Congratulations on your new place! All you have left is to figure out how you’re going to pack and move everything without breaking the bank, your fragile household items, or your back. Good thing we put together this list of easy moving and packing tips that will make your move as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
How do we know these tips will help?
We asked professional organizers, expert movers and packers and to share their best tips. Get in touch with PackersandMovers who will handle all the heavy lifting for you.
So, sit back, grab a bite, and dive in!
- GET RID OF UNUSED AND UNNECESSARY ITEMS BEFORE PACKING AND MOVERS START
The more unused and unnecessary items you eliminate from your home, the less stuff you’ll have to pack up, move across town, unpack, and organize.
We recommend clearing any clutter from your home as soon as you know you’ll be moving.
Be ruthless with your stuff. That dress you think is cute but haven’t worn in five months? Donate it.
The very first electronic equipment you ever bought that brings back memories or has sentimental value? Trash it.
Doing a massive preliminary purge will have the single biggest impact on the efficiency and ease of your entire packing process.
- PICK THE RIGHT MOVING DAY.
Hire your movers at least a month prior to the move, so you can plan accordingly. If your schedule is flexible, play around with potential moving dates and try to find the cheapest time of month to make an appointment.
Moving companies are busiest during weekends, so if you can skip the Saturday chaos and schedule your move for a Wednesday, you might get a significant discount.
- SORT THINGS BY CATEGORY.
Take a cue from Packers and movers and organize your belongings by category, not by room (note that the category part only applies to the organization process and not to the unpacking process — which is a nightmare on its own).
Instead of spending a day cleaning out your entire bedroom, spend an afternoon sorting through every article of clothing you own.
Scour every closet, dirty clothes pile, and laundry room until you’ve got all your clothes in one place. Then sort.
Do the same thing for books, shoes, important papers, and all your possessions.
- SET ASIDE STUFF TO SELL.
You won’t miss a few items you no longer want, but would love to get a little money for. If that’s the case, set these items aside and determine where you can sell them.
- RESEARCH PROFESSIONAL MOVING COMPANIES.
There is no fun in researching. Google will overload you with the sheer volume of choices for household moving companies to hire, but don’t give in to the pressure and pick the first high-rated company you see.
A moving company can often make or break your entire moving experience, so it’s important to get it right. The more effort you put into finding a reputable company with excellent customer service ahead of time, the less hassle you’ll have on moving day.
Most of the time there are tens of thousands of people claiming to be a ‘moving company’ when in reality it’s just some guy with a van trying to make some extra cash”.
Ensure you read the company’s list of services, fine print, and refund or damage policies, too. For example, some companies don’t lift items that aren’t in boxes, while others ask for full payment several weeks early.
Find out the specifics to avoid unwelcome surprises come moving day.
- CREATE A MASTER MOVING TO-DO LIST
When you relocate, you inevitably end up having a lot of different things to do and remember. Don’t let all these tasks and important reminders, slip your mind.
Write them down somewhere. Put them in the Notes app on your phone, in the to-do list app that professional organizer you love so much, or go old-school with a pen and a notebook.
- MAP OUT THE BEST WAY TO GET TO YOUR NEW HOME.
Whether you’re moving to Nairobi, across the country, or just to a neighboring town, you’re going to need an efficient travel route so you don’t waste your move-in day sitting in impassable traffic or pulling over different times to type an address into your maps application.
Find out the easiest, most efficient way to get where you’re headed. Look up potential highway construction schedules ahead of time. And take traffic, detours, and necessary stops into account when you’re coming up with a plan.
- PUT MOVING TASKS ON YOUR CALENDAR.
Take your preparedness a step further and spend an evening mapping out everything you’ll have to do. Get a spacious calendar and mark the empty boxes with important daily tasks to prepare for your move.
Monday: Call moving company.
Tuesday: Sort through toiletries.
Wednesday: Buy new sheets.
An added advantage to using the calendar method is that dividing up your tasks by day makes them seem more manageable.
- CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE ORIGINAL BOXES FOR YOUR ELECTRONICS.
You might think your flat screen TV could withstand a 30-minute drive across town in a cardboard box, but alas, it’s a fragile piece of technology. The best way to transport your electronics is in the original boxes they arrived in when you purchased them.
Check to see if you stowed these boxes somewhere — store? Garage? If you don’t have them, make a list of what you’ll need to buy or borrow to properly cushion your stuff.
Bubble wrap, quilted blankets and sturdy tape all work well to protect TVs and similarly delicate items.
- GET MOVING BOXES FROM YOUR LOCAL SUPERMARKET OR LIQUOR STORE.
Visit your local liquor store or local supermarket to see if they recycle their used boxes. If so, ask if you can grab a handful so you’re saving a little paper in your moving journey.
Make sure the boxes are very gently worn and that you only use them to hold lightweight items. You don’t want to deal with ripped boxes and broken valuables on the big day.
- GO TO THE HARDWARE STORE.
Don’t forget the “just in case” items when you’re making your master hardware store list. Stock up now on extra supplies like light bulbs (check your lamps to verify the type you need), extension cords, and power strips so you’ll be set to go when you start moving things in. Also some extra boxes won’t hurt.
- CALL IN FAVORS EARLY.
If you’re relying on neighbors, friends and family to help with your move, be courteous and give them a month’s notice. Do the same with babysitters for your children.
Send out a message with the details of where to meet, what time, what to bring, and what to wear (preferably sportswear) so everyone is on the same page.
- CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS A WEEK BEFORE YOU MOVE
This is one of those things everyone forgets to do until they’re two weeks into life in a new home and they realize their Jumia shipment still hasn’t arrived. Change your address ahead of time so your bills and packages can arrive on time and without hassle.
- PACK AHEAD.
Packing little by little is far less stressful than trying to tackle it all in one day. As early as a couple months out, start packing the stuff you know you won’t be using.
This can be anything from off-season clothing to books you’ve already read to relics, and keepsakes.
- LABEL MOVING BOXES LIKE A BOSS.
The key to finding your stuff easily is labeling all your packed boxes clearly and accurately. When you’re stacking boxes in a van or car you won’t be able to see their tops, so make sure you label the sides as well. But don’t stop there.
Label the boxes by category and by room (for example, Books, Library and Books, Bedroom) to speed up the unloading process.
If you’re more of a visual learner, use color-coded electrical tape to label your boxes.
- PACK DECORATIVE ITEMS A FEW WEEKS OUT.
Pack up all your art and decorative items several weeks before you move. These pieces can be some of the trickiest to handle because they’re fragile and often oddly shaped, so having a bit of extra time to figure out how to properly cushion them is crucial.
Sure, your walls will look a bit stark, but when you’re running around the house a week before the move feeling like you’re about to lose your mind, you’ll be so glad your landscape painting is already nestled in its precious bubble wrap.
- USE SMALL BOXES FOR HEAVY ITEMS.
It sounds obvious, but if you’ve ever known the struggle that is carrying a large cardboard box stuffed full books across a parking lot, then you also know this advice cannot be overstated.
Fill your small boxes with heavier items and use large boxes for light things like decorative pillows, towels, and linen.
- USE PACKING TAPE.
Not to be confused with duct tape, packing tape is the heavy-duty, ferociously. Sticky clear tape you see at the post office.
Always make sure your boxes have tops, but don’t do the interlocking fold method with the flaps of your box tops — just tape them closed. It’s much more secure this way.
- PROTECT FRAGILE ITEMS WITH PACKING PAPER, BUBBLE WRAP, OR BLANKETS.
Use it to pad all your fragile dishware and decorative items. Stuff it inside glasses, wrap it around vases and bowls, and shove it between your dishes and the side of your boxes.
Make sure you wrap each of your fragile items separately, so they’re fully cushioned. If you don’t have packing paper, opt for bubble wrap or a quilted blanket.
