Pack like a boss!
Household packing tips to keep your move simple
Moving day will be here before you know it.
If you want a smooth and successful move, you need to be well prepared—ahead of time. If you take the time to plan ahead and get your household organized, you’ll have less to worry about on moving day. You might even enjoy it!
Don’t be left scrambling around the day before your move trying to find extra boxes to pack up items. These packing tips will have you organized, packed up, and ready go.
Smart packing tips that make moving easy
Purge your belongings
Doing a massive purge before packing will have a huge impact on the efficiency and ease of your entire packing process.
You don’t have to get rid of everything. However, the more unused and unnecessary items you have, the more stuff you’ll have to pack, haul across town, unload, and organize. Donate (or sell) items that are in good shape, and spend an afternoon taking the junk to the dump.
If you get picky about what you really need to take with you, you will thank yourself on moving day!
Sort items by category
Rather than sorting your belongings room by room, sort them by category. Collect and sort starting with the easiest items to part with and ending with the most difficult.
Start with your clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items (like electronic cords, and kitchen supplies), and then sentimental objects like photos.
Decide how you’re moving
Before you go any further, you need to decide whether you are going to DIY your move or not. If you are, start calling in favours to friends and family well in advance of moving day. Decide whether you need to rent a trailer or moving truck, and research what is available in your area.
If you need professional help, research local movers and schedule a consultation. Professional movers can make or break your entire moving process, so be sure you go with a reputable company. It’s also important to find out specifics to avoid any surprises on moving day.
Pick moving day
Hire your movers or book your moving vehicle well in advance of moving day. If you give at least one month of room, you can easily plan accordingly.
If you have a flexible moving date, play around with potential dates and find the cheapest day to move. If you avoid the weekend chaos, you may find yourself with some sweet savings.
Map out the best route
Even if you’re just moving across town, map out the best way to get there. Planning the easiest, most efficient route will help avoid wasting time day sitting in traffic or pulling over three different times to type an address into your GPS.
Create a master moving list
When you move, there are hundreds of things to do and remember. Avoid forgetting tasks and important reminders by writing them down in one location.
Use the Notes app on your smart phone or go old school with a clipboard and yellow legal pad. Whatever your method is, keep it handy and jot down every little detail. For example, write down where you put the extra screws for the cutlery drawer, where you can take books for donation, and a reminder that you need to replace the laundry room sink stopper.
To keep all those moving tasks and dates together, use an oversized calendar and mark it with important daily tasks to prepare for your move. This helps break up your tasks and makes them much more manageable. Crossing off dates is incredibly satisfying!
Stock up on supplies
Locate and stock up on boxes of all sizes. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so get yourself a lot of boxes!
You can purchase moving boxes from a number of locations. You can also stop by the local liquor store to see if they have any boxes waiting for recycling. This is a great way to save a little money and have smaller boxes on hand for heavier items. Just be sure that you use gently worn boxes and pack them appropriately.
Don’t forget the other moving supplies! Stock up on brown paper, packing tape, bubble wrap, and permanent markers.
Schedule disconnect times
Call your cable, internet, electricity, and gas providers a few weeks ahead of your move to figure out when you need to shut everything off. Make sure you leave enough time in your schedule to gather any items that you may need to return.
If you’re moving across town, schedule connections at your new home. If you’re moving across the province—or the country—look into providers for your new area and schedule connections accordingly.
Packing little by little is far less stressful than trying to tackle it all in one day.
As early as you can, start packing the items you know you won’t be using. This can be anything from off-season clothing to books you’ve already read to photos and keepsakes.
Designate a room in your home to keep packed items. Just be sure you use the tips below to label the boxes clearly.
Label all boxes
The key to finding all of your stuff after you move, is labeling the packed boxes accurately and clearly. When you’re stacking boxes into a truck or car you won’t be able to see their tops, so label the sides.
Don’t stop there! Label the boxes by category and by room to speed up the unloading process. For example, label books for specific rooms like this: Books, Living Room and Books, Master Bedroom.
If you want to take your box labeling a step further, create a number system.
As you pack up a box, take note of every item inside. Write the list in a Google doc, or on a piece of paper, and then give the box a number. Seems a little much, but there are major benefits to doing this. One is that you don’t have to dig through boxes to find the plunger to unclog the toilet. The second is that you can check to see if boxes have gone missing.
