As far as domestic chores go, moving is like deep-cleaning the refrigerator, organizing the closets and clearing out the garage in one fell swoop — not a simple task. But that doesn't mean it can't be easier.
We're here to help. We've acquired our moving expertise the hard way – by doing, again and again and again – and have compiled our best tips for making it easier, as well as the tried-and-true methods for how to pack so both you and your belongings will get to your destination in one piece.
Tip #1: Start Early – and make a moving checklist.
We guarantee that moving will take longer than you think it will, no matter how organized you are. Packing is one thing, but there are so many little things to remember and arrange. We've created this handy, printable moving checklist that will help keep things from slipping through the cracks. Use a clipboard to make writing easier, and to keep it from getting thrown away or packed.
Tip #2: First purge, then pack.
For us, the silver lining in the moving funnel cloud is that it's an opportunity to edit. Moving into a new place can really feel like a fresh start when you've shed that pile of tee-shirts from college, not to mention the futon that was actually improved that time the cat peed on it.
Start early so you can go through all your closets, your kitchen and even your furniture, choosing which to offer to friends, which to bring to charity, and which should just go to the curb. Some charitable organizations offer pickup service, so you can have them whisk it all away before you even start to pack for moving.
Tip #3: Make an essentials box.
We promise, this is a life-changing moving tip. While you're grabbing the standard cardboard moving boxes and packing tape, pick up a clear plastic bin or two to contain the things you'll need first thing when you're unpacking. We recommend a clear box for easy identification, and to keep it as a special last-in, first-out package.
What should you include? Need-'em-now essentials like: toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, hand soap or sanitizer, phone chargers, coffee (hello!), disposable cups and plates for the first couple of meals, toothbrushes and other personal-care items, a flashlight, power strips, and a couple standard screwdrivers. If you really want to make Future You happy, include a towel and shampoo so you can have a real shower after a long day of moving, without tearing through a million boxes in search of toiletries. Also: SNACKS, so no one gets hangry (all too common during a move).
Tip #4: Rethink the way you pack plates.
We used to always stack plates in boxes — wrapped in bubble roll and paper, of course — just like we did in the cupboards. Then we learned that turning them vertically, like records, keeps them more secure and puts way less pressure on the items on the bottom. We've seen the light. (We've also learned that popping bubble roll is still as much fun as it ever was.)
Here's how to pack plates: 1. Line a box with bubble roll. 2. Lay out a sheet of packing paper and place a plate on top. 3. Fold the paper over the plate in one direction, then the other. 4. Lay a foam sheet on top. 5. Stack another plate on top and repeat until you use up all the paper. 6. Place the stack on its side inside a box well-lined with bubble roll. 7. When your box is full (but not over-full), pour environmentally-friendly packing peanuts in to fill any cracks and prevent contents from knocking against each other. Wadded up packing paper also helps fill any gaps.
Tip #5: Meet your new best friend, plastic wrap.
Nothing used to annoy us more about moving than emptying drawers only to put their contents in (yet more) boxes. So we started swaddling those babies in plastic wrap; everything inside stays intact, and we don't have to fill another box. Bonus: removing the drawers also makes dressers much lighter to carry.
Plastic wrap also really comes in handy when you're packing up the kitchen and your toiletries: Remove the caps from bottles of oils and vinegars or shampoos and moisturizers, lay a square of plastic wrap over the bottle opening, and replace the caps. This will prevent any devastating (or just greasy) leaks.
Tip #6: Don't skip the moving blankets.
We've all tried to do bare-bones moves with just boxes, tape and crossed fingers, but it's just not worth it. One place where we'll never skimp again? Moving blankets for lining moving vehicles and protecting large pieces of furniture. They'll pay for themselves as soon as you clip the side of the coffee table on the door jamb (and trust us, you will).
Tip #7: Be organized – pack by room, and color-code your boxes
If possible, each box should only contain items from a single room, so once you unload the boxes in the appropriate area of your new home, you don't have to move them again till they're empty. Make it easy for anyone who is helping you unload the truck by color-coding the room labels – blue is for bedroom, yellow is for kitchen, etc.
Tip #8: Get thee to Staples.
Yes, we know, you don't need printer paper or Post-It notes. But did you know that Staples has everything you do need for the big move, from bubble roll and boxes to moving blankets and plastic wrap? We are big fans of their environmentally-responsible packing peanuts, which are made from corn starch and literally melt away when you're done, so your move doesn't contribute to the volumes of non-biodegradable styrofoam peanuts in our oceans and landfills. AND they're static-free.