It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving near or far—it’s important to stay organized during your move. And that doesn’t just mean making a schedule and sticking to it. You’ll need to figure out a system for organizing, packing and storing your belongings. Use these six steps to create a plan that will keep your move organized from start to finish.
1. Divide and Conquer. Unless you’ve recently done a little spring-cleaning, you won’t want to move everything you own to your new home. It’s likely you have a lot stuffed away in the attic, closets or drawers that you no longer need. There’s no sense in moving things you no longer want, so take time upfront to decide what you want to keep, what you want to sell, what you want to put in long-term storage and what you want to toss. Keep the piles separate to avoid confusion, and pack only what you intend to keep.
2. Hold a Moving Sale. Several weeks—even months, if you’ve got time—before moving, get everything organized for a moving sale. Select a date and a location (probably your front yard or garage). Then, begin prepping items for sale by putting price tags on them. Advertise online or in your local newspaper, and put up signs in the neighborhood. Not only will a moving sale help you get rid of belongings you no longer need, but you can make a little cash to help with moving expenses.
3. Purchase a Moving Kit. It can be difficult to know exactly which moving supplies you need. Your local moving company should be able to help you figure out how many of each type of boxes you should need, or you could find and use an online packing calculator. The easiest thing to do, however, is to find a moving company that sells preassembled moving kits, which come with sturdy boxes in three sizes, packing tape, foam and packing paper—everything you need for a successful packing experience.
4. Schedule a Packing Party. Packing alone can be a drag and can take forever. Liven up the experience by throwing a packing party. Invite friends and family members over for the better part of a day—they can trickle in and out as their schedules allow—and provide food and drinks in exchange for help filling your boxes. You’ll already want to know what items you want to keep so your helpers don’t have to worry about packing that stuff.
5. Label Boxes Thoroughly. Give helpers complete instructions for how to label boxes—this will keep everyone on track and allow for a smooth moving day. Essentially, tell everyone to label boxes with exactly what’s inside, as well as the room at the new home where the box should be placed. This will help movers know exactly what to do with each box as they unload, and help you know what’s most important to unpack first in each room.
6. Scope Out Storage. If you’re downsizing, moving before your new home will be ready or simply need extra space, you’ll want to investigate options for storing your belongings before you arrive. Decide whether it’s more important to be near your storage unit, and then begin your storage search. If you have delicate items like a piano or furniture that won’t hold up well in heat, consider a climate-controlled unit. Avoid putting anything in storage that you’ll need immediately. In addition, consider whether you’ll need the storage unit for a short or long period of time. That will help you narrow your choices.
David Shapiro is a marketing specialist for moving companies such as North American Van Lines.