26 Moving Tips for an Organized Move

moving tips

I wanted to update my moving tips post (previously published in 2016) because we are moving today! If you watch my Instagram story you might already know this, but I haven’t talked about it much. I didn’t want to say anything until it was all set in stone. It’s still not actually fully in stone so I’m not going to jinx it by talking too much about where we are moving (still in DC area!), but regardless — we had to move out of our current apartment.

Since we just moved 15 months ago, the annoyance of moving was still fresh in my memory. Our last moved was really rushed because of service elevator availability (I literally had 2 days notice to pack last time). This time, I knew we were moving out about 3-4 weeks ago, but I didn’t know where we were moving. If nothing crazy happens I know where we are moving, and we will move in in two weeks. In the meantime, our stuff will be in a POD and we will be an a work/fun trip to LA and Palm Springs.

I’ll be doing a full post about why we are moving later, but I feel like every time I move I learn something new about moving that will make my next move so much easier.

When we moved into this apartment we had to downsize because our previous place was huge! Oh how I miss all of the closets (5 to be exact, and 2 were large walk-ins!). So I have so much less stuff this round, however, while I was packing I still felt like I didn’t need or use half of the crap I was packing up to move. I didn’t really have the time to go through it just because I knew I needed to get things packed. So unpacking will be when I do a major purge. I’m constantly going through my clothes and selling and donating them, but I’d say 50% of my wardrobe I don’t wear and should get rid of.

Since my last move was so rushed and unorganized I was determined to be super organized this time and I started packing 2 weeks ago. All the the circumstances have still made it pretty stressful (I’ll tell you later) but also because for 2 weeks, I’ll be out of town and then back in DC for two days before we move in, so I had to basically pack everything I need for those two weeks in a suitcase!

I learned a lot from this move. And if you haven’t moved for a while, sometimes you forget things, so let me enlighten you if you are moving soon. My newest tips are the top 5.




+ Go through your stuff early — not while you are trying to pack.

A few months before you move go through all of your stuff — in every room! When you are going through it, think to yourself — do I really want to spend my time packing (and paying for boxes and bubble wrap), transporting (and paying for the transport), unpacking, and organizing this? If no, obviously get rid of it!

Doing this early will make packing so much easier. You won’t be thinking about each and everything while you are packing it, and you won’t be pissed at yourself while packing because you didn’t have time to go through your stuff.

Doing this well in advance (at least a month) will give you time to deal with all the stuff you want to get rid of in the way you want to get rid of it — donate (and write off on your taxes), sell at various shops or online, or just trash it.

+ Be almost fully packed except essentials two days before your move date.

I know that sounds ambitious but that way the day before you move you can tie up loose ends, spackle over nail holes, repaint walls, clean, all without actually having to pack as well. Or if you don’t have to do any of that, you can just chill and NOT be stressed out the day before you move. Go get a mani/pedi and get some sleep. If people are helping you move, be sure you are ready for them. Make sure everything is already packed up before they arrive. You don’t want to be throwing things in a garbage bag at the last minute!

+ Overestimate how much you have and get double the supplies you think you need

However many boxes you think you need, get double. Double the packing paper, double the bubble wrap, double the boxes. It’s better to have too many than too little. It’s also a lot easier to move things that are in boxes, then a bunch of random stuff not in boxes.

+ Hire movers if at all possible

Not the kind on Craigslist, the legit kind. I had a friend who hired some from CL and they drove off with her stuff and never showed up at her new place…yeah, that happens.

Since we hadn’t moved for four years we must have forgotten how much it sucks. My husband and his friends are strong guys that workout everyday so it wasn’t that they couldn’t lift things, but just the constant moving heavy stuff all day is absolutely exhausting. We had to make a few extra trips in the car which is the worst. You feel done, and then you have three more car loads of little awkward crap.

+ Figure out all of your utilities for both where you are moving out of and where you are moving into a few weeks in advance.

Nothing like needing to work or trying to stream a show and not having Internet for 3 days.

+ Give yourself time to unpack right after you move when you are feeling the most motivated.

Hang all those pictures, put all your decor up. You can always change it later, but get it out of the boxes and finish the moving process ASAP, otherwise you will probably look at those boxes for weeks and not feel settled in your new space.

+ When in doubt, wrap it in padding

Anything that can dent easily, wrap it up in bubble wrap, padding, or a moving blanket then use this moving wrap around it (it’s basically giant saran wrap). All of your furniture, anything that could be made more sturdy by wrapping it.

+ Pack an essentials bag

When you move you are always looking for things for days, so I highly recommend packing an essentials bag. Everything you use every day — scissors, makeup, face wash, toothbrush, pills, etc. The day you move is exhausting — you don’t want to be searching for stuff that night when all you really want to do is sit down and have a beer and pizza.

+ Take allergy pills

I have a severe dust allergy, which is basically the worst for moving. For a week during and after moving I was sneezing and had puffy itchy eyes. Even if you don’t have allergies, dust might irritate you, so I suggest at least knowing where your allergy pills are. If you know the dust will bother you, take them in advance.

