13 Moving and Packing Tips

I have mentioned it briefly in a few posts but my family and I just recently moved! Yay! And also…ugh. Moving. Packing. Blah.

As much as I dreaded the process of it I was also really excited because it meant we were moving out of our little 1 bedroom apartment to more space! It felt time :)

I may be a novice about a lot of things in life but I’m not a novice when it comes to moving. My family has moved our whole house plenty of times which makes me an expert in more ways then one. But then there’s also been many experiences of helping friends move which have allowed me to observe some best practices for any move. Especially when it comes to efficiency and consideration of all those helping you move.

So, here are 13 tips I would offer for your next move:

(Side Note… I’m not including common sense ideas like don’t make boxes too heavy, put books in small boxes, take stuff out of drawers before it is moved, plan to provide lunch for your moving team, and saran wrap is your friend…buy a big roll and use it to help things stay together…Like curtain rods, rugs, furniture with drawers, etc. If these are not common knowlege… that’s okay. I just added them in..)

1. Start saving boxes a few months before your move (if possible). We knew we were moving when our lease was up so I started keeping boxes that came for Amazon and other deliveries. We ended up having almost enough and only used a handful from family to finish up.

2. Start packing a little at a time a few months before you move. Start with the stuff you’re not using and work backwards towards your dailies. By doing this you may also start collecting a pile of stuff you can donate, give away to friends or sell if you’re planning a garage sale. Boxing ahead of time just 1 or 2 boxes a day takes a huge load off of you those last few weeks before moving.

3. Label boxes REALLY well. You won’t regret it. That’s another advantage of boxing slowly. You have time to be detailed. And if you are boxing early there’s a chance you’ll need to go back to a box if something comes up so have things well labeled. It is going to be a time saver both now and once you get where you are moving to.

4. Buy moving labels like these from Amazon. They were really helpful for time saving reasons but they were also a quick way for the movers to get things where they were going when unpacking the moving truck. To make it easier at our new place, I went around and stuck one of these stickers on the bedroom doors so they could match labels to rooms more easily…especially the bedrooms. The kit comes with a roll of blank ones in case you run out of a catagory or need to make a new one. Here is the link to these but you can also just search ‘moving labels’ in Google or Amazon and you can find them.

5. Buy foam sheets to help when packing fragiles. I loved these things sheets because they made packing up our kitchen go so fast! I normally hate doing the kitchen because of so many breakables but these wrapped well and tape stuck to them perfectly and not one thing broke. Again, here is a link but you can also find them if you search ‘moving supplies’ on Amazon.

6. Hire movers. I know it can be such a frustrating cost to factor in but consider it if you have time to save for it. I have done more moves then I can count and this move was so much less exhausting having those guys helping out. We found our movers on Yelp which is the way to go because the reviews tell you a lot about how these companies function. We had a near perfect move because these guys were so good. They came prepared and ready to help and worked so hard. We bought them In-n-Out and talked over lunch and they were a really great group of guys. If you’re in the Southern California area, be sure to check out Mission Movers in Costa Mesa. Jeremiah, the owner, was so helpful with scheduling, prices, and recommendations and the price was really reasonable for 3 guys. Our total move cost $600 and we even paid extra because we were a little farther out of their moving radius. I would hire them again without any hesitations. That being said, pick your move date as far in advance as you can and give them a call because they, and likely other good moving companies, fill up quickly.

7. Have a plan for the little last minute things. You know how it goes…the worst part of a move is all the little things that need packing up the day of the move. Know it is going to happen and have a plan for it. I had empty, pre-labeled rubbermaids ready to go for all that last minute stuff. We just went around and threw things in there that morning and made it so those were our last boxes to close. That saves so much last min packing in laundry hampers, trash bags, suitcases, and trash cans…no judgement…we’ve all been there. It also makes it easier to find those boxes when you label them last day boxes. Those will probably be some of the first boxes you’ll need to open.

8. Use garbage bags to bag clothes without taking them off the hangers. I do this everytime and it works really well. You will need to punch or tear a hole for the hangers in the center of the bottom of the trash bag and slide it down around your clothes, pushing the clothes up into the bag and tying it closed once everything is inside. Use the force flex type bags for the best experience. I can usually fit 10 to 15 hangers per bag depending on how bulky the items on the hanger are.

9. Get some essentials bought/brought over and set up in your new place before you move. Essentials like, toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverwear, trash bags, bath towels and water bottles. This makes moving day a little more comfortable because everyone has what they need to go to the bathroom, eat simply, and wash up. Take your travel bottles of shampoo and leave them at the new place too so you are able to take a shower after the long day of moving.

10. Find a sitter for your small kiddos the day of the move or have someone come play with them so you can pack.

I asked a family member to help out the day of our move and I was very glad I did. Originally I thought she could just be with us since we had movers and I wouldn’t have to do as much heavy lifting as I was used to. But the day of the move rolled around and my husband and my plan was a tad askew because he had some health issues he needed to get checked out. I’m glad he did, but that meant the packing he was going to do that last night got pushed to the next morning and we were not as ready to go as I had planned. That meant I had my brain focused on packing last min stuff, and the extras we didn’t get to. That was a unique situation but with moves there is always something unexpected that could come up so plan to have the kids entertained elsewhere if they are younger so you can have your wits about you to do what needs to be done. If you can’t get someone for the whole move, try to find someone for packing up the moving truck and have them with you for unload. That’s a time that is typically less stressful because you’re there and it’s just going to take awhile to unpack and feel settled so might as well have them in the busy of it and do it a little at a time.

11. Take time to walk through your empty home as a family and talk about your favorite memories in the rooms. You may have to do this before you pack depending on your circumstances but try to fit it in. It’s been a special way I’ve found to say goodbye to a place you called home for a season. It’s special to have every family member tell stories because you will find yourself surprised at what was memorable to each one. It punctuates your time in that space in an important way and provides some closure.

12. Before you pack, take a video of your space as it is. You may not have ever done a walk through video or maybe you did but it felt long and silly. Just know that your work is not in vain. One day it’s going to be a treasure. Kind of like the last tip but I did this with my daughter because it’s a home she won’t ever remember but it is her first home. I walked around and talked about some of the memories we had bringing her home and our first year being married and waiting for her to arrive. That home will always be a part of her story. I’m really glad that’s tucked away for her.

13. Make sure your rental truck drop off location has an after hours drop off. This one comes from experience moving me into our apartment back in May 2016. We chose a drop off location that didn’t have an after hours drop and we didn’t realize that until it was too late. The next day I had a huge presentation for a class so I would be late dropping it off while my husband (fiancee at the time) was still living in LA so he couldn’t get down to drop it off because it would be late too. So we had some amazing friends that volunteered to do that for us in the morning. We left the gargantuan rental truck at their apartment complex for them to take in the morning. Ugh…Needless to say, we owed them dinner!! Don’t make this same mistake. Because moves are unpredictable, you need a flexible turn in time if you’re going to rent a truck. It will be your saving grace to have a late drop off option if things take longer and it will definitely save you money.

I could probably keep going but I’ll stop there. If you’re getting ready to move…bless you! It’s a lot of work. You’re doing a good job. If you’re about to help someone else move, pass along these tips, or you too could be the recipient of a task of trashcan packing shampoo bottles, forks, pillows and lamps! That or using the bathroom at their new place with Wendy’s napkins as your friends.

Happy packing and moving! Hope it goes well!!

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