Five Moving Tips To Make Things Easier

This weekend we helped John’s sister and brother-in-law move into their fabulous new home (that they just happened to design themselves) and along with some obligatory back pain we took away some pretty fail-safe moving advice. And now that we’re in the know, we figured we’d share the wealth. After a picture of their breathtaking new kitchen of course:

Moving Tip #1: Clean top to bottom. When you’re cleaning something in your new home (like the kitchen cabinets before you load in all your dishes, or a closet before you add the linens), it only makes sense to start from the top. This way any spare dirt or dust that doesn’t stick to your rag won’t end up dirtying the shelf below that you’ve already cleaned.

Moving Tip #2: Touch things once. If you’re carrying a huge box of bathroom stuff, it makes no sense to toss it into the foyer assuming that you’ll get to it later. If it’s already in your arms, you might as well take it to its final destination. Why bend over twice?

Moving Tip #3: Save the seated tasks for last. It’s much easier to rest when you’re doing stationary projects that can be accomplished in a seated position, so save folding clothes or organizing drawers for the very end of the day when you can pull up a chair or sprawl out on the floor. (Here’s one of the last projects that I completed while perched on a stool: installing dish dividers into their island’s fabulously deep drawers).

Moving Tip #4: Don’t bother unhanging clothes. Unless you’re moving across the country and have to ship your items, drop your clothes (hanger and all) into oversized black garbage bags. Instead of wrestling hangers and clothing into a restrictive box (or taking the time to unhang and rehang everything) it should only take a few giant bags and a few minutes to pack your whole closet. Then simply deposit the bags into the right room, and you’ll have everything back into the closet in about 60 seconds.

Moving Tip #5: Toss stuff you’re so over. You’ll probably move lots of stuff that wasn’t even good enough for your old house (so you sure as heck won’t be whipping it out in your new one). Even though you moved it all the way to the new place, cut your loses and toss it (or donate it) before it takes over the closets and cabinets in your new abode. From editing glassware and silverware to old clothes and even bathroom stuff as you unpack, you’ll feel fabulous about your fresh start (look at all the stuff Emily and Todd left out for the garbage man).

Now it’s your turn to share the wealth. Tell us your favorite moving tips for the next time we get roped into helping our seemingly nomadic family and friends. And stay tuned for the stunning “after” photos of their amazing new home in the coming weeks…


  1. KK says

    Funny, I was just giving my moving advice to a friend who moved last weekend.

    Here are tips I learned during my last move:

    – Remember where you packed the plunger. (And toilet paper for that matter.)
    – No matter how exhausted you are, hang the shower curtain. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
    – Don’t forget to call and turn on the water.
    – Meet your mailman asap. He knows all the neighborhood gossip.

  2. Bryan says

    If you have friends helping you move, be sure to clean under, around, and on top of all the furniture thoroughly before moving (especially if you have pets). Not only will this aid in keeping your new place clean, it will prevent the look of horror/disgust on your friends’ faces when they lift the couch to reveal the “accumulations” beneath! Also be sure you have lots of paper towels and cleaning stuff on-hand…and go out for a nice dinner when its over!

  3. Amy says

    Folks who help you move are true friends! Moving sucks! My only tip is to have mojitos and yummy takeout planned after the hard work is done!

  4. says

    Oh, I would love to see their whole house when they are all moved it. I love their kitchen drawers!
    I think all the moving tips are great and we did them in our last move. Other tips I thought of:
    – Start packing things you won’t need early in advance.
    – If there are things that don’t have a home or room they belong in, have a location to put those things.
    – Find and reuse boxes if you can. The boxes we used came from our friends that had just moved, and we passed them along after we were finished with them. They were on their 8th move.
    – Label everything, including what is inside of it. It helps when unpacking.
    – If you are moving like we did (meaning you closed on your place, moved in afterwords, and had to got to work the next day) pack a separte bag with everything you will need later that night and the next day. (including shower curtain, towels, sheets, clothes, shoes, etc…)
    – Always have friends and family help you move. It can make it more enjoyable.

  5. says

    Label, label, label! Make sure you know what’s in each box, where the box goes, etc. And, keep like things together, whenever possible. This makes it much easier to unpack, because you can take your box labeled “Misc. Kitchen” straight to the kitchen and unpack it, without having to make extra trips to unload your son’s toys or your random socks that made their way into the box. (I don’t follow my own advice. We just moved last week and I’m still looking for my measuring spoons, although all my “kitchen” boxes are unpacked. Yeesh.)

