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Top ten hints for organizing your next move

Updated on September 22, 2014
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Simple Packing Supplies List

  • Heavy Duty hand-held tape dispenser
  • A few extra rolls of tape
  • Boxes (see tips below)
  • Duct tape in 4-6 distinct colors
  • Newspapers or similar sized paper for packing fragile items
  • Sharpie Markers


By planning ahead, you can make your move easier and more efficient.

1. Take notes. Have one special notebook or legal pad where you can jot down anything that pertains to the move, such as utility company phone numbers, new set up information related to new accounts, moving truck comparison costs, list of potential helpers, to-do-items, priorities, and any other essential information. There are also fantastic free apps available on your tablet or smart phone that have checklists for individual tasks, such as Moving Guru, My Move, and others.

2. Find Boxes. Craigslist can be a good source of boxes from others who have recently moved. Perhaps your employer has boxes available. You can also find them at office supply stores or bulk/commercial food stores. Grocery stores may have stashes available as well. Save yourself driving time and call stores in your area to check.

3. Pack as much as possible before the day of the move. This makes it easier for the people who are helping you move. Generally pack things that are least used first. The order isn't important except for one room: Pack your kitchen last, and unpack it first. Once the kitchen is established, it's easier to settle other parts of the home. This applies especially if you are on a tight budget and are accustomed to preparing meals at home.

4. Make some freezer meals ahead. In the weeks leading up to your move, double some of your main dishes and put them in the freezer. Hint: Classic spaghetti with meat and pasta sauce freezes nicely.This helps you to have some easy favorites ready to go when you are busy packing and organizing the last few days before your move.

5. Recruit help. Call friends and family directly to ask if they are available to help the day of your move. Perhaps a friend isn't up for moving boxes, but would be able to help you pack. Try to pick a moving date when people would be available. (i.e. not a good idea to plan to move on the date of a family member's wedding, open house, or a major holiday weekend). Have water and snacks available, and consider providing food, such as pizza for the people who are helping. If necessary, hire some movers to help as well. It was a great help in one of our recent moves to have professional movers take care of some of the heavier items. (See side bar link.)

6. Declutter and purge if you have time. However, don't lose your focus on packing. Sometimes I've done more purging after a move. Personally, I have found moving sales to be unproductive. It's easier to donate to your local thrift shop--and sometimes they do pick-ups!

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My best moving hint: Duct tape color coding!

7. Duct tape: If you have a group of items (for example, kitchen goods), use a particular color or pattern of duct tape for those items instead of writing down the contents on each box. It saves time. You only need one strip of duct tape across the shortest part of the box (usually the width and hanging a little over each side so the boxes will be easy to spot when moving. Use another color for your home office, another for a child's room, etc. Limit yourself to 5-6 main areas. Too many colors become confusing, but it is great when unpacking and you are looking for that "one missing box" that you need that contains your toiletries. Remaining boxes can be labeled with sharpie markers.

8.Duct Tape, part two: When you get to your destination, place a strip of duct tape on the door of the rooms where you want those particular items to go. For example, if you have designated a home office and all your home office goods have a strip of blue duct tape, put a strip of blue duct tape on that door frame so your moving helpers know where to place those boxes.

9. Take care of utilities and other services ahead of time. You can arrange cut off and set up dates in conjunction with the days of your move. You may still want your internet connection the day of your move if you use that to connect with the people who are helping you.

10. Set aside one special box or laundry basket to keep essential and special items with you. Put this in your vehicle the day of your move (if applicable). Examples of things you might keep in this basket: wallet/purse, checkbook, prescription medications, file folder/notebook with things related to your move, camera, etc. Important papers/ kid's school books they will need immediately.


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How about you?

Do you have any helpful moving tips? Please comment below!

© 2014 Karen Fritzemeier

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