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30 Moving Tips and Tricks for a Stress-Free Move

Male stylized icon on blue background next to a blue house and blue moving box

No matter how many lists you write, articles you Google, and things you plan, moving house will always be stressful. However, by implementing the moving tips and tricks found below, you can make the entire process that much easier. Whether it’s smarter ways to pack, a better way of labelling boxes, or even just how to best unpack in your new home, read below for ways to organise your move that you might not have thought about.


Before you move: Organising and planning tips

Once you’ve decided you’re moving, and you have your moving timeframe more or less figured out, taking the time to plan everything before you even start packing will help make the entire process as easy as possible.

Budget and plan before you pack

Before you even start packing, first create a budget, timeline, and checklist of everything that needs to be done during the time you have before you move. Create a realistic moving budget and get quotes from multiple removalists, truck rentals, storage pods, or whatever you will need to make your move as easy and wallet-friendly as possible. Make sure this includes what you plan to eat the first night in your house if you’re too tired to cook, anything that you might need to replace on your first night (toothbrush you tossed instead of packed, new shampoo, etc), and other smaller expenses.

It’s also helpful to create a checklist and timeline of what needs to be done before and during the move. Depending on how long you have, this timeline might be different than others, but should include getting organized, decluttering your home, packing, the day-of your move, and unpacking. If you’re really feeling organised, create a Google Drive folder with all your moving information. Put everything from your budgets and quotes, to new home information, to packing lists and timeline in there so you can easily access it all in one place from any device and share with whoever might need it.

Research reputable removalists

Start looking around for removalists early to get at least three quotes, and ask friends and family for referrals. If you have a strict budget, and can manage it, consider looking for quotes for an off-peak moving day. This might include a weekday move, or a move at an odd time of day. Off-peak moves are generally more economic than a weekend, afternoon, move.

If you live in a larger house, consider an in-person quote. Removalists generally charge by the hour and often give you a more accurate quote if they see what they’re actually working with.

Notify your friends and family early

If you’re not going the removalist route, make sure to give your friends and family early notice. Create an event online and send an email with all the information they’ll need to help. Include:

  • Date and time you will need their help and address of your current home
  • Address of your new home
  • What they should bring (a drill, tools, etc)
  • Whether you’ll need big cars or if you’ve rented a truck
  • Food and water will be provided

Organize your move with your utilities

Make sure to let your energy retailer, internet provider, TV provider, and whatever else you might need, know that you’re moving as soon as possible. While some internet and energy providers can organize a rush relocation, either day-of or day-before, many others need at least a week or two. Whether you want to switch your energy provider and compare internet providers, or keep their service in your new home, it’s best to let them know sooner rather than later so you’re not stuck without the lights or wifi on your first night.

Packing tips for moving

Packing is, arguably, the worst part of moving. However, with a little organising and some forethought, you can make sure you’re all packed and ready to go without too much stress or hassle.

Pack the nonessentials early

Sure, your walls might look bare for a few weeks but packing up as much as you can, as early as you can, will make the final weeks before you move that much easier. Decorations, seasonal clothes, the nice dishes you only use for holidays, and most books are probably things you won’t need in the month before you move. Pack them up early, and throw out, sell, or donate, things you no longer need.

Pack an overnight bag

Keep your most essential and personal items on you, in an overnight bag, when moving. These most essential items might include your toiletries such as toothbrush and toothpaste, a spare change of clothes, important documents such as passports or bank information, phone chargers, medication, or whatever else you’ll want unpacked the minute you get to your new home, or would be a major inconvenience to lose during the move. Keep this overnight bag open and waiting for you by the door until you’re ready to leave your old house, so you can toss anything else you might need in there on your move-out day.

Don’t skimp on boxes

Make sure your boxes are structurally sound before you start packing. While it might be tempting to get all your boxes second-hand from friends, family, or the local grocery store or liquor shop, buying a few brand-new boxes for heavier, fragile, or more important things can mean the difference between your fine chinaware ending up in your new cupboards or ending up shattered on the sidewalk. And make sure not to overpack boxes! Smaller, heavier, items should be spread out among multiple smaller boxes to avoid packing too heavy, while things like sheets and pillows can be stuffed into the big boxes.

Label your boxes well

Well-labelled boxes are key to a successful, stress-free move and the concept of a well-labelled box differs by person. There are many different ways you can choose to organize and label boxes such as color-coding or using a number system and Google Docs, but at the very least make sure to write clearly on all sides of the box so the removalists can see where it goes from every angle.

Use clear plastic containers for things you will need first

For things like bedsheets, pillows, towels, and basic dishes, use clear plastic containers. Moving day will be stressful enough, and you don’t want to be digging around all your boxes after you move trying to find a towel to take a hot shower. Plus, these plastic containers will look different from the sea of brown cardboard boxes so you can tell at a glance what holds everything you need for your first night in your new home.

Use your clothes to protect breakables

While there’s something to be said for organising your move so all your clothes are in boxes for the bedroom and all your dishes and other fragile items are in their own respective boxes, save time, money, and reduce your use of plastics by foregoing the bubblewrap and instead protecting things such as dishes and cups with your (clean) socks, shirts, and sweaters.

