Moving? Here’s How to Make Your Move Smoother

Moving into a new home? Here are lots of tips and tricks that will help make your move smoother.

Moving stinks.

While it’s quite possible you’re very excited about your new home, the actual moving process is pretty awful.

Who really wants to pack up everything, move it, and then unpack?

Time and time again it’s proven that moving is one of life’s more stressful situations, ranking right up there with death, chronic illness, divorce and marital problems, or imprisonment [Source]. It’s unsettling to pack up your entire life and move it.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your moving preparation easier. After moving 12 times in 18 years, I know the stress – and mess that comes with moving. I know what it’s like to:

  • Try to pack everything in boxes – and wonder why it seems like our belongings have multiplied in boxes.
  • Need to clean out a new home while still moving out and cleaning up an old home.
  • Heft boxes down flights of stairs and cram the heavy boxes into a car/van/moving truck.
  • Move all of your belongings into a storage unit until you can find a new home.
  • Sit in a new home, surrounded by boxes, and cry because you’re just so exhausted – and you have no idea where to find what you’re looking for.
  • Set up new utilities and services in a brand-new town and cancel the others, all the while paying deposits and activation fees.

All of that takes a lot of time, money, energy … and it adds stress.

Family unpacks moving boxes

How to Prepare for a Smooth Move

Moving is filled with headaches and hassles – there’s just no way around it.

You can prepare for a move, though, and make it a little easier. Over my moves, I’ve collected 10 tips to a smoother move. (Trust me. They work wonders!)

1. Purge. Now.

As soon as you suspect you’re going to move, start purging your belongings. Ruthlessly go through your stuff. Sell nice belongings at a garage sale or on craigslist or eBay. Donate what you don’t sell. Throw out any and all garbage. Eat through the food in your pantry so you don’t have to bring it with you. Get rid of what you can now before you have to pack and unpack it.

2. Gather boxes

Once you know you’re moving, start gathering boxes. Ask your friends. Ask at work. Go to the grocery store and find out when you can collect empty boxes. Check your local liquor store for very sturdy, rectangular boxes that are perfect for packing kitchen breakables.

3. Gather packaging materials

While you’re gathering boxes, gather packaging materials, too. Look for tissue paper, old newspapers, and bubble wrap.

One of my favorite ways to wrap breakables is to use T-shirts and towels that I need to pack anyway.

4. Stay organized in your packing

Make sure each box is packed with belongings from the same room. Don’t jumble up rooms just to squeeze things into a box … or you’ll be sorry when you’re unpacking. Since you might not get around to unpacking right away, keeping rooms together while packing is really helpful.

5. Create a color-coded system

The easiest way to move is by creating a color-coded system based on the room. Assign each room a separate color. Then make sure every box in a room is labeled with the correct color. You can either write on the boxes with colored marker, tape on a colored piece of paper to label the box and contents or use pieces of colored duct tape.

After making a couple moves with colored paper labels, I noticed they were easy to tear off during the middle of a move. That wasn’t what I wanted to happen. I switched to colored duct tape and love how it sticks on boxes.

6. Cater to your preferred organization

If color coding rooms is a huge step of improvement for you, stick to that method. If you’d like to be more helpful in the unpacking process, though, write a quick description of what’s in the box. It takes an extra minute but saves so much time and frustration.

Also, during your labeling efforts, be sure to clearly mark fragile boxes.

If you’re ultra-organized, keep a running list of what’s packed away in boxes for each room. You can even number the boxes to keep track of them on your master list. (This is way more organized than I can manage during a move, but it’s a fantastic idea.)

Woman packs moving box

7. Get packing

You know you’re moving … so get packing. Start with items you know you won’t need to use for a while, then start filling boxes in any spare moment. Forget about free time – you’re moving. You need to get busy. Pack and pack and pack and watch your stack of boxes get higher and higher and higher.

By your moving day, you only should have your necessities left to pack. As long as you’re packing these belongings last, then you’ll know to take them along with you and not stick them with the rest of your boxes. That way, when you reach your new home, you’ll keep your necessities separate, ready for you to use when all of the packing madness calms down. (I usually stick mine in an overnight bag and toss it in the car so I know I have it with me.) Just try not to forget where you’ve put them!

When it’s time to finally load your moving truck, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE PACKED.

Unless you’re hiring a moving company, your movers shouldn’t be expected to pack a thing. They’re donating their valuable time. Use their willingness to actually move things … not pack up your household. (It’s called moving day and not packing day for a reason!)

8. Line up movers

Speaking of movers, make sure you reserve moving trucks or vans, professional movers, or gathering willing friends and family.

As you have your movers in mind, know what you’ll feed your movers or, if necessary, what you’ll pay them. When people volunteer their time (and muscles) to move your stuff, feed them. Plan on lunch food, snacks, or dinner. Or, buy gift cards to show your appreciation. Don’t forget to have plenty of drinking water on hand.

9. Set up new services

Arrange for your new utilities to be turned on. You’ll want to make sure the lights turn on when you flip the switch.

10. Start with a clean slate

If at all possible, clean out your new home before your move – scrub the kitchen and bathrooms, clean the carpet. It will be much better to move your belongings into a clean environment, rather than cleaning up around your boxes.

By doing just a little extra planning and preparation before moving day, you can have a smoother – and not as difficult – moving day.

Woman packs moving boxes

Settling into your new home

Once you’ve packed and moved into a new home, I have great news for you: the toughest part of your move is over!

Settling into a new home isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it is a lot easier than the actual move.

After you get the keys to your new home, remember to do 4 things:

  1. Change your address with the post office, subscriptions, bank, credit cards, and other services.
  2. Change the locks. (If you’re renting, this won’t be possible.)
  3. Clean your new home – especially the kitchen and bathroom. Try to clean the floors, too, before you move and situate all your heavy furniture.
  4. Ask the Lord to bless your home.

On your first day, try to set up one area of your new home.  The bedroom is a fantastic place to start. Make your bed. Grab a clock and a lamp. Put your overnight bag of clothes and toiletries there, so when it’s late at night and all you want to do is crawl into bed, you won’t have to search for your necessities.

After the basics are established in your new home, you can start the work of unpacking and settling in. Keep in mind that you’ll probably move things around. Keep re-situating everything until you find the right spot.

As you’re getting used to your new home, make a list of things you’d like – and need, whether it’s extension cords, an accent chair, new curtain rods, or wall art. As you make your list, decide what you need right away and what can wait until later.

Hold off on hanging anything on the walls until you get settled in and know exactly where everything should go.

If you’re overwhelmed by the boxes, unpack just one or two – and put the belongings away – each day. Before you know it, you’ll reach the end of your pile of boxes and you’ll be all settled in your new home.

Need more help? Check out these 4 Simple Steps to Make a Home Your Own.

As you get settled in, try to meet your new neighbors if possible. If you see your new neighbors when you’re coming and going, make a point to introduce yourself and say hello.

By following these tips to prepare for a smooth move, moving day and the settling in process won’t be so incredibly difficult. Sure, it still will be filled with headaches and hassles, but you’ll have a much smoother move.

Man moves couch and boxes into empty room

During a move, what do you like to do to make the process easier?

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All images courtesy of Deposit Photos.

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