7 Helpful Tips for Moving Everything You Own Without Losing Your Mind

published Jan 27, 2015
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Moving is maddening. Not only is it painful physically, it’s a mental exercise in mindfulness trying to keep everything organized as you completely uproot your whole life. If home is the peaceful place you can retreat to when the world gets hard, having to dismantle it can leave you free-floating in a sea of stress. There’s really only one way through a move (do it) but these eight tips might help you from losing your mind in the process.

1. Make a huge, written down master plan

Like, seriously write it down. This will be your moving-out bible, and it will have lists of everything you need to do, need to move, need to clean and when it all needs to be done. Basic questions you’re going to want to have answers to as soon as possible are: When do I have to be out officially? What can I live without (and get rid of before I move)? What other errands have to be slayed before the move is over with (getting boxes, canceling utilities, setting Internet up in the new place, renting a storage unit etc.)? Repairs that need to be made (or apartments that need to be cleaned) before I hand in/over the keys? Make a list of what order the things in your home need to be packed (start with stuff you can totally live without and make sure you have a list of stuff you need to set aside because you need it everyday). Sit down on a quiet day and go over everything, and add to when you need. Don’t skip this part. Don’t think that you’ve moved a lot and can wing it. It might seem like a lot of overkill, but this list could save your mind!

2. Give away, sell or throw away as many things as you’re comfortable doing

You knew it was coming. The silver lining of a move is stumbling on things that have been tucked in the back of a closet for ages (that you forgot you have and probably don’t need) and then getting the opportunity to never move it again. So look through your furniture, clothes, kitchen supplies. Give stuff away to friends or sell the good stuff. Don’t part with things you love and want to use in the new place, but consider saying goodbye to the items that only elicit a “meh” response from you so you make room for more fun in the next place.

  • 4 Reasons Why Moving is Actually Pretty Awesome

3. Tackle as many errands as possible in a one-day errand-slaying fest

Get a good night’s sleep the night before, watch a lot of kitten Youtube videos to put yourself in a great mood and then tackle as many of your errands as possible on the “things that have to happen before I move list.” That might be setting up cancellation dates for your current utilities and appointments to set up things like Internet in the new place. It could be grabbing enough moving boxes and bubble wrap. Renting the storage unit. It could be setting up mail forwarding. Returning library books. These are all the little errands that always crop up when you move that don’t involve packing. Refer to your master list to the list of errands you’ve got to tackle. Why all in one day? Just to get this stuff over with and make sure you don’t forget any of it.

4. Know where your stuff is going

Get access to your next space as soon as possible, if possible, whether that’s the new apartment you’re moving into or the storage unit your storing your stuff in for while. But that also means knowing where your stuff is going…in the actual new place. One of the secrets to making the other side (the moving in part) of a move less stressful is knowing where the stuff is going once it leaves your current front door. So whether that’s space planning the storage unit you’ll be using by the inch for the tightest, most efficient fit or space planning your new home, having a plan — even sketched out, if you’re artistically inclined — will make the transition from box to cabinet a lot easier and help the folks who are helping you know where to put things without constantly asking all moving day long: “where does this go?”

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

5. Use the right moving supplies

No, dumping your clothes in your car’s trunk isn’t really the best idea, nor is stuffing a bunch of glasses in a box and hoping that one sheet of newspaper will keep them safe. Avoid as many breakages upon arrival at your new location as possible by splurging on bubble wrap, sturdy boxes and more. Take to social media to find moving supplies from someone else’s recent move. Use a lot of plastic boxes if you’ll be storing stuff for awhile to protect from moisture and pests. Consider renting sturdy plastic boxes that you give back when you’re done moving to avoid your over-packed boxes breaking on the flight up the stairs.

6. Ask for help (but be a good help-asker)

Asking for help when moving is a perfectly acceptable way to make moving way less horrible. But make it easier on both yourself and those volunteering their time and biceps by having a good plan in place (see tip #1). If a friend has volunteered a truck and their time, don’t waste either of yours by not being packed and ready to go upon their arrival.

7. Leave one space intact — or seek out a recharging spot

This might be a strange tip — and one that some might disagree with, but it’s kept me sane many moves in the past. And that’s leaving one spot in your home as intact as possible up until the very last minute. This spot of peace and familiarity (for me it’s usually my bed + nightstand combo) helps center you and gives you a place to recharge during all this stress. If that’s not possible, try visiting a favorite coffee shop, bookstore or park that can be your place to retreat to when you need a break from the moving boxes.

What would you add to this list?