Cover the opening of liquid and oil containers

Use plastic wrap to cover the opening of containers that hold liquids, oils or anything else that might spill including toiletries, food items, and cleaning products. Simply unscrew the top of the bottle, place a piece of flat plastic wrap over the opening, and twist the top back on. This will help prevent leaks and spills during the move, particularly for expensive bottles of olive oil, skincare, or other things you might not want to replace.

Clearly mark chemicals and pack them separately

Keep cleaning products, chemicals, tools, batteries, and other potentially dangerous or poisonous materials away from your other boxes. These things should not be packed in the moving van where they could potentially heat up or get too cold, and instead should come with you separately or properly disposed of before you move.

Use sandwich bags to hold hardware

If you need to disassemble furniture, a TV mount, or other things that come with hardware, take all the small pieces and put them in one plastic bag. Label the bag with what that hardware is used for, include the instructions if you still have them, and tape the plastic baggie to what furniture it goes with. If you have a bed frame to disassemble, for example, put all the nuts and bolts in a plastic baggie and tape it to the leg of your bed.

Take photos of how your electronics are connected

While electronics are a lot easier to self-install these days, it can still be helpful to take photos of your TV, computer monitor, or video game console before unplugging so you’re not left with a headache later. Once you’ve unplugged the electronics, put the wires in plastic baggies and use a little painter’s tape to stick them to the correct appliances.

Make copies of all your important documents

Either take photos of all your documents, or make printed copies, but either way moving is a good time to make sure you have an extra copy of your passport page, bank documents, contracts, or any other important documents. Once you’ve made a copy of everything, pack these papers up with you in your overnight bag so there’s no worry about them getting lost in the shuffle of your move.

Moving day tips and tricks

It’s moving day! After a (hopefully) good night’s rest, there’s a lot to get done. Here are some things you should remember to make moving day a seamless transition from your current house to your new home.

Help your removalists

Make clear what needs to be moved, and what will get thrown away or donated later. Tell your removalists how you want the truck packed up (all bedroom furniture first, or kitchen items towards the front, for example) so unpacking is easier once you're in your new home, and try to get to your new home before the removalists do, so you can make sure everything is where it needs to go.

Disassemble and package up the big things

Removalists are there to help you remove, not pack, unless you hired a packing service too. Do your removalists a favor and disassemble and pack up the big things like flat-pack furniture, baby cots, or other big items, before they get there. Utilize stretch wrap to keep all the furniture pieces together, and tape the corresponding hardware in a little plastic bag to the side.

Make sure fragile things are pointed out

While you might (hopefully) have labelled fragile boxes as fragile, point them out again when the removalists get there. This makes it clear to everyone exactly what is fragile and needs to be handled with caution, and the removalists can pack the truck accordingly.

Thank your friends with food

If you opted to forgo the removalists, and are instead relying on friends and family with a big truck, offer them first dibs on things you were going to donate or sell and make sure to have snacks, water, beer, and pizza for the moving and post-moving process. They’ll appreciate you appreciating them, and after you’ll all be able to sit in your new home while cracking a cold one altogether.

Give yourself time

This one might seem simple, but don’t rush your move. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before, wake up early and have your coffee, and get your moving day started as soon as you can but take your time when moving. A well thought out moving day, done methodically, can reduce your stress and mean less chance of breaking or forgetting something while making the unpacking process easier.

Don’t forget to eat

Moving day is stressful enough, and low blood sugar or a hangry attitude will not make it any easier. Eat a balanced breakfast, pack a few protein bars and snacks in your bag, and remember to eat when you’re hungry and drink lots of water. Once you’ve moved into your new home, consider going out to eat at a local restaurant in your new neighborhood, or order some takeout to relax.

Unpacking tips once you’re in your new home

Congratulations, you’re in your new home! Seeing all the boxes stacked up might be incredibly overwhelming but no need to stress. If you packed smart, the unpacking process will be a breeze with a few of these handy tips and tricks.

Unpack your essentials bag first

It’s your essentials bag for a reason, it probably holds your most essential and important items that you absolutely could not live without your first night in your new home. This might include:

  • Toiletries
  • Computer and phone with chargers
  • Medication
  • Bottle opener
  • A spare change of clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Important documents

Only unpack what you need for the first night

If you read the packing tips and tricks above, you should have packed a few separate clear plastic containers with things you’ll need for your first night in your new home. This might have included bedding to sleep, dishes to eat dinner in your new home, a shower curtain and towels to shower after a long day, and whatever else you might need to make sure you’re not digging around boxes before bed. Unpack these first and deal with everything else another day.

Hang up your curtains

Privacy, security, a better night’s sleep, if you need to use curtains try and hang them up the day you move. You’ll feel better knowing people can’t peep into your new windows, and you’ll sleep better without the sunlight waking you up the next morning.

Focus on one room at a time

The idea of unpacking an entire house is very overwhelming, so instead focus room-by-room. Start with the most important rooms, and the most important things in those rooms; kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom; and leave things like decor and books until later. And remember, it does not need to all be unpacked in one day.

Figure out how you’re going to sleep

Whether this is your mattress on the floor the first night, or you want to assemble your bed frame as soon as possible, make sure your sleep situation is sorted out as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than a long day of moving, only to realize you need to unpack bedsheets, put together your bed frame, and make your bed before you can sleep.

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