6 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

posted: 06/15/16
by: Blythe Copeland

Whether you're moving across the street or across the country, the entire process of packing and unpacking can be more than a little stressful. Follow these six tips to make it as painless as staying put.

1. Start early

Young Couple Moving In To New Home Together

When you take a look at your current home, you might not see many belongings, and figure packing will be a breeze. But nothing makes you realize how well you've been taking advantage of your storage space like trying to pack everything you own at once. As soon as you know you're moving, start boxing up anything you don't use on a regular basis: Out of season clothes, paperbacks and magazines, all of your office files and hobby supplies, photo album, extra linens, specialty cookware and sporting equipment.

2. Be ruthless

Donation Box Of Clothes Isolated

By leaving yourself plenty of time to pack, you can also look more carefully at what exactly you are packing: Do you need those books you haven't read since high school, or the ski pants that don't fit, or the air mattress that never stays inflated? Will that dingy old chair earn a spot in your new living room, and will the flimsy desk you put together yourself survive another move?

Set aside items you're finished with so you can sell them or donate them before you leave -- and keep in mind that you're paying for a certain size truck, gas, and possibly movers to transport everything you move, so all those things you never use are raising the cost of your move.

3. Gather your supplies


You need boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Ask friends and family if they have any you can use from cases of beer, packs of diapers, or those frequent Amazon orders. You can also check local liquor stores and small businesses to see if they have empty boxes you can have for free.

Collect a variety of sizes (smaller ones for heavy books and carefully packed plates; larger ones for long-handled pans and bulky sheets or sweaters) and get more than you think you need. If you have extras, you can cut them apart to wrap wall frames or leave them for last-minute items you'll use the day you move, like cleaning supplies.

You'll also need to stock up on bubble wrap, packing paper, tape, and labels. It's often worth investing in several sets of supplies so you can keep one on each floor of your home (or in each room) and won't waste valuable packing time chasing down the tape dispenser.

4. Keep your boxes organized
Room empty and box

Organizing your packed boxes and their contents may be the most critical part of a successful move. At a minimum, label each box with the room where it belongs in your new house, and include which floor the room is on. Take it a step further by listing the contents of each box on the side, so you can prioritize what gets unpacked first (like your son's alarm clock before his yearbook).

Color coding is also helpful, whether that means using a different colored marker for each room or securing the boxes with different colored duct tape based on the contents. Etsy and Pinterest offer tons of printable labels and checklists, too, so you can keep track of where you put everything.

5. Hire help

Whether you're paying your Cross Fit-obsessed buddies with pizza and beer for a day of moving furniture, taking your mom out to lunch for the hours she spent wrapping up your fine china and glassware, or investing in a professional moving company, be willing to shell out for all the help you can get.

If full-service movers -- who pack your items into the boxes, put the boxes in the truck, drive to your new place, and empty the truck -- are out of the budget, look for companies that offer more limited services like loading or unloading help only. If you're going to take on all the packing yourself, consider hiring housecleaners at your old place to make sure you get the security deposit back, or at the new place to give it a thorough clean before you arrive.

Paying a neighborhood teen to cut the lawn or clean up the leaves at your new home, or a local handyman to patch picture holes or repaint the accent wall in your rental can also take a few last-minute chores off your to-do list without stretching the budget too far.

6. Plan for your arrival.

Shot of a young couple moving into their new homehttp://

Think of your first few days in your new home as a vacation, and pack so you can access your must-haves without going through the entire stack of boxes. Put toiletries and clean towels in a suitcase with a few days worth of clothes and your phone charger. Keep the router and modem with your laptop so you can access the internet as soon as possible. Pack rolls of paper towels, toilet paper, and trash bags in an easy-to-find spot. Corral paper plates, napkins, the coffeemaker, and a pair of mugs together so you can refuel. Make sure to include other kitchen basics: A few sets of silverware, plastic cups, your go-to knife and a cutting board, and to toast your successful move, don't forget the bottle opener.