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Planning to Move

Updated on May 5, 2011
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Planning a move can be intimidating.  Let’s be honest, most of us would rather have our eye teeth removed without drugs than go through the process of moving from one house to another.  But it doesn’t have to be that bad.  Here are a few tips on how to make your move smoother and more efficient.

Know Your Date

Don’t laugh.  There are some people who know that they are moving, but never really stop to look at when their lease is up and what today’s date is.  Before they know it they are scrambling about trying to find a place, get help, and get packed.  Needless to say, moving day is pure chaos.  Make sure your moving date is far enough into the future to plan your move efficiently.  How far should that be?  Ideally, if you are moving from a small apartment, sixty days could be a good minimum time period to organize it.  If you are moving a large home, you might want to look at four months as a good time table if not longer.  The more stuff you have, the more time you need to move.


Boxes could be a good thing to get to pack your stuff in.  But do you really have to go buy them?  No.  Quite the opposite.  There are tons of free boxes just waiting for you.

Check out the local grocery stores, dollar stores, and fast food restaurants.  They throw tons of boxes away a day.  These boxes are in excellent condition.  All you need to do is to put them back into shape (they are flattened by the company for easier disposal) and use packing tape to strengthen them.  The cost is so much cheaper than buying boxes from storage companies or moving companies. 

Watch out for the size of the boxes.  If you get boxes that are too large, you will pack them too heavy to carry with so much stuff and they tend to be too bulky.  Choose medium size ones that are easy to carry and are not too bulky.  The ones from McDonald’s that they use to ship fries are perfect. 


Buy colored stickers (like round dots) to color code your boxes.  Make blue the color for the kitchen.  All items that belong in the kitchen get marked with a blue sticker.  When you get to your new place, get a piece of paper with the color of your sticker on it and tape it to the kitchen so that all those helping you move do not have to waste time asking where things go.  They can take the boxes with the blue stickers straight to the room labeled blue.  This makes it so easy to get everything in and organized. 

Packing Wrap

You want to protect your breakables.  Purchase bubble wrap at the local office supply store or shipping company.  Use this to wrap your breakable items so that they will arrive safely.  If you have any doubt as to whether or not to use bubble wrap, use it.  Better to use it and not have to cry to see your items shattered.

Moving Truck/Van

How are you going to move?  Ok.  Maybe we should first begin with, “Where are you moving to?”  If you are just moving to the other side of the hallway in your apartment building, do you really need to rent a moving truck?  No.  If you are just moving a few blocks away, do you really need a large van or can your friend’s truck do the trick?  How much stuff are you moving?  Renting a moving truck or van can cost a lot of money.  These should be used only when moving long distances and for very large items that a regular truck.  Check to see if you know anyone who has a truck or van that you can borrow and just pay for the gas.  That will turn out to be much cheaper than renting a van.  Throw in a steak dinner and you both make out.


You will probably need some strong arms to help you move.  Recruit from everyone you know.  Ask friends and family for help on the big day.  Don’t turn down anyone who can help you move those boxes and the furniture.  Also, don’t wait till the day before.  Begin asking about a month or so before moving day.  People need to check their calendars and arrange schedules if they want to help you.  Be courteous of them, also.

Refreshments for Movers

The people who have come to help you move are giving up their time and their energy to help you move your heavy furniture and boxes of books to your new home.  Give them a big thank you.  Make sure that you have plenty of drinks available to them as the ones moving the heavy stuff will get thirsty.  Water is always good.  Maybe even some juice or power drinks to keep them going.  Keep snacks such as pretzels, cookies, and fruit as they will need energy boosters.  You also don’t always know if there is someone diabetic or not who will need a little pick me up.  Make sure that you provide a good lunch and maybe even prep for a cookout after the move so that they can relax and enjoy the end of the job.  Treat them well.  They are your biggest asset during your move.


Don’t forget to have the utilities switched over.  Call your utility company (electricity, gas, water, phone) and let them know that you are moving.  Tell them your current address and your new one.  They will need to know the date that you are moving so that the billing and the actual turn on is done correctly.

