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Ten On Tuesday

This week’s topic is one I don’t have a lot of experience with but a reader requested it specifically and I’m not about to turn her down. The topic is 10 Tips for Moving and I just haven’t moved a lot in my life. I lived in the same house I grew up in until I got married although I did move in and out of a dorm every year during college – but I kind of don’t think those moves count. I briefly lived in an apartment when I was first married, then we lived with my parents, and then we bought a house. I lived there until I married Dale so I guess, when I add this all up, I’ve only moved 4 times in my whole life. Nevertheless, I’ve got some things to say.

  1. Collect boxes. The library often has excellent boxes and unless they have someone on staff who is moving (it happens more than you’d think) they will probably let you have them.
  2. Go through your stuff and get rid of the things you don’t need, want or use anymore. There’s no point moving that mixer that you haven’t used in years, or that sweater that you haven’t worn in ages. Have a yard sale and make some money to buy new stuff once you’re settling in your new place!
  3. Begin as early as possible. I’d pack up the out of season stuff and things you know you won’t need immediately.
  4. Create an area to store the stuff that’s already packed. Obviously if you’re going to start packing boxes then you need a place to put them that’s not going to drive you crazy because you’re falling over it all the time.
  5. Pack boxes by room. All the bathroom stuff together, all the kitchen stuff together, etc.
  6. Make a list of everything that’s in a box and put it right inside the box so when you open the cover it’s right there and you can know immediately what’s inside without going through everything.
  7. Label the outsides of boxes according to room. Whether you’re using movers or doing it yourself this will help to get things where they belong when you do actually move.
  8. Make a list of all the address changes and billing changes you need to make. Cable, phone, newspaper, post office, all that stuff has to be updated.
  9. Plan menus that will use up the food in your freezer and cupboards. If you’re moving a long distance you can’t take perishables with you and besides, who wants to pack and unpack umpteen cans of soup?
  10. Finally, prepare one box of things you will need right away – bathroom supplies, medications, a change of clothing, some basic tools, and carry that box with you so that you are not without your essentials. In my case this would include hairspray.

Hey, you know, that was easier than I thought it would be! Your mileage may vary, of course, but I bet you all will have great moving tips, too.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Good list! I’ve moved more times in the six years I have been married, as well as many times before that, than you have in your life and I would only add one thing to your list:
    11. Make sure to get your pet’s vet/shot records and possibly something to sedate them if the move is long distance. Sedating is the only way to keep your sanity when moving multiple cats multiple states away!

  2. Excellent tips, especially 5 and 7! We lived in our house with
    our six kids for 25 years before moving here to NC. Because it
    was such a overwhelming task at the time, I now go through
    closets, drawers, attic, garage, etc. all year long and pack up,
    donate, throw away anything I haven’t used in 2 years. We have moved 3 times since we moved here and it made our moves a whole lot easier. And there isn’t one thing that I donated or
    threw away that I have missed. So that’s my tip and it works!

  3. Great topic for me because I’m in the middle of moving right now.
    My most important one to add: Hire movers to move the furniture!

  4. One great tip someone gave me: Pack a flashlight and a box of lightbulbs in that “Open me first!” box. Surprising the number of times one of those has been useful.

  5. My first couple of moves were to apartments in my home town, so my mom was always there to make up the bed so I had a place to sleep. Later the moves were to other states and even cross country. So I always pack a separate box that includes pillows, sheets, and blankets for the bed so I can make the bed for that first night in the new house. I also include towels, the shower curtain, and what is needed to make tea in the AM (others might want coffee). Because of what’s in it, this is a large box and I label it with huge stars on every side so I can spot it anywhere.

  6. Great list. I’ve always labeled the outside of the boxes, but never thought of putting a list inside – excellent idea!

