When it comes to moving, the days of stuffing everything into your car and leaving your junk on the curb are over.
You could hire someone to do the whole thing for you, but that could cost you thousands of dollars. And with a whole house full of stuff, you don’t have the time or energy to just wing it anymore––so you need all the moving tips and tricks you can find.
If you want to make this your best move and save time and money, you need advice from the pros. And not just self-proclaimed pros, real moving experts who have spent years mastering the best ways to move.
That’s right––we got tips and tricks from founders of innovative moving companies, the creator of a professional organizer company, and a top real estate agent who has completed over 1,000 real estate transactions. We have every hack, tip, and trick these real pros do that you can too.
Let the fun begin.
Prepare to move during your home sale
1. Get utilities up and running by moving day.
“Make sure you transfer the utilities before you close escrow, otherwise you’re going to have a weekend without electricity and water,” says Chris Murray, a top selling real estate agent in Hemet, California, who has sold over 74% more properties than the average agent.
He adds that between gas, water, and electric, it could take anywhere between a few days and a couple of weeks to get them up and running. So, schedule the transfer as soon as you know what day you’re moving in.
2. Hire movers as soon as you know your closing date.
Movers get booked months in advance. So if you plan to hire a moving company, hire one as soon as you know what day you’ll close escrow or you’ll be left with the 2-star schmucks who charges you an arm and a leg.
3. Don’t let movers ‘squeeze you in.’
If a moving company is booked on your moving day, find another moving company.
“Don’t beg a mover to squeeze you into his schedule on the last Saturday in July,” says Mike Glanz, the founder and CEO of HireAHelper, an online marketplace for hiring hourly moving labor.
“That’s when his schedule is most full and ‘squeezing you in’ might actually mean you’ll be getting his least trained crew, exhausted from 4 moves before yours, showing up 3 hours late.”
4. Reserve movers’ earliest time slot in the beginning of the month.
Ryan Carrigan, the co-founder of moveBuddha, a fast and easy way to plan a move online, says, “If you’re hiring a moving company, book the earliest morning time slot available. The moving crew will be fresh so they’ll get the job done faster and typically do a better job.”
Glanz adds, “This is especially true in the summer when moving crews are slotted for up to 5 or 6 move jobs in one day. If your loading request ends up as their 5th move, even if you get the best crew in town, they’re going to be exhausted, work slower, and might even drop a thing or two.”
5. Rent a moving truck instead of using the mover’s truck.
A hired mover with a moving truck costs significantly more than it would if you hired a mover and rented a truck separately.
Rent a moving truck or reserve a moving container to use for the duration of your move. Then, hire moving labor to load and unload it.
“By separating the transportation and the labor, you stay in complete control of your stuff and it’s far more affordable than a full-service moving company,” says Glanz. “A full-service move normally costing $2,600 could be done for $800 using this approach.”
6. Schedule time off of work.
With a full-time job, the weekend is the most convenient time to move. But if you cram a whole move into 2 days, Monday turns into a rude awakening. Give yourself an extra day or two to pack or unpack to avoid stress and fatigue.
7. Don’t buy groceries within two weeks of moving.
It’s time to eat up! Go through your freezer, fridge, and pantry and finish off stored foods. Your new fridge will feel fresh and you’ll save time and money in the weeks that lead up to moving.
8. Get all of your moving supplies in one trip.
There’s nothing more inconvenient than running back and forth to HomeDepot because you ran out of moving supplies. Get everything you need in one trip to save time as you pack and move.
9. Find free boxes that are small and sturdy.
“Free boxes from liquor stores or big box retailers are a great way to save some cash. Just make sure you only get sturdy, good quality boxes,” says Carrigan.“Also, avoid grocery store boxes as they may contain pests.”
Go for small or medium sized boxes instead of big ones. This is a common mistake people make while they move, according to Professional Organizer, Ben Soreff, creator of House to Home Organizing.
“Many people get excited when they find a huge moving box thinking it will solve their problems, but it creates them instead. A person needs to be able to carry it,” Soreff says.
“Banker boxes or copy paper boxes make great moving boxes. If two people need to carry the box, especially up stairs, you lose time.”
10. Purge items to sell or donate.
Go through your items before you pack to decide which items you’ll keep and which you’ll get rid of.
“Having a yard sale can be a terrific way of lightening the moving load while making a little money at the same time. If you’re not for haggling with the public, then just donate your quality used items to Goodwill and take the tax write-off,” says Glanz.
Start to pack with these hacks
11. Keep important documents in a clear container.
Don’t risk misplacing your tax documents, home sale/buying documents, employment records, etc. in the midst of the move. Get a separate container to hold important documents and keep it in a safe place as you box up your house.
