Ten Things I Learned Moving – And Tips

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Our move is over!

Whew.

That was really a tough couple of days.  For sure most moves should NOT be like ours.  We were waiting to get a closing date on the sale of our co-op before we committed to a move so we did a lot last minute.  It was very stressful and in hindsight there was a lot we could have done earlier to make our move easier (some things couldn’t be helped).  For sure we learned a lot in this experience that we’ll remember for the next time we move.

Here are ten things I learned moving:

De-Clutter Early and Often.

As early as possible go through your stuff and see what you can get rid of, donate, give away, or throw away.  The logic is simple: The less you have the less you need to move.  We thought we de-cluttered when we put our co-op on the market but we realized we had more stuff than we thought lurking deep in closets and in our garage.  There’s certainly a lesson on living a simple, uncluttered lifestyle here.

Get Enough Supplies.

Take a realistic look at what you are packing (not always easy to do).  Get as many boxes, if not more, as you need.  Make sure you also pick up enough packing tape and markers.  Start saving up those newspapers to use for packing fragile items.  My point here is you don’t want to have to keep running back and forth either finding or buying supplies.  It sucks up a lot of time and ruins the flow of packing.  This is especially true if you have kids and have to pile them into the car to go out.  Trust me.  I think you are better off buying a little too much packing supplies than you are having to run out time after time.

Document As You Pack.

Get yourself a small notebook.  If you have an old notebook with some pages left then that’s better.  As you pack a box put a number on it (remember those markers I told you to buy).  In fact, put the number on top and on at least three sides.  Write down the box number on the book and write down as best you can what is in the box.  Get as detailed as time allows.  For some “Bedroom” might be enough while other may get more detailed like “Dress pants, belts, ties.”  You get the idea.  Also on the box write what room it should be going into.  This will help you tremendously as you start to unpack!  Imagine you are in a new home full of boxes that all look the same.  Where do you start?  If you document what’s in each box and number them then you can find essential items first and organize your move and unpacking.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.

We have three kids.  That means it’s a rare thing for my wife and I to get anything done without paying attention to one of the rugrats.  Usually only one of us could pack at any given time.  If we didn’t get some help from friends/family I’m not sure we would be in our new place!  Either we had help watching the kids or we had help packing, moving, unpacking, and cleaning.  We bought lots of pizza for people during our move!

A Recommendation is Gold.

We used a moving company to move.  I heard lots of horror stories about moving companies and how they can be sneaky and jack up their estimate once they start moving.  Lucky for us we had a recommendation for a local company that we were told were real good.  In fact we knew a couple of people who used them with no problems.  I also checked the Better Business Bureau to se if they had any complaints against them.  I found out they were registered with BBB and had a high rating.  Our movers were great!  They were helpful and really made our move go smoothly.  They asked where boxes should go (they could have dropped them any where), they helped pack loose items up, they took apart and re-assembled large furniture, and they did it all with courtesy and respect.  Without a recommendation (and a little research) we could have ended up with mover who were shady.  We could have found a less expensive company but I’m glad we went with our movers.  Peace of mind is priceless!

Get Rest and Eat!

I really ran myself ragged during our move.  I didn’t time our packing out well enough and spent the weekend on little sleep.  As we packed at a furious pace I often went without enough food.  There were times I felt exhausted and ill.  Not good.  Do yourself a favor and get plenty of sleep and have food handy!

Moving is Expensive.

I guess we could have saved a lot by renting a truck and doing it ourselves but for us that didn’t seem like a good option.  Our new place is up a couple of flights of stairs and I can’t imagine having to move all of our stuff with me doing a lot of the heavy lifting.  I was exhausted just packing and getting everything in order!  So we paid for movers which isn’t cheap.  And we tipped them too.  And we had to buy boxes, and tape, and some packing supplies.  Could we have gone around to stores for boxes?  Yes, but the time it would have taken and the effort of running around just didn’t seem worth it to us.

Make a List of All Accounts.

Put together a list of all credit cards, utilities, magazines…anything that you might need to change your address with.  Having a check list of every place you need to change your address with is extremely helpful )I set up a spreadsheet to check off as I changed my contact information).  Some things are obvious like the credit cards in your wallet but you may not realize all the other places you need to change your contact information with.  Some not so obvious ones: DMV, car insurance, 529 plan, IRA’s.  Using a credit report can help you list out all of your credit accounts.

