Useful Moving Tips and a Packing Schedule

The other day I mentioned that ‘Moving is Messy’ — anyone been there recently?  I think I can actually hear you agreeing with me!  We took a leap of faith and listed our house without a specific plan because the houses where we were moving were selling so fast, contingency wasn’t an option.  To add to the craziness and uncertainty, the family who put a contract on our house was really really pregnant — like water about to break any second pregnant!  Our heart took over and without thinking through the timing of our move, we gladly agreed to their date.  Oops!  Thankfully after two days of driving streets looking for by owners (there was nothing on MLS) a house came available.  We put in an offer, they accepted, then a day later they tried to wiggle and shake us out of the deal because six other contracts were submitted the following day!  We weren’t budging, homeless sounded no good!  Everyone has a crazy moving story — in the long run, the reward is usually far better than the headache at the time!  Here are Lots of Useful Moving Tips and a Packing Plan to help you get started!!!

Useful Moving Tips @ItsOverflowing


1.  Follow My Declutter Steps.

Do a quick decluttering of the entire house once more.  If you know you won’t need it in the new house, pull it aside and toss, donate, or find a place for it.  Less to move is always best!  However, moving has its uncertainties –it  can be hard to decide what you’ll need and what you definitely won’t need at the new house.  No worries if you hold onto a bit too much, there will always be a time to purge as you begin settling!

How to Declutter Your House @ItsOverflowing


2.  Buy Labels and a Couple Sharpies.

The contrast of White and Black is easier to see than Brown and Black.  Marking boxes with white labels and handwritten sharpie descriptions (written before attaching them to the boxes) totally simplifies moving — both the packing and unpacking!


3.  Get Ready.

Throughout the process of moving, set out a large brown paper sack AND a fairly large bowl in a centrally located spot in your home.  As you pack there will be lots of trash (purpose of paper sack) and random screws, nails, etc. (purpose of bowl).  Having a station set for dumping garbage and collecting “I may need it later” items speeds up the packing process!

706206_286x2864.  Start with the Garage.

When moving you can pack a box and leave it in the room or you can pack a box and designate an area to be the drop spot.  I always designate the garage as my dumping grounds!  It’s nice to feel as settled as possible inside home by keeping the chaos out of sight.  Early on I learned that if the garage is your chosen box storage, it is totally important to pack up the garage before starting on your house.  Packing up a garage after it’s full of boxes is next to impossible and packing up a garage after the house boxes are sitting pretty in your new house is totally deflating!

Moving Tips @ItsOverflowing

The other advantage to packing up the garage early is I have found that Stud is much more likely to help me if I enlist his help before it’s termed  “my” project — it’s totally strategy to ask for his muscles in the beginning when it’s still “our” project!

5.  Unload the Attic — Yuck, right!

This is sort of under the same category as garage.  It’s an area of packing that I can’t do on my own, but with my sweet hubby we can knock it out without too much effort.  And the relief knowing that area is cleared out makes you feel like a loads been lifted.  (Side note: moving companies will do this for you, but it is much more economical to hire someone to move boxes that are all on the first floor).  And, when it’s all on a level playing field, I do a little sorting and tossing of my attic stuff.


6. Begin Packing Closets.

Start with your closets — bedroom closets, office closets, linen closets, hall closets.  It’s always surprising how much you can stuff into an area that rarely is seen by others.  By starting early in these areas you’ll be amazed how much faster the rest of your packing will come together.  Remember when I helped my sister organize her hall closet gone wild?!  The results still amaze me (if you haven’t seen the before, you totally should check it out) —


7.  Pack up the Bathrooms.

I’m always amazed when I pack a bathroom — keeping a trash can nearby is a total necessity!  I buy so many cosmetic and hygiene products that I don’t love and moving always makes me okay with letting go of them.  After the extras are purged, I try to think through what the essentials are and place them into a separate pile that will be reloaded into the cabinets and packed in my suitcase when the move gets a little closer.

8.  Books, Books and, More Books.

These are the easiest things to pack, just make sure to use small boxes so they don’t break your back when they’re lifted!  You know I love books and have a ton — I’m good with hoarding books because it’s a scientific fact it makes for smarter kids.  The key is having book storage solutions!


