After a move, when someone says, “I am never doing this again!” they’re likely not referring to the closing process or hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood to go to open houses, they’re talking about the packing and unpacking.
Moving is hard work, whether you’re relocating across the country or just to another neighborhood. To make it a little easier, and to celebrate May’s #MonthOfMoving, we turned to the ultimate source of moving wisdom: our followers on social media. We asked them to share their top hacks and tips for moving and compiled the most popular ones here — read on to make your next moving day easy, breezy, and beautiful.
1. Let’s Start at the Beginning. A Very Good Place to Start.
Pardon us for channeling our inner Mary Poppins, but she did have some great advice for tackling seemingly large tasks. Sometimes getting started is the toughest part of doing – well – anything, really. If you need an easy first step to kick off your packing, box up those decorative items.
Artwork, vases, knick-knacks – these are a great place to start because while they may have sentimental value, they won’t be missed during or shortly after your move. And, once you’re done filling up a few moving boxes, treat yourself to a spoonful of sugar (or maybe a big chocolate chip cookie — your choice).
2. Keep Your Everyday Things Handy in a First-night Box.
In your packing frenzy, you may find it easier right away to throw everything into a box and worry about finding everything when you get to your new digs. But… the last thing you want to be doing is digging for your toothbrush, skillet, or TP when you’re already tired from moving (trust us on this one).
So take a few minutes from that boxing bonanza and pack a separate suitcase or bag and fill it with everything you’ll need during your first night in your new home. Include toiletries, cooking essentials, towels, medications, rags, trash bags, a change of clothes, and anything else you’ll need in the first few days. Feel free to splurge a bit with a fresh, new shower curtain as a reward for a move well done.
3. Short on time? Create a packing checklist.
Not everyone has the luxury of months – or even weeks – to prepare for a move. If life throws you a curveball and you need to be ready to move quickly, you’ve got two options: 1.) Panic and freeze, or 2.) Create a packing checklist.
Since time is of the essence here, it’s probably best to keep your sanity intact and go with option two. A checklist is a great way to make packing and moving feel less overwhelming. List all essential items you need for your move organized by room or category (kitchen wares, books, clothing, etc.). Then, enjoy the feeling of crossing off the items one by one. So satisfying.
4. Label, Label, Label. Then, When You're Done, Label Again.
In every move, you’re bound to have a home full of brown, drab boxes. Unpacking that collection of cardboard is tough, especially if you don’t know what’s in each box. Enter labeling and organization.
Two of our favorite ways to label are by color and QR codes. Color coding is simple enough: Assign a color to each room (e.g. purple for the kitchen, blue for the dining room, etc.) and label the boxes accordingly. Then, slap the color on the wall of the room when you’re unpacking. All your boxes will be in the right place lickety-split.
For a more high-tech approach, put a QR sticker on each box. Take a picture of everything you put in the box and match it up to that QR code. This way, you don’t have to open every box if you’re looking for a specific thing. Just scan the code!
5. Consider clear boxes.
It’s helpful to set aside the things you’ll need right after your move. Pack a suitcase with two to three days’ worth of clothing and personal items and use clear containers so you can easily locate daily essentials. Because no one wants to sleepily dig through cardboard boxes in search of a coffee maker and mugs.
Speaking of clear containers, there are several advantages to packing certain things in plastic boxes. Not only do the containers last for years, but they also protect against moisture, heat, and humidity. They’re also easy to snap and stack – no messy packing tape required.
6. Your Dresser Drawers Equal Free Storage.
Taking your dresser drawers out of your dresser to make it easier to carry is just good sense. But filling up those empty drawers with stuff? Best sense.
You can fill the drawers with anything you like, but keeping your everyday clothes in them is an easy win. Wrap the drawers up with plastic wrap to keep dust off and your clothes clean, and you’re off to the races.
7. Let your linens do double duty.
Instead of putting sheets and towels in their own boxes, use them as a protective cover for fragile items. Wrap plates, cups, glassware, and other breakables with blankets, T-shirts, and more. Use towels as dividers between levels. This is a great way to save on packing supplies and keep your breakables safe.
8. Remember to donate and Declutter.
There’s nothing like packing and moving to force you to get rid of things you no longer use or need. If you haven’t seen it in a year, it doesn’t belong in a moving box. But, before you head to the trash or put your furniture curbside, consider calling a donation service. What you no longer want could provide a great deal of help to someone in need.
Many nonprofit organizations will send a moving truck to your home to pick up a large haul. This is a smart idea, too, if you’re in a time crunch. Fewer things to pack means fewer things to unpack – and more shopping opportunities.
9. Don’t be afraid of packing and unpacking sharp objects.
Have you ever tried to pack a knife? Did you wrap it in paper? Bubble cushioning roll? Throw it in a box and hope for the best? No pun intended, but we could poke holes in all of these options.
A simple way to prevent pre- and post-move nicks is to put your knives in an oven mitt and secure it with a rubber band. This takes some of the anxiety out of unpacking too!
10. Some disassembly required.
If you have time, consider breaking down furniture and packing the pieces to save space and time on moving day. Store the nuts, bolts, and screws in a plastic bag (and make sure that bag gets labeled and stored in the right box to prevent a major headache), wrap the furniture pieces in protective material, then pack them in large boxes. Your movers will thank you!
11. One wine box is One shoe container.
Before you break down that wine box and put it in the recycling, consider another use for the container. Throwing your shoes in an empty box – even if you wrap them in packing paper – can create majorly smushed kicks.
To keep your shoes looking fresh, pack them in boxes with dividers. And, if you don’t have a wine box on hand, check outside your local liquor store for discarded materials. Or ask that neighbor who thinks he’s an amateur sommelier.
12. Use this pool toy to make sure your frames don’t make a splash.
Even if you wrap your pictures and artwork, the frames can still bump and cause breakage in transit. Prevent broken frames and glass with a simple packing hack that uses a common, affordable pool accessory. Measure your frames, then cut the noodles to fit the perimeter. Once you’ve got your sizes, cut the noodle down the middle so it can cushion the border.
Pool noodles are great not only great for frames, but for furniture as well. If you’re not wrapping your furniture, use the toy to prevent scratches, dings, and chips. A bonus is the slick, smooth surface of the noodle makes it easy to push the heavy furniture around without damaging your floors!
13. Save Your Sanity by Keeping Your Clothes on the Hangers.
It takes long enough to re-hang your clothes on laundry day. Now imagine hanging all your clothes on moving day when you have 8,000 other things going on. Yeah, no thanks. You can save about 500 hours by keeping your clothes on the hanger. Either in their own cardboard box or by wrapping them up in garbage bags. Then, just put them in their new closet, remove the bags, and voila. Done!
We understand that moving can be stressful, but we hope that these #PackHacks make things a little more bearable. These are just a few of our tried-and-true moving tips, so for more in-depth information about a variety of moving-related topics, check out some other articles on our blog, like 12 Foolproof Packing and Moving Tips From Someone Who's Moved 20+ Times, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
LB Gabriel is a freelance writer and frequent PODS blog contributor. When she’s not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.