Anyone who’s ever moved will agree: Moving is one of the worst things ever. Actually, it’s even considered to be one of the 5 biggest life stressors, along with death of a loved one, divorce, major illness/injury, and job loss.
Moving is always going to be stressful — there’s really no way around that. But you can mitigate the stress with some good preparation and planning. I’ve moved 13 times in the past 10 years, so here are my tips for keeping your move as stress-free as possible (hint: the one thing humming under all these tips is that it’s crucial to plan early!).
Top 5 Moving Hacks
1. Research Your Options
Research your options to get your stuff from point A to point B. This applies, especially, if you’re moving more than a few miles away. My cross-country move was made SO much easier when I pulled the plug and shelled out the money to ship my stuff across the country (I used UHaul’s UBox service). I was without it for about 2 ½ weeks, but I kept all the bare necessities in my car during the road trip and just treated it like a mini vacation.
Decide the “how” early in your move. Once that’s figured out, it’ll be way easier to plan your next steps.
2. Gather Packing Supplies Early
Start gathering boxes and moving supplies early. Chances are you’re shelling out enough money on a UHaul or shipping container, so don’t spend any more than you need on boxes.
Check sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for moving boxes — frequently, people will give them away for free, as long as you can pick them up! Check with any friends who may have moved to see if they have leftover boxes, or even check with local shops that get shipments to see if they’d give you their boxes.
Some moving supplies I’d recommend purchasing, aside from boxes, include mattress bags and wardrobe bags. A good mattress bag (with handles) will make transportation easy and will keep you from worrying about it getting dirty. Wardrobe bags offer a way to pack your clothes and keep them on the hangers, which can seriously cut your packing and unpacking time in half.
3. Label Everything, Everywhere
Whether you’re moving your own stuff or you have movers doing it for you, I can’t emphasize this enough — label everything on every side. Be as detailed as you can be in your labels. Usually I’ll write the room in which the box belongs on all the sides and the top, and on the top I’ll include other details about what each box contains. If it has breakables, write “FRAGILE” in all capitals on every side of the box as well.
It might seem excessive, but I’ve learned the hard way – there’s nothing worse than getting all your boxes in the house and neatly stacked and not knowing which one has your towels and bedding. You’ll probably go through a couple Sharpies, but trust me, you’ll thank me later.
4. Pack Early And Often
Start packing the second you know you’re moving. Start with the items you know you won’t need until your move, like clothes that are out of season, decor, trinkets, books, and that extra set of dishes you use when guests come over. Start early and just pack a box or two a day so you aren’t doing it all at the last minute.
Encourage your kids to pack their own things as well — their boxes might not be as neatly packed as yours, but giving them some agency will keep you from doing it all yourself, and it’s a great way to show your kids you trust them with an important task.
5. Pack And Unpack Strategically
This mostly applies if you’re doing all the moving yourself (which, if you can afford not to, don’t). Pack and unpack your truck strategically. Put the biggest items in first — I’ve found that mattresses fit perfectly up against the back wall of the truck, depending on what size truck and what size mattress you have. Then start stacking boxes (biggest and heaviest on bottom) and stack them from floor to ceiling, back to front, in that order.
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If you have empty bookcases or other shelves, lay them on their side and stick boxes in them to maximize your space. Pack the truck tightly to keep items from shifting as you take them from point A to point B.
How many times have you moved? What’s your favorite moving hack you’ve learned? Share your best moving tips in the comments below!
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