Tips for an Organized Move
I unexpectedly moved this summer.
It really is such a whirlwind when I look back on it. My husband and I had bought a new house when, 72 hours earlier, we didn’t even know that we’d be touring one nonetheless buying one in the next three days.
We’d been casually looking for a long time, but especially in the current market, not a whole lot happens when you’re “casually” looking. But my brother has been not-so-casually looking for a home for his family, and when this one came onto the market, he suggested we come take a look with him. So we did, but we didn’t have high expectations. After all, a move this summer wasn’t something we had planned on.
Fast forward about a month and here we are in this brand new house with more space for my business and a better layout for my family of four.
I have moved a lot in my life. In fact, I’ve even moved countries! I spent a few years of my childhood in Brazil while my dad did mission work.
Every move is different, and you learn something new every time you move. When I moved to Indiana back in 2018 I wrote the Ultimate Guide to an Organized Move, and I have even more tips to share with you after this most recent move.
My secret weapon for an organized move is my Moving Binder. This binder truly keeps all the chaos coordinated from when you first start packing to when you’re in the new house looking for a potato peeler to turning on and off utilities.
If you want to see how I build and use my moving binder, click the video below:
Organized Move Tip #1: Take Pictures/Videos Before You Start Packing
Your home holds so many memories. Maybe it’s the home you brought your babies home to, or the home your oldest graduated from high school in. Maybe it was your first home, or your most colorful home, or the home that hosted a weekly game night. Be sure to take pictures and videos of the spaces so that you can keep those precious memories long after the things are packed and moved.
Organized Move Tip #2: Getting Boxes
There are lots of ways to get boxes for your move. Start by asking around on the Next Door app or Facebook. You may well be doing your neighbors a favor by getting extra boxes off their hands! If you’re still needing boxes, you may want to look into purchasing some from a hardware store like Home Depot. They are pretty affordable, and the fact that they are well sized, sturdy, and stack nicely is really worth a lot.
Organized Move Tip #3: Keep Hanging Clothes on Hangers
It’s a lot of work to hang up clothes, so why make it harder on yourself when you move? I recommend either putting a trash bag over your hanging clothes and laying them flat in the back of a car, or folding them over once in a box with the hanger still on. This will make it so easy to move your clothes straight to the closet when you get to the new house.
Organized Move Tip #4: Use heavy coats and blankets as filler
Rather than packing an entire box (or three!) with blankets and coats, use those items as padding and filler for boxes that have a little bit of extra space Those big, fluffy items are great for adding a little extra protection for breakable items, and they can quickly fill multiple boxes (and get heavy!) if you try and pack them all together.
Organized Move Tip #5: Use Paper Products
A week before you’re scheduled to move plan to start using paper products. This will allow you to go ahead and get the kitchen packed up instead of having to wait until the very last minute to pack plates and cups and silverware. I also recommend planning very simple meals for that last week, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or grilled cheese. The fewer ingredients and dishes that you have the mess with, the easier it will be to get packed up.
Organized Move Tip #6: Have One Central Location for Packed Boxes
Pick one spot in your house where packed boxes will go. We chose to use the garage because that kept the packed boxes mostly out of our way, and it made it so easy when move in day came. The movers just backed the truck up to the garage and all of the boxes were right there and ready to go.
Organized Move Tip #7: Don’t Underestimate Odds and Ends
Here’s a truth I’ve learned about moving: The further you are into packing, the longer it takes to pack. Those first few boxes are normally pretty easy: things like books and seasonal clothes and office supplies. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you just have a “few odds and ends” left to pack. You know, those closet shelves, and under the sinks, and in the garage. I’ve found it takes me two to three times longer to pack those items than I think. Do your best to get all of the shelves and cabinets clear before move in days rolls around so you aren’t frantically running around trying to pack a bunch of half used cleaners while the furniture is being disassembled.
Organized Move Tip #8: Don’t Overestimate What You Can Get Done
Moving is a terrific time to declutter. After all, why would you want to move something that you were just going to get rid of once you settled into the new house? While I’m all for any and all forms of decluttering, don’t let your grand plans of decluttering the whole house before you move keep you from getting packed up. It’s easy to think that you’ll be able to declutter the closets and cabinets all before you move, but especially when that last week rolls around and it’s crunch time, forget the decluttering and make sure you’re packed up. You can always do more decluttering as you unpack in the new house.
Also, don’t use the time before a move as a time to pressure your family members into getting rid of stuff. It’s likely that they’re already stressed about being in a new environment, having to move schools or communities, and also having all of their stuff moved about through the packing process. It’s best to save those gentle nudges to declutter for when you’re unpacking and your kids and/or spouse can see what they really need in the new space.
Organized Move Tip #9: Keep a Last Minute Moving Kit
This costs a few extra dollars, but can actually save you a lot in the long run! Make a moving kit of essentials such as a towel for each family member, some very basic cookware (like a frying pan) and any other household essentials. These should all be items that you’re okay with trashing or donating after you move (so you may want to check your local thrift store for some of this.) By having a separate set of these items that you’re okay with leaving behind or donating, you can make sure you get your best towels and cookware packed up and on its way to the new house. The last thing you want is to forget or not have space for is your best nonstick frying pan when move out day comes.
Organized Move Tip #10: Pack a Stay With Me Box
Have you ever been loading the car for a vacation and said “make sure this bag goes in the front with me”? When you’re moving, set aside a box that will “go in the front with you” so to speak. This box or bag will have your most important items in it, like a phone charger, your laptop and charger, and even a change of clothes. That way when you get to the new house, you know where your essential items are right away.
Organized Move Tip #11: Christmas and Birthday Moves
If you are moving near Christmas or a birthday, make a special code that you mark the boxes that have presents in them. Make sure it’s something that sounds so boring that your kids wouldn’t want to get into like “extra cables” or “toilet cleaner”. This will not only keep the presents hidden until the big day, but it will also help you find them in time to get them wrapped and ready to go.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, my moving binder is my lifesaver when it comes to having an organized move. (Links below may include affiliate links.)
Inside there are pages to help you keep track of shutting off and turning on your utilities…
…tables to keep track of what’s in each box…
…and tons of color coded labels and signs to make the moving process as smooth as possible! (I print them on these Avery labels.)
Debbie F Says
We hope to move in the next six to eight months, and I’m already very stressed. This blog has the exact information I need. Thank you for posting it. I plan to use your moving book. The stop/start page alone is very useful.
Tasha Whitsitt SaysPost author
So glad you found it helpful. We wish you all the best!!
We have just started “casually” looking for a new home, too! I’m so excited looking at all of the photos of possible houses, but the thought of packing everything from this house is daunting. Thanks so much for this list. I will go take a look at your kit and checklist! Thanks. Hope you’re enjoying your new home!!