9.  Frames, Decor and Tchotchkes.

It’s tempting to set up your new house exactly like the old house, but making the new its own is totally rewarding!  I gather my decor throughout the house, turn on a good movie and start wrapping tchotchkes and stuffing boxes!  I try to use small boxes again for the decor items.

10. Dining Room Pretties.

Along the same lines as number 8.  Wrap well and stuff until they’re full — oh, and use small boxes!  One day you’ll pull it all out of the boxes again and make another pretty tablescape like my Vintage Chic Christmas Table Setting!

Christmas Tablescape @ItsOverflowing

11.  Toys (I have a love – hate relationship with them).

It’s deflating when you’re making tons of progress in packing and then turn around and see unending piles of toys!  As I’m packing up our house, I always hit a breaking point where I can’t handle toys scattered throughout the house for one more second.  Usually I make it to the 2-3 week mark.  At this point, I grab boxes and pack them full to the brim — leaving out the essentials, of course!  I’m always amazed at how well my kids play without toys — lol.  Packing toy boxes makes me smile because I know it’ll be like Christmas when it’s time to unpack!


12. Kitchen Cabinets and Pantry.

I’ll be honest, this is my least favorite part of the house to pack.  Misery loves company — it’s best to pack the kitchen with friends!  Here’s a bunch of motherly advice:  Label these boxes real well.  Have an additional open box labeled ‘Don’t load onto moving van!’ — fill it with things you will want up to the last minute and things that you will want as soon as you move a saucepan, a spatula, snack food, etc. and leave a spot for your coffee maker, too.  Buy a large quantity of paper plates, utensils, cups, and water bottles to use in the old house and as you transition into the new house.  (Speaking of new house, I can’t believe we totally remodeled our kitchen and now we’re moving on — the new kitchen will need lots of updates, too).

Moving Tips @ItsOverflowing

13.  Clean Out the Fridge.

If you need to leave milk and water bottles in the fridge, no big deal, but scrubbing a fridge and freezer while your moving truck is being loaded — kind of a big deal.  So get it done — toss, box, give, and clean until your fridge is clean!  I shared my favorite Refrigerator Cleaning & Organizing Tips, here.


14.  Remove Nails and Screws.

Leave the house with a clean slate!  Patch the holes with Spackle — using toothpicks to fill in larger holes that had molly-bolts.  Yes, you can just leave the screws in place, but if you have the original paint color and have a free minute, it doesn’t take long to leave the buyers a home they’re excited to call their own.  Chances are the new owners won’t be decorating identical to the way you had things setup — their wall hangings will most likely require new nails and screws!

15.  Laundry Room.

Load up the laundry room, but be sure to leave the cleaning supplies out on the shelf so you can do a final clean up of the old house and a detailed cleaning at the new house!

16. All the Other Rooms.

Yep, you have a huge grasp on packing and a great headstart!  Take a little time now to pack the rest of it up…you might want to pack suitcases for everyone so they have clothing and essentials on either side of the move!

Moving Tips @ItsOverflowing


17.  Load all your suitcases, important kitchen box(es), computer, stereo speakers, etc. into your car.  To speed up the moving time, use a bit of the day before your move to disassemble furniture (make sure to place the parts somewhere that will be easy to find).

A Great Moving Plan @ItsOverflowing


•  Our Boxes came from Craigslist, Freecycle, Neighbors, Friends, and Home Depot!

•  Buy MORE than you think you’ll need.

•  Large Boxes — Comforters, Pillows, Tupperware, etc.

•  Small Boxes — Books, Plates, Glasses, Appliances, Heavy Items.

•  Label, Label, Label, Label, Label.

•  When a large bulk of the boxes are unpacked — resell your boxes — MONEY MONEY MONEY!

 Linking up at: Savvy Southern Style, Between Naps on the Porch

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  1. Kate says:

    Feeling so thankful for the internet today as I’m searching for moving tips! Your list is awesome, thank you!!

