Moving can be both exciting and incredibly stressful at the same time. I love that moving forces me to reevaluate all of my belongs and provides the perfect opportunity to purge. However, even with as organized as I am, I still stress over getting everything safely into boxes. Do I have enough boxes? Will this stuff break? How will I find everything when I get there?
Over the years, I’ve moved a lot and have collected some best practices along the way. Our most recent move was the least stressful I’ve ever had and it was thanks to a little planning and organization.
Here are my best tips for saving your sanity while moving.
- Take Time to Label Your Boxes : I know everyone hates this part but it really is a sanity-saver. I’ve used two methods to label my boxes over the years and both work equally as well depending on the type of move.
First Option – for small moves: the label should include the room the box belongs to and a brief description of what’s in the box.
Second Option – for large moves: label should include the room the box belongs to and the box number (see tip 2).
Regardless of label technique, I always assign colors to rooms and use them on the boxes for easy reference. Here are the labels for each room and box numbers I have used in the past.
- Create a Box Inventory List – especially if moving long distance, using a moving company, or you have a lot of boxes. : This is, admittedly, a huge pain. However, on the backend of a big move, you’ll thank me. In a simple spreadsheet or notebook, assign a number to each box. Label the boxes with the same number and jot down what exactly is in the box. Be as detailed or as vague as you’d like but you’ll want to have an idea of what’s inside. Why? Well, if you hired a moving company, this will ensure nothing goes missing. Also, during the unpacking process, you won’t have to tear open 20 boxes just to find the one thing you or a member of your household is searching for.
- Wrap Hanging Clothes in Garbage Bags : Skip the fancy pants hanging boxes if you can. Instead, to move clothes, all you need are trash bags. Flip a bag upside down and cut a hole right in the middle of the bottom seam (like you’re making a head hole for a snazzy plastic poncho). Then slip the bag over your hanging clothes, pulling the hanger hooks through the hole you just cut. Drape the bag around the clothes and tie at the bottom. Viola! Protected and easy to transport.
- Pack for the First Night and Next Day : Don’t assume you’ll get everything squared away on your move day. A lot can happen over the course of a move, including weather delays, injury, or trucks breaking down. To ensure you and your family are comfortable, pack backpacks for the first night and next day. This includes toiletries, clothing, sheets and an air mattress (or sleeping bags), snacks, water, and anything else you need to get through a day. Take it from me – you’ll appreciate this. During our last move, the moving truck was unexpectedly delayed overnight. Thankfully, we had planned ahead and had everything we needed to be comfortable for the night.
- First, Make the Bed : As tempting as it may be to start unpacking the kitchen or bathroom supplies, your first move should always, always be to make the beds in the house. Our time and energy can quickly get away from us while moving. For the sole purpose of comfort, having your bed already made when you’re ready to call it quits for the day is a pro move.
- Use Post-It’s to Get Acquainted with the New Space : How crazy does it make you to hear, “Mooooom. Where are the bowls/spoons/band-aids?” Yes, yes, your family is perfectly capable of opening cabinets to find items you unpacked, but why would they when you’re right there? Make a solid attempt to deter at least some of these questions by labeling cabinets and closets with Post-It’s.
- Use the One-Touch Unpacking Rule : This is simple. You open a box to get one item then unpack the whole box. You grab a box to move it to another room then you unpack the whole box. Moving boxes around and half-unloading them is a great way to still have boxes sitting around your home four months later. Making it a rule that you can only touch a box once ensures the box gets properly handled. Also, no box is immune to unpacking. If you moved it, you need it, right? Then unpack it. If you find you still have boxes of stuff that you haven’t touched months after moving, perhaps now is the time to give it a new life outside of your home.
Hope these tips help you! Happy moving!