There are people who live in the same city their whole life, and then there are people who are constantly sending out “We Moved!” cards and forwarding their mail. I am the latter. It’s not that I necessarily wanted to move as many times as I have, but when opportunities call, I must go! Starting a new chapter in a new home, city, state, or even country is invigorating, but in order to reap the benefits, you must go through the actual act of organizing, packing, and moving. What a drag, right? Can’t we just get to the destination and enjoy it without all the work? Not quite, sister. But fortunately for you, I tapped a professional organizer—and pulled from my own experience as a serial mover—to bring you some tips and tricks. Here are the must-try moving hacks that will make the process go so much smoother.
Get started early
Moving in a hurry is overwhelming, so don’t wait until the last minute to get started. “As soon as you know that you will be looking for a new home, you should start reviewing your stuff,” said Sharon Lowenheim, the certified professional organizer behind Organizing Goddess. In a perfect world, you have at least a month’s notice or more before you move, so start decluttering, cleaning, organizing, and packing as soon as you can. The best way to fit this in is to schedule it into your calendar and do it a little at a time. For example, plan to tackle the bathroom cabinets after work on Monday and the linen closet after work on Tuesday. This will make it feel way more manageable.
Start with areas you use the least
Sharon suggests reviewing the areas that don’t get looked at as often. “For houses, that would be the attic, the basement, and the garage. For houses and apartments alike, it’s the very top shelves of the closets, the least convenient kitchen cabinets, and the bottoms of the drawers,” she said. Not only will you find the most outdated items in these areas to donate or toss, but you can pack these items first since you likely won’t need to access any of them in the middle of moving. In my experience, packing these areas is quick, so it immediately makes you feel like you’ve made some progress and motivates you to tackle more.
Let’s be honest, we all keep a lot of things we don’t really need because they’re simply out of sight, out of mind or we’re too lazy to take them to a donation drop-off. But not everything needs to make its way to your new house. Moving is the perfect time to review your stuff and be ruthless about what stays and what goes. Sharon recommends looking at every single item and asking yourself if you use it and if you love it. “If the answer to both questions is no, then it’s ready to go,” she said. Not only will it feel good to donate what no longer serves you, but you will have a lot less to actually pack and move.
Pack must-have items separately
As you organize and pack items away a little bit at a time, you’ll eventually be left with your essentials. Pack these items separately to ensure you can easily access them during your move. Most of this will consist of personal items (toiletries, clothes, chargers, etc.), so think of it as an overnight bag. What would you take with you for a long weekend? Make sure you have these items close at hand during the move so you don’t have to go digging through all of your bins and boxes once you get to your destination.
Do NOT take clothes off of hangers
This is one of the most underrated moving hacks ever. When you pack your clothing, don’t waste your time and energy taking anything off the hanger. Why? Because when you get to your new house, you will have to spend time putting everything right back on hangers. Instead, leave all of your clothing as-is and use trash bags to protect the hanging items. When unpacking, all you have to do is hang your clothes up in the closet and remove the trash bags. It’s by far the fastest way to move your clothes. Trust me, if nothing else, please implement this tip.
Use different-size boxes and bins
Having a variety of sizes of boxes and bins is crucial, especially when packing up the kitchen. There are a lot of items that are easily breakable, so you will want to use a shape and size that will keep your items safe. For example, use bins that are more shallow to pack dishes and cups. Not only will this keep them from shifting around too much, but it will also prevent the bins from getting too heavy. Another tip from Sharon: “Corral small items into shoe boxes or plastic containers with lids so that they stay together and are easier to unpack.”
Use clothing and towels as padding
Newspapers and bubble wrap have their place, but using your own items as padding is one of my most convenient moving hacks. The way I see it, you have to pack your clothing, towels, bedding, and blankets anyway, so you might as well put them to good use. Wrap your T-shirts around dishware, cover large items with blankets to prevent them from getting scratched, and add towels around the perimeter of bins to pad fragile items.
Free up your time and remove the stress that comes with moving by hiring professionals. “One of the best gifts you can give yourself when you are moving is to hire the movers to do all the packing,” Sharon said. Since they are fast, efficient, and experienced packers, you can rest assured that all of your items are being organized, packed, and moved safely to your new home. “If you don’t need full-service, consider hiring an organizer to help with downsizing prior to the move or to help with organizing everything in your new home to give yourself a good start,” she added.