  6. says

    Rather than toss clothes and hangers into garbage bags, you can spend a few bucks on wardrobe boxes and actually hang your clothes in the box. This keeps clothes from getting all wrinkled and tangled up in a bag. When you get moved into your new home, simply break the wardrobe boxes down and store them for your next move.

    If your boxes are in relatively good shape, just break them down and store them for the next move. It’s cheaper than buying new wardrobe boxes and heavy duty boxes for china, and it’s easier than hunting for new boxes every time you move. Some of the boxes from our move into our house last year were on their third move with us.

    And finally, after moving five times in five years, I can say without a doubt that the easiest (although not the cheapest) way to move is to hire someone to pack your house and move everything for you. We’ve done DIY moves, and we’ve done professional moves, and the professional moves are by far the least stressful. If DH and I pack ourselves, it takes weeks. A professional crew can do it in a day. After having professionals move us, we’ll never DIY again!

  7. Sherry says

    Ooh, professional movers sound fabulous. Imagine not having bruises all over your body and waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning. Someday…


  8. says

    We were very lucky – relocation packages are fairly standard in my husband’s industry, so we were able to use professional movers twice on someone else’s dime. The third time, we were just moving across town into our current house, but with a baby underfoot, there was no way we were going to be able to DIY it. We packed as much as we could and then called in the pros to do the rest. :)

    Most moving companies can be hired for a partial pack or partial move, as they generally work by the hour. This is a nice way to get the pros in to help but still save yourself a little $$. If it’s a local move, you can spend a few days taking car loads over to the new house yourself and then bring in movers on the final day to move the furniture and appliances.

    If you are just hiring them for the move, you will save $$ by getting them in and out as quickly as possible. Have everything packed and ready to go when they arrive, and make sure you’ve disconnected any appliances that have to be moved. If they need to move things like lawnmowers or grills, drain any gasoline from the lawnmower in advance, and unhook the propane tank on the grill yourself.

    We’ve had great experiences with United Van Lines and with Two Men and a Truck. We had a so-so experience with Atlas – they scratched a brand new dresser in our daughter’s nursery.

  9. Sherry says

    Thanks so much for the money saving tips McGee! We’re hoping to never move again in the history of the universe, but you know how things can change, and having the United Van Lines and Two Men and a Truck referrals in our back pocket may be super helpful- for us or our lovely readers!


  10. Spike says

    If you are moving yourself via UHaul, etc., hire movers available through those companies. The prices are usually reasonable, and the people can be hired for as long as you need them (w/ a 2-3 hr minimum). In addition, rent furniture blankets, lots of them, from the truck company. My daughter moved recently, following this kind of plan. The movers who came knew exactly how to load the furniture and boxes so nothing shifted during the 4oo-mile drive. They loaded a 17-ft. truck within 3 hours, and everything arrived without a scratch or dent. My daughter had friends to help her unload at her new place.

  11. Sherry says

    No way. We didn’t even know that movers were available through companies like UHaul. Good tip! I can’t believe your daughter successfully moved 400 miles without a hitch. My hero!


  12. says

    This may be insanely anal-retentive, but when we moved earlier this summer, I went to Kinko’s got different colored paper for each room label. I used a quarter sheet of paper for each label, which was a nice bit of space to write a good list of contents for each box. Each room had a different color also – the living room was pink, the kitchen was white, my sewing room was purple, etc. I’m very visual, so it was easy for me to see and remember which boxes were which (that box of candles was for the family room, which is orange labels, so it’s not that box with the green tag…) and when we moved it was easy to see and remember which boxes went into which rooms.

    [I kinda lied – I was actually 110% anal-retentive and over-the-top-organized, I actually printed the room names on our computer in the four squares, and took them to Kinko’s, and photocopied them onto the colored paper and sliced them on the papercutter. So I had a bunch of blank colored squares that were headed “Kitchen,” etc. But I bet it would be just as functional without my super-Martha-Stewart computer processing.]

    Now if only I could find that last box of books…

  13. cheep3r5 says

    Create a “set up” box for your new home. This is in case you are moving a long distance or a short one, you can get started living. It also works if your stuff is delayed and you don’t have to go buy the basics. It should have the basics to get started in your new home to cook, dishes to eat on, and to use in the bathroom, and linens.

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