  7. I’ve moved a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. And there just isn’t any way to make it truly easy. One thing my family always did was get to the house before the movers. We painted and put in all the shelving paper (my job!), then the house felt like it was ours. One particularly bad move (I was seventeen and it was across state lines), my dad put in a pool immediately. Don’t think you’ll see that on any moving list, but it helped me make friends quickly!

  8. If I think about doing this myself too much, I’m going to hyperventilate or something. Good tips, though, and it was fun to do!!

  9. Just even thinking about this topic gives me heart palpitations. Unlike the commenter who said she doesn’t miss the stuff she gets rid of, I ALWAYS regret it. When it comes to boxes, though, we’re all set. Due to my daughters employment at the local bookstore, we have a huge stash of sturdy Harry Potter cartons from various years.

  10. A friend is moving this week and she invited a bunch of friends over to pack up one box of small stuff (bathroom, kitchen, clothes, etc.) and then to take it to the new place. She’ll then feed us pizza for dinner and we’ll have a party. Brilliant! (If it works as planned). 😉

  11. i sorta skimmed today’s post…still unpacking from the great remodel a year and a half ago. My parents moved at least 13 times before I graduated from high school. No wonder my mom is a minimalist! My husband and I have lived in our house for 33 years now and will be here til they cart us off to the home! Good luck to everyone who is moving!

  12. Don’t have much to add, as I have lived in the same house for 41 years. The only thing I could think of is to buy boxes from an office supply store (I use Office Depot, but I feel certain you can find them other places)–the kind you fold into shape and which have a removable lid and hand holes on the side. You can often find them on sale for about a dollar, a small price to pay for boxes all the same size that stack so nicely on one another, are easy to get into, and can be had in an easy to handle size. They don’t work for everything, but for plenty of stuff. Later you can knock them down and store them, or give them to someone else who needs them. Carole, i read several blogs, but you are the blogger I feel like I could be friends with. Thanks for being so interesting and so reliable–even when you are sick! Happy blogaversary!

  13. I only have one tip, so I won’t devote a whole blog post to it. Plus, it’s one that requires putting in the work ahead of time, so it’s less useful in an immediate sense:

    Help friends move. Whenever someone moves, pitch in. Eventually that karma will come back to you, and when you need someone to help you pack boxes or carry things to the truck or pat your head while you weep with frustration, there will be someone (or lots of someones) to help.

  14. About 10 years ago, I left my husband. I did it one weekend while he was out with his buddies. (Long story–the attorney suggested I get out quickly and quietly.) Anyway, I couldn’t pack anything in advance due to the secrecry. I invited friends to come move me and I was astonished how 15 years of stuff was packed and in the U-Haul so quickly. Some of my friends went to the local department store and picked up necessities. So when one friend asked me where the garbage can was, for example, and I said I didn’t have one yet, another friend replied that she had that. To this day, I remember my friends kindness in helping me move out. And yes, they all knew what color I would like so I still have those things. OK, I guess that makes my helpul hint for moving to have wonderful, thoughtful friends.

  15. Get rid of all those old text books you’re never going to read again. They’re very heavy to move. In Ontario you can get sturdy boxes from the LCBO (liquor store). Buy yourself a ‘tape gun’, several refill rolls of packing tape and a couple of markers. And best tip of all….declutter now and every time you’re in the mood. You won’t regret it when it comes time to move all that stuff.

  16. If you start packing well in advance, another thing that works well is to keep a master list of all the boxes (numbered 1-100, or whatever) that states both the room and lists all the contents in the each box. That way you can quickly pick out the exact right box if I need to get to something quickly (ie, #30: Kitchen: bundt cake pan). (I like your idea of putting a copy of that box’s content inside the box, too.) We also put the box number (fat, colored marker) on all 4 sides of the box so that it could always be seen from a distance without hunting. Also, my husband did something smart when we put some boxes in storage after the move: he took a digital photo of the packed box with the tops open and loaded them on his computer. This works well for boxes of books, videos, and other things that are often too numerous to list.

