Moving is stressful — in fact, it’s one of the most stressful life events. In the weeks leading up to your move you may look around and this think, “How is this possible?! Where will I find the time?!” Organizing for a move is essential — but where do you even start? Start here, of course!
Getting organized before a move can be the difference between a stressful move and an extremely stressful move. After moving because of the military* so often, let me show you a few of my favorite ways!
*This post is written by guest author, Kailyn Rhinehart.
Organizing for a Move: Quick Tips
- Purge and declutter as much as you can.
- Order the right supplies well before your move
- Set priorities when packing — create a packing order
- Put items in boxes where they belong — don’t mix!
- Use up everything you can before you move.
- Have a designated “Do Not Pack” area.
- Centralize your cleaning supplies.
- Use a binder or a folder to keep all your lists and moving papers organized and together.
- Have a packing strategy.
Keep reading for details and helpful lists!
Organizing For a Move
Organizing for a move doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are 9 great tips for a less stressful move.
1. Purge and Declutter before Your Move
One of the best tips for organizing for a move is not, in fact, organizing at all — it’s decluttering and purging.
Decluttering before a move is effective and easy. Plus, there is almost no time in your life when you’ll be more motivated to let go. Do you really want to bring that to your new house?
A few months before your moving date, slowly declutter each space in your home. Start small. Begin with spaces that are often forgotten about, like the garage, closets, or storage areas. Go at your own pace and go in with a plan. Separate items into trash, sell or donate piles.
You will be thankful once you start actually unpacking, I promise.
Donate, sell, or throw away anything you don’t want to take with you to this next chapter of life. Don’t we all love a good fresh start?
For extra motivation, listen to an audiobook such as Declutter Like a Mother while you work.
2. Order Supplies In Advance
There’s nothing that will derail your day of packing more than not having the supplies you need.
Essential Moving Supplies
- Quality boxes in a variety of sizes (home improvement stores usually have the best prices if you need to purchase)
- Quality tape gun
- Extra packing tape
- Thich sharpies (get multiple)
- Colored Tape (if color coding, see below)
- Room Stickers
- Packing Paper (more environmentally friendly than bubble wrap)
- Binder (for essential papers, see below)
- Cleaning Supplies
- Moving blankets (any movers you hire may supply these)
Don’t feel the need to purchase all this new. A few months before your move, ask friends and family for extra boxes, borrow a tape gun or two, use cleaning supplies you already have, and repurpose a binder in your office.
3. Consider Your Packing Order
When organizing for a move, think before you pack — packing order matters.
Don’t just start throwing things into boxes, especially if it’s something you’ll need in the days leading up to your move. You may feel you can’t be too productive a month or two out, but you can!
Think about what you need to keep out, and what you can tuck away early on. Getting organized before a move doesn’t mean just organizing your stuff; it also means organizing the way you do things.
Closets, the garage, or off-season items/holiday decor are a great place to start packing.
If you’re moving in July, you likely won’t need snow gear when you arrive at your new location. In a situation like this, you can pack away a box of winter gear early on.
Other items like specific holiday decor, or even wall hanging in rooms you don’t frequent, are items you can pack away first. This will help you find your flow and give you some packing momentum from the start.
4. Put Things Away Before Packing
Make sure you pack items in boxes that match where they’re going.
For instance, if you’re packing up the kitchen and come across some toys, place them where they go — wherever you keep the toys — instead of sticking them in your kitchen box.
Not only will this help you find when you’re looking for it later, it will also make unpacking simpler.
Pack items in boxes that make sense.
For example, move the craft supplies to the office or closet instead of leaving it in the living room. Don’t let silverware or dishes remain in bedrooms or other spaces leading up to the move.
Be sure you have a complete set or all like-items in their designated place before you pack up the rest of those items. Putting everything in its place before you organize and pack will help you in the long run.
5. Use It Up or Pass it On
Another surprising way to get organized before a move is to use up any consumables you may have, such as cleaning supplies, paper products, foods, pantry items, excessive crafts, or other disposable items.
