At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.
Planning on moving in the next few months? Whether you’ve purchased your dream home or are relocating to take advantage of the remote work trend, you’re probably strategizing on how to make moving easier this time around, because no matter how many times you’ve done it, you almost never get it down to a science.
We’ve extensively covered the moving process, including printable moving checklists, DIY moving tools and extensive packing lists to help keep you on track, but we’ve never looked into delivering real transplants’ out-of-the-ordinary moving hacks that you can use to make the moving process easier.
We talked to real estate professionals and also crowdsourced experts within our network for obscure but totally logical moving hacks that you can try for your upcoming move. Get comfortable, and let’s see how many of these you can implement.
Leading up to the big day
1. Start your move right by editing your belongings
Home organization experts agree that purging anything that is not needed or wanted is an ideal way to start your move.
If you do this before you pack any boxes, then you will ensure you’re not spending time and money packing and moving things you don’t plan to keep in your new home.
2. Purge any unopened boxes from your last move
If you still have boxes that remain untouched, then it’s probably safe to assume their contents are not needed anymore.
3. Eat all the food
It will make for some weird meals closer to the moving date, but eating all the food in your pantry is cheaper than moving it from one kitchen to the next. (Take stock of everything in the freezer, as well!)
4. Arrange for donation pickup
In this post-pandemic world, thrift stores have been inundated with donations. From business casual clothes for now remote workers, to deep closet cleanings brought on by shutdown boredom, donations have been turned away in carloads.
The lesson for you is: It might not be easy to find an organization willing to take your discards. Start making calls as soon as possible to ensure your items find a home well before moving day.
5. Consider whether you need movers
There are varying levels of service depending on your budget and the distance you’re moving. From white-glove service, where the movers pack, move, and unpack your belongings for you, to “day of” movers, who focus on loading and unloading your moving truck.
You can also consider hiring a professional home organizer to help you unpack everything after your move.
6. Snag free boxes
The best free boxes for moving are book boxes and liquor boxes. They are fairly manageable for one person by themselves, plus they are sturdy and can hold a lot of weight.
Asking your local liquor or grocery store to hold sturdy boxes for you can guarantee you a load of high-quality boxes. Similarly, your local bookstore manager might hold boxes of shipments for you to pick up.
Be sure to speak to the manager and pick up the boxes promptly on the date and time that was agreed upon to make sure they don’t get recycled.
7. Thank Bezos for those free packing materials
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, stocking up on your boxes and other packing materials like packing peanuts, air pockets, and craft paper filler leading up to the move can help reduce the amount of packing materials you need to purchase for your move.
8. Color-code your move
Pick up a different color of duct tape for each room ahead of time, and color code the boxes for each room in your home to help quickly identify where each box belongs when unpacking your moving truck.
9. Stock up on clear packing bins
Instead of choosing cardboard boxes, pack items in clear storage bins. They stack neatly, come with fitting lids, protect your belongings from humidity or water damage, and can be reused to store goods in your new home.
10. Create an inventory checklist
If you’re using a moving company or moving for distance, you could use a spreadsheet inventory of your belongings for insurance purposes. Start sooner rather than later so you don’t rush or skip important items!
11. Number your boxes
Reuse your inventory checklist by numbering each box as you pack it, then adding a column to document the number of the box where each item is being packed to help keep you organized (and track down missing items more easily).
Packing hacks to make your move easier
12. Pack one room at a time, as a team
Treasure Davis, a real estate agent in Colorado Springs who works with 73% more homes than the average agent in her area, advises: “One of the biggest hacks I give my clients is to have the family start in one room together.
“A lot of times, everyone starts in their own space, and things implode quickly. Get the bins, the boxes, and the tape in there. Start your usual donate, sell, keep piles, and move through each space as a group.
“It really helps to keep things organized, and you know once that room is cleared, you can all move to the next one.”
13. Pack your multipurpose rooms first
These tend to be the hardest spaces to organize and pack when moving because your new home might not have a completely equivalent area.
Toll also advises her buyers to mark the box with the name of the room and also the name of the person who owns what’s in the box. Take a picture of what’s in the box, and use the picture to label the box, so you know exactly what’s in it from the outside.
14. Timeblock your packing
Instead of planning to pack nonstop for an entire weekend, start sooner and dedicate one to two hours per day to packing. You will feel less tired, you’ll be able to stick with your systems, and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
15. Label your boxes on several sides
Whether you’re using pictures, numbers, names, or color-coded tape, applying labels to multiple sides of the box makes it easier to quickly spot where each box belongs once unloaded from the moving truck.
16. Don’t empty out your dresser drawers
Instead of loading an empty dresser with drawers, remove the drawers, secure the items by wrapping the drawer in plastic wrap, then replacing them in the dresser at your new abode.
If the dresser is not too heavy to move with the loaded drawers intact, you can leave the drawers in the dresser and wrap the entire piece of furniture in plastic wrap.
17. Lay a piece of string at the seam of your moving boxes
This way your boxes will be easy to open, and you won’t need a box cutter or scissors to get started.
18. Leave your clothes on the hanger
To move them from one closet to another, either group them up and wrap them in large garbage bags, or hang them in a wardrobe box.
19. Put your linens, towels, and other soft items to use
Use these as padding to wrap up breakables. Glasses and perfume bottles fit inside socks, and linens and towels can provide cushioning for fragile items such as lamps and vases.
