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Packing and Moving: You CAN Make it a Successful Adventure!

Updated on January 11, 2015

Sold! Time to Pack and Move


How Far in Advance do You Pack to Move?

How far in advance of your actual moving date do you begin packing?

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Packing to Move

Moving is always an adventure, but what you don't want is to end up with broken items, scratched furniture, and items placed on the wrong floors of your house, especially heavy items and furniture that requires assembly. If you're moving without a moving company, take the following steps whether you're moving across town or across country.

To make your move a positive adventure rather than a worry about such things, set yourself up for success.

  • Pack only one type of item in each box, and label each box with its contents on the top and one or two sides. Fill any empty space with newsprint to keep the box from collapsing under the weight of another box, since boxes are stacked in the moving truck.
  • Use regular-sized moving boxes, not bags, baskets, random-sized boxes, or anything else you may have laying around.
  • If it's too big to fit in any box (furniture, luggage) wrap it in moving plastic wrap to keep it safe from damage and from the elements in case of inclement weather on your moving day. If it is artwork, call your local moving supply company for packing advice or look online.
  • Pack the things you'll need right away (the first week or so) in your luggage, transport it yourself, or put it in a very well-labeled box. Prescription and other routine medicines for all family members (including pets) must be transported yourself (in your car) for safety.
  • Your car is your friend! Totally clean out your car(s) and fold down any unneeded seats. Load precious, breakable, expensive, irreplaceable, oddly shaped, or other items that can't go in the moving truck into your car(s). This includes pets and children, but they'll be loaded at the last minute in most cases--don't forget to leave room for them.

Remember to Plan for Your Pets: They're Stressed by Moving, Too

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pets get stressed out, too, especially since they won't understand what moving means. Plan accordingly or have your pet boarded with a friend while packing and/or on moving day.A less-stressed pet has a place of their own that is more quiet and has a toy to chew on to relieve anxiety caused by the chaos: boxes,  strangers in the home, people coming and going...
Pets get stressed out, too, especially since they won't understand what moving means. Plan accordingly or have your pet boarded with a friend while packing and/or on moving day.
Pets get stressed out, too, especially since they won't understand what moving means. Plan accordingly or have your pet boarded with a friend while packing and/or on moving day. | Source
A less-stressed pet has a place of their own that is more quiet and has a toy to chew on to relieve anxiety caused by the chaos: boxes,  strangers in the home, people coming and going...
A less-stressed pet has a place of their own that is more quiet and has a toy to chew on to relieve anxiety caused by the chaos: boxes, strangers in the home, people coming and going... | Source

Packing Up Your Kitchen the Safe Way

On the Actual Moving Day, Here's What You'll Need

On the actual moving day, get a very early start (in case of problems) and make sure you have the following with you or in your car:

  • Your cell phone.
  • A camera (if you don't have one on your cell phone) to document any damages caused by you and/or the movers you've hired.
  • A well-stocked First Aid Kit. (Bring pain killers whether you regularly take them or not--headaches are likely to occur but can be resolved with a well-timed NSAID.)
  • Sturdy walking shoes or boots--steel-toed, if you have them. This is to prevent injury while hauling furniture around and up and down stairs and hallways and around corners.
  • Medicines and pet food and human picnic food for everyone for that day. Keep to your regular schedule whenever possible.
  • Your checkbook and a credit card.
  • Cash for tips.
  • An extra set of keys for the car, house/apartment/storage locker to give to another responsible adult who is helping you move.
  • Current maps to the new location, for you, another adult in your party, and any other vehicles that will be traveling separately, such as the moving van.
  • Toys, games, or movies to entertain children throughout the day and keep them out of the way. Older children may be given small tasks to help, such as holding doors or unpacking a few boxes of non-breakables or "babysitting" younger children.
  • Water and/or soda to replenish hard workers' lost fluids.
  • Snacks for everyone (children and pets included).

Don't forget to give everyone their food, water, and medications on schedule! The day will probably be long and chaotic, but much less so if everyone gets food, water, and medicine on schedule, including headache/muscle ache medicine if appropriate.

How long has it been since you last moved?

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Was your last move more fun or more frustrating?

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What You Need During and Right After Moving

Other items you'll need right away:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • General cleaning supplies
  • Hand sanitizer and/or soap
  • Food for your pet(s) and any leashes, gates, kennels/cages, etc.
  • Dishes for your first few meals (unless you plan on eating out): plasticware is good for this since you won't want to take time to do dishes anyway.
  • Bleach--IMPORTANT: Keep this out of the reach of children and pets! Run your dishwasher and clothes washing machines--empty, without dishes or clothes--with a cup of bleach to clean out anything nasty, then be sure to run another load or two with plain water (again, no clothes or dishes) to clean out the bleach and be ready for your own use. Tubs, showers, and sinks should be examined for mold or dirt and treated as necessary with bleach then lots of water, also.
  • You may need/want to buy or rent a carpet-cleaning machine (make sure that it heats the water itself) and hard floor cleaners.
  • Paint and paint supplies--if you plan to repaint anything before moving in. Don't forget stir sticks and smaller containers to hold extra paint of each color for touch-ups later.
  • New temporary or permanent window blinds--or packing paper, at the least--for your most private windows (don't forget the bathrooms!).
  • The phone numbers and locations at your destination--and along the way--of the nearest Urgent Care and Emergency Rooms, for your family and for your pets.
  • Box cutters to open sealed boxes and cut them down for disposal. IMPORTANT: Keep these out of the reach of children and pets!

A House All Packed Up and Everything Moved Out


About the Author

Information about the author, a list of her complete works on HubPages, and a means of contacting her are available over on ==>Laura Schneider's profile page. But wait--don't go there yet! Please continue scrolling down to leave ratings and any comments you have about this article so that it can be improved to best meet your needs. Thank you!

All text, photos, videos, and graphics in this document are Copyright © 2013 Laura D. Schneider unless indicated otherwise or unless in the public domain. All rights reserved. All trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.


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    • Laura Schneider profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Schneider 

      5 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      lemonkerdz, I hope you do try to enjoy it--bring something along that plays dance music as you zoom through the packing and unpacking processes. Get the whole family singing along to show tunes. Something like that. Bad voice? Sing louder! :-) You've certainly earned a happy move after the 16 you've already been through. (16 times in 23 years makes me feel better about all of my recent moves! You made my day!)

      Best of luck and let us know how it goes--if you have a little fun this time! Cheers!

    • lemonkerdz profile image


      5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      Thanks for the tips Laura, in 23 years of marriage we have moved some 16 times so we have become pretty much experts in moving but i have grown to hate it. Now i will try to enjoy it. The tips you give are excellent for anyone who is going to be moving.

      in 6 weeks i'll be moving yet again so will take some of your hub with me


    • Laura Schneider profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Schneider 

      6 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Thanks for all of the positive feedback, and Tina thanks for the tip about packing one car up to get all of this right away! Moving isn't fun (I still have a ton of boxes I have to unpack--and it's been 6 months since I moved), but you can make the adventure a positive or a negative one with a little planning ahead. Cheers!

    • pmccray profile image


      7 years ago from Utah

      Some excellent ideas. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Guess I've always made my list based on 2 things - assume I'm staying in a hotel for a week but bring my own towels, plus all the cleaning supplies you mention. Your advice on painting supplies is good ... and what I can add is I generally would pack one of the cars up if it was also being moved. They get delivered first and you've got what you need.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 

      7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Good checklist!


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