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…
Please, everybody start posting all your tips! I’m going to move in about 2 weeks (if everything goes as it should) sooo…
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.)
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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!
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…
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.
PS Love the house!
First, I love ALL of the previous comments (especially Bryan’s!), but I cannot stress enough how cost-efficient it can be to use professional movers. I know that may sound crazy, but I have had to move 3 times in the last year and a half and can tell you that, if you take the time to honestly appraise what your own time is worth, it makes great sense to use the pros. I save some money by packing myself and doing it well in advance to keep from getting overwhelmed. But having someone else do the lugging, showving and grunting is PRICELESS. Oh, and if it’s okay to name names, I would highly recommend Gentle Giant. Happy Moving!
Hey Guys, my boyfriend and I just closed on our home this past Wednesday. Being the impatient people that we are… we rushed to move things in that night! WELL, this is where my tip for moving comes in… CHECK THE WEATHER! We had no idea that it was supposed to storm. We get half-way there and the rain just started coming down. Our brand new Queen size mattress set and alllll of my boxes got soaked. If anyone has any ideas for drying out the mattress, I would love to know what to do! :)
We did all of the moving by ourselves. No moving companies required. :) That takes all the fun out of it!
Been there, done that! My husband is military, and we have moved 13 times since we married in ’93. We’re used to coast-to-coast moves, and have done it ourselves and used relocation services. (We’re usually stuck in hotels for weeks at a time, so some of this may be irrelevant to most people)
Here are our tried and true tips, many of which are posted already:
* KEEP YOUR IMPORTANT FILES/PAPERWORK WITH YOU! You WILL need them, and don’t want to take a chance they’ll get lost.
* If possible, do as much in advance as you can. Pack what you don’t have to use right away first, and make sure to schedule stops/starts on all utility services.
* Forward your house phone to your cell, and forward your mail (you can do it online).
* Clean thoroughly before the move – and make sure you have all the laundry done.
* Thoroughly label EVERY box with the room, and a pretty detailed list (save the “misc.” description for your junk drawer type stuff!)
* Utilize dish packers
* Use that green “cling” wrap that UHaul sells to wrap/protect your furniture. Also helps in keeping your dresser drawers IN the dressers.
* Mark everything that is breakable clearly, and on every side of the box, and the top!
* You can get good moving boxes from many places for free – freecycle, recycling centers, and UH-aul now has a program where you can get used UHaul boxes from other customers.
* Get rid of all the stuff you don’t want before the move, and again on move-in.
* If you’re moving yourself, get a big enough moving truck – and remember to stack up! Start at the very back and go as high and deep as you can. Utilize any little spaces with odd shaped items – brooms, umbrellas, etc.
* Wrap all items well, and pack within other items (example is to pack your small knick-knacks inside your wide-mouth vase, etc.)
* Make sure all boxes are completely full – all the way! This will really help to keep them from collapsing once they’re stacked, and help protect your items from moving around. A great idea is to use your linens as stuffers. :)
* If you’re having a service pack you – remember this: they WILL pack your trash in your trash can. It’s really gross to find month-old trash in your pretty new house. They also will not dump any liquids, so if you’ve got a fry-daddy with oil…
* Keep a close eye on the movers/packers. I’ve found combat boots in a box with all my ivorhy silk lampshades.
* If using a service, always remember to fill out the value forms for certain items. They usually ask you to note any items under a certain weight that is worth more than $300. If I remember correctly, the weights were around 20 lbs.
* If you’re moving a long distance, buy lots of small toys and activities for the kids, and dole them out every once in a while to keep them happy. Ah, bribery… :)
* Always wrap mattresses in plastic mattress bags.
* Make sure to have several tape guns, tape rolls, sharpies, and bunches of packing paper available.
* Tape well, and remember – if you can’t lift it, it’s packed too heavy.
* Always utilize a dolly, and as many strong men as you can. ;)
* It’s a little known fact that moving too often causes excessive rambling. ;)
* Put everything in the proper room as you bring it into the house.
* If you’re using a service – keep this in mind: They will take your boxes for you. You have to break them down and pile them up, but they will take what you have on move-in day, and most will allow you to schedule a later pick-up.
* From experience – If you’re moving a dog, Benedryl can be given for car sickness – one 25mg pill for every 30 lbs. Obviously check with your vet before. Also check to see what hotels are pet friendly.
* The big thing now are pods, but they’re tiny and expensive. You can find several places online now where you can pack yourself, and load it into a semi trailer. They drive it for you, and drop it off at your new location at a scheduled date, and leave it for you to unpack. VERY helpful!
Sorry to be SO long winded. I figured if our experiences can help anyone… ;)
be sure to keep you toolbox/kit close!! We recently moved and has a bunch of new furniture to put together, pics to hang etc and my awesome hubby packed the toolbox at the very bottom of one of our enormous boxes.