The Kids Have Too Many Toys.

Seriously.  Boxes of them.  Enough stuffed animals to fill a small zoo.  We’re fortunate in that we didn’t buy most of the toys and many will be going out for donation, but still there is a lot of clutter that’s created by the toys that we have to work on.

Home is Where the Heart Is.

In the end a home isn’t measured by how big or small it is, or where it’s located, or how big your TV is.  Home is measured by the family that lives there.  Yeah, it’s nice to have a good physical home but it’s really your family that makes it a place you want to return to every day.  In this I’m fortunate!

I’m glad we’re all moved in.  We still have a bunch of boxes to unpack (and some we might not) before this place is completely set up.  We are going to make sure our next move is more organized and goes smoother.

What are your moving tips?

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Published or updated May 18, 2013.

Comments

  1. We are moving next spring and these are great tips – thanks! I’m already starting to declutter…there are times I’ve looked at stuff tucked away in closets and thought, “I am NOT moving this to the new house!” And then it goes straight to the donation pile.
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Lavazza Espresso Machines: Lavazza Espresso Point Matinee Cleaning Instructions =-.

  2. Great tips. My wife and I have discussed moving in the next year or so and I know we have way too much stuff to move. We need to do some serious decluttering!
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..How to Rollover a 401k Plan into an IRA =-.

  3. We are preparing for our move in about a month, so this is timely and helpful! Thanks!

  4. Great tips!

    We moved 3 years ago, and honestly I hope I never have to do it again. I really don’t like moving. Of course it didn’t help that the day we chose to do the actual move – it was 101 degrees outside, the hottest day Minnesota had seen in a couple of years.

    Well, at least if I move again in a few years, I’ll have this list to help me along the way ;) .
    .-= Peter´s last blog ..Making Extra Money In Your Free Time With Cash Crate: A Review Of The Service One Year In =-.

    • Yeah, we’re in no rush to move again. It was definitely a traumatic experience for us. I helped my folks move last winter. Exact opposite of your situation. Nothing like carrying a washing machine over a sidewalk you just shoveled!

  5. Great Tips!

    While in school, I spent a summer working 60-80 hour weeks for a moving company. Often the employees are temporary workers who have been unable to hold steady employment for reasons other than just bad fortune. My one piece of advice would be to make sure you are present the entire time the movers are packing your things, loading the truck, and unloading the truck. A watchful eye will decrease the amount of damage to your personal things, and will ensure all of your belongings actually make it to your new home.
    .-= Broke MBA´s last blog ..1st Time Home Buyer Series – Option Period (Contract Pending) =-.

    • So true. These are the types of horror stories I’ve heard about. It’s so important to check out the moving company you want to use. Fortunately for us ours was well rated and for good reason.

  6. Great tips! I am dreading the day I have to move, not because of the moving, but rather the house hunting. My wife and I always say if we survive that experience, the marriage will make it LOL

    Great to have you close to the Border lol…E-Mail me one day we can grab food
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Best New Show on Television – Shark Tank =-.

    • I think you have a point there. Glad the Mrs and I cold make it through the move. The rest of our lives together should be easy now.

      Watch out, I might take you up on the offer! Just remember I have a 2 year old and a three month old with me!

  7. If you are moving yourself, get your boxes from the local liquor store. They are heavy duty, and can easily be carried by one person when full, and they are easily stackable to a very good height in the rental trailer/truck.

    I go with labeling each box…not just the assigned room, but the contents.

  8. Congrats on the successful move!

    I couldn’t agree more about getting LOTS of boxes. Last couple of times I moved, I ended up with boxes of varying quality (all used). I started packing early (weeks before the move) and ended using all the good, durable boxes on “less important” items that could be packed away sooner. Then, when getting into the “home stretch” of packing, was left with flimsy, untrustworthy boxes. A few things didn’t make it in tact!
    .-= Debtress´s last blog ..Winterize and Save Money (And the Environment!) =-.

    • I’m all for finding boxes at stores and such but this is one reason I shy away from it, you have to make sure they are sturdy boxes! Sorry to hear about your items.

  9. Keep a couple of plastic bags handy – there’s always little bits you find once the boxes are all packed. Declutter, enough boxes and packing material, lists on the boxes saying what’s in them and where they are going in the next house, makes things much easier.

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