Moving? Tips for Packing Up Your Home


Moving totally stinks!  The act of going through all of your belongings that you have collected over many years is overwhelming.  To be a somewhat optimist, it is nice to see pictures and items that you haven’t seen in a while.  It’s a nice walk down memory lane. 

Moving for us is a positive step forward.  We are moving into the next phase of our life and in order to make this emotional and time consuming task more manageable, here are a few tips we learned as we were packing up our home.

If you have read this post about prepping your home for sale, a big point was made to get rid of the items that you didn’t need or weren’t using.  If you totally forgot you had the item, then you probably don’t need it.  Moving requires money for boxes, movers and costs more based on what you have - why pay to move something that you could care less about?

Don't be mislead, moving is not a time to be super cheap.  There are some things you will need to buy that will make your life easier, but also take care of your items with bubble wrap,  specialty boxes (art), tape and label tape. 

Come up with an organization system, especially if the two of you are packing.  Jeff and I decided we would pack up separate rooms, but we made sure we were doing it the same way.  Each box was labeled (with big Sharpies) with the room the box was going to, but we listed the most specific items in the boxes.  We also purchased this labeled moving tape, that made it easier for us and the movers to see the designated rooms.  Remember to communicate with your partner about your system, it will help with any future arguments. 

Bubble wrap
Bubble wrap is your friend, buy it is bulk because you will use a ton of it.  There is nothing worse then packing up a box only to open it with broken items.  No, the movers do not want to purposely break  your items, but they don’t care about them in the same way you do.

Moving insurance
Purchase moving insurance. Period!  The free insurance offered by the moving company will barely cover a thing.  However, by purchasing supplemental insurance (either through the company or a third party), this will cover major items that they have packed.  It usually will not cover stuff you've packed.  The movers are "packing" your furniture, which is typically the most costly stuff to replace, aside from jewelry.

DO NOT BUY THEM FROM THE SHIPPING COMPANY!!!  They are so expensive when buying them from the company.  We scored most of our boxes form the local liquor store, Craigslist, and Home Depot.  If you are buying boxes brand new, Home Depot and Wal Mart had the cheapest prices. 

Moving Art
They sell boxes for that stuff.  Bubble wrap is your friend and it needs to be  used.  The art moving boxes we bought fit a few of our pieces, but we wrapped wach piece with bubble wrap on the top and bottom and made sure the faces of the art did not rub against each other.  For some of the larger pieces, we cut the box and combined it with another one.

Moving Clothes
If you have a reputable moving company, odds are they have wardrobe boxes that they will use for your hanging clothes for no additional cost.  I was surpised to hear that, but it was a relief.  Those wardrobe boxes are expensive so that was a huge money saver.  To keep those clothes clean on the bottom, using a zip tie to hold the clothes together for about 5-7 hangers is acceptable.  With a white kitchen bag, poke a hole with your finger in the middle of the bottom of the bag.  Put the hanger tops through the hole.  If the clothes stick out the bottoms (dresses, coats) put a white kitchen garbage bag around the bottom of a bunch of the hanging clothes and then use the draw sting to loop over the top of  the hangers.   It will keep them clean, especially when a sweaty mover is grabbing your clothes, ewww.

Pack the kitchen last.  If you are a cook, there is nothing worse then wanting a cooking tool that isn’t there.  Purge your pantry and your baking goods as much as possible, there isn’t a need to move with boxes of cereal or canned goods. Make sure you label the boxes very specifically because we wouldn't have found the wine opener easily if we hadn't. 

Don’t pack up your dressers. The moving companies will wrap them in plastic so the drawers wont have to be removed.  Just make sure there aren’t any liquids or breakables in the drawers.

Moving Plants
Moving companies will not move plants.  Yes, it sucks, but this is what we did.  Measure all your planter and plants.  For circular plants, measure the diameter.  Calculate the space you will need for them all.  If you have tons of plants like me, you might need to purchase a u-haul.   We own a 4 door Jeep, so the plan was to put the plants in there, but it wasn’t enough space.  So, I ended up leaving some of my outdoor hanging flowers and some larger planters. I was really sad, but so happy with the ones we did get here after a long 6.5 hours drive.  If you don’t have the luxury of doing that, then start giving the plants away.  Yes, it totally stinks, but you can’t leave them for the new owners, unless they are okay with that.

Give yourself enough time to pack.  There is nothing worse then packing at the last minute.  You will pack totally unorganized, things might end up breaking, and you're going to do a poor job.  We took a few days during the weeknights to pack the rooms.  On the weekends we only spent a few days packing and we made it a party.  We put on music (loudly) and had a beer as we were doing it.  It actually made the idea of what we were doing manageable.  In the end, there was crunch time, but it got done.  You might be tired but on moving day, if you hire movers, you are just sitting there watching.  Jeff and I were so bored the first hour while awkwardly watching the movers that we did this… yes money rings.  After making the rings, we finally settled down and Jeff got some work done, even though the internet had already been disconnected.

Our movers were total rock stars!  They are probably the best Tetris players ever as they got all our stuff into moving truck and it was packed to the brim.  They lifted boxes that I couldn’t even imagine lifting and then had other things in their hands.  One of the movers had both of our heaviest dumbbells weighing 90 lbs each, and carried them like it was nothing…and he was the smallest of the crew.  Let’s just say we bought them lunch both days and gave them a good tip both upon loading and unloading because they do not have an easy job.  FYI - we used Campbell Moving (DC area) and they were awesome, courteous and professional in all aspects of the move.

Before and After

I only cried a few times during the move as I was getting sentimental.  Jeff and I are on to so much more in our lives.  That home and location were only a small stepping stone in our lives.  As you can see, we celebrated as soon as we got to our new place.  Nice view, eh?

<3 mk

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