Whether it’s across town or across the country, moving is a big ordeal. So many things to do before the big day—taking care of utilities, USPS change of address, hiring movers or reserving a moving truck and recruiting friends to help with the move, getting enough boxes, sorting, cleaning, packing!

Here are some tips that will help your move go as smoothly as possible.

  • Make a checklist of everything you need to do for the move.

  • Reserve a moving truck or hire movers as soon as you have your moving date on the calendar. For peace of mind, contact the movers or the place you are renting a truck from at least once to verify everything before moving day. 

  • If you hire movers, make sure to know ahead of time 

    • What can and cannot go on their moving truck

    • If all boxes need to be closed before they go on the truck

    • If liquids like laundry detergent are allowed 

    • Exercise equipment—can they take it apart and reassemble it at the new home.

  • As soon as you know you are moving, start collecting boxes and get some packaging tape and bubble wrap. Then start packing items you will not be needing again until after you move including: 

    • Wall hangings and pictures

    • Off-season clothing (if it’s summer you probably won’t need winter boots and sweaters anytime soon)

    • Holiday decorations and off season items

    • Books you are not currently reading

    • Knick knacks, home décor 

    • Items in a guest room

    • Extra dishes used for entertaining or for the holidays

    • Lawn and garden items (If you have bird feeders, as the feeders get emptied, do not refill them and pack them up, one by one. Let the birds start getting used to finding another food source.)

  • Make room in an extra bedroom, the garage, enclosed porch, basement or somewhere in your home to put the packed boxes and any items that are ready to go. 

  • While packing, sort through your items. This is a great time to get rid of things you really don’t need anymore and donate them. 

  • Make sure to have enough boxes and packing materials such as tape, bubble wrap, labels, sharpie markers, trash bags, etc. You don’t want to run out the day before your move!

  • As you pack a box, label it clearly on the top and side of the box with what room it should go in at the new home. Maybe even write a list of some or all of the items that are in the box to make it easier to find things once you move. Also make sure to indicate on the box if it is fragile.

  • Use blankets, towels and pillows you won’t be using before your move to help provide padding and cushioning for fragile items being packed. 

  • Have enough coolers to pack up food items from the freezer and refrigerator

  • Avoid making large boxes too heavy if possible. A large box may fit all of your books from your office, but will make it difficult to pick up and carry. And remember to put heavier items on the button, lighter items on top.

  • The day before your move, pack an overnight bag, suitcase or duffle bag with essentials that you will need or will need to know the whereabouts of during and right after your move such as important paperwork, medicines, toiletries, an outfit or two, Band-Aids, cell phone chargers, etc. Make sure the suitcase or bag is placed somewhere that you can easily and quickly find it and it won’t be placed in the moving truck.

  • If you are able to get into the new home before the move and/or if you will be going back to the old home for any reasons, make sure to have hand soap, a hand towel and toilet paper in the bathrooms. 

  • If you have friends and family helping you move, make sure to feed them! Donuts, juice and coffee are great to offer everyone showing up in the morning to help you with the move. Pizzas or subs for lunch as well as snacks and beverages will also be much appreciated by your volunteers. 

Moving can be stressful not only for people but for pets as well. If you have pets, set up a room or space for them the day of the move where they can be kept safe, have access to their food and water and won’t be in danger of accidentally getting out the front door and potentially lost. Or if possible make arrangements to have them kenneled or boarded for the day of the move. If the ride to the new home will take awhile to get there, check with your vet for tips and products that can help reduce the stress of a long car ride on your pets. Then once the move is over and the movers/volunteers are all gone, bring your pets to the new home. Make sure your pets know where to find their items such as food and water dishes, litter boxes, scratching posts, beds, etc. 

Hopefully following these tips can help your moving process be better organized and a little less stressful. Happy packing!

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.