- PACK DISHES VERTICALLY.
Don’t stack your dishes horizontally inside a box. Instead, wrap your plates and bowls in packing paper, gently place them into a box on their sides like records, and then fill the empty spaces with bubble wrap to prevent cracking and breaking.
- PACK A PERSONAL OVERNIGHT BAG.
Chances are you won’t get everything unpacked in the first day, so bring whatever you need to feel relaxed and settled on your first night.
A change of clothes, your toiletries, a water bottle, and your laptop can go a long way in making your new place feel more like home.
- STOP BUYING GROCERIES A WEEK BEFORE YOU LEAVE.
To save you the guilt of throwing away perfectly decent food, stop buying groceries a week or two before you’re scheduled to move. Try to make meals at home to use all the food you have left.
If you don’t finish everything, invite a friend or two over to see if they need some half-finished spices or boxes of pasta.
For anything you can’t get rid of, toss it and don’t look back.
- PUT YOUR STORAGE BINS AND LUGGAGE TO USE.
Instead of trying to figure out how to pack up all your woven seagrass baskets, linen bins, and carry-on suitcases, store stuff inside them.
- MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT PAPERS.
Pack a separate box or briefcase with copies of all your important documents in case of an emergency.
Though it might be a tedious project to scan or copy every birth certificate, passport, social security card, proof of insurance paper, and tax claim, you don’t want to risk damaging the only version of your papers in transit. They’re too precious.
- SET ASIDE CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR MOVING DAY.
Build a mini cleanup kit so you can do one final sweep through your home on moving day.
Set aside a broom, mop, dustpan, duster, sponge, cleaning products, paper towels, and old rags for wiping the grubby, hidden surfaces you could never get to when all your stuff was in the way.
- DEFROST YOUR FRIDGE AT LEAST ONE DAY BEFORE YOU MOVE.
Who wants to wake up to a grungy, mildewy fridge in their new home?
No one. No one at all.
Take time to thoroughly clean your fridge and wipe away all the liquid before you haul it to your new home.
- LOAD BOXES FROM THE SAME ROOMS TOGETHER.
Stack and load boxes in groups according to the rooms indicated on the labels. Put all the kitchen stuff together, all the living room stuff together, and all the bedroom stuff together.
That way, you can unload all the boxes from the same rooms at the same time, which makes unpacking everything a cinch.
- LOAD HEAVY FURNITURE INTO THE MOVING TRUCK FIRST.
Have the person with the highest Tetris score be in charge of figuring out how to fit everything in the back of the moving truck in the most efficient way possible.
Load your heavy furniture first, like sofas. Then finish with lighter items.
Be gentle with everything, as most seemingly wooden items are not actually made from wood, but particle board.
Don’t be afraid to flip things over, either — couches actually transport well on their sides and save a ton of space in the process.
- TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR NEW HOME BEFORE YOU MOVE ANYTHING IN.
This moving tip really only applies if you’re renting your new home:
Before your friends and family start stacking boxes in the entryway, or scuffing the doorway trying to shove your couch through, snap a few shots of your space so you can note any existing damage.
It’ll be more difficult to prove you didn’t cause that damage after you’ve moved in all your furniture.
- DELEGATE TASKS WHEN YOU’RE UNLOADING THE MOVING TRUCK.
Figure out ahead of time who will be the chief of moving day. Whoever feels comfortable taking charge of the unloading and organization process, should assume this position.
Delegate every little task so no one is wasting time or sitting around with nothing to do. With all hands-on deck, your unpacking process will fly by.
- MAKE THE BEDS FIRST.
Professional organizers and productivity consultants recommend making your beds as soon as you move in. That way, instead of worry about tucking in your dust ruffle, or finding the right set of sheets at the end of a long night, you can just crash out right away.
- BE THE BEST HOST.
Make sure you take care of the people who help you move, regardless of whether or not they’re being paid to do it.
Provide beverages and snacks for everyone, break for lunch, or pay for everyone’s dinner.