Moving houses is a gargantuan task. It’s much more than just putting things in boxes, putting boxes in vehicles, and putting vehicles in gear. Of course, these are the bigger parts of the task that you probably won’t forget to do. The smaller parts, however, can quickly become overwhelming.
In order to make it a little easy for you, we’ve curated the best hacks for moving houses. These will definitely make the whole process a little more manageable.
This is more life advice than a moving hack. It’s good advice, nonetheless. Start a few weeks before moving day. This includes booking services, canceling services, and actual packing. Starting early will give you the time and opportunity to go over every step multiple times, making sure you won’t miss anything.
We say that very seriously. Purge your entire house and take everything out of storage. Out of everything, set aside things in three piles. One full of things to throw away, one for the things to be donated, and one for things to be sold. While filling these piles is up to your discretion, we suggest you definitely put the things that you haven’t used in more than six months, in one of those piles.
From the pile of things to throw away, segregate and pack them properly for the garbage trucks to pick up. For the things to be donated, figure out if you need to carry your stuff to the donation centers, or if they offer pick-up. Lastly, make full use of Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist to sell off things you don’t need. For the smaller things, hold a yard sale!
3. Start Heavy, Not Huge
When you start packing, prioritize the order of loading and unloading boxes based on their weight instead of their size. This will allow you to pack the brunt of your boxes into your vehicle first. Now, you can play reverse Jenga to fit everything else, since all that’s left is the lightweight stuff. Once you’re done packing everything in, just make sure you tie everything down properly, especially the boxes that are not heavy.
4. Pack To Protect
You’re going to stack very fragile and expensive things on top of each other in a truck or car, moving anywhere between 25-70 miles per hour. You need to make sure all of your boxes have enough impact protection. Otherwise, you might be assembling much more than you disassembled while packing.
Use proper packing materials like packing peanuts and moving mats. Make sure there is no wiggle room inside the boxes, either. Additionally, you can use newspapers for an extra layer of protection. Newspapers may leave ink stains, though. So make sure they aren’t in direct contact with your stuff.
Don’t bother taking your clothes off of their hangers. Of course, the roll-and-pack method is great if you’re packing for a vacation. When moving houses, however, you need to make sure things are relatively easy to put back together, too.
Bunch all the hangers with the clothes still on and put them in a garbage bag with the top of the hangers sticking out. Now you have an easy-to-carry clothing solution that only requires you to open a few bags, inside the closet itself!
There are storage solutions in almost everything. Cords and neck jewelry in toilet paper rolls, small items in egg cartons, tubes in boxes, glass items in clean socks, and all your things in a friend’s truck.
Keep in mind the size of all the things you need to pack. Now think of bigger things with space in them. There you go, you have a storage solution. Be very careful of the liquids, though. Cartridges and canisters are easy to damage.
7. Label The Boxes
Label all the boxes as you pack them. To make it easier when you get there, write which rooms the boxes would go in. That way, you might not have to go through lists or peek inside every box as you decide where to put them. You can also color-code or use a numbering system if you want to keep the contents of your boxes a secret.
8. Use Your Luggage
Your luggage bags probably have trolleys. Even if they don’t, they’re very strong and relatively well padded. This makes them an amazing carrier for two types of things: heavy and fragile.
Books, the precious crockery, or anything else that you might want to keep a little more protected can be stored in the bags. If you use the garbage bag–cloth hamper hack, you can avail a lot more space for all the fragile things.
9. Use Your Towels
Towels are portable, relatively thick, and very soft. These qualities make them an amazing piece of packing equipment. Use towels to line the boxes, from the bottom as well as the top. This will do two things – provide protection where it is most needed and reduce the load of clothing, making this process a little easier than before.
10. Get A Go Bag
When packing, keep a small handbag or a backpack with all the things that you might require in transit as well as when you get to your new house. Things like keys, ID, a bottle of water, any important paperwork, your list/itinerary, or even chapstick. In a process that is so long and difficult, this small bag might just start feeling like an assistant.
Make sure you unpack and set your mattress up as soon as you start unpacking, if not your entire bed. This way, after a long day of putting your new house together, you can directly collapse on the said mattress and pass out, instead of assembling your bed when you’re super tired.
Since you’ll be moving the dresser as a whole, you can just tape the drawers shut, or wrap the entire piece of furniture in plastic wrap. Since the things stored in a dresser’s drawers are not on the heavier side, typically, you can easily move the entire dresser, along with all of its contents. Just be very careful about sealing the drawers shut.
3. Conquer The Kitchen
Typically, kitchens have the most number of things in any single room in a house. However, a typical kitchen is also relatively easy to set up. After your bedding, move to the kitchen and get it sorted. That way, you’ll get a huge chunk of work out of the way and have a sense of accomplishment to keep you going.
Having a kitchen will also allow you to arrange food, meaning you can eat in a relatively organized space rather than on top of moving boxes.
4. Get A Cooler
Keep a cooler full of ice ready when you’re moving. You can keep a few bottles of water, or any drink of your preference along with some frozen foods to let you have a quick and easy snack when you get there. This cooler can also act as a savior to all of your friends who have come over to help you unpack, secretly hoping for a beer!
5. Baby Steps
Try to get through one step at a time. You already have a list, you have already kept all the boxes in their designated room, and you know what goes where. Start with one box in one room. Once you’re done with said box, immediately fold it up and keep it elsewhere. After everything is out of the boxes, set up the wires and cables you might need in that room.
One of the easiest ways to tackle any huge task is to break it down into multiple smaller tasks. That is exactly what you need to do here, too. While this hack might not save you a lot of time, it will help you stay organized, and consequently peaceful.
Some Other Moving Hacks
A few more things that might help you out are :
If you’re planning on using professional movers, make sure you get quotes from multiple companies. That way you can compare and choose the company that suits your needs best.
Start canceling the subscriptions associated with the old address about a week before moving. The process for canceling a subscription is usually longer and might take a while.
Take pictures of the contents of every box and the appliances that you’re dismantling. This will make unpacking and setting up much easier.
Moving houses is a huge step. It takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. You might have to organize your thoughts before organizing the actual logistics of everything, and that is quite a process. However, the freedom of a new place, the opportunity to explore, and the responsibility of figuring everything out are amazing teachers and honestly, quite a delight.
Make sure you have researched everything about the place you plan on moving to. The taxes, the paperwork, the HOA (Homeowners Association) systems and everything else that you might need in order to make this transition as smooth as possible. Good luck and Godspeed!
Ideally, the first thing you should pack when moving is the stuff that you use most rarely. That way, you might not have to debate between packing something or using it. In most cases, it will be the things in your storage/basement or garage.
How Long Before Moving Should You Start Packing?
You should start packing at least 2-3 weeks before moving. That way, you’ll have enough time to pack everything and make sure you have not missed out on anything.
What Is The First Thing To Do When Moving Into A New House?
Once you move into your new house, the first thing you should do is arrange your bed or mattress, along with your WiFi. Arrange for a space where you can sit and relax in between your unpacking and setting up sessions.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.