Change your address
Surprisingly, this is often overlooked until well after the move! Be sure to change your address well in advance of moving day to ensure that bills and packages arrive on time and without any hassle.
Use your master moving list to keep track of where addresses need to be changed, and your oversized calendar to keep track of when.
Keep essential items handy
Pack a clear plastic box with things you will need right away. Items like towels, soap, toilet paper, sheets (you'll see why below), and a shower curtain will help you feel comfortable and more prepared to tackle unpacking the rest of your belongings.
A tip to prevent leaking and spilling of shampoo bottles (and other bathroom liquids) is to use Saran Wrap to secure toiletry bottles. Unscrew the cap of your item bottle, wrap a piece of Saran Wrap (or other plastic) over the top, and screw the cap back on. This is simple and surprisingly effective.
Pack an overnight bag
Chances are high that you won’t get unpacked on the first day.
To avoid rummaging through boxes, pack a small bag (or suitcase) for every member of the family. Have a change of clothes, toiletries, water bottle, and whatever you need to feel relaxed and settled on the first night.
Stop buying groceries
To avoid waste stop buying groceries a week or two before you’re scheduled to move. Use all the food you have left, and then simplify with take-away and easy to prepare and clean-up meals.
If you don’t use items in your fridge and pantry that can’t be moved, offer to friends, family, and neighbours. Anything that you can’t get rid of, you need to toss it and move along!
Take pictures of your electronics
Before you take them apart and pack them up, take pictures of the back of your electronic devices, taking note of which cords go where.
Having photographic evidence will make it that much easier when you need to set up your
Devices on the other end. Especially if you need to keep your kids busy while you finish unloading and unpacking.
Make copies of important papers
In case of emergency, pack a separate box with copies of all your important documents.
Though it may be a tedious task, you don’t want to risk damaging the only version of your papers in transit. Insurance forms, birth certificates, passports, and tax papers are precious.
Set aside cleaning supplies
Build a mini cleanup kit so you can do one final tidy throughout your old home on moving day.
Set aside a broom, mop, dustpan, duster, sponge, cleaning products, and old rags for wiping the grimy, hidden surfaces you never got to when all your stuff was in the way.
This is also a handy tip for the other end of the moving process, especially if the old homeowners weren’t as kind as you were.
Defrost fridge and freezer
Take time to thoroughly clean the fridge and freezer, wiping away all the liquid before you haul it to your new home or leave it for the new homeowners.
No one wants a stinky, dirty, mildew fridge or freezer in their new home. On that note, make sure you give your other appliances a good scrub before loading them in the truck, or saying good-bye.
Keep Ziploc bags handy
Keep a stash of Ziploc bags handy for moving day. Use the bags to store doorknobs, tiny screws and brackets, keys, or other small, easily forgettable items. Labeling the bags will help you figure out what’s what when it comes time to use the items.
Load boxes from same room together
Stack and load boxes in groups according to the rooms they belong in. This is where well-labeled boxes come in very handy!
Put all the kitchen stuff together, all the bedroom stuff together, and all the living room stuff together. That way, you can unload all the boxes from the same rooms at the same time.
Move heavy furniture first
Packing the moving truck efficiently is similar to playing a game of Tetris. Load large items like your couch, appliances (if applicable) and mattresses first. Then gently manoeuvre boxes and lighter items into empty spaces.
Be gentle with your items and don’t be afraid to flip chairs and couches on their sides to save space in the truck or trailer. If you have personal vehicles to use, small boxes and light items can be moved that way.
When using professional movers, be sure to move your toiletries, overnight bags, and valuables with you.
Before moving day, figure out who will do what and stick with it. Delegating tasks will keep people from wasting time and make the process run like a well-oiled machine.
Make the beds first
Instead of trying to locate sheets and pillows at the end of a long day, make the beds as soon as you move in. It’s also a great way to help kids feel a little more comfortable in their new space.
Be a good host
Take care of the people who help you move—whether they are getting paid or not. Provide beverages and snacks for everyone, and break for pizza when it’s time for dinner.
Showing that you appreciate their help will make it much easier for friends and family to pitch in again.
If you have a furry family member, here are some tips on how to successfully move pets from one home to the next.