Moving Tips and Tricks? {Ask the Readers}

Boxes 1

From Karen:  My husband and I are in the process of moving from SW KS. We will be in KS until Christmas and moving then. What tips do you/your readers have for an easy move? I have already started to box items we rarely use and give away what we don’t need. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as I’ve never moved a whole house before.

I’m actually so thankful that I have very little advice for Karen.  The last time I moved was 6 1/2 years ago, and even as this house seems to get smaller by the minute, we have no plans to move any time soon.

Moving is a DIY job around here, and I would say rent a bigger U-Haul than you think you’ll need.  😉  Sounds like you’re already preparing by purging items you don’t want to haul from house to house.  So smart!

What else, dear readers?  Those of you who have moved recently, what smart moves (hehe) do you recommend?  What do you wish you would have done differently?



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  1. Write on the outside of the box what room it should go in; kitchen, master bedroom, etc. Pack one box with necessities; TP, small first aid kit, flashlight, duct tape, small tool kit, etc. Make sure this box is the last one in the moving van! Pack some small toys, books, coloring books to keep the children occupied in the car on the way to your new destination. Don’t be surprised if your bones ache from all the carrying. If you can afford it hire a cleaning service to do a thorough cleaning of the old place after you empty it out…then you can drive away. 🙂

    • I completely agree. A few things to add…pack a suitcase of clothes, etc. for everyone for a few days or week, then you don’t have to unpack those boxes ASAP. Include cleaning supplies and laundry soap in your necessities box. As well as paper plates, etc. Pack the phones, cell chargers, etc in this box, too. Also, put any hardware for furniture as you take it apart (i.e. bed frames) into a labeled Ziploc bag and toss that into your necessities box with the tools to put it back together at your destination. Budget for take-out for a few extra days. And I would say hire a cleaning service to clean the new place, too, if you can. Moving is exhausting. Good luck!

  2. 1. Purge. Purge some more. Anything you think twice about, give away. We gave away lots, moved, and had a truck and trailer full of things to give away that we moved!
    2. Definitely box up less used items. Try to make do with the smallest amount possible, as there will be so many things to pack when you get down to the real thing!
    3. The kitchen takes tons of packing, as do basements, so tackle as much of those as you can now.
    4. Clean out old/expired/almost empty things from your medicine cabinet and pantry, as they’re not worth moving!

    We moved in July, and I hope not to do it again for at least a decade!

  3. Michelle R says:

    I just finished a nightmare move, but the one thing I would recommend is labeling each box with different colored duct tape so it is easy for anyone helping to know where the boxes go. I even put the colored duct tape on cardboard on the doorframes of each room so everyone knew where each box went. Tip – buy actual duct tape, not scotch tape as the scotch tape doesn’t stay on the boxes.

  4. Lowes moving boxes! It is a bit of a splurge to purchase boxes. But they are so sturdy, stack uniformly, and have HANDLES! I would purchase them again!

  5. I know it’s been said already but PURGE! It is so helpful it must be repeated. It’s cheaper and easier to replace some things rather than pay to move them.
    Ask grocery stores for boxes.
    Wrap glass items/ delicates in bath and kitchen towels.
    Pack healthy snacks and drinks in your vehicle so you don’t have to pay for fast food on the way to your new place.

  6. I numbered each box and then wrote what room of the house it goes in. Then on my computer I had a master list of all the things that were in each box. I also packed a suitcase with clothes, sheets, a blanket and some things like that so we didn’t have to go digging for those things.

  7. Lesley (SWKS farmgirl) says:

    Don’t forget to “change your address” with your post office, magazines, doctors, banks, businesses, etc. If you have time start making your list of folks to contact about the change.

    Label your cords (esp computer & entertainment) and keep them together.

  8. Unless you just bought furniture, consider selling your old couch/bed etc before the move. Especially if you are paying for the move yourself, moving a long distance or will be putting items in a storage unit.

    We were looking at moving a family member cross country and it would have been $2500 more to move a couch, love seat and bed (not including extra gas costs or storage fees).

  9. Ugh! With our recent move, wish I had more to offer. I had plenty of advanced notice, so had also already began to purge. Although, the real purging actually occurred within those last two days. Seriously, I got rid of stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise because I was so tired of looking at more stuff to pack. Seemed it would never end!!!

    Looking back, though, I would say that it would have made things easier if I could have had someone help with the kids those last couple days. That way I could have purely focused on getting it done with no interruptions. One thing I did do was hire someone to come help me clean. We wanted the house to be move in ready once we were out.

    More than anything, wish I would have been more deligent about sticking to our monthly budget. Seemed like we were justifying expenses that we wouldn’t normally for convenience sake which could have been remedied if I’d have just committed to doing more advanced planning 🙁

    Oh, and lots of prayers 🙂 !!!

  10. Moving is such a stressful time. On top of the holidays! Yikes. Enlist help. Have specific jobs for your help. I remember having people just show up and say, “how can I help?” Ummm I dunno. Let me think…. Just list out rings you need to accomplish for a few days ahead of time. You can look through your notes and just give them a job that needs to get done. Or have some people help you with food. Making or bringing you food and drinks. Always helpful when your overextended.
    I love the ideas already mentioned about the different color tape and lists. I would caution anyone not to get overwhelmed by anything. Know your own limits! And know your talents. I would love to list out everything on a spreadsheet, but I know that would be overtaxing on me and my family. So I wouldn’t do that, but I know plenty of people who can do that and more!
    Good luck. Have fun. And also ask for prayer. Always.