Fowarding Mail

Go to the post office and fill out the forwarding form for your mail.  You will give them your new address, old address, and date that it is effective.  You can even do it online.  By doing this you will not lose any bills, magazines, or other important mail.

Begin Packing

Do not begin packing the night before the move!  As soon as you know you are moving and know the date, gather your packing materials and begin packing.  But what do you pack?  The obvious place to start is with things that you do not use on a regular basis and will probably not use between now and the move.  Pack up the books.  Pack up wall decorations.  Go through each room and look at each individual item.  They will eventually need to be packed up.  Decide if you really need it before the move.  If you cannot think of a great reason not to pack it up, put it in the box.  Do this every day or so and you will see that only the bare necessities are left.  That includes the kitchen.  Many people are packed a month or two before moving.  They find that life is easier without so much clutter around them.

If there is a garage or one room that you rarely use, make that your holding cell for all your boxes that are packed and labeled.  Once a box is full and labeled, place it in your holding cell.  One central location for your items will help the movers on moving day.

Cleaning and Packing

As you are packing, start your cleaning.  We all want the security deposit back.  Clean as you go so that you have to clean on the day you are moving and trying to unpack your new home.  When you empty one closet, clean it.  When a cabinet is boxed up, clean it out.  If you clean as you go, you find that it is much easier on moving day.

When it comes to carpets, do not go beyond vacuuming until after the movers are done.  They will be coming in and out trekking who knows what in.  It is better for your sanity to wait till the place is completely empty to shampoo your rugs and even mop your floors. 

Use It Up! - Get Rid of It!

A great tip for someone going to move is to begin emptying their cupboards.  Don’t keep buying large amounts of groceries each week.  Try to get those cupboards empty of items.  Why?  Because it will save you money and there will be less to move.  You will be surprised how much food you have when you actually begin to move.

How about clothes?  Let’s get rid of them.  Now is the time to thin out your closets.  Have a garage sale to get rid of excess stuff that you don’t want or need.  Give the clothes you won’t wear to charity.  You can make a little extra money and move a lot less

Emergency Boxes

Always have emergency boxes ready to go.  What are they?  They will be your life savior.  Get one box and label in bright red “Emergency”.  Do not let anyone take it.  Keep it visible at all times.  In it you should have a first aid kit, trash bags, tape, glue, an overnight bag for yourself.  The first aid kit is needed because it is guaranteed to have some kind of injury during the moving process.  Trash bags, tape, and glue are handy in case of accidents to the furniture or the house.  The overnight bag is for you because no matter how you think you will be on the day of the move, you will not have the energy to unpack everything and will only want to crash into the bed for a sound sleep.


Don’t forget to take care of your pets.  With the movers going in and out of the place, your pets will not be able to stop themselves from running out into the sunshine and enjoy it throughout the neighborhood.  Keep your pets safe and sound.  Find a pet sitter for the day who can have them in another location while you empty and clean up the old place and secure the new one.

A Great Move

Moving is never easy.  But with a few well-thought ahead moves you can make it a little more enjoyable.  Always think of what the next step is and look beyond the moment.  Don't forget to thank everyone and be willing to help them when they move.

Good luck with your move.


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    • C_Pinto profile image

      C_Pinto 7 years ago from USA

      I found your article to be of great help. I forwarded it to two close friends that are moving in March; it will surely interest them.

    • movearoundus profile image

      movearoundus 7 years ago from Miami, FL

      Absolutely professional, the tips are to the point and informative. can you tell me what i can do if i have some flammable items to carry? will i reject during the packing or will those be strictly prohibited?

    • bukan profile image

      Bukan 7 years ago from India, Kolkata

      I like your post friend its helpful and informative. Thanks

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      I've moved more times than I can count and I thought I was an expert. There is some really good advice in here. I really like your idea of the color-coding your boxes! That seems to always be the problem with us! Great hub, RGraf!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I thought I already read this hub but could be mistaken. It's all great advice, anyway.

    • profile image

      kims3003 7 years ago

      Lots of great info. Great Job!

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 7 years ago

      Great tips!!!

      You didn't miss anything I believe.