No, I’m not moving, at the moment. But in the seven years we’ve been married, we’ve moved six times. The first year after moving into our house, it felt almost weird to not be scouring for boxes, busting out the packing tape and sharpies, and uprooting again. But now we’ve happily lived here for over three years, moving is a distant nightmare.
With all that relocating, I do feel like I have some expertise in making moves … of the home kind. So when I noticed Casper (the mattress company) was sharing home moving tips, I thought I’d get involved. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make a big difference. I’m not sure moving is ever totally easy, but at least we can aim for easier.
Not moving in the near future? On the Happier podcast, best-selling author Gretchen Ruben and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, recently recommended the happiness hack of making a “virtual move.” To boost happiness through decluttering, you ask yourself, “If I were moving, what would I do with this?” When we prepare for a move, we’re able to make more logical decisions about what to throw out, what to sell, and what to replace. Making a “virtual move” will help you look at your home with fresh eyes, and you never know – with the average number of times a person moves in their life (eleven), you might have a real move around the corner that you’ll be prepared for!
1. Store it.
To avoid living in a brown cardboard labyrinth in the weeks or months before you move, try renting a storage compartment, or better yet, a pod that can stay in your yard until it’s full, and then ship to your new place.
2. Ship it.
Speaking of shipping – as soon as you have access to your new place or a storage location nearby, ship your stuff. Especially if it’s items you’re positive you won’t need, like out of season clothes, old toys and baby gear, home decor items, pillows, and files. This will save room in your Uhaul for the big ticket, super heavy items like books and furniture, potentially saving you money by allowing you to get away with a smaller truck.
3. Sell it.
A garage sale is a great option for off-loading a lot of your stuff at once, and also a great tip for the “virtual movers.” But if that seems like to much work for the amount of items you have, try Craig’s List or the Offer Up app (even easier than Craig’s List!) to sell items.
4. Pack it… the “essentials box,” specifically.
I’ve also used an “essentials laundry basket,” instead of an actual box, but put all the items you’ll need in the next 24 hours in here. Things like paper plates and plastic silverware, hand soap, paper towels or real towels, charging cords, and toilet paper (amen) will be wonderful to have easy access to right away. You could even tape this box with red duct tape to make it stand out.
5. Replace it.
Moving is a good time to take a hard look at items you might pass over in your regular decluttering purges (or am I the only one that has those on a seasonal basis?). In our last move, we took the trouble of moving our old plaid couch to the new house – but replaced it not long afterwards, thankfully, because my DIY slipcover didn’t work in the new living room, since the back of the couch didn’t face a wall.
We did, however, buy a new mattress. I’m not sure how old our old mattress was – it had belonged to Brian’s family before we got married – but the main reason we bought a new one was because we’d finally decided to move from a full bed to a queen. Let me tell you – that was a great idea! To make replacing your mattress even easier, you can order a mattress in a box and have it shipped to your new place.
6. Schedule it.
It seems obvious, but make sure you’ve scheduled all your utility appointments BEFORE move in day. On the moving day, you’ll have so much to deal with, you should not be messing with this. And if toilets aren’t working when you and your crew are moving in … not good things will happen. Plan to have your water and electricity on, and test that they’re running fine, well before the big day!
7. Write it … on the side.
This is it – my big, life-changing tip: write on the sides of your boxes, not the top. It took me more moves than I care to admit before I figured this out. So many times, I’d pack 10 boxes, and then immediately need something I’d packed. “It’s around here somewhere,” I’d say, surveying the wall of identical brown cardboard boxes all nicely stacked out of the way. When you write the contents on the side, you can still read them when they’re stacked on top of each other. Better yet, write on multiple sides – just to be sure.
I also recommend writing a lot of detail – what’s in the box, and where the box needs to go in the new place. For example, a box might say “sheets and pillow cases, BIG HALL CLOSET.”
A helpful graphic, with some crazy moving facts, for Pinterest:
Bonus tips, because you scrolled to the bottom of this post:
- Take your dresser drawers out, but cover the contents with towels or pillowcases, and just carry them to your car or moving vehicle and stack them on top of each other. When you get to your place, it’s quick and easy to pop them back in.
- Empty your flour, sugar, and other canisters that sit on your kitchen counter into plastic baggies, and then put the baggies back into the canisters to keep the contents from spilling in the move.
- And the Pinterest favorite – slide a trash bag over your hanging clothes, loop the handles around the hangers, and easily move them to their new home. Just be sure to differentiate from your “to donate” bags.
What are your best moving tips? Share them in the comments below!