While packing the kitchen, protect your blades and your hands by using dish towels to securely wrap up knives and other sharp objects. Secure the towels with a rubber band or packing tape.
20. Use pots to hold small items
Fill up your large pots and other lidded containers with pantry items. You’ll save a ton of space and money on boxes!
21. Wrap plastic wrap around products that might spill
Prevent spills from open bottles in transit by using plastic wrap to secure the lids. Liquids such as soap, shampoo, and cleaning supplies won’t leak all over your other belongings.
22. Pack your suitcases
The ones with wheels are great for transporting heavy items.
23. Take a picture of the back of your TV, your stereo, and other electronics
It’s easy to forget where the wires go! Before you disassemble your setups, take a quick picture with your cell phone so you can remember how to put everything back together when you get to your destination.
24. Pack your books vertically
It’s also smart to orient them with the spines facing in the same direction. That way they can go from the box to their new shelf without getting disorganized.
25. Pack your dishes vertically
They tend to break when packed horizontally, and they’ll take up less room.
26. Vacuum-seal your clothes so they take up less room
No, you don’t need a machine or special bags to do it. You can use garbage bags and a vacuum cleaner with a hose to create a vacuum sealed bag and save yourself some space when moving.
Fill your trash bag with clothes, sheets, towels or bedding. Hold the bag closed with your hand, making a fist. Insert the vacuum cleaner inside your fist so it sucks air out from inside the bag. Turn it on, and keep it there until the bag stops shrinking.
Then, tie the bag shut with a tight knot. The result is a very tight, very compact package that can be easily moved.
27. Own a foam mattress?
Folding it in half and tying it down (like a taco) makes it easier for one person to move by themselves. Don’t forget to put it in a mattress bag first!
28. Stock up on restaurant gift certificates ahead of time
You will feel less guilty using them on the day of the move if you already have them on hand. You don’t want to try and cook while simultaneously packing and unpacking your kitchen.
29. Don’t save all the cleaning for the last day
Deep-clean the fridge, oven, and bathrooms a few days before moving day so you don’t have a long cleaning list after the boxes are out.
30. Use IKEA bags
This is not a huge hack for city dwellers, who have long known the advantages of these blue 19-gallon bags. At 99 cents each, they are a steal and can fit a lot.
On moving day
31. Group boxes together according to areas
Even though you’re going to want to load every nook and cranny in the moving truck, keeping the boxes generally grouped by rooms or areas of the house makes it easier to unload when you get to your destination.
32. Load the largest items first into the truck
Start with the couch, the washer and dryer, and the fridge (if it’s coming with you). Then move on to dressers, beds, and desks. Use boxes to fill in the spaces in between.
33. Disassemble anything that can be taken apart
Save all the small screws, nuts, and bolts in a small plastic bag, then tape it to the larger pieces of furniture.
34. Wrap a rubber band around the front door knob handle
If you wrap it so it holds down the latch, you won’t get accidentally locked out while you’re moving boxes and items in and out of the house.
35. Pack a cooler
Fill it with easy-to-grab items like fruit, granola, protein bars, water bottles, and sandwiches to help keep your strength up. Carry it with you in the car so you have easy access when you get hungry or thirsty.
36. Stay at a more expensive hotel
If you’re moving far away, spend the night in a more expensive hotel that’s located further away from the highway.
Thieves love to target overnight U-Haul drivers staying in hotels next to the highway exit, and higher-end hotels tend to also have better security.
Once it’s time to unpack
37. Start with the beds
Make sure everyone has a clean, comfortable place to sleep when the exhausting day is over. This is especially important if you’re moving with children.
38. Continue with the kitchen
It will give you a huge sense of satisfaction, and then will allow you to focus on the easier-to-unpack areas. Unpacking your kitchen in an orderly fashion, and focusing on the most-used items first, will give a kitchen that’s ready to use immediately after the move is complete.
39. Give yourself a deadline
It’s so easy to shove the last dozen boxes in a closet, attic, or basement to stop thinking about them. Instead, schedule some sort of get-together that requires everything to be unpacked, to give yourself a deadline and stay motivated to finish unpacking every single box.
40. Put on some dancing music!
It makes everything better and helps distract from the overall mess around you. Want some ideas? Check out this moving day playlist.
41. Timeblock your unpacking
Schedule one to two hours of unpacking every day over the first 10 days to pace yourself.
42. For the procrastinators, dump a box on your bed or into your bathtub
The idea here is that you have no choice but to clear it all out and put everything away before you can go to sleep or take a bath (or a shower, in some homes!).
43. Clean and recycle as you unpack
As soon as the box is emptied, break it down, pick up the packing materials, and set it for recycling. This will help keep your space clean and organized.
44. Want to make a quick buck? Sell your boxes on Facebook Marketplace
While your journey ends, other people begin theirs. Instead of sending your boxes to the recycling bin, pass them on to the next person moving.
45. Eliminate boxes as you empty them
As soon as a box is empty, break it down and recycle it. This will do double-duty for your moving plans: It both gives you a physical marker of progress and also clears up much-needed space in your new home.
Hopefully you’re feeling inspired by these moving hacks to get planning for your upcoming move! Good luck.
Header Image Source: (Bench Accounting / Unsplash)