+ Pack valuables and take them with you

I always personally move my precious jewelry and anything I would die if it got lost/ruined.

+ Write room and contents on box and color code with duct tape

This is especially good if you have a large house, or movers and people helping you move. If every box with blue tape on it goes to the kitchen, then no one has to ask you where they should put things, and at least you know all of the boxes are in the right rooms.

You also don’t want to have to open nine boxes to find your coffee pot, so if you write the main things on the box, you know where they are when unpacking.

+ Have someone watch pets/kids for that day or even a few as you get unpacked

I can only imagine adding kids and pets into this mix would be the most annoying thing in the world, so just take that off your plate. If you have grandparents or friends that will watch them, great. If not, it’s probably worth the money to send them to a sitter or pet facility.

+ Stop grocery shopping 2 weeks before

Maybe this is weird, but I love starting over with an empty pantry and empty fridge. I never want to have a ton of food just sitting at my place that doesn’t get eaten, so if you stop grocery shopping a week or two before you move and eat everything you already have, then you won’t have to move as much food.

+ Cover clothing in garbage bags or use suitcases to move it

Don’t waste time taking all your clothes off the hangers, folding them up, packing them, just to then have to hang them all back up and probably now steam or iron them all. I just took my clothes, hangers and all, and put them right in my suitcases, rolled them into my new place and hung them right back up. Super easy. You can also use a trash bag like a garment bag to wrap clothes up in. Just make a little hole in the bottom for the top of the hanger and then tie a knot at the bottom once you’ve got everything you can fit in there. Then you can either lay them in a box or just put them in your car.

You can also buy special garment boxes that have a rod so you can just hang your clothes in the boxes, tape them up and pull them right out and into your new closet. No folding, no removing hangers and then putting everything back on hangers.

+ Wrap things in their containers (utensils)

Instead of taking all the silverware out of the holder, just wrap the it in the holder with the plastic moving wrap and put it in a box. So much easier. Do this with anything you can!

+ Sell things in advance

I recommend selling things well in advance of when you are moving, just so you don’t get stuck in a bad situation where you are trying to figure out what to do with nice furniture that you don’t have time to deal with.

+ Tools, cleaning items, and toilet paper

Make sure you have tools and cleaning items handy for cleaning your old place and your new place! I’m a bit of a germaphobe so when I move into a new place I always walk around wiping down every cabinet shelf, light switch, and door knob. All the things people don’t think to clean.

+ Get a dolly or cart with wheels

Our apartment building has a luggage cart that they let you borrow when moving in or out. This shaved hours off of our move into our apartment. We could load it with boxes, lamps, hang bags on it. It was a godsend. Also a moving dolly is essential. From a heavy credenza to a stack of boxes, a dolly is clutch.

+ Begin packing in the kitchen

The kitchen always takes so much longer than you think it will. Just start on it early, I promise you’ll be glad you did.

+ Use your towels to pad things

I had been saving up old towels and blankets just for this reason. I knew we’d be moving soon, and it’s never a bad idea to have a little extra padding when packing breakables.

+ Pack heavy things in suitcases or things with wheels

I wrapped up all of my glass and ceramic vases and things in bubble wrap and put them in my suitcases. That way I could easily (and gently) wheel them to my car, and into my new place. On our last move I used my suitcases for several trips. I would pack them with the heavy things I knew I couldn’t lift on my own, so I could just easily wheel it, unpack it, and go back for more.

+ Put parts/screws in plastic bag and label 

When you are taking furniture apart to move, you want to make sure to keep track of the parts! Put them all in a plastic bag, label it with a Sharpie, and if there is a good spot to tape it onto the actual item, or put it in a drawer of the piece of furniture, do it. You don’t want to be looking for a little baggie of screws in who knows what box to put your table together later.

+ Put cords to devices in plastic bag and label

Luckily we are getting to be more and more wireless, so you might not have as many cords as you used to, but it’s helpful to put all the cords that go with say, your TV/cable box/speakers, in a bag and label what it is.

+ Book a massage for a few days after your move

Because wouldn’t that feel amazing! While you’re at it, get a mani/pedi too, you probably need it.

+ Don’t forget to change your address with USPS and also with your credit cards, bank, and bills

The two months before you move, pay attention to what you get in the mail, write it on a list to remember everywhere you need to change your address.

+ Hire a cleaning service

As much as I’m capable of cleaning, there are professional cleaning services for a reason. They are better at it. Also with my dust allergy, in our previous apartment we lived in for four years (and it was large) it would have taken me two days to clean and probably made me sick/miserable. It took four women four hours and cost me a couple hundred dollars. Money well spent. There’s no way I could have cleaned it like they did. My place looked better after they were done than it did before we moved in! If you live in the DC area, Maid in Downtown is amazing. I highly recommend them. Tell Norma & Rene I sent you.

Okay, I want to hear your moving horror stories and successes, and any moving/packing tips you have!


Photo by Imani Clovis via Unsplash