It seems as though you’ve finally figured it all out: You can find the utensils drawer in the dark, you know exactly where the decade-old holiday decorations are stored away, and you know where your favorite high school t-shirts are hidden.

Then all of a sudden, it’s time to move into a new place again.

An overwhelming sense of frustration and stress can ensue while moving, especially if you’re leaving a place you feel you’ve just settled into. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the stress of moving. And with certain hacks and techniques, it can be efficient, quick, and even – dare we say — kind of fun. Check out these five moving hacks to help take control and make your move a positive step forward into your new life.

A woman sitting on the floor near moving boxes while she checks items off of her packing list

Get organized with the professional’s moving checklist

If you’re a more visual person, then this is one of the best things you can do to help make your move as smooth as possible.

Download this awesome moving checklist that the professionals use. (Just save it as a PDF or screenshot it on your phone’s camera roll for easy reference.) You’ll be able to see exactly how to prepare for your move six weeks out, four weeks out, three weeks out, one week out, on moving day … and even after you’ve moved in!

A few of the things you’ll find on this checklist: supplies reminders, moving day essentials, and which important areas of your new space to clean first.

Try Hybrid Moving (by the way, what’s Hybrid Moving?)

There are different ways to move. You can just buck up and ask your friends to help you carry your sofa, or you can call a traditional full-service moving company and spend a few grand on a swat team of movers.

Well, it turns out there’s an in-between option. HireAHelper, a mover comparison and referral tool, calls it Hybrid Moving because it combines aspects from the do-it-yourself and full-service moving approaches to hack together a cheaper, often less stressful move.

To save money, you rent the moving truck on your own, then hire the movers by the hour to come and load and unload everything. On average, this costs around $900, in comparison to a full-service move, which will set you back an average of nearly $2,500. For a local move you might be able to cobble together an all-inclusive-style move for just a couple hundred bucks.

The hybrid strategy also works if you’d rather not drive a big truck and prefer to use a portable storage container instead, with driving included. A company like PODS already gives you a month to load and unload your container, so scheduling someone to come and load it professionally is easy. And most importantly, it still usually costs way less than a full-service move, while giving you more control over the timing and entire process.

Use color or number coding for your boxes and a “packing key”

Color coordinating your boxes is one of the most efficient moving hacks. It’s hard to miss a bright blue or red piece of tape!

If you color coordinate your boxes with Washi tape, it’ll cut down your move time by a lot.

Get differently colored, fluorescent tape and only use that color tape to mark the boxes from each room. Then, before you start unloading at your new place, mark the door or entry with the color of the boxes that should go there.

You can try marking boxes full of supplies that go into the kitchen with blue tape, master bedroom boxes with red tape, and office supplies with striped tape, to name a few. Then it’s as simple as creating a packing key for your movers on a piece of paper.

You’ll be able to find cheap Washi tape on Amazon or at your local discount store. Have fun and get creative with the designs and colors!

A small suitcase packed with essentials for moving day

Pull together a “day-of” essentials bag

This is one of the most important tips. It’s such a simple hack, but one that’s often overlooked.

How many times have you accidentally packed away something important? The night before your move (or sooner) make sure you pack:

  • Water bottles (which you can also give to your movers)
  • Healthy snacks like nuts and protein bars for quick energy
  • Important medications
  • Personal documents like birth certificates, passports, and social security cards
  • Toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner

At the end of moving day you’re not going to want to go rummaging around for your toothbrush before finally crashing in bed in your new room! A change of clothes will also make things more pleasant, especially if you spill something on yourself, or just want to change into a fresh shirt to travel or sleep in.

Finally, if you’re thinking about tipping your movers, make sure you have some cash stored away in your essentials box so you’re not searching for money later in the day.

Get smart with these bonus packing tips

Save time and avoid frustration with these tried and true techniques:

  • Before you unhook your TV, entertainment center, and other electronics, take a photograph of the back showing how connections are set up. This will save some trial and error when trying to hook it all up again in your new place. Trust me, don’t forget this one!
  • There’s no sense taking clothes off hangers. Keep them together and place them into garbage or garment bags.
  • Moving art? Make an X out of tape across the glass part of your frame as a preventive measure in case the glass shatters during the move, then place cardboard over the glass and wrap it all in bubble cushioning roll.
  • Got some rubber bands? Put them to good use! Place rubber bands over doorknobs to prevent yourself from getting locked out. You can also put rubber bands over the tops of pots and pans to keep the lids on.

By using a pro moving checklist, trying out Hybrid Moving, and getting creative with your hacks, you can make your move a lot easier on yourself – and your wallet.

Monica Gray is a traveling freelancer who drinks too much coffee and can’t seem to stay put in one place for too long. Her adventures have led her to hitchhiking in Kyrgyzstan, trekking in Nepal, hot air ballooning in Laos, and backpacking around India. She loves writing, solo dance parties, and being spontaneous.

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