There are very few things in life as stressful as moving. First, you have to find an apartment or house, apply for it, then sign the lease—and that’s the easy part. The moving process can be so daunting, especially if it's your first apartment. Once you find and book movers, the stress begins.
You need to figure out exactly what you need in terms of packing supplies, make a moving-in checklist, then pack everything up in boxes, physically move all of your stuff, put it away at your new place as well as organize it. For many people, the process can take weeks if not months. It’s exhausting.
However, there are some easy ways to eliminate some of these difficulties to streamline your move and avoid common moving mistakes. Here are 13 tips to make sure your next move is more productive, easier, and most importantly, less stressful.
1. DECLUTTER FIRST
It’s a bad idea (and more expensive) to move a bunch of things you don’t need, so professional organizers, Briana and Erica Spruille and founders of Just BE LLC , suggest decluttering before you move into your new home. “Do not bring anything that you do not want or use into your new space," says Spruille.
"If your space is cluttered now or if you have unused items you can't find a place for now, the last thing you want to do is transfer that clutter to another place. You are then essentially bringing that energy into your new home.”
2. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLIES
There’s nothing as aggravating as having to go out and buy another box or two or some extra packing tape when you’re in a time crunch. When it comes to moving supplies, it’s better to buy too much than too little. Remember to keep your receipt because you can always return anything you don’t end up using.
3. GET HEAVY-DUTY MOVING BOXES
A broken moving box can be a disaster. Adam Lowy, founder of Move For Hunger, recommends hauling heavier items in heavy-duty boxes. “The typical brown moving box is not a bad place to start," says Lowy.
"Make sure to upgrade to the ‘heavy duty’ for things like books and other heavy items or valuables. It’s better to pack heavy things like books in multiple, smaller boxes so they’re more easily movable instead of one larger, extremely, heavy box.”
4. PACK BY ROOM
If you want to stay organized when you move, don’t mix your kitchen dish towels with your bathroom towels. Pack every room separately.
“You will also have the opportunity to fully assess your needs and ensure that you only purchase missing inventory/pieces,” Spruille explains.
5. LABEL EVERY BOX
Labeling your boxes is important for keeping track of all your items. It will also help movers know where to place everything once they get to your new space. “Every box, bag, and or bin should be labeled," says Spruille.
"This should include, obviously, the name of the room to which things belong and extend to include an itemized list of contents within each container. Everything from packing tape with individual room names to scannable labels that can include full box inventory can be found online.”
6. COLOR CODE EACH BOX
If you have lots of boxes, it’s a smart idea to color-code the labels. For example, make the bedroom black, the kitchen blue, and the bathroom red. This will also make it easier for movers to sort the boxes when they arrive and need to unpack.
7. DON’T FORGET TO PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES
From lamps to collectibles, we all have breakable things. “The worst thing to happen is moving into your brand new home, opening your box with all your precious valuables, and finding them all broken,” says Lowy.
“The simplest thing to do is wrap your breakables in newspaper or bubble wrap to keep them from shattering in the back of your moving truck.”
8. ASSESS YOUR NEW SPACE
Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer, and founder of Shantaeize Your Space suggests taking it all in before you get started. “If you have the opportunity to do a walk-through of your new home, take full advantage," says Duckworth.
"Take pictures and videos of every room and closet space. This is also a great time to take measurements of closet space that way you can get the appropriate materials needed to maximize the areas for potential.” Another great time to grab pics and look at the space you'll be living in is during the apartment tour. You can take measurements then, too!
9. PLAN NEW SPACE BEFORE YOUR MOVE IN
Making advance plans for storage and furniture arrangement can save you time in the long run. “Bring sticky notes with you so that you can write out designated spots, take pictures of them and then use those pictures as a reference when you move in," says Duckworth.
"For example, in the linen closet, you know that one shelf will be for your towels and the other shelf would be for toilet paper and maybe another shelf will be used for cleaning supplies. It will make the process of moving in that much easier.”
10. START PACKING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
Most of us are guilty of underestimating how long it will take to pack. So, it’s rarely too early to get a handle on things. "We all have more stuff than we think we do and we think that we can get packed up in a week and that is not the case," Duckworth tells me.
"A lot of my clients that I work with or at the end of the transitional period and there’s usually a couple of boxes of things that they just threw together in a box because they needed to move quickly.”
11. CONSIDER RE-USABLE MOVING BOXES
Hate breaking down boxes? Want to make your move more eco-friendly? According to Duckworth, there are moving companies that can provide reusable boxes.
“There are also great companies out there that have reusable moving boxes that you can rent and they will drop off and pick up from your new location. Definitely do your research and look into eco-friendly ways to move your belongings,” Says Duckworth.
12. DON’T DO IT ALONE
Moving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Duckworth recommends hiring help whether it’s professional movers, a professional organizer, or even a junk hauling company to get rid of your old things.”This will save you so much time and stress in regards to the process of moving," Duckworth says.
"Working with a moving company is also great because they will take care of all the heavy lifting and be able to get all of your items to and from your new location in a timely manner.” If these services aren’t in your budget, you can always ask a friend or two to come over and help.
13. READ THE REVIEWS
You don’t want to accidentally hire someone who could steal, break or misplace your personal items. So before you agree to work with a moving company, check out reviews on Google or Yelp first. It’s also a good idea to compare multiple contractors to get a sense of what these things cost in your local area.