Finding a new place to live can be fun and exciting. Moving your stuff to a new home? It’s usually a pain. Yet good planning and a handful of hacks can help smooth out the process. Here are tips to get things rolling.
Inventory and Sorting
Take an inventory of everything you’re planning to move (at least the big things), room by room. While you’re working on the inventory, start setting aside things you want to sell or give away. Are you going to list items on eBay or Facebook Marketplace? Put up those ads several weeks before the move and set a cutoff date for when they need to sell. If you can’t sell them, add them to the pile for Goodwill.
Not sure if you should keep or jettison an item? Consider a couple of things: If you haven’t touched it since the time you moved in, you probably don’t need it. If you don’t fit into a piece of clothing now, chances are a move to a new home won’t change that fact.
Hiring and Renting
Be serious: Do you have enough friends who will help you with a move? Will they still be your friends if you only compensate them with pizza and beer? If so, awesome. If not, you’re probably like a lot of us and need to hire movers. To get things started, you can search the internet for “movers near me” and request quotes from several companies. People often wait until the last minute to hire movers, which can result in higher prices. Check if the moving company price includes dollies, boxes, tape and other essential moving equipment. It may be cheaper for you to buy the packing materials, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if they are included.
If you have a lot of items you just can’t part with, some movers may also offer deals on storage.
Still want to do it yourself? You’ll probably need a van or a truck — and if you don’t rent one at least a few weeks before the move you may wind up trying to make the most out of a mini-van or your mom’s SUV.
DIYers who need boxes can often get what they need from local grocery stores. One tip: If your box needs handles, you may be able to make them by cutting out triangles on the side with an Xacto knife.
Switch the Utilities
This may go without saying, but you have to let the power, cable, and internet companies know that you’re leaving one location and starting in another.
Try to disassemble your furniture at least a few days before the move, hopefully more. You don’t want to be scrambling with the allen wrenches and screwdrivers when the moving truck is honking in the street. Before you start, take as many cell phone pictures as you need to remember what goes where. If you’ve lost the manual, you may need to take closeups to remember how the hinges lock together.
Place all of the screws and connectors into ziplock bags and securely tape them to the relevant part of the frame. If you’re worried about losing a bag, clearly label where the parts belong and collect them into a box. Consider taping newspaper around the bottom of your table legs. Then the won’t scratch the new floors on arrival.
For wall decor, snap pics of layouts you plan to recreate at the new place. If you take these down a week or so before you leave, you’ll be able to spackle and paint over any holes made by frames and other hanging displays.
Tips abound when it comes to packing items. Big picture: You’re going to need a lot of different sized boxes. Don’t think you can just get 20 of the same size box and be done with it. Some movers recommend you’ll need 10 boxes per room, plus another 10 to be safe. Think about what kind of box you’ll need to pack that heavy kitchen mixer or small photo frames. Chances are different size boxes will be suitable for each.
When it comes to filling those boxes, remember “If it don’t shake, it won’t break.” That means if you pack an item well with little room to bounce around in the box, it will likely survive intact.
You may also be able to use some creative packing materials beyond bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts. For example, socks fit nicely over champagne glasses. Paper places stacked in between china ones can help keep them from rattling and cracking. Heavy books will stack nicely into rolling suitcases. Garbage bags can be used for clothes. Using a a vacuum, you can suck all of the air out of the bag so everything is sealed up tight.
After you’ve created your inventory list (at least of the bigger items), you can then create a color code for the boxes from each room. Perhaps all of the containers going to the bedroom will have a blue tag on them or a blue scribble from a marker to denote their eventual destination. Such a system will make it easier to sort out the boxes once they’ve arrived. You’ll still want to list what’s inside the box on the side, but color coding helps for movers and friends.
The Essentials Box
You’re going to want to pack a bag or box that has the things you’ll need as soon as you get to your new place. For some people, that will mean the coffee and cups, for others, the shampoo and towels. Maybe you’ll need all of those things plus a change of clothes after a long day of hauling boxes and furniture.
Assume that you won’t be able to find a lot of things for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks, so be sure to have that overnight bag include your toothbrush and other daily needs so you won’t have to weed through a patch of boxes to find them.
Chances are you’ll be running on your last doses of adrenalin by the time you get all of your items into your new home. Use that little bit of energy to assemble and make your bed. Of course you can always just drop the mattress on the floor, make it with sheets and crash.
Over the next few days, tour inventory list can help guide you through how to unpack. You can prioritize and check off items once they’re settled into your new location.