Since 2008 I have moved eight times. Luckily five of those times I didn’t have much furniture to speak of (college life), and most of my moves have been across town, but with each new place I’ve lived in I have acquire more and more stuff. You don’t think you have a lot of belongings until one day you try to unsuccessfully cram all of your boxes into a 17 foot moving truck. Shameful, but true.
Even so, I’ve gotten better and better at moving every single time. These are the tips and tricks I have picked up along the way.
1. Pack over time
This may sound like a “no duh,” but packing is going to take you a lot longer than you think, and it’s far less painful to do a little here and a little there.
Take the time to go through all of your items, make a Goodwill pile, throw out some old things, and make room for all of the new things you’ll acquire at your new place. Of course we went through all of our belongings before moving, but there were so many “I might want it one day” things sitting in our new garage that we should have chucked. This tip is from Xavier, and he’s the sentimental one. If it sat in storage at your old place, it’ll sit in storage at your new place.
3. Overlap your leases
This is more of a tip for in-town moves. If you’re able to, try and overlap your leases and give yourself at least three days, one day cleaning the new place, one day moving your boxes and one day cleaning the old place.
Our lease ended two weeks after we closed on our house, and it was heavenly having all that time to clean and paint. The best time to paint your house is before all of your stuff is inside because face it.. you have a lot of stuff. When cleaning your old place remember, baseboards, fan blades, drip pans and professional carpet cleaning, and submit your receipts to your former landlord. You want that security deposit back, don’t you?
4. Clean before you unpack
Maybe you’re lucky and your new place will be spotless when you move in, but I can tell you I spent a full day and several rolls of paper towels wiping down walls, baseboards, fan blades, cabinets and the floors. I couldn’t believe how dusty the walls were!
5. Take trips
Another in-town moving tip. I know it’s tempting to try to get it all in one trip, I feel that way about my groceries, but it’s much more leisurely and less stressful to spread it out. Since I had two weeks for my move, I would pack my car up with boxes in the morning, go to work, and then stop by the new place in the evening to drop things off. By the time moving day rolled around, all we had left was our big furniture and a few odds and ends. This also meant that the friends we recruited for moving day had less to do and therefore despised us less.
Buy large storage bins that you’ll reuse in the future (Christmas storage, winter clothes storage, etc). When you take trips to the new place, unpack whatever you brought over, and take the bin back. Unpacking will seem less daunting when you do it in small doses, and you’ll save the world from another scrapped cardboard box.
6. Pack hanging clothes in a trash bag
Make a hole in the bottom of a large, black trash bag and feed the top of the hanger through it. I recommend tying a hair tie around the hangers to keep them together. Cinch the bottom of the bag so your clothes are neatly inside. These clothes bags will lay flat and are great pieces to squeeze in your vehicle in the little nooks.
7. Protect your furniture
When they ask you at U-Haul if you want to pay extra for the moving blankets, just say yes. Paying $10 for blankets is less than buying a new dining room table. Better yet, hire a mover. Check Groupon and Living Social for moving specials.
8. Schedule your movers in advance
Another seemingly no-duh, but moving services book up fast, especially if you want to move on the weekend.
9. Change your address with the Post Office.
You can change your address with USPS online, which is super convenient. There’s a small charge, but they do give you coupons.. so that’s cool.
10. Pack a suitcase
You will thank yourself if you pack a weeks worth of essentials in your suitcase. My first week of work after my most recent move was a disaster. Where did I put my shoes? What bag did I put my black pants in? Safe yourself the hassle!
These are just a few tips, and there’s plenty more where that came from!