The 117 Best Moving Tips of All Time

updated Jun 28, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but moving stresses me out. I’ve already done it twice this year! I’ve learned a few lessons by doing things the wrong way—and now you can learn from my mistakes. Here’s an exhaustive list of tips to make sure your move is stress-free, less tiring, and actually sort of enjoyable(?):

Things To Do Before You Even Find an Apartment

1. Know your lease is up later this year? Pick your move-in date a few months in advance. That’ll give you ample time to plan everything without getting overwhelmed (and make sure you don’t over-schedule yourself the few weeks before when you need to pack),

2. Moving in the summer? Try to avoid it, if you can. It’s the busiest, costliest, and most competitive time to move (not to mention the sweatiest!). Reach out to your landlord to see if you can move out sooner or extend your lease by a couple of months. Not only will you save money on moving costs, you might even end up getting a better deal on an apartment — and maybe even a sweeter setup.

3. Reach out to at least three different moving companies for quotes. I recommend asking a mix of flat-rate and hourly movers to see what ends up being the best value option for you.

4. When you figure out the best quote price, book your movers (even months in advance, if you’d like). Not only will you get the best dates, you might even save some money.

5. Make sure you read the moving company’s fine print before you sign.

6. Planning a DIY move instead? Book your truck ASAP.

7. Also pick up a hand cart.

8. Ask for days off work if needed.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

9. Survey friends and family to see if anyone will be around to help out (what nice friends you have!).

10. Start decluttering ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute and chuck everything in random boxes like I’ve done.

11. Set a moving budget and stick to it.

12. Ask the property management companies you’re working with what credit information they pull.

13. Check your credit (and know which credit servicer/bureau it’s from).

14. Make a pet resume.

15. Ask your current landlord what their expectations are for you, cleaning-wise.

16. Ask your current landlord what their process is for moving out and giving your keys back.

Things To Do Once You’ve Signed a Lease (About a Month Before Moving Day)

17. Buy a measuring tape. Otherwise you’re in for some unfortunate furniture-sizing mishaps.

18. Measure everything in your new place, and don’t forget your doorways.

19. Measure all the furniture in your old place.

20. Make a floor plan for your new place and plan out where everything should go.

21. Figure out which pieces of your furniture will fit in your new place.

Credit: Shutterstock

22. Decide what additional furniture/storage you’ll have to buy: Prioritize your necessities for move-in day, what you can buy down the line, and what are just “nice to haves.”

23. Start researching any new furniture you’ll need and how much it’ll cost. Factor this into the budget you made.

24. Set price change alerts for any big-ticket items you’re eyeing.

25. Sign up for retailer coupons and email lists.

26. Ask furniture retailers if they’ll offer promotional financing during your move-in dates.

27. Book a car/truck rental one to two months after you’ve moved in for a thrifting/flea market trip.

28. Calculate out how many boxes you’ll need.

29. Buy boxes, rent them, or start scavenging them. Asking around on social media can help. You might be surprised when a friend from high school turns out to be a manager at a liquor store with loads of boxes.

30. Ask your landlord or property management company what needs to be set up/installed prior to move in, and if they have any preferred vendors.

31. Call to schedule internet installation.

32. Call to schedule TV installation.

33. Call to set up electric and gas.

34. Take pictures of everything in the apartment and make note of any imperfections.

35. Test the stove and water to make sure they’re operational.

Credit: Shutterstock

36. Ask your landlord if they’re planning on painting the unit, and, if yes, if you can pick the color.

37. Set up a date for a service like TaskRabbit, Handy, or Thumbtack to come and help assemble furniture and hang things on the wall. (It’ll end up being way cheaper than you buying a drill and doing it yourself.)

38. Hire a pet sitter for moving day.

39. Create a moving plan for your pets.

40. Order a food kit delivery for the first week of move-in so you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store.

41. Survey the local grocery stores (and pick your favorite!).

42. Call your new landlord and see if there’s any parking information or requirements for grabbing the keys and moving in.

43. Forward your mail. (I’m still getting AARP letters from the tenant before me. Damnit, Lisa. You had one job.)

44. Change your address for the places that matter (such as credit cards and banks).

45. Register to vote with your new address.

Declutter For Real (Up to Two Months Before Moving Day)

46. Put your ill-fitting or unwanted furniture up for sale on a site like Craigslist, Apartment Therapy Bazaar, or Facebook Marketplace.

47. Schedule pick-up for anything you want to donate instead (or for anything that doesn’t sell and you don’t want to move).

48. Don’t have enough room for things, but don’t want to get rid of them? Research getting a storage unit.

49. Invite your friends over for a wine and “shop my shit” night.

50. Sort through your emotional clutter and ephemera. Preserve the best memories in a space-saving way — discard or donate everything else.

51. Sort through your closet and pick out clothes you don’t wear anymore. Donate, sell, or give these away.

Credit: Shutterstock

52. Look through your kitchen. Don’t know what that weird, springy doohicky is for? You probably haven’t used it. It doesn’t need to come with you. Bye!

