While you’re there, check out the Home Selling Tool Kit, a free resource to help you sell your home quickly and prepare for your move!
12. Go camping, be a good scout and get official
- Go Camping
Your first day in a new home is more like camping, where you’ll feel (if not actually be) isolated from your usual resources, and less like staying in a hotel, where luxury awaits at every turn, so be sure to keep what you need for the first 24 – 48 hours with you.
For each person, pack a bag of essentials (whatever each one of you can’t live without).
For one person, it might be every charger and game device in order to keep new-home anxiety at bay. For a little one, it might be an oft-loved stuffed animal (or three) and a blanket and pillow cases that “smells like home”.
Be sure to pack a box of household essentials too, a set of (possibly disposable) plates, cutlery, cups, and napkins would be useful so nobody has to forego a meal or eat pizza standing over the sink.
A shower curtain and bathmat or rug (because taking a tub shower without curtains makes not only for a flooded first morning, but a cranky household), hand soap, and towels adequate for cleaning and drying yourselves will go a long way to eliminating churlishness when everything feels a bit out of sorts.
Have at least a few legal pads or notebooks and writing utensils handy, because even if your Wi-Fi gets set up before the move (which is unlikely), it might be wonky in those first few days.
2. Be a Good Scout and Be Prepared
The initial focus in the first week in a new home is usually on the tangibles – what stuff goes where, and how will it all fit?
But it’s important to nurture your mind, body, and spirit as well as stock your chest of drawers and pantry full of snack food so before you move to a new neighborhood or new town, build your list of resources.
Ask people on social media, bookmark your community’s website, and have your real estate agent or leasing office connect you with the best contacts (or websites to find them).
Brainstorm possible calamities first: in an emergency, what’s the best place to call for a locksmith? Where’s the nearest pediatric and/or adult urgent care (and find out their hours)? Where’s the nearest 24-hour pharmacy? Then move on to comfort-related information.
If your coffee pot is still packed that first morning, where’s the best (or nearest) place to get that jolt of java? Who delivers pizza to the satisfaction of everyone in your home? If a house of worship, meditation path, or yoga class is important to you, spend some time well ahead of the move to plan where you’ll go to get your uplift, check on times of services or classes (and if necessary, map the directions and pin the location as a favorite in your phone).
3. Get Official
Sit down and make three lists.
First, for what accounts do you have to update your account information or cancel and rebook in another area? (Think: electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash pick-up, telephone, cable/satellite, etc.)
Next, consider everyone who needs a change of address and start doing what you can via online updates. It helps to go through your financial files, account by account (like bank and brokerage accounts, lenders, credit card companies, student loan services, your auto and home or renter’s insurance companies, etc.).
Finally, make a list of everything you need to get brand-new (so consider your registration card, library card, driver’s license, health and dental insurance companies, your workplace’s HR department, etc.).
13. Collect boxes, don’t buy
I found that by using 3 different sized boxes (small, medium, and large), it was much easier to pack the moving truck. If money is tight, you can find used boxes at many local stores. They are usually happy to donate.
14. Purge before packing
Purge before you pack! Moving is a very busy time and it can be tempting to just throw everything into boxes and plan to organize as you unpack in your new space. But this is inefficient and expensive. Why pay to pack up and transfer stuff you’re going to end up donating or throwing out?
15. Start packing early
Start packing as early as possible! When we move I usually start packing 2 – 3 weeks before the moving date. You aren’t always using everything in your house and there are things you can definitely live without for a couple of weeks.
Also remember when you are packing to throw away, or donate, things that you haven’t used in awhile. There is no point in moving something you never use! If you find something and didn’t remember that you owned it you should probably just get rid of it. Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter your home!
16. Organize before packing
My number one tip is to give your house a good tidying before you start packing. If everything is in its place, or at least in the general vicinity, like will go with like when you pack up — and unpacking will be so much easier! If not, you’ll have bathroom towels with laundry supplies and kids’ playthings with the living room knick-knacks.
17. Give each room a colour
Plan your new space (as best you can) before you get there – before you even pack the old house up!
One of the worst mistakes that people make during a move is waiting until they unpack to decide where everything should go. Chances are, you will have some sense of the layout of your new home before you ever load the first piece of furniture on the truck. Ask for a scale model floor plan (on new construction) or walk around and take measurements of each room (if you’re buying a pre-owned home). Then, decide what purpose each room will serve (master bedroom, kid’s room, den, play area) and where each piece of furniture will fit best. Cut out paper rectangles, squares, and circles to represent each chair, sofa, and table – all you have to do is lay your cutouts on your floor plan to get some sense of how each room will work. This doesn’t mean that you won’t suddenly get a hankering to move that desk to the other side of the room when you reach your destination, it just gives you a place to start.
