Thursday, January 20, 2011


I've moved enough in the last 5 years to feel as if I could qualify for the 'professional mover' title. I've learned a few tips a long the way that have been very helpful. Maybe these tips might help someone else.

Items needed:
  • Black Sharpie markers
  • Masking tape
  • Packaging tape
  • A ton of free boxes
  • Colored round (garage sale) stickers
  • Black garbage bags with tie strings
  • Newspaper 
 - Make a 'Moving Notebook' where you keep all your important paperwork and checklists for the move. Be sure to keep track of the places you call to change your address, a sheet where you keep reminders, etc. 
- De-clutter as you pack. Have a box nearby for give away items. The more you get rid of the less you'll have to move.
- Pack in stages. If you have a move date that is a few weeks or more down the road use the weeks ahead  to 'pre-pack'. This strategy helps take the pressure off those last few hectic days before the move. Go through each room of the house and pack things you can live without until the moving date. Do this each week because the closer you get to the move the less items you'll need.  Leave the boxes in their original room (well marked with specific items listed on the outside of the box) so you can find an item quickly if need be.
- Color code the boxes and link to a map of the rooms in your new house. For instance, the kitchen could be a red round sticker (office supply stores sell garage sale stickers with multiple colors). Then make a map of the house and place a red sticker on the kitchen area and another red sticker on the box(es) of kitchen items. Make several maps and place them at the entrance of the house so that when your 'movers' bring in a box with a colored sticker they can look at the map and know which room to place the box. Be sure to also write the destination on the box in case the sticker falls off. :-)This will help take the pressure off of YOU as the 'go to gal'.
- Become friends with the produce manager at your local grocery store. I like the apple boxes best for packing because they are not too large and have a nice top. I also use banana boxes because they stack well and work great for larger items. Wine boxes work well for plates. Ask the produce manger what is the best time of day to pick up boxes and then call first thing the next morning.  Let him know you'll be there immediately to pick them up. ALWAYS get a TON more boxes than you think you'll need. Guaranteed you'll need more than you can imagine.You can also check Freecycle to see if anyone is getting rid of their moving boxes.
- You can post on Freecycle that you have moving boxes for pickup once the move is over. They should go fast. Or better yet, check to see if your city has a cardboard recycler who will pay you for your cardboard.
- Purchase a box of heavy black garbage bags (I bought mine at Costco) that have colored tie strings. I use these for pillows, blankets, bedspreads, towels and odd shaped items that won't fit into a box. Label the bag with a piece of masking tape.
- I also use black garbage bags to cover my clothes which keeps them from getting dirty. I gather no more than 5 items on a hanger and use rubber bands to tie the tops of the hanger together. Make sure you use clothes pins to secure any clothes that look like they will slip off the hanger. Pierce a hole in the bottom of the garbage bag and place the group of hangers through the hole. I cover all the clothes we won't be wearing weeks ahead of the move and leave them hanging in the closet. Just leave the clothes unwrapped that you'll wear the final days.  This practice makes it very easy to transport clothes without items falling off and getting dirty. If you're using a moving van you can hang the clothes on the side rails in the van.
- Cook food ahead of time and freeze so you don't have to cook the first week you're in your new home while you're unpacking and trying to get settled.
- If friends come to help they could put new shelf paper on the kitchen shelves while you're busy doing other things. I have 3 goals the first day we move in. 1). Beds  2). Eating and drinking utensils  3) Bathroom necessities such a T.P., towels and toothbrushes. If at all possible it's best to keep these boxes separated so you can find them easily.  If you have important medications make sure you take them personally in your own vehicle.
-Our pastor taught me to make sure every single item is in a box before the move. Make sure there are no stragglers.
-Feed your movers. Ex: Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken are both quick and easy solutions. My mom and sister were not able to help with the actual move this time but offered to be our rest stop. They made a wonderful lunch for the movers and gave us a warm place to rest.
-Save your movers backs by not packing too many heavy items in one box.
- Use your towels and sheets to wrap around your breakable glasses and dinnerware. Wrapping dishes in newspaper can leave them dirty.


  1. Another fine source for sturdy boxes is the liquor store, stop in and ask if they will let you pick up boxes next time they have a delivery - the boxes are very sturdy and not too large, they are particularly suited to heavy items like books.

    Once you arrive at your new home and start to unload, make sure some one is responsible for setting up the beds and making them. Believe me, by the time you are ready to fall into bed, you will be extremely glad that your bed is set up, made, and you can just climb in and go to sleep!

    Make sure you have some basic kitchen stuff easily available so you can make a pot of coffee, or sandwiches. Get the kitchen table and chairs set up asap.

    Before moving in it is nice to be able to clean the new home, and you may want to put sticky plastic down over the carpets in high traffic areas such as stairs, and hallways.

    Have some tools available, hammer, screwdriver, etc. almost always a door will have to removed, or a banister, something!

    Walk around your old home after you have moved everything out, check the closets, look at the walls, check the cabinets, it is so easy to overlook items, particularly pictures.

    And, it is always nice to leave your old home decent for the next person, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, and mop the kitchen floor.

  2. You're a source of wonderful information!!! Moving is so hard, but when you know what you're doing (like you do), it sure makes life go smoother.

  3. Great information here. I'm going to print this off. even though we've moved lots, it's been 9 years since our last move. I'm sure I've forgotten a few things.

    In regards to your question about sheets. I would think the higher the thread count the better, however you usually don't know the thread count when you find sheets at thrift stores or yard sales. I purchase only sheets that are good quality, have no holes or stains and always a top sheet. You get to know the good quality sheets once you've bought a few. Hope that helps. Hugs

  4. Good morning Georgene
    the pictures of your new home are very pretty, and I am glad your move went smoothly. When hubby was a Marine, we moved often. Your tips are very good ones, and I would stress the decluttering part in all capital letters to anyone.

  5. Good tips! Our last move was so easy since we got to leave most stuff at the house and moved into a furnished place this time. Moving again sometime--I'm thinking--keep it as small and simple as possible--this down-sized place is so much easier to tend to. :) My favorite boxes--produce (banana boxes) and libraries often have small boxes that are great for books--you don't want to use big boxes for books. :)


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