Is there a move on the horizon for you? Then read on for my tips on how to reduce stress when you prepare for a move.
How to Prepare for a Move
I have moved a lot over the years. While in College I moved every summer where ever a job came up for me. Then after we were married we moved every couple years. So I’m no slouch at moving.
We are anticipating a move in 2019 (our house is currently for sale) and I’m working through our entire house using these tips so when moving day actually arrives it will go so much smoother. It’s important to implement these tips before a moving date is ever set.
Before the House Sells
Talk about the upcoming move with your kids
Moving can be stressful. Especially if you have children. The uncertainty of it all affects them just as much as it does you. Often these feelings will come out in the evening after kids have gone to bed. Any conversation at this time is more emotional than during the day.
Be gentle with your kids and let them talk through their feelings. They are loosing the house that has been their home for a long time. In the case of our kids we’ve lived in this house for 7 years. This is the only home that 2 of our kids remember.
This is scary and overwhelming. So we talk about what the move means and how it will change things. Arlen and I work hard at not pushing their worries aside. We’re making sure that the kids feel validated.
Declutter Your Home
Once you decide to move or list your home for sale you need to declutter your home. It’s important for your home to look good for showings.
Sometimes this means the quick stash and dash to get the house looking good for the realtor photos, but if you don’t start working on the behind the scenes clutter, come moving day its only going to confront you and overwhelm you.
So start decluttering now! Work room by room or category by category like Marie Kondo recommends. Which ever method you do, start now.
Sell large items you can repurchase after the move
Moving costs a lot of money. You have to rent U-Haul trucks, borrow trailers and sweet talk your friends into borrowing trucks. Space is money. If you can do without some items from now until you move, then consider selling them.
We live on an acreage and you quickly start to collect things. I also used to have a furniture refinishing business, as well as selling Fusion Mineral Paint, so I had an abundance of random pieces of furniture and tons of paint.
When we made the decision to list our house for sale last summer, I started to sell all the extra supplies. I had already sold the majority of my paint inventory, but I had kept a small stash of painting supplies for myself. These supplies were listed on Facebook Marketplace and I let them go.
Arlen decided to sell his table saw since it was really heavy and awkward to move. We have missed that item, but I know that we’ll be able to replace that one day when we move and have a garage again.
With large furniture items consider selling them with the house so you don’t have to move them. The house we owned previous to the one we’re in now came with a hideabed in the basement. We included it in the home when we sold it as well. Win-win!
Start Collecting newspaper for packing
This one is pretty self explanatory. Collecting newspaper is a great free way to wrap all those valuables so you don’t have to buy packing paper. Moving is expensive and this is a great way to stretch your moving budget.
If you don’t want to worry about getting ink on your dishes purchase a roll of clean newsprint instead.
When the Move date is Set
Collect Moving boxes
There are lots of ways to collect moving boxes without having to purchase boxes. My favourite is to pop in and ask at your local chain fast food restaurants for boxes. Often they have cardboard dumpsters out back.
French Fry boxes are extremely durable and they are a nice manageable size. They don’t hold huge quantities so they are great for packing books.
Using Facebook marketplace and your local Facebook Buy and Sell groups are also ways to request moving moving boxes. Post an add looking for boxes near the beginning and the end of the month when people have just moved into new homes.
Start packing items that are non-essential
If you’re renting and you’ve given your notice or your house has sold and you have the date of possession finalized, now is the time to start packing.
You need to start now, not when your friends show up on moving day. Moving day is for moving, not packing. There should only be boxes to move, not items to be boxed up.
Start with packing up movies, out of season supplies (winter gear in summer, summer gear in winter etc), extra toys, extra bedding, etc.
This is the time to get things into boxes and into a dedicated spot. If you have the luxury of a garage start a pile there. If you have a spare room or corner of a basement, turn them into a holding area.
Label, label, label and then label some more
There are a couple ways to organize your packing. I try and keep like items together in the same box. If it’s garage supplies that can’t freeze, make sure you label it DO NOT FREEZE. That way those boxes can be loaded last so they’re the first off in winter.
In one of our moves I went so far as to keep a log book. Each box was numbered and then listed in my book with everything written down that was inside. This worked at the beginning of the packing, until the moving date neared.
This move I’m going to be getting different coloured duct tape for each room. That way movers will be able to tell what each box is without having to stop and read that list on each box. I will also use a Sharpie marker and list what’s inside the box as well.
Pack all bed linens together and clearly mark so that you can find them immediately at the new home.
Clearly mark items that are fragile.
Invest in Shrink Wrap, Large Ziploc Bags and Blue Bags
I tried to be cheap when preparing for our last move and use packing tape to hold plastic organizers closed and I hated it. It leaves glue reside on everything and causes more headaches once you’re moved.
Shrink wrap is the better solution. It holds drawers in place on dressers, organizers and can even creat lids for items in containers without lids.
On the day of the move use cardboard and protect the corners of couches, chairs and other furniture and then use shrink wrap to hold them in place. You can even cover your couch with old sheets prior to wrapping as well.