  17. These are great trips! We’re getting ready to make at least two (maybe three) cross-country moves in the next two years. I’ve already started culling our possessions down to what we really love and want to keep, and have almost completely stopped buying “stuff”. (“Do I love this enough to move it twice?” is a great motivator to downsize and be parsimonious!)

    Susan’s tip about numbering boxes is great, especially if you’re going to be storing things for a while. It’s also handy for keeping the outside of the box generic looking, in case you worry about someone rooting through a box labeled “electronics”. I think we’re going to do a two-part cataloguing system: “A” for “living room”, “B” for dining room, etc. So 1A through 9A will be books, 10A will be throw pillows and lamps, etc.

    BTW, copy paper boxes are my favorite for moving. They’re sturdy and plentiful, and having boxes of uniform dimensions is handy for stacking and storing, too. I routinely make the rounds to all the departments here at work and beg for their empties!

  18. Excellent list! Having a staging area for the packed boxes is probably critical.

  19. I have moved MANYMANYMANY times and I have more suggestions.
    1. Kitchen and bath are fine to pack by room. But pack art/mirrors/books by category. That painting that looks wonderful in your bedroom might go better in the living room at the next house. The curtains that look so cute in this kitchen might wind up in the back bedroom at the next one.

    2. When you take things apart, put all the screws/nuts/bolts in a baggy and tape it to the item securely so it’s handy when you are ready to put things back together.

    3. If you have packers, let them do the fragile stuff, it’s what they do best. If your furniture comes apart, do that yourself to prevent damage – the “heavy lifting” may be done mostly by day laborers who have no experience.

    4. If you have the opportunity (lots of people move without knowing where they will be iving at the other end), try to get a good look at the new place before you move, so you can better sort and pack your stuff.

    5. Put anything you don’t want packed in a closet that is taped off (crime scene tape works well) so the movers know not to pack it.

    6. Make sure the garbage can is empty before you pack it.

  20. It’s funny, but the things you listed on your list tend to be things that I “know” but which didn’t even cross my mind when I made my list. I’m sure I would have remembered some of them when I started to move, but probably not all. This is why lists are good! 🙂

  21. When we moved my two sons, I labeled a brief (not detailed but a general idea) list on the outside of boxes as well as what room. That told us which boxes to open first and which could wait a day or so and kept the boxes sealed and neater if we didn’t need them right away. I do like the idea of a detailed list right inside the top of the box.

  22. After many moves, (and at least one or two more to go) I agree with the list. If you have movers doing the packing etc, that those things you have to keep with you (papers, passports, orders, kids shot/school records etc) and lock them in the car. And someone else mentioned putting the things you don’t want packed (stuff for suitcase) being locked in a cabinet, or bathroom and tell the movers that is off limits. Move the bathroom stuff they can pack, out. One time I had three sets of movers going on one day. One shipment was going with my son to California, another to storage and a third to Japan (where I was going). I had sorted everything by ‘rooms’. This room is California, this one Japan, these storage. It mostly worked. I forgot a few pottery vases in my son’s room that ended up with him in California. lol

  23. As a military family that moved more than 20 times I have a few more that helped us:
    If you have any seasonal stuff..pack it yourself in plastic tubs. Will keep stuff safe from elements and no sense repacking or unpacking them later. Be sure to mark them.
    Check out Craig’s list or local ad places for boxes..we did a professional move last time and put gave boxes away to someone who posted for boxes.
    Be sure the tool kit comes out first or put it in the trunk if moving by car..always need screwdrivers, etc..
    Ask for plenty of people to help move if doing a diy move. Things come up at the last minute and you want to be sure to have the help you need.

  24. Packing as much as you can ahead of time is the best hint on the list as far as I’m concerned. Don’t forget to take the time to wash or dry clean things like curtains, area rugs and comforters before you pack them; it’s not something you want to do as you are moving into a new place and who wants to rehang dirty curtains.

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