Once you have a basic plan in mind, assign each room a color – blue for the bedroom, green for the bath, red for the kitchen, purple for the living room, whatever. This color scheme will follow you throughout your move. As you fill a box with dishes, mark it with a sharpie (not a sticker that might fall off) that says “Kitchen – Dishes.” When you pack up your towels, use a green marker to label the box “Bathroom – Towels.” As you wrap up your sofa, place a purple piece of paper that says “Living Room – Sofa” under the clear plastic so you can see it. Then, draw out the floor plan for each room on a matching-colored piece of construction paper.
Once you arrive at your new home, take a minute to tape the correct floor plan on the door of each room. And put a color-coded master floor plan of the entire house on the front door — showing which color you have assigned each room. Now all you have to do is instruct your movers (or friends or helpers) to match the color on the box or the piece of furniture to the floor plan. They will even know where to put each item once they get to the appropriate room. No more having to field the question, “Where does this go?”
18. Simplify your possessions
Preparing for a move is the perfect time to declutter and simplify all of your possessions. A new home means a fresh start, so be sure you are only taking with you those items that you need, use and love. As you’re packing, have boxes (labeled by room) for those items that you wish to keep as well as boxes for donation or garbage. Be ruthless! If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months (or one year for seasonal items), it’s time to let it go. Don’t waste your time and money packing and moving items that will just stay in the box or clutter up your new home!
19. Declutter declutter declutter
When I moved into my new house I did a lot of planning. I was moving out of my parents house for the first time so I had essentially nothing that I needed to function as an adult on my own.
I made an excel sheet with everything I thought I would need and compared prices between Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Amazon, and Kohl’s. I waited until Black Friday to buy everything, but did it online because if you ordered enough stuff you could get free shipping. That way I had most everything I needed already packed up in boxes for the move.
Another huge portion I would stress is decluttering. You don’t want to move somewhere completely new and just bring a whole bunch of clutter along. I got rid of a bunch of my clothes and knick-knacks before the move so we could start on a semi-clean slate.
20. Plan with the unpacking in mind
Plan with the unpacking in mind.
The goal of moving is not to pack, but to unpack. Many folks pack frantically, only to discover, after the movers have finished their work, that their house is now chock-a-block with unidentifiable boxes and furniture (that don’t fit) lining the corridors.
21. Be mindful when labelling the boxes
One of the greatest things about a move is the opportunity to begin again in your new home, and create organizational systems that work for you and those you share the space with.
When moving we want the focus to be on feeling relaxed and at home in the new space as quickly as we can, without feeling the overwhelm when shifting all of our belongings. One of the best ways to achieve organization throughout your move is first commit to decluttering your current home of any items that you feel will not be useful to you in your new home. From clothing that has not been worn, to kitchen items that are duplicated or never used, toss it donate. Think clean slate. This also allows for a cost savings, if hiring movers, as it can decrease the time spent moving boxes.
When it comes to boxing up your items be mindful of clearly marking them with what room they will be placed in once they arrive at your new home. Being able to quickly find what we need once we are unpacking is a time saver.
At times our focus is concentrated so much on packing and unpacking that we forget about the importance of contacting our local post office of our address change. Also contacting the utility and cable/internet providers of our move. Make a list in advance of the proper forms to be obtained, as well as who will need to be contacted regarding your move.
Lastly, enjoy your new space and remember home is meant to be lived in and celebrated.
22. Tidy and toss
As a self-described expert of moving, one of the most important parts of moving is the months of prep that goes beforehand. Compare the months before as the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. Go through each room in your home, every closet, every drawer and toss, toss, toss! Yes, you will find yourself tidying up a home that you will no longer live in, but you will be provided value to your home as well as benefit to your move. Toss unwanted clothing, toys, kitchen appliances, paperwork, etc. This will provide a more peaceful current home environment as well as provide an easier pack and unpack for your new home. Why move pounds of items you will find yourself tossing in your new home anyways?! Maybe some of that tossing will lead to space for new purchase you will love!
Ready to start packing?
With these excellent tips from professional organizers, you know the easiest ways to pack for moving! We hope that you are ready to conquer that relocation and spend less time unpacking or finding good house movers and more time enjoying the comforts of your new home!
What is your top moving tip?