  11. We have never paid for boxes and we have had 13 addresses in 21 years. I would suggest grocery stores, shoe stores, etc. Packing tape is cheaper at Costco/Sam’s than at U-Haul. Use your linens as packing material. If you are moving long distance, at least price ABF (U-pack), they back a semi onto your driveway, you load, they drive. Pack each bedroom’s linens together in one box, labeled for each bedroom. Then, when you go to set up the beds and are exhausted, everything is right there. Set up beds first, then get the washer and dryer hooked up and start on the kitchen. Then you can live while you get to everything else. Label each box and bedroom in whatever way works best for you (numbers, colors, whatever). Label the rest of the boxes for your NEW house, not your old. (i.e. if you have formal dining room now and won’t have it in your new house, don’t label boxes for that). Try to spend as little money as possible (clean yourself, use REAL dishes, etc.) because there will be plenty of extra expenses. Save where you can on what you can……..

  12. I had a friend recommend going to the local liquor store to get good strong heavy duty perfect size boxes. Genius!

  13. If you craigslist, state that it’s “cash and carry, first come- no holds” or you’ll be holding onto items that others would have scooped up for buyers that never show. Create urgency and get rid of it fast (even if it means you take $10 less than the asking price on a $50 item like my husband did a few weeks ago)!

  14. Six years of marriage, three different houses, plus five short-term moves (5-14 weeks at a time, out of state). And we’re Moving Again next summer.

    #1–Buy Plenty of Good Sharpies and Good Packing Tape! Wear them in an apron pocket while you’re packing. Zip-top bags are good for corralling small items (office supplies, sewing stuff, small kitchen gadgets, electronics and cords).

    For at least the important boxes, I number them (on all four sides) and write the three main things in the box. I write the number in my moving notebook and list the full contents of the box.

    #2–Don’t move much furniture. Sell it here and buy replacements there.

    #3–Accept all the help that’s offered.

    #4–Start packing as soon as possible. Pack everything you can ahead of time. For our move next summer, I started packing up books a year ahead of time.

    #5–Any textiles you have can be used for packing material–bedding and towels, decorative cushions, extra or out-of-season clothing.

    #6–Depending where you’re moving from and to, think about weather: will it be lots colder where you’re going or lots warmer? Keep a small space heater with your first weeks’ essentials, in case of furnace problems in the first few days. Nothing like the chaos of a torn-up house AND being cold to make you feel like a homeless puppy in a rainstorm.

    When I was small, we moved cross country in March. It was warm the day we moved, but when we woke up at the motel the next morning, it had snowed. All six of us kids were without coats–they’d gotten thrown in the back of the moving truck which was hours away.

    #7–The more you get rid of here, the less mess you’ll have to find a place for there.

    Blessings on you as you move. God will give you grace, and may you not need to move again for a loooooong time!

  15. I agree the kitchen is time consuming. Start to identify what you can absolutely do without for awhile there and pack it up. When people offer to help, this is a good area they can help with. Towards the end, use disposable plates & silverware as you see fit.

    Check Craigslist, even if you have to go to a bigger town in your area, for boxes. A lot of times people who have moved will offer their boxes for free. I have gotten many boxes this way. Moving companies often have used boxes. Depending on the company, you may have to pay, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have any for free. It’s worth it to accumulate a few good move-specific boxes such as those for dishes.

    Pack heavy items in small boxes and lighter items (such as linens & blankets) in larger boxes. That might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something to remember!

    It’s good you are thinking ahead so soon. Do your best to pack up as much as you can right now (and to purge or sell items, as others have suggested). You will be amazed with what you can do without and it will help you keep your sanity as the moving day approaches.

    Remember to schedule appointments to have the utilities turned off and taken out of your name.

    Best wishes!

  16. Check Free-cycle for moving boxes.

  17. My hands-down-favorite thing I did for our last move was to number Every. Single. Box. Then I kept a spiral-bound notebook w/a rough list of what was in each numbered box – I did keep like items together, and of course, kept living room, w/living room, kitchen w/kitchen, etc. But then I didn’t need to write lots on the boxes. I could just say #27 Kitchen & my list would say crock pot, baking sheets, muffin tins, etc. #85 Books Living Rm – my list would say “Little House, Anne of Green Gables, Mother West Wind” BEST tip ever in my book – just don’t lose the notebook! 🙂 My 2nd favorite tip is to keep a canvas bag w/packing tape, pen, sharpie & notebook in it – hang it somewhere & it’s ready whenever you are for packing stuff. 🙂 Blessings on your move!

  18. A handy trick I love (4 moves in 5 years!) is to keep all your clothes from the closet on their hangers. Tape as many hangers as can be conveniently carried together with duct/masking tape and then take a large garbage bag, turn it upside down and poke a hole in the bottom for the hanger handles to go through and cover the hanging clothes with the bag. You then have a ready-made clothing bag and don’t have to use boxes for all that stuff and have it get wrinkled. Plus, it’s a lot easier to just hang the things up at your new place.

    The one thing I would say though is that duct tape will stick to the hanger handles and possibly any clothes the sticky part touches, so be careful or use masking tape instead!

  19. Michelle H. says:

    Great suggestions! We moved 2 years ago, and the only thing I would add is to start using up the items in your pantry so you don’t have to move a ton of food. As a couponer I wish I had planned to start using up our stockpile a lot sooner – I had to pack up far more food than I should have. Since we were only moving 30 miles away it wasn’t that big of a deal, but if it had been a farther move I would have had to give away a lot of it to avoid paying to move it.

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