Make a meal plan a few months before your move to ensure you’re using up most of what you already have. This will mean less money spent on groceries, less to throw away at the last minute, and it will allow you to bring fewer items into your new home.
Condiments, baking ingredients, or frozen items can often be forgotten about until the end of your packing and moving timeline. Rather than being wasteful and throwing away half-full bottles or jars, consider passing these items along to a friend or neighbor who can use them!
6. Create a “Do Not Pack” Zone
Whether it’s a corner, a closet, or an entire room, setting aside a “Do Not Pack” zone can be a helpful and visible way to stay organized.
Put important, timely items you’ll likely need with you on the day of the move in this spot and don’t let them leave. After all, there are some things that could make your life difficult if they were packed up and locked in the back of a moving truck.
Leading up to moving day, be sure to set things aside so you or someone else doesn’t pack them into a box! Label the zone with signs, caution tape, or boobie traps so no one touches your essential stuff.
7. Create a Moving Binder
Moving means a lot of paperwork. It’s easy to misplace important documents, lists, contracts, receipts, and timelines in the chaos — which just leads to more chaos.
The simplest way to keep track of paperwork is to create a “home” for them in a binder or notebook. Divide the binder into categories or folders – such as selling a house, buying a house, receipts, dates, lists, or timelines.
After organizing your paperwork into a binder or notebook, put it in your “Do Not Pack” zone.
Continue adding to the binder until you’re settled in your new home and can get back into your normal routines. Write any new contacts, appointments, and important details for traveling and getting settled.
It can be especially helpful to take notes after speaking to new contractors for your home services such as cable and trash removal.
8. Centralize Your Cleaning Supplies
Most people have cleaning supplies scattered around their homes to make cleaning different areas convenient. When organizing for a move, gather all the supplies into one spot and bin them up (use plastic, not cardboard).
Add items like disinfectant wipes, glass cleaners, rags, paper towels, and any favorite cleaning supplies.
Whether you’re renting or own, you’ll likely deep clean before you move, and you’ll probably want to do a bit of cleaning in your new home, as well.
Containing your cleaning supplies in one designated location:
- Allows you to see what you have and what you need.
- Use up what you have.
- Condense multiples into one.
- Grab any essentials you’re running low on
- Keeps items together so you can use them immediately in your new space.
- If other people are helping you clean or pack, they’ll know just where to go.
Be sure to grab a few extra rolls of disinfectant wipes! Those will be handy for wiping down surfaces as you pack.
9. Have a Packing Strategy
Colored tape, labels, scanner codes on boxes, and “helpful” apps can help you stay organized during the packing and unpacking stage of moving — IF YOU USE THEM.
Be realistic about a system that will actually work for you. Am I the type of person who’s going to number each box, take a picture of its contents and log them into an app? No.
Am I going to toss items in a box, write a few of those items on the outside and pop a room sticker on the box? Yes, that’s more my style.
The simplest packing strategy (for me) is color-coding. Assign each room in your new home a color, then use marker or colored tape to add that color to the outside of the box.
For example, the kitchen can be red, the office can be green, and the storage area or garage can be orange — or whatever!
This is especially useful if you have movers or other people helping you to unpack that are unfamiliar with your home. If you’ve got a printed layout of your home, you can even create a color-coded map of each space so movers or helpers know just where to go.
You can purchase colored tape or markers and label each room its own color. Jotting down a brief list of the items in the box with their color helps, too.
If you’ve purchased tape, go through your new home and place that color tape in the corresponding room or outside the door. With little direction, anyone helping you unpack can carry your boxes into their designated space, which cuts down on confusion increases efficiency.
The only “right” packing method is the one you’ll use consistently and correctly.
You’ll Never Regret Organizing for a Move
Packing and moving can be overwhelming, but organizing and getting prepared ahead of time will help you take control and get it done.
These tips for getting organized before a move will help streamline your whole packing and moving-prep process and will help you feel calm, cool, and collected — as much as possible, anyway!