53. Get rid of nasty things, like shower liners, that can bring germs into your new space.

54. Create digital copies of old needed documents, like tax returns. Upload them to the cloud and back them up on a hard drive.

55. Shred every piece of paper you don’t need anymore.

56. Meal plan around what you have in your fridge, pantry, and freezer so you can use it all up before you move.

57. Clear out your pantry so you’re not carting expired or unwanted food with you to your new place. Those spices from 2008 are donezo.

58. Donate any unwanted non-perishables to a food bank or kitchen.

60. Donate mismatched plates and cups that you don’t need.

61. Cut down on your office supplies. No need to hoard pens. (See if you can donate them to a local school or career center).

62. Donate books you didn’t like or don’t plan on reading.

Credit: Shutterstock

63. Finally give permission to toss or donate those gifts you kept out of guilt.

64. Get rid of gross, old towels.

66. Nix all the souvenir shot glasses, commemorative cups, and other kitchenware that just takes up space.

67. All those weird, mismatched wires and plugs? Gone.

68. Compile your donation receipts for tax season.

Time to Pack! (Up to a Month Before Moving Day)

69. Pick up some packing tape. You can never have too much packing tape. (Unless you have to buy another box to take your packing tape. Then you probably went overboard.)

70. Instead of packing away your baskets and bins, use them as additional boxes and totes for moving.

71. Take a trip to IKEA! They have something called “picking with delivery,” which will eliminate all the grunt work. (You also should pick up these 10 items while you’re there.)

73. Drape clothes into boxes while still on the hanger. Lift out and hang in your new closet.

74. Don’t buy bubble wrap. Use every soft item in your apartment, like washcloths, towels, pillows, and blankets, instead. Socks make great protectors for stemware!

75. Use Glad Press ‘n Seal to keep stuff in drawers in place (and also jewelry knot-free).

76. Pack plates vertically. You’ll get more in a box!

Credit: Shutterstock

77. If you do buy cardboard boxes, flatten them and keep them in storage. Next time you need to move, you can bust them out again.

78. Store little things like extra screws in sandwich bags.

79. Saran wrap your toiletries so they don’t make a mess.

80. Use luggage to tote heavy stuff. My suitcase saved my life when I moved with hundreds of books.

81. Pack heavy stuff in smaller boxes—they’re easier to lift.

82. Pack necessities in clear bins so you can find them easily.

83. Take a picture of wires and plugs to remember more complicated setups.

84. Pack a suitcase or weekender like you’re going on vacation so there’s not a rush to unpack and find everything you need.

85. Put together a cleaning necessity kit, too. (And don’t pack it!)

86. LABEL EVERY BOX. Color-coding is your new best friend. Number your boxes, too.

87. Make an inventory/key so you don’t forget/lose track of anything.

88. Invest in some furniture sliders.

The Day Before Moving

89. Pack some water and snacks in a bag or backpack, especially if the move is a long haul.

90. Pick up some cash to tip your movers.

91. Get your new keys duplicated.

92. Call your moving company and ask what is the best way to get in touch with management if there’s an issue with the moving team day-of.

93. Take pictures of your big furniture pieces and valuables, in case they’re damaged during moving.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

94. If renting a truck or car, confirm your reservation.

95. Lay out your moving clothes and necessities.

96. Spackle (or use bar soap to fill small wall holes.)

97. Make sure everything’s swept and up to the standards of your landlord.

98. Go to bed early!!!

99. Get a door stopper/brick/other heavy thing to hold doors open.

100. Research where you’ll order take out from the next day (Treat yourself! Do not cook! Pizza on the floor is a good move.)

On Moving Day

101. After everything’s out of the apartment, take pictures of your old place (in case your landlord tries to fight you for your deposit).

102. Double-check all rooms, closets, and drawers before you leave.

103. Stop and pick up a Gatorade or other cold drink before arriving at your new place. You’re gonna need it.

104. As soon as you enter your new place, wipe down all surfaces and door knobs before you open any box.

105. Sweep or vacuum, too.

107. Give the toilet a scrub down.

108. If they’re with you, unpack pet stuff first and make sure they have a safe place to hang out where they won’t be underfoot. (And make sure they’re somewhere away from outside-leading doors that are opening and closing so they don’t escape!)

109. Set up a door-stopper so you don’t have to keep opening and closing doors.

110. Place boxes and furniture in the rooms where they belong so you don’t have to move them around later.

111. Pick one spot to pile up boxes that you know you can unpack in a few days, like office supplies and other odds and ends.

112. Don’t forget to eat snacks during the move-in process. Being hangry while moving is a dangerous zone to be in.

113. Take pictures of your valuables for insurance purposes.

114. Tip your movers if hired some.

115. Order a pizza to eat on the floor. It’s Moving Day tradition.

116. Make your bed so you can fall asleep as soon as possible.

117. Fall asleep as soon as possible.

Already moved in and just not feeling like your place is quite where you want it to be yet? Be gentle with yourself—here’s why you should totally not stress out if your place isn’t “perfect” right now.