Packing a house always sounds exciting to me (the thrill of moving to a new place, seeing the house empty out) but then I get started and I’m soon wondering if there are people out there who actually pack houses for a living and could they also unpack the boxes after we move? (Apparently, that IS a thing!)
Maybe it’s the timing. We always seem to move when I’m very pregnant or it’s the craziest week of our lives or some such nonsense. We just can’t seem to do anything normal. Maybe this post should be what NOT to do when moving?
This last move concreted in my mind the promise of never moving again. Ever. I guess it’s a good thing we were moving into our forever home.
It was probably our best move in the respect that we had a ton of help and I had started packing months earlier, but it was also the worst. My husband had just joined the SWAT team and was thrown into their yearly SWAT week (which ended up being two weeks due to their 20 year anniversary) and I was left doing the majority of the moving.
My poor husband would put in grueling training during the day then come home and help as much as he could until he was ready to drop from sheer exhaustion. We were given five days to move in but with the amount of work that needed doing before moving in, I went to bed with tears of frustration almost every night. But, looking back, our home was worth it all. It is our forever home and I thank God for it every single day.
I have compiled a list of helpful tips that made the moving process much easier and less stressful. Also, I’ll include a few things that we probably should have done differently. I hope they help!
1. Get rid of everything.
Oh wait, that’s what I WISH we had done. haha Seriously, though, I was mortified that our packing truck was filled three times. Granted, it wasn’t their largest truck but it was WAY more stuff than I ever dreamed. My house felt like a clown car; I couldn’t believe the number of things being unloaded from our home. The stuff just kept coming.
I never felt so materialistic in my life! And I thought I did a pretty good job of getting rid of things; I had actually been proud of myself! The only thing I could use to justify my hoarding was that we had been living in a starter home and I didn’t know what we would need in our new home, so I kept a lot.
Now that we are here and I have since adopted a more minimalistic attitude, there will be some serious purging. I only wish I had done it sooner so there wasn’t as much to move.
2. Gather boxes.
There is no need to pay for boxes if you can get them for free. I didn’t have much luck with getting any boxes at stores, however, I have some amazing friends who brought me boxes from their workplace whenever they came across any. They were lifesavers!
3. Pack early.
I know this cannot be done in every situation but the moment you know you are going to start looking for a home, start packing.
Not only is this awesome for showing a house (clutter is the enemy of selling a home) but it will give you a sense of accomplishment in the ever-growing list of things that need to be done when you are trying to move/sell a home.
The more you can pack beforehand, the fewer things will get broken or stuffed hurriedly into boxes.
4. Label everything.
You are not going to be the only person moving boxes (hopefully) and not everyone will know in what room your collection of porcelain dolls are supposed to be displayed. But, don’t just label what room the box belongs in, label the box with what is inside, also. (Unless they’re valuables!)
I can’t tell you how many times this helped me when searching for needed things since we could not unpack our boxes for nearly two months while our home was being remodeled. (That’s a story for another time.)
5. Plastic wrap everything.
This is the best packing tip I ever found! My husband thought I was crazy when I started buying rolls upon rolls of it before our move but it wasn’t long into our main packing day and he was asking for a roll.
Plastic Wrap is golden. You can use it to wrap your clothes, your silverware holder with silverware inside, anything, really. It keeps everything together so you aren’t losing things in the move.
6. Throw blankets, pillows, etc. in trash bags.
Using trash bags frees up precious boxes and acts as a buffer in the moving van when placed between breakable items/furniture.
7. Take photos of your cables, inside cabinets, etc.
Anything that works well in your home now should be photographed. You might be amazed how easily you forget the way you arranged things after you are in a new space.
8. Fill your furniture, suitcases, etc.
Especially if you are short on boxes, using what you have on hand not only frees up packing supplies but it makes use of wasted space. Just make sure you pack furniture with items that are light so you aren’t making it so hard on the movers trying to move an already heavy piece.
9. Use what you have.
Sheets, towels, plastic wrap; there are so many things in your home that you can use to pack valuables.
10. Designate a room/garage for storage.
For about six months we turned our garage into a storage unit. It was so nice to not have to live amongst boxes for several months. It also made it nice for when we had potential buyers do a walk-through as every room was nearly empty and they didn’t need to imagine away a stack of boxes.
11. Set aside breakables.
Anything that I was worried might get broken in the move was packed into my van. This took a lot of stress off not only myself but my friends who were afraid of damaging something special to me.
Valuables also went into the van with me.
12. Use moving straps.
These moving straps were a lifesaver!
Not only did they allow me to help my husband lift things I wouldn’t normally be able to lift but they saved his back, as well.
13. Buy totes.
If you can, buy up some totes. They make packing so much easier and are great for storing things after your move.
14. Plan meals.
Meals are the last thing you want to think about when you are exhausted from packing/moving. If you can come up with some easy meals to plan ahead of time, ones you can just pop in the oven or put in a crock pot, they will save you time and money.
When we moved into our starter home, I had just delivered Dixie. Literally. The sellers were at the bank waiting to sign the house over to us while I was in labor at the hospital. We moved in that next week.
Meanwhile, my girlfriend arranged meals for TWO WEEKS for our family. That beautiful soul gave me the best gift ever!
15. Set aside essentials.
Along with our fragile items, I also set aside things we would need right away when we moved. I didn’t want to have to dig anything out and it was so nice to have everything handy.
On this thought, before you move in, choose one room and set it up right away. My husband suggested this and it was wonderful to have one room completely unpacked before the hoard of boxes and mayhem took over the rest of the house. Plus, it was nice to escape to this room whenever I felt overwhelmed.
16. Use laundry baskets to transfer detergents/cleaning supplies, etc.
The last thing I wanted to deal with was spilled anything. Granted, you can use plastic wrap to secure liquids but I felt it was easier not to pack these things in boxes. I loaded the laundry baskets and put them in my van then straight into the new cabinets they belonged in. Easy peasy.
Of course, if you are moving long distance, you may still need to pack them in boxes.
17. Bag loose nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
When you are taking apart beds or anything of the sort, the last thing you want to do is lose the essential parts.
Trust me, a sweet friend took something apart and placed the screws somewhere safe because I wasn’t home to add them to my collection. However, that somewhere safe was never found and we ended up having to go buy new ones.
Which isn’t a huge deal, just extra work.
18. Keep a bin for your cords, remotes, etc.
Nothing is worse than trying to find something small in a sea of boxes. We still can’t find the remote to our Blu-Ray player that doesn’t work without one. We moved over a year ago.
Make sure everything is labeled, too. Another option is taping the cords/remotes to their devices.
19. Wrap up jewelry.
I have a jewelry stand that I thought would do fine if I just wrapped the entire thing in plastic wrap. It did keep the doors intact, however, my jewelry inside was a disaster. I wish I would have taken the time to wrap them better.
You can bag them individually, use plastic wrap or just lay them out on a towel and roll it up.
20. Pack things equally.
If you pack your boxes too heavy the weight can cause damage to other boxes or tear open. It will also be a burden when it comes time to move those boxes.
What are some tips you found to be invaluable? Share them with us in the comments!