After recently helping my brother move and having to drop everything and run to a burger joint at 2pm because everyone was starving, I cannot emphasize this enough: provide FOOD. And plenty of drinks. Stuff like Gatorade and bottled water is perfect if you’re moving on a warm day.
If you have friends/family giving up a weekend to haul your stuff, you owe them donuts and coffee before, snacks/drinks/lunch during, and (if you’re not leaving town altogether!), pizza and beer afterward. A follow-up sit-down meal a few weeks later in your new digs is a nice thank you for all the help, too. Food is love.
I’m dying to find the “antler” style candle holders from the top picture. Any leads?
They’re from West Elm (we actually also have one on our coffee table in the living room) but they’re no longer available in stores so perhaps you can try ebay and search for “west elm antler candlestick”? Hope it helps!
Hi! Found this site last night and have been burning the midnight oil while enjoying your advice, as well as your readers’ comments. You’all have some great ideas.
So, “we” (read I–DH was out of town on business…did he plan that?) did a 100 mile move several years back and it was a nightmare in just about every way possible. I won’t bore you with what went wrong but here’s the best advice a friend gave me: 1) Pack a suitcase and box(es) with EVERYTHING you will need for at least three days. Everything! Clothes, toiletries, cell phone, meds, pet food/toys/bed/litter and box, alarm clock, sheets, pillows, cases, blankets, shower curtain, the book or magazine that you’re currently reading, canned food, can opener, paper plates, microwave bowl, etc.!! There are probably alot of things that I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. Then, 2) as soon as the movers leave; make your bed, hang your towels, put up the shower curtain and at least put your toiletries in the bathroom and the kitchen stuff in the kitchen.
Then, when you think that you absolutely cannot even look at one more box, let alone unpack it–that’s OK! Have a nice soak, with reading material ;) and crawl into bed for a well-deserved rest. Get a fresh start in the AM and everything will look a whole lot better.
I have found over the years in all my moves that boxes are over rated get the big storage bins instead you can get them around holidays in different colors and color code them for each room also they are easy to stack and keep for the next move so you dont have to mess around finding boxes everytime. It is even good if you do not move alot because you will never have to go shopping again for storage bins for holiday stuff or old stuff you are saving for later you will always have at least one left.
After moving 14 times in over 3 1/2 years (sure, some of that was with the military, but seriously!?!) I figured out that if I buy decorative furniture with storage, it makes it a LOT easier to move. Trunks? Perfect for craft items, and no packing later! Clear box totes are great for little items such as sewing kits, pens and pencils, silverware, knick nacks, and other odd items that usually get stuck in drawers. Also, set your bed up first. After moving boxes all day, it’s the first think you’ll want to think of!
I know this may be late to post this, I read through most of the posts and there are some very helpful hints. One thing that I did that was helpful to me was once there was a shake up at work and it got me to thinking maybe I should be looking at changing jobs in the distant future. So, what I did was I started cleaning and organizing that very moment in anticipation of a move. I started by attacking all my closets and storage, resorted items I had in my storage closet and reboxed them with better labeling.
I went through the entire house, dressers, pantry, kitchen, under the sink. When I did the dishes I also wiped out the drawers. I went through all the books, children’s books the kids had outgrown and donated them.
I did it a weekened at a time, just a few hours on a Saturday so I did not have to obsess over it and after 9 months I did move to another state and I was SO happy I had done all that as it saved me so much time and the possibility of having to take items with me that I otherwise would not have. Also, my truck was so packed we barely got it closed, so it really paid off.
That is such a fantastic idea! I’ve tried to do something similar in anticipation of our upcoming move in 2 weeks, but haven’t been as successful with a 1 year old running (yes, I said running) circles around me. Luckily, we’ve been crashing with my parents for the past 6 months to save up for a house (yay!) and most of our stuff is already in boxes and ready to go. Kudos to you for planning 9 months in advance!
You are doing very wonderful work. Your tips and tricks are helping me a lot while redecorating my old house, I think little renovation and some decoration will work for me. Thank you so much for every thing you posted on your website. I stick up here with your website suddenly and liked it very much, thats why I have bookmarked it. I have already read most of your articles here. Please keep it up.
Melissa van Herksen says
Just reading this old post now…i am in the middle of an unpack of 327 boxes/items. This is my 4th move in 6 years. I should be an expert, but this one has been particularly challenging. We lost lots of living space when we moved to this country (we are a diplomatic family) moving around. Thank you for reminding me of some of the basics. I hope to get through this soon!!! Having a very active two year old doesn’t help.
It’s really simple to move if you are following some good tips as given here.
Here are other tips that I kept in mind while moving-
1) Don’t try to mix items from different rooms in the one box.
2) Heavy items should be on the bottoms and light items should be on top of box.
John Stationery says
Moving tip number 3 is gold! Take note everyone.
Have a “handy box” which you keep to last and which you carry with you when you move to your new place. In ours we always had a kettle and tea making items, important tools for taking down or putting up furniture (such as Allen keys – not sure if you call them that) food and …loo paper.