10 Best // Packing and Moving Tips

August 7, 2014

pinterest is a wonderful, beautiful land full of moving guides.  to say i'm obsessed with it is a bit of an understatement, govna.  (easy a? anyone? love that movie)  i'm pretty well-rehearsed in this whole packing and moving thing, seeing as how i've done it like 12 times now.  at least.  but i still like finding and utilizing new tips to make the process as efficient, painless, and budget-friendly as possible.  so far, i've been working off my own memories of moving, but i started searching for even more ideas to share with you.

first, here's 10 things i've done to help my packing and moving process:

1. declutter - if you get rid of it, you don't have to pack it.  so just think about that and ask yourself "do i like this enough to clean it, pack it, move it, unpack it, and put it back?"  if the answer is no, donate.  don't spend your time and money moving something you don't care about.  if you have enough in the donate pile, many donation places will even come pick it up.

2. buy used boxes - it's less than half of what you'd spend on new boxes at some place like office depot.  they certainly aren't 'dirty' either, mine look practically new.  they are boxes that were used to move corporate offices or paper goods.  never anything stained or greasy.  and the companies that sell them check everything super carefully and don't re-sell boxes over and over.  one and done.  (here in chicago, i cannot say enough good things about moving boxes now who has same day delivery, awesome prices, and will even come back and swap boxes out if a certain size isn't working for you.)  you can find free boxes too, but i don't have a car and definitely don't feel like putting that kind of work into it.

3. this.  which makes me insane but was worth every second.  you know you're a little jealous.  but at least do some labeling or listing with the boxes so you know what room it goes in and what's in the box.  if you have a lot of boxes, print out labels instead.  make sure to put them on the sides, not the top, so you can still see it even if the boxes are stacked up.

4. start early to get movers quotes - john and his brother will have no trouble moving my boxes and smaller pieces of furniture in john's pickup.  actually, they both have pickups.  score.  but i prefer to hire (insured) movers for big things like my tv, couch, and bed, since i'm moving into a place with only stairs.  and since i'm moving at the end of the month, like most renters, prices sky rocket.  start early to find the best quote and try to work with the landlord to get in on an off day, like a week day that's a few days before or after the 1st of the month.

5. use what you have - wrap breakables in towels and blankets and save yourself the cost of packing paper and bubble wrap.  if you're moving some things yourself, you can use your usual baskets and storage containers.  if you hire movers though, they generally will not move things that aren't in boxes.

6. take a picture of complicated items - i would have no idea how to hook up my tv and dvd player if it weren't for megan taking photos of it with her phone.  shut up, the color coded cords are not as easy as you'd think!  they don't all get plugged in and it makes no sense.

7. make pet arrangements - the last thing i need is a panicked hawkeye getting smushed by a dropped couch.  usually my best friend meredith drives her around for a few hours, gets her mcdonalds ice cream, and drops her at the new house.  but mere moved to california :( so this year, hawkeye will be spending moving day hanging out with john's mom and their dog, thor.

8. clean out a closet first thing - where are you going to stack those boxes you start packing early?  the kitchen?  clean out a closet first (i chose the closet in which i store my winter coats, fingers crossed i don't need my coats in august in chicago, though it's never a guarantee) and now i can stack all the packed boxes in there and shut the door.

9. assume liquids will spill - just pack everything that could possibly cause damage with the assumption that it will.  no matter how well you think you stacked it, even it's a completely unopened bottle of shampoo with the safety seal still on in a box you'll be carrying your super careful self, assume that it will open and spill.  cover everything in plastic wrap and put it in a ziplock.  and even then, don't put it in a box with something you really care about.  better safe than sorry.

10. leave a box or bags for day of things - you're going to have last minute things to pack the minute you move.  for me, it's my phone charger, computer, hawkeye's dishes, contact case, toothbrush, things like that.  they will exist for you too, so have a plan where you'll put these things, like a tote bag or an extra box.

now, my tips are pretty straightforward because i'm just moving across town.  4.5 miles, actually.  and i rent.  that means it's not a giant house full of stuff and there's no moving of things like refrigerators.  but of course, pinterest has tips for those kinds of moves too:

4. create a moving binder (it's beautiful)

happy packing!  and as always, i suggest decluttering whether you're moving or not.


  1. Is it weird that it drives my nuts to wrap things in towels? I like everything to stay together, including the towels, and then I feel like I have to wash all the towels if they were used to cushion things. Yeah, it's probably weird.

  2. This is so helpful. I wish I had it a month or so ago when I started packing and moving everything. I have it for next move, though!

  3. Great tips! I've never hired a mover, but I've gotten pretty good at getting as many things moved as quickly as possible. I love getting wine case boxes with the bottle dividers from wine stores and using them to move all of my glassware. Brilliant, right? ;)

  4. Decluttering is the best tip. I eliminate at least a third of my crap that way.

  5. My FAVORITE thing about moving is getting rid of stuff.

  6. I'm going to be moving soon (I hope) and the decluttering has begun! I want to try to move as many little things as I can to avoid a huge bill from movers. I will be lucky if I can get things somewhat labeled and packed on time, though!

  7. I have moved several times, but when we moved into our house from our apartment, I made my husband throw away about half the stuff he had (most of his clothing hadn't been worn since high school!) because I didn't want to move anything that we would be throwing away eventually anyways.

    I would also suggest that if you are doing a big move and know that there will be a lot of stuff you don't want to take with, call Purple Heart (it's an organization that helps military veterans) ahead of time to arrange a pick-up of whatever you don't want OR for the ladies, local women's shelters are always happy to take things off your hands!

  8. All good ones - especially do not move something you don't care enough to unpack and place in your new home!!!!!!!

    You are moving the weekend we'll be there I think!

  9. I'm finishing moving today and these are EXTREMELY accurate tips. I don't even know how I'm going to move my cat yet. It's going to be interesting. He's not a fan of all the boxes that have been going in and out the last week or two. What are your best pet-calming tips?

  10. All of these tips are great!!! I moved a TON after I graduated from high school up until I got married. I sort of felt like a pro because there are so many things you learn each time!

  11. My poor cat freaks out whenever I rearrange the furniture. He's going to HATE it when we move next spring (probably 9 hours away), so I've definitely got to start figuring out what I can do to keep him as unstressed as possible. Probably some sedatives from the vet and leaving him at a friend's house until the moving van is packed up. It's the main reason I don't want to move. haha

  12. I'm moving in a couple of weeks and I've already done a few of these things to prep! Good tips

  13. Decluttering is the best. I had a lot of books and movies and i got rid of a lot of them because I didn't want to move them especially since they are so heavy.

  14. decluttering is #1 when it comes to moving...you'll be amazing how much crap you accumulate, no matter how big or small your place is. when we moved my mom out her house (that she's lived in since 1986), we rented a 25cubic foot bin and FILLED IT TO THE TOP; that's how much crap her and my dad had collected over the years. i'm talking about shizz they somehow kept from the 60s!

    after that, packing was so easy as we only kept the stuff that she really needed.

    Vodka and Soda

  15. I HATE MOVING. I HATE PACKING. Yuck. Yuck! Perhaps this is why I have lived in my current place for the past 2.5 years... I do not want to move, even if my rent keeps on getting more expensive, lol! I have accumulated so much CRAP too - I am a pack rat, a hoarder. I even have tons of CRAP in my car that I really just need to TOSS - because I haven't looked at it for 3 years - AH HA - clearly I DO NOT NEED IT!

  16. Going to check Pinterest right now for tips on living in a house while simultaneously performing remodeling/demolition. It's chaotic and messy as hell, and I keep losing stuff! Lol.


  17. these are such great tips - especially the declutter, i wish we had gotten rid of more stuff before we moved because now we just have a room full of junk - and the using what you have, i wrap almost all my breakables in towels or clothes lol.

  18. Great tips Steph! I am loving #6 because you're right those stupid wires always throw me off. Ha, I love that John's mom's dog is named Thor - outstanding! I'm not looking forward to moving anytime soon but when the time comes I'll be sure to stalk you for tips and tricks. :) Happy Monday Stephanie! -Iva

  19. Great tips! I HATE moving, so I love anything that would make it easier. Hopefully I won't be moving for a while but these are good to keep stashed away for next time!

  20. Great list!! I'm in the middle of this myself. I still have over 2 weeks but I'm getting very serious about packing...mostly to avoid packing items we don't actually need b/c we didn't take the time to go through them. Thank goodness we have the guest bedroom so I have a large staging area (we already took down the bed).


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