Top 8 Tips for Moving to a New Home
Congratulations! You’re moving! Maybe you’re moving across the street, maybe you’re moving across the country, maybe you're even moving to a new country. No matter how far you’re moving, there is SO much that needs to be done. Moving is a lot of work and it's also an emotional life milestone. I know it can feel extremely overwhelming, but it's very exciting!
I have a secret that will help moving go more swiftly and smoothly for you: front load the work. The more time and thought you put into the move prior to its happening, the less time you’ll spend on the move overall. Trust me on this. If there’s anything I know best, it’s how to save time on overwhelming tasks…like moving.
How can you best front load this work? I’m sharing eight tips for you to improve the efficiency of your move!
Top 8 Tips for Moving to a New Home
1. Write down a plan
You signed the papers and you’re officially moving! Yay! After the confetti clears and the exhilaration abates, you might find yourself left with a whole pile of worry. You might worry that you won’t get your house packed up in time, or worry over what secret (and expensive) issues you’ll discover in the new house. But, let me tell you something: leave this worry at the threshold. Because those are things you can’t control, and probably won’t happen. What you can control is planning out an orderly, streamlined move designed to reduce as much stress as possible.
The first thing you’ll want to do is write down a plan for the move. Write down when you'll accomplish each task, and how much time you estimate it will take each day.
Ideally, you can spread out the work over a few months. But if you’re moving in a week or less, you will still benefit from writing everything down. If you need some extra support, use the printable I created to guide your planning.
The printable is a short checklist of what follows here and can be super helpful to check off as you go . There’s space for you to add other tasks specific to your move, so it can be customized to your needs. There are actually some super comprehensive moving printables out there but every one I looked at felt too overwhelming, even for me! So I wanted to put one together for you that included all of the essentials and none of the rest.
2. Purchase or find moving materials
Get your moving boxes as early as you can. Be sure to obtain sturdy boxes and high quality tape. You may ask friends or neighbors if you can borrow some, you may purchase some, you may go on a listserv to request boxes, or all of the above. No matter which route(s) you take, start that now. You’ll save time and angst if you already have boxes once you’re ready to pack.
If you can use garment boxes for your clothes, like this one from Home Depot, that will save you tons of time. If not, you can always use trash bags and cut a hole in the bottom and stick the hangers through the hole to protect the clothing. This way, you don’t need to box them up, unbox them, iron them, and hang them again.
Also, keep in mind that it may rain or snow on your big moving day. If it does, what do you need to have on hand to protect your stuff and yourself? Plastic wrap or umbrellas? Is there a covered area where you could do most of the packing of the truck? Think through some of these logistics in advance so you won’t be flustered if it rains.
3. Get rid of as much stuff as you can
When moving, I hear from a lot of clients that they plan to purge after they move, thinking that the space will dictate how much they keep. But there is a better way to go about this! Don’t base whether or not to move something on the space of your new home. Decide whether you need or like that item in the first place. If you do, keep it and make the space for it. If you don’t, toss or donate it, even if it would fit in the new home. You might be moving into your dream home. Does your dream home feel cluttered and messy? I’m guessing it doesn’t. So why bring clutter into it? Take the time now to purge anything and everything you don’t use, need, want or love.
4. Do just a BIT more purging*
I know that this is just a repeat section. I swear it’s not just lazy writing. I really can’t emphasize enough how happy you’ll be if you get rid of everything you don’t need or love before you move. Take out some trash bags, go room-by-room and get rid of the extra stuff. Keep these purging tips in mind as you go:
- The money is already spent. If you don’t use the item, it’s taking up valuable space and time from you. Get rid of it.
- The gift was in the giving. If someone gifted you something you don’t want or need, don’t keep it out of guilt. That guilt weighs you down. Purge it and remember that the person who gave you that gift wouldn’t want you to feel only guilt whenever you see it.
- You won’t regret getting rid of it. The lightness you’ll feel by having a home with ONLY the items you truly love and use will far outweigh any small regrets you may have over something you might have wished you had kept.
- If everything is precious, then nothing is precious. Keep only the sentimental items that are TRULY special to you.
*Purging before you pack is best, but if you simply don’t have the time for that you can purge as you go.
5. Pack and Label
If it’s incredibly hard for you to move things out of their spot and into a box, I’m with you. I hate packing, even for small trips. I especially hate packing up my entire house. But, sometimes, we just have to get stuff done. Even stuff we hate doing, right? So, here we go.
Start with the items that you won’t need over the next few months or weeks as you’re packing. It’s easiest to go room by room. And, pack based on where in your NEW home you’d like things to go. Label everything with what’s inside and which room it should go to.
Or, you could even take pictures of what's in the boxes so you can have a visual reminder. A tip one of the amazing women in the Grid + Glam Membership shared is to label the boxes with numbers instead of room names. Movers don’t know which room is “Megan’s Room” so if you give each room a number and then tape a piece of paper to the door of each room with that number, they’ll be much more likely to put things where they belong.
As you’re packing, keep these tips in mind:
- Put heavy stuff at the bottom of the box
- Bundle breakables and label those boxes clearly
- Use pillows and blankets to protect valuables and breakables
- Don't overload the boxes
- Put really heavy stuff in smaller boxes
Next, as the day gets closer, pack up those items that you do use regularly. Set aside enough clothes, toiletries, towels, toilet paper, all-purpose cleaner, hand soap, and trash bags that you’ll need to use on day one in your new home. In case anything gets lost in transit, you don’t want to be without these things!
In this same “necessities” tote, include clean sheets for each of the beds so you can make the beds on day one. Make sure the shower curtain and towels are easily available, too
6. Moving Day
Before the movers get there, place those pieces of paper (with each room’s number on it) on the appropriate doors of your new home.
In the truck, consider this: Put those items that you use the least in the front of the moving truck - first in, last out. Those items that you use regularly can go last, where they are more easily accessible.
Keep in mind that it may rain or snow on your big day. That’s ok! You don’t care because you’ve planned ahead, right? Be sure you’ve got enough plastic wrap, tarps, umbrellas, etc. to keep your items from getting so wet that they suffer long-term.
Use the printable as the place to list the items you need to keep with you during moving day. For example, you should have cash for the movers, your tote of necessities, the list of the room numbers you’ve assigned each room, and extra paper, markers, scissors, tape...just in case. Perhaps you want to offer to feed the movers. Put together a plan for that, too.
7. Unpacking in the new home
Unpacking is so hard because you just want to get settled in. I get it! It’s so tempting to just throw the items in any closet or drawer and set up systems “later.” So many of my clients, even those who have lived in their home for eight or 10 years, say, “When I moved in here, I just put things anywhere because I intended on setting up a system and I just never did it.” I hear this over and over again!
To them (and you) I say: Take your time unpacking!
If you didn’t purge while you were packing, do that now. Don’t put something into your new home that you don’t love. As you unpack, make a purge pile and a donate pile. Then, with everything you’re going to keep, create the systems as you go. Think about how you want to live in the new house and put things in place to assist you in that goal. This way, you'll only need to reset periodically to maintain your home forever. Check out this blog post entitled "My Secret to for Staying Organized." (Pssst, it's all about resetting!)
8. Invest in good quality bins, shelves and other organizing materials.
Whether this is a starter home or your forever home, adopt the attitude that you’ll set up your home to function as well as it possibly can. That might require investing in some bins, baskets and shelving units. The Container Store has a great selection. There are always budget-friendly options out there. Labeled bins and baskets will make all the difference in helping you maintain an orderly home.
Moving is a roller coaster of emotions and at some point you’ll reach a fatigue point in setting up your new home. When that happens, take a break from it. The biggest gift you can give yourself is taking your time to set up systems that will allow your home and life to function optimally. And that, my friend, takes time. So don’t rush it and just know that it will all be worth it.
The final word of advice I have is ... you’ve got this! It’s definitely a process but if you approach it thoughtfully and front load as much work as you can, you’ll feel confident and proud of the successful move you just orchestrated.
Good luck with your move!
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