Our team of organizers and senior move managers use these tips every time we pack and plan moves for our clients. They keep us and our clients organized and in control. Moving to a new home will always be stressful but it doesn’t have to be chaotic.
1. Pack an “Open First” box
Make a list of the items you use everyday or can’t be without and pack those items together. Typically this ends up being things like the coffee maker, a few coffee mugs, bathroom necessities like shampoo/conditioner and soap, bed linens, pillows, medications, tooth brushes, pet food, your checkbook, etc. Make copies of keys so you can pack a set. Pack this box and label it “Open First.” Make sure your movers know it should be the last box placed on their truck so it’s the first box off.
2. Pack boxes according to where items will live in your new home
For example, you may store books in your living room now, but in your new home you will have an office with lots of shelves. Pack your books and label the box “Office.” Give each room in your new home a color. Place the same color label on the box and door of your new home office so your movers know where each box belongs.
3. Tell your movers NOT to put boxes in closets
Movers will unload boxes where ever there is space. Tell your movers NOT to put boxes in closets in your new home. Closets are the first place things go when unpacking. You won’t want to move all the boxes in order to start unpacking.
4. Tell your movers NOT to pile boxes in the middle of each room.
You will inevitably need that one box that is in the middle of the pile and can’t be reached until other boxes have been moved. Ask your movers to unload boxes in aisles one box deep. That way you can get to any box without to much hassle.
5. Ask for trash removal
When you are done unpacking boxes you will be left with tons of paper and empty boxes. Ask your mover when you first meet for an estimate if they come back and take the trash. They may charge a fee but it is a headache you won’t want to deal with after unpacking all day!
6. If items will go to storage, inventory them.
Chances are you won’t remember half of what you stored. Photograph each item or group of items and keep the photos on your device, in the cloud or on a flash drive. You can even get super fancy and use an inventory app like Sortly. It will create a report of all your items, photos and descriptions. You can keep dimensions of large furniture pieces or art work. Or note who will end up getting it if you plan to give it away.
7. Measure twice, move once
The more you plan your new space the better off you’ll be. Start with large furniture and measure each piece. Use tape or cardboard to visualize how your new space will look. If time allows measure smaller tables and chairs and find a home for them. Tell your movers exactly where each item will go by using pictures, color labels or simply directing them when they enter your new home.
8. Don’t forget technology
Schedule service providers right away. If you accomplish tip number 7 your technology needs become much more clear. You know where your cable hook up needs to be, where the wireless router will live and possibly where your charging station(s) may end up. Don’t get stuck without Wifi or TV!
9. Know your charities
Some charities don’t take mattresses, some don’t pick up large furniture items, some require appointments to pick up items. The sooner you know what you no longer want or need the less you’ll pay your movers to move things needlessly. Call charities right away in your area and find out what they do and don’t do.
10. Clean the day before move day
Empty all trash bins. Do all your dishes. Wash all your laundry or at least separate dirty from clean in laundry bags. Movers will pack things as is. So if you leave trash in the trash bin it will end up getting packed and moved.