12. Pack an overnight box for after the move.
Plan ahead for your first night in your new house. Spoiler alert: You’ll be exhausted.
“Put all your toiletries, medicines and other personal items into a special box or suitcase that you take with you. This way you can find your toothbrush after an exhausting day of moving,” says Carrigan.
13. Color code and label boxes for each room.
Stay organized with each packed box. Assign a color to each room and mark the boxes accordingly. Go the extra mile and label each box with its contents.
14. Make use of containers, baskets, and suitcases.
Pack your suitcases, storage containers, and laundry baskets with items first, to save boxes. Another added bonus––suitcases with wheels!
15. Put plastic wrap over drawers and containers.
Save time with plastic wrap! Leave silverware, jewelry, and folded clothes in their drawers or containers. Secure and cover them with plastic wrap so they don’t fall out between point A and point B.
16. Leave clothes on hangers.
Use a dry clean bag or plastic garbage bag to hold hanging clothes together. Then, simply carry the bundle from your old closet to your new closet! Easy!
17. Wrap fragile items in soft linens.
You can save space in boxes and bubble wrap when you wrap hand or dish towels around fragile items. Stuff drinking glasses with clean pairs of socks to prevent them from breaking (and remember to give the glasses a quick rinse before you use them).
18. Get space bags for miscellaneous clothes and linens.
Vacuum seal storage bags save major space in boxes. Throw miscellaneous clothes and linens into a space bag, roll or vacuum the air out, then stack the bags into a box.
19. Use plastic wrap to secure lids on fluids.
Take the lid off of liquids like condiments and shampoos, put a layer of plastic wrap over the top, and then put the lid back on. This will help prevent leaks during transportation.
20. Save your makeup with cotton balls.
Stick a cotton ball in powdered makeup like blush and eyeshadow so it doesn’t crumble into pieces during your move.
21. Put knives in an oven mitt for protection.
As you pack up your kitchen, put the sharp end of knives into an oven mitt or wrap them in a dish towel. Use some packing tape to secure them to prevent injuries when you unpack.
22. Put small kitchen items like spices and measuring cups into pots.
The space inside your pots is super valuable. You can fit spices, measuring cups, and other small kitchen items inside big pots. Put a dish towel in to reduce clings and clangs and prevent breakage on a bumpy ride.
23. Use tape or rubber bands to secure the lids on pots and pans.
Once your pots and pans are full, secure the lid with packing tape or rubber bands to keep everything inside. Then, stack them in a box with bubble wrap or filler paper so they don’t break.
24. Take a picture of the back of your TV.
Between your cable box, game consoles, surround sound speakers, HDMI cables, and Amazon Fire Stick, the back of your TV looks like the sound mixer at a rock concert. Before you unplug everything to pack away, take a picture of the back of the TV so you remember where everything goes.
25. Keep screws and bolts in labeled plastic bags.
If you take apart any furniture, keep all of the little pieces in a Ziplock sandwich bag. Then, tape the bag to the furniture so you know where it belongs when you need to put it back together.
26. Clean or dust items as you pack them.
Future self will high-five you for this one. Keep a duster or a roll of paper towels closeby as you pack. Give each item a quick wipe before it goes in the box. Your new house will stay fresh and clean as you unpack everything.
27. Finish packing before moving day.
Keep packing and moving separate. Start packing early and make sure everything’s done before the moving truck pulls up.
Moving day tips and tricks
28. Set up shower and bathroom essentials first.
Before you start loading and unloading, bring over toilet paper, soap, a few towels, and a shower curtain to your new house. Once you get in the zone of bringing boxes in and out, you’ll want to make quick bathroom breaks. At the end of the sweaty day, your new shower will be ready for you.
29. Stock the new house with easy meals
Bring a frozen pizza or a box of cereal to your new kitchen before you move. It’ll come in handy for a missed lunch or last-minute dinner while you’re busy getting settled in.
30. Pack a cooler with snacks and water.
For an all-day affair like moving, on-the-go essentials like granola bars and water will replenish you while you drive and save time so you don’t stop for meals.
31. Recruit friends to help.
Rally the troops to make your move faster, easier, cheaper, and more fun. Offer first dibs of donation items, free beer, or a thank you meal for their efforts.
32. Entertain kids with safe moving supplies.
Moving day is a bore for kids––and a distraction for you.
“Have the kids help unpack select boxes—then let them use the box and bubble wrap at an out-of-the-way spot where they’re free to use them as accessories to their imagination,” says Glanz.
Organize your move with tips and tricks from the pros
For every big move, preparation is key.
Prepare your move ahead of time to avoid common setbacks, pack strategically with expert hacks, and make moving day a breeze with advice from the pros.
Remember these pro moving tips and tricks to stay in your budget and finish the move on time.