  2. Zoe Reid says:

    I’m moving soon and it’s time for me to declutter. It seems to be the hardest part of the move for me because there are tons of old stuff in the basement I have to get rid of. But I’ll handle somehow. Your other tips are great and very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  3. This post is exactly what I was looking for! I’m planning the family home move to California in September and although I’ve just started researching and stuff I can already feel the panic, lol 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Robert@Packingboxescairns says:

    Very useful tips you have share. Start packing early! Do not leave it to the very last minute to pack all of your precious belongings. Label the content very clearly on your boxes!

  5. Susan Ramsay says:

    You mention screws and furniture parts. Don’t just toss everything in a bowl! Use a zip lock baggie or a taped shut sandwich bag and tape the bag to the item from whence the screws came.
    My daughter taught me this with a daybed. We taped the screw to the headboard and they were right there when my DIL helped me set up the bed in the new place.

    I like your suggestion of using smaller boxes. My ex hubby, when he became my hubby, used a giant Slurpee cup box from 7-11 and could hardly lift it.

  6. I used Avon boxes for books, pots and pans, and other heavy things. I’ve also found that file boxes work great for books!

  7. Sara J says:

    Thank you so much for this post! It is seriously an answer to prayer. You’ve helped me feel like I can actually do this move without a major heart attack. 🙂

  8. Stephanie says:

    Great list! May I add another tip that keeps me a bit more sane?

    I grab a stack of large bright post-it notes and as I completely empty a cabinet or closet where the door is closed, I hang a note that says “Done” or “Completed” so I don’t keep opening it up to check if I had packed everything. If there are only a few items left, I move them out to avoid leaving them behind. Once a room has been completely emptied of all items including packed boxes, I close the door and put anote on the door. This keeps me from going back into rooms over and over or checking on a closet, cabinet or room that has been completed.

    Once we are ready to drive away, we walk through the house and open each door to check one last time, gather the notes as we go. We also do a thorough walk around the entire outside of the house and yard for hiding gardening items and toys.

    One last thing, we pack all of the bedding for each person’s bed into the car along with our jammies, one clean set of clothes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving items, makeup and shower things. That way we can make the beds first and have a nice restful sleep the first night of the move no matter what. It has been the best of all ideas and keeps both the kids and parents happier to be able to go right to a comfy sleep amid the chaos! I have also added one more box of late to the car: coffee maker, coffee , sugar/creamer and mugs for my husband who can’t wake up without it! I would add fun individual boxes of cereal, paper bowls and plastic spoons if the kids were small too.

  9. Hillary says:

    Thank you for the great advice! I also have a tip about moving books to share. I recently read about packing your books in your rolling suitcases will make moving them less backbreaking. I am moving next week and not looking forward to it but some of your tips will make the process alot easier. Thanks again!

  10. Thank you for this post! I’m planning a move to another state next spring and this will be very useful! Found you on the Inspire me Tuesday Linky party.

  11. Awesome tips, Aimee! And so many other good little nuggets in there with your other posts as well! Pinning for our next moving day!

    ~Abby =)

  12. great tips and have fun unpacking 🙂

  13. We’ve moved many times and your tips are good ones. I like to pack heavy items, like dishes in small boxes rather than large ones. Easy to carry or move about and labels can be more specific.

  14. Great list! My favorite way to pack my clothes is to put them in garbage bags. You leave them on hangers, grab 5 – 10 items at a time, depending on how bulky they are, and roll them up so that the hangers are folded into the clothes. That way they don’t snag the bags. So quick and unpacking them is a breeze because you just unroll and hang up 🙂

  15. Great organizing tips…but you left out the part where you have to keep going back to the box store to get more boxes because there is still more stuff to pack….Just when I thought I was done with the kitchen, or living room, I would realize the lamps need packing, mirrors..pantry…number 1 tip: get 3 times as many boxes and paper than you think you need…especially if you are going across country like we did. :o)

    • LOL! Yes, I put get more boxes than you think you need at the end…should have put that at the beginning! XO, Aimee

  16. Khadija says:

    Awesome tips. I always like to pack an “open me first” box. It has pans, towels, a few food items, dishes, any medications, special toys, etc. 🙂

  17. Thanks! This will be so helpful when we move next year. Great tips!

  18. Great tips and sound like you were so organized. Love it. Hugs, Marty