moving box packing

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Welcome! Today we are talking how to move out. 

(Insert collective groan here). 

I know, I know.  Moving is the worst.  Most of us start when we move to college, and then wander in and out of dorms, meander through internship housing, settle into new apartments, change roommates, etc. etc. etc. 

I feel your pain.  I moved 10 times in 10 years at one point.  I believe that my experience through so many moves has prepared me to help others, which is exactly what I will outline here in this post. 

If you’re reading, I will assume that you’re doing one of two things:

(1) Moving out of one home and into another, or…

(2) Moving your belongings out of a room to renovate it from top to bottom.

Either way, GOOD FOR YOU!!  Change is good!  Courage is impressive!  And your goal is in reach, whatever goal it may be. 

This is so exciting.  I’m so excited!  Aren’t you excited? 

K, I’ll chill.

Lez-goooo.


Why you need a system

Okay, why does moving need its own post here?  Can’t I just schlep everything out and put it in a pile? 

Well… yes, you could.  And yes, the majority of your stuff would eventually get to its final destination.  However, the point of this post is to move your stuff without losing your sanity.  Emphasis on “without losing your sanity.”  Stick with me!

Having a system for your move is totally crucial to not losing your mind. A little bit of effort on the front end will make for an easier time on the unpacking end. No more “Have you seen my….?” because you will have a sheet ready to go with what each box contains and where to find it. And, if you’re moving because of a house renovation, it will keep your nice stuff nice and your workspace free of clutter.

Are you ready? Let’s get you moved out!


How to do it

Four easy steps, kids.

1. Pare down first

It’s like you have more stuff than you need.  Whether you’re cleaning out your kitchen cabinets for a renovation or moving apartments from LA to NYC, you’ll probably want to get rid of a few things before you trek out.  Need a deep-dive on this? Check out How to clear house before an exciting life change.

For now, know the basics: put like items together, downsize any duplicates, and be honest with yourself the last time you actually used something.  For example: put all the spatulas together, admit that one is your least fave and set it aside for the Goodwill or curbside bin.  Same thing with clothes (I have at least 8 black dresses at any given moment.  It’s a little embarrassing, but I’m a New Yorker, so maybe it’s okay?  Anyways…). Put the like items together, admit that there’s one that doesn’t truuuuly spark joy, look right, or fit, and put it away for the thrift store or similar donation bin. 

Either way, the less stuff you have to move, the easier (and cheaper!) it will be to move it.  Be ruthless!  You can always get a new spatula!!  (talking to myself here 😉 )

2. Pack up

Bust out the bubble wrap, June, ‘cause we are going places!  Assemble your boxes, wrap up your goodies, and pack it all to get outta dodge.  I like to take the time to gather supplies, like a few weeks’ worth of the local newspaper to wrap up breakables, or larger boxes from online orders to haul the big stuff. 

Yes, even if you’re just moving your kitchen contents from one room to another (in our case, when we did our kitchen, we just moved everything to the basement), you still need to pack as if you’re loading a rental truck.  Why?  First of all, your nice stuff will stay nice — plates won’t break, vases won’t smash, etc.  Secondly, you’ll be much more organized when you reach your destination or complete your renovation. 

How to pack a moving box?  Real Simple has some great advice in this article.

3. Order counts!

It has been my experience that it is easier to pack up the “least used” stuff first, and the “most used” stuff last.  This might happen just by chance, or it might happen intentionally. 

For example, I use things like Christmas serving dishes and summer picnic baskets least often, so it’s easiest for me to pack them up first.  This will also likely make them the last box that I unpack.  That’s perfect!  On the contrary, my go-to frying pan and coffee pot will be among the last things to hit a box before a move and will thus be the first unpacked upon arrival. 

You know what you use the most.  Pack accordingly! 

4. Organize it

Boxes lying around getting overwhelming?  No rhyme or reason to it?  Fear not.  I have a system for you. 

Label your boxes.  Supplies needed: one giant permanent marker.  Employ that fine penmanship from Sr. Claire’s 1st grade class and number each box on the top and sides.  Then, use our free moving printable to keep track of what each corresponding box contains. 

Moving your stuff? Get our free printable for easy organization!

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    Have a place to put it all

    A very important consideration during moving is to have a place to stage it all. 

    If you’re moving your entire home, it’s very easy for the move to takeover just about every corner of your place.  Eventually this is inevitable, but try, at least at first, to designate one corner to all of the boxes and packing supplies.  This will enable you to go about your daily life, make dinner, get ready for work/school etc. without