Also purchase Extra-large Ziploc bags for storing bedding and linens. The air can get squished out and they will stack much tighter than loose in a garbage bag.
Using Clear or blue recycling bags are key to not having your possessions not tossed out with the trash. When at all possible DO NOT put items into black garbage bags. They will get lost!
Clean as you go
There is nothing worse than having to stay back or come back to a place you’ve moved out of to clean.
Remember I mentioned picking a room to be your holding zone for boxes? Before you start putting anything in that room, wash all the walls and trim. Clean the windows and curtains or blinds. Wash light fixtures and replace any burned out bulbs.
This room is now officially ready for move out, except the floor. Every time you empty a cupboard, wipe it down. Keep track of the places you’ve washed so on moving day you don’t overlap things you’ve already cleaned.
You will thank me for this tip. You are going to be exhausted on moving day.
Eat out of the Pantry and Freezer before grocery shopping
Why move food if you don’t have to? In that last month before you move, shop your pantry and freezers for food that can be eaten and used up.
If you run out of something in that month, don’t buy in bulk. Buy smaller packages that you can hopefully use up before moving day.
You might have some creative meals in that last week, but at least you won’t have to move food. Whatever you don’t eat up before your move can be sent home with your friends that are helping you move.
If you’re like us and have a freezer full of a years worth of meat, this won’t be as simple. We plan on first emptying the freezer into coolers and loading the freezer into the moving truck last, then putting the meat back in for the move. Then at the new house we will again put the meat into coolers, unload the freezer and set the freezer in the new house.
Fridges and Freezers do need to sit for 24 hours before you can plug them in after moving. So hopefully we can either store our meat in friends and family freezers for a day until we can plug ours back in.
Take apart anything you can ahead of time
If you are able to take items apart prior to moving day it will speed things up immensely on moving day. Since you’ve boxed up books take the bookshelves apart and wrap the shelves together with shrink wrap. Put all screws and shelf brackets into a Ziploc bag, then shrink wrap them to the shelves.
This makes sure that they don’t get lost in the move or mixed into a big bag of screws and supplies. If this makes you worried then put all screws and brackets into a labelled Ziploc bag and designate one box for all of these supplies.
My concern with this method is that if this box gets lost in the move you won’t be able to put your furniture back together.
Take off the feet of any couches that are being moved as well. We didn’t in a past move and when the couch was slide into the trailer on moving day it snapped off. Leaving us with a 3 legged couch!
Pack an overnight bag
Pack an overnight bag with some of your essentials so that once you’re at the new house you’re able to shower and clean up without having to go digging through the boxes.
You’ll feel so much better after a hot shower!
Take small children and head to the new house first
Yah! Moving Day has finally arrived. Your house is all packed and all that’s needed is the movers to empty the house.
If you have small children, put someone in charge at the old house so you and the kids can leave. In our moves, this person was always Arlen. He’s our master stacker and Tetris packer. I then went to the new house with the kids so that they didn’t have to see their beds and rooms in chaos.
I had a small box of toys or things for the kids to play with to keep them occupied while waiting for the moving truck to show up.
If you aren’t able to leave the old house yourself, put someone you trust in charge of your kids and have them take them to the new house. The key is to keep them safe, out of the way of movers and to help keep emotions in check.
By being at the new house, you are then able to direct incoming boxes to the appropriate homes.
Have a box of supplies for movers
This box should include basic tools, shrink wrap, markers, Ziploc bags and any straps needed for securing loads. As furniture is dismantled all little parts can be bagged up, labelled and shrink wrapped to the items to prevent misplacing them.
Also have a box of cleaning supplies for doing the final cleaning as the house is emptied so you don’t have to come back and clean.
Set up beds and bedrooms first
**Load Bed Linen Boxes on the moving truck last, so they are the first off the truck**
When you were packing and labelling you clearly marked all bedding so you could find it quickly. By keeping all bed linens together you will be able to set up beds right away.
I encourage you to set up your kids rooms first. Remember this day is going to be full of emotions. By setting up your kids rooms they will have a space that they can hide out in that feels like home.
By getting beds assembled and put together first also means that at the end of the day, when all boxes have been brought into the house and you can’t stand to look at them, you can fall into bed for a good nights sleep.
In the morning after a good sleep those boxes aren’t going to seem quite as daunting as the day before.
Put someone in charge of food
On Moving Day, have a good supply of grab and go food likeGranola bars, water bottles and pop. It’s important to keep your helpers hydrated and full.
Then after the move feed your crew a good meal. This can be Pizza and Beer or Crockpot Chili and buns. What ever you choose put someone other than you in charge. You’re going to be all done in!
Enjoy your new home!
The move is all over, the boxes are stacked in the new house, the crew is fed and has left; it’s just you and your family.
Take a seat and enjoy the rewards from all your hard work. Relax and know that tomorrow is a new day. You don’t need to get the house unpacked tonight.