Moving Tips and Checklist to Remember When Relocating

Moving Tips You Wish You Knew Before Relocating

The dreaded moving date is only creeping closer and closer and you haven’t done a single thing to prepare for the move. The bad news is if you don’t start now then things are only going to get worse. The good news is that you came across this article to take note of over 100 moving tips to make your relocation experience a lot easier. Start taking action now by applying these tips to your moving preparations.

Moving Tips Categories

Check out these categories if you are looking for moving tips that pertain to a specific section of the home or common moving theme.

Purging & De-cluttering

  1. Donate books to the library, especially ones you have already read. You may also get a tax write-off if you donate your books to other organizations that qualify as charities such as schools and non-profit museums.
  2. If you want to be absolutely ruthless then gather all the items you haven’t used in the past six months (excluding seasonal items) and either throw them away or sell them. You will be surprised by how much you can get rid of.
  3. Moving long distance and have cheap furniture at home? It may make more financial sense to sell the old furniture and buy new ones instead of having the old furniture transported. Furniture obviously takes up a lot of space so it may not be worthwhile to include your cheap furniture in the list of things to be transported.
  4. As you start packing, set aside a donation box for any household items that you will no longer need. Like the books, some of these items can help with tax deductions if they are donated to organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army.
  5. Selling stuff online can be a hassle, especially if you don’t have any experience of using sites like eBay or Craigslist. If you are fine with giving away some commission then consider using a service like eBay Valet, which helps you connect with professionals who’ll sell the products for you.
  6. A lot of charities offer free pick up services. This can be useful if you either don’t have the time to drop by the donation centers or if you are trying to donate heavy household items like furniture. Schedule a time and let the charities handle the manual work.
  7. One of the hardest parts of purging is if you come across items that have sentimental value. Set aside a box to store any items of sentimental value. Once you are done packing, go through the box and throw away any items that won’t be of any use in the future.
  8. A few months before the move, turn all your clothes hangers in one direction. If you wear the clothes then change the hanger to the opposite direction. This will give you a visual cue of what’s been worn and what hasn’t. Donate or throw away any clothes that are still hanging in the initial direction.
  9. Consider reading a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. This best-selling book should give you some great inspiration on simplifying, organizing, and storing.
  10. Having a very difficult time throwing away stuff? Watch a few episodes of Hoarders to give you some inspiration.

Organization & Preparation

  1. Get some color coding labels and designate a color for each room. Apply the sticker onto the packing boxes so you know immediately what box should go where as you unpack.
  2. Before the packing begins, create a spreadsheet to list out an inventory of everything that needs to be packed.
  3. On the same spreadsheet, assign a packing priority number to each box so you know what to unpack first as soon as you move in. Try out our free inventory management template.
  4. Try and use the same-sized boxes when packing. This will make organizing a lot easier when you start to move the boxes into a truck or van.
  5. Take photos of any expensive or fragile items in your possession. Things can break while they are being moved so you would want some photo evidence on hand in case you need to reach out to insurance for having the item replaced.
  6. Cut out some small handles on the side of the cardboard boxes so it is easier to pick up and carry.
  7. Moving involves a lot of expenses like hiring professional movers, renting a moving truck, and buying moving equipment. Create and maintain a budget so you can easily keep track of your spending. Keep in mind that you can deduct your moving expenses if the move meets the requirements set by the IRS so the budget spreadsheet will help once tax season comes along.
  8. A day or two before moving day, clear out your fridge and defrost it. You don’t want any of the thawed water to leak out and ruin other items being moved in the truck or van.
  9. Consider using a A-B-C system to determine what needs to be unpacked first. Not everything has to be unpacked the day you arrive at the new home so marking the boxes with these alphabets could help you prioritize the boxes that need to be unpacked. For example, boxes marked with an A could be things that you would need in the first few days after move-in.
  10. Label the side and top of each box. That way, you always have something to reference when moving boxes are stacked vertically or horizontally.
  11. Create a toolbox that contains all your moving supplies like tape, screwdrivers, sticker labels, scissors, and disinfecting clean wipes.
  12. Make sure you change the mailing address for your banking account, credit card, and utility etc. a week before the move.
  13. Get a folder that holds all moving-related documents like your lease, receipts for moving expenses, and moving checklist.
  14. Take a photo of any complicated cords/cables setup so you know the exact way to plug them in again at the new place.
  15. Check out uShip, which is a website where you can list out what you want to ship and in return have movers bid for that shipment.
  16. Ask office services at your workplace to see if they have any spare shipping boxes to give away.
  17. Do you live near a college town? Reach out to the student population to see if anyone wants a job of helping you move. Chances are, you will find someone who will help at a cheap price, but the drawback is that there is a greater likelihood of things breaking since they aren’t as experienced with moving and packing.
  18. Take photos of your new house before moving in. This will help with documenting any existing damages the apartment might have. This is especially important for people renting apartments. You don’t want your deposit to be taken away due to a damage that already existed prior to you moving in.
  19. Enlist the help of friends or family members to take care of your pets and children while things are being moved out.
  20. Always get a moving truck or van that is slightly larger than what you think you will need. There is always something that needs to be added to the list of items that need to be transported.

Bedroom & Study Room Packing

  1. Get a mattress bag. They should cost less than $10 and will help protect your mattress from things like bedbugs.
  2. Shrink Wrap can be your best friend when moving because it provides extra protection for items that are being moved. Use shrink wrap to protect household items like chairs, sofas, mattresses, dressers, and cabinets.
  3. Don’t pack your clothes in a box or suitcase, especially if they are already on clothing hangers. Instead, grab a large rubbish bag, make a hole at the bottom of it then guide the bag over the clothes so the hanger is poking through the hole you just created. Now you have a makeshift dress cover to transport your clothes. Tie the open-end of the garbage bag so no clothes fall out.
  4. Need to move a lot of books? Load them into a suitcase instead of a box. That makes it a lot easier to transport the heavy load of books.
  5. Use egg cartons to transport inexpensive jewelry and accessories.
  6. Alternatively, you can also use toilet paper rolls to move larger jewelry items like necklaces and bracelets. Toilet rolls can prevent these pieces from getting tangled.
  7. Hard sunglasses cases are also a great way to protect and carry your smaller jewelry pieces and accessories like rings.
  8. Use your socks to provide extras padding inside the moving boxes. Ball them up and put them in any gaps you see inside a box.
  9. Roll up any clothes that you need to pack into boxes or suitcases. You will be able to store more clothes if you roll them instead of having them folded.
  10. Make sure you back up your computer before you move. There is always that tiny chance your computer might break while it is being transported.
  11. Make sure to use multiple forms of protection when moving desktop computers. The ideal situation would be to use the original box, but if you don’t have it anymore then make sure you wrap the desktop with bubble wrap and place it in a box that has enough padding so the computer won’t move around while it is being transported.
  12. If you are moving mirrors, put masking tape across the front surface (using a X shape) to help absorb any shock and pressure.
  13. Need to move a piano by yourself? Make sure the keyboard lid is locked and wrap the piano with a blanket or some form of padding to protect the surface from scratches and bumps. You should also get a piano moving strap to secure the piano to the piano board.

Kitchen & Dining Room Packing

  1. The kitchen should be the first room you should focus on for packing. Compared to other rooms, packing the kitchen is often the most time-consuming for a number of reasons. You have to pack a lot of fragile items like glasses and dishes, you have to pack appliances like microwaves, and you also have to deal with packing knives. This tip is mute, however, if you don’t cook at all.
  2. When you are packing the dishes, stack them vertically and place a Styrofoam plate in-between the plates.
  3. Have a lot of clean socks? Wrap your glassware in them to protect the glass from shocks and impacts.
  4. Don’t take out your silverware from the tray. Instead, wrap the tray with Saran wrap to keep the utensils in place while the tray is being moved.
  5. Pack your knives in a pot holder, which should have enough padding to keep the sharp blades away.
  6. Go to your local liquor stores and ask for wine cases. These specific boxes are excellent for packing and moving glassware.
  7. Throw away or donate food that you don’t plan on eating or using for a while.
  8. Pack an essentials box for the kitchen. The essentials box should contain anything from the kitchen that you would need within 24 hours of moving to the new home. The box could contain items like dish soap, coffee, pasta, a few utensils, and a small cutting knife.

Bathroom & Utility Room Packing

  1. Before you pack any liquid bottles like shampoos or cleaning agents like detergents, unscrew the cap, cover the top with a plastic wrap then put on the cap again. This will help avoid any unwanted spills while they are being transported.
  2. A lot of the things you have to pack from the bathroom will be fragile so make sure the movers are aware of that by marking any bathroom moving boxes as FRAGILE (on the side and on top).
  3. Keep any liquids separate from other household items in case they spill while being transported.
  4. Clean the new bathroom before you move in. It’s a whole lot easier to clean and sanitize the bathroom when there’s nothing there. You would also want to be able to take a nice hot shower the day you move in.
  5. While you are at it, don’t forget to clean the bathroom exhaust fan as well. Having a clean exhaust fan will keep the bathroom odor away and will also help move moisture out of the bathroom.
  6. Put a cotton ball (or a cotton square) in your makeup palettes or powder cosmetics to keep them from breaking.
  7. Have some medicine lying around in the bathroom? Well, here is another opportunity to purge. Throw away the medicine if it is past its expiry date or if it is something that won’t have any use for you moving forward. Do not, however, flush the medicine down the toilet.
  8. Do not attempt to move a washer or dryer on your own. These appliances are dangerous to move because they are linked to high voltage electrical connections. What you can do instead is to have both appliances cleaned so they are ready to be handled by a qualified technician.
  9. Don’t forget to have some toilet paper with you when you move into the new apartment. Chances are, you’ll need it almost as soon as you move in.

Miscellaneous Moving Tips

  1. Don’t have any dollies or carts available to move the boxes? Try the camel clutch method, which is a method to carry boxes without hurting your back. Check out this video to see the camel clutch method in action.
  2. Put heavier things in smaller boxes, and lighter things in bigger boxes.
  3. Use ziploc sandwich bags to organize and store nuts, bolts, and screws. Don’t forget to label the bag so you know what the screws are for.
  4. Have some tiny nail holes left on the wall? The proper way would be to get some spackling paste from a home improvement store. If that’s not available then try using white bar soap or toothpaste as a quick fix.
  5. If you need a van or truck for only a few hours and won’t be moving too far from your current home then here is one potential way to cut down on moving expenses. Go to a local dealership and ask if you could test drive one of their vans or trucks. In most cases, the dealership wouldn’t expect you to return the vehicle for a few hours so you can use that vehicle to move some of your household possessions.
  6. Need to move heavy-legged furniture like a couch or a dining table? Stick a tennis ball to each leg to avoid any floor scratches while the furniture is being moved around. All you have to do is to cut a X in each tennis ball.
  7. Check the dumpsters behind a furniture store to potentially get a good supply of free bubble wraps. Aside from furniture store, think outside the box and go to stores that may also utilize a lot of bubble wrap like musical instrument stores and electronics stores.
  8. There are many services out there that rent out plastic moving boxes. The good thing about these services is that they’ll deliver the boxes to the original address then pick them up at the final destination. Plastic box rentals can be cheaper than buying ordinary cardboard boxes and you also don’t have to deal with disposing any boxes once you are done moving.
  9. Run out of newspaper or packing paper? Use your inexpensive clothes to wrap fragile items like dishes and glasses.
  10. Have friends or family helping you out with the move? Don’t forget to show your appreciation after the move is done by rewarding them with a meal. The common go-to is pizza and beer but a proper meal to a restaurant could be great too.
  11. Also, have everything packed before your friends come over to help you move the boxes. You don’t want to keep them waiting.
  12. Get a forearm forklift lifting strap to move heavy furniture, appliances, and large mattresses. These straps help you lift goods using a more effective technique. You will need someone to help you lift from the opposite end of the item.
  13. Get free moving boxes from liquor stores, grocery stores, bars, and restaurants. Be sure to call the establishment in advance so they can set aside the boxes for you to pick up as soon as you arrive.
  14. When you are done creating a budget, mark the expenses that can count as a tax deductible. Examples of moving expenses you can deduct include cost of hiring professional movers, gas and oil if you are driving your own vehicle to move, moving insurance, and storage costs.
  15. Professional movers can be expensive but they are worth your money, and more importantly, your time. Make sure you do your research to find a reputable company. is one source to help weed out any shady movers.
  16. Start collecting your junk mails a few weeks before the move. They can be used as extra padding if you run out of newspaper or general packing paper.
  17. Did you know that bus companies like Greyhound offer affordable shipment services? Check them out and use them to ship some of the heavier moving boxes.
  18. Check out this guide from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to know your rights and responsibilities when moving.
  19. Notify the IRS of an address change by using form 8822. The IRS also offers other methods for you to change address.
  20. Organize long cords and cables with toilet rolls. Place the cords inside the toilet rolls then stack the toilet rolls in a box.
  21. The bedroom should be the first room you unpack at your new home. Sleep and rest takes priority and it is unlikely that you will be able to unpack everything on the first day of move-in.
  22. Get furniture sliders to move heavy furniture around without having the floor damaged by scruffs and scratches. Furniture sliders are inexpensive and could work for both carpeted floors and hard floors.
  23. Dealing with some sort of pest infestation at your new home? Schedule an appointment with the exterminators before you move in.
  24. Need to drill some holes into a drywall? Fold a post-it note in half and stick it underneath the drill to catch all the dust and wall residue. This makes cleaning a lot easier if you don’t have a portable vacuum with you.
  25. Have a lot of clothes to pack? Consider getting some space bags to shrink the amount of space your clothes take up in storage. Space bags will also protect your clothes from dirt and odors.
  26. Plan on hiring a professional moving company? You could take it as a red flag if an employee doesn’t show up in person to provide an estimate quote for everything you plan on moving. This applies more to people who have a lot of things that need to be transported.

Long Distance Moving Tips

  1. Hiring a van or truck can be expensive if you are moving a long distance. Consider buying a cheap used van or truck on Craigslist instead to move the bulk of your household belongings and sell the vehicle once you are done. This could help save hundreds of dollars if you find a great deal.
  2. Always plan to take a stop and rest every night. Tiredness will hit you and if you try to drive overnight then that makes driving dangerous not just for you but also for the people around you.
  3. Plan your exact route in advance and decide who will be responsible for driving during specific times an days. If you don’t have a GPS system in your vehicle then Google Maps will be your best friend for this.
  4. Media mail could help you save money if you need to move items like books and CDs cross-country.
  5. If you are using some sort of transportation service to ship your items then always plan to have the delivery arrive a few days late.
  6. It may be handy to have an air mattress with you at the new place, especially if the furniture delivery arrives later than expected.
  7. Quite a few people mentioned that ABF U-Pack is a great affordable option for moving long distances. ABF U-Pack can be more affordable than traditional moving companies because you only pay for the amount of space you use in a trailer or moving container. They also don’t charge for additional things like fuel and tax.
  8. Pack a lot of snacks if you will be driving to your new home. This can help save you save a lot of money on food. Even having fast food on the road can add up if you are expecting to be on the road for a few days.
  9. Get a nice secure lock for the moving truck, especially if you plan on staying overnight at a cheap (or shady looking) motel or hotel.
  10. We previously mentioned that bus companies like Greyhound offer shipping services. Well, Amtrak offers one too and their express shipping service could be very cheap and reliable for long-distance movers.
  11. Moving long distances with a pet? Invest in a spacious travel crate and start to help your pet adjust to the crate a few weeks before the move. Check out our infographics to learn more about moving with dogs and moving with cats.

College Dorms Moving Tips

  1. Avoid move-in rush hours if possible. You’re going to have wait a lot in line, especially if the building only has a few elevators.
  2. There should be plenty of stores that offer student discounts during move-in week. Try and only bring in items that you won’t be able to replace once you have moved into the dorm.
  3. It will be tempting to decorate your dorm room as soon as you move in but that should be the last of your priorities. Make sure all the big things like furniture are in place before you go on your creative journey.
  4. Moving into a dorm without any elevators? Try and pack all your heavy items in smaller-sized boxes. This will make it easier for you to carry the boxes up the stairs.
  5. Bring a pair of shower shoes with you. Don’t be surprised by how dirty bathrooms get in college dorms.
  6. Don’t bring more dishes than you need. Otherwise, you will never wash them and they will stack up in the sink.
  7. Before you set up you room, use an air disinfectant spray to help kill any potential bacterial odor. A lot of students actually get sick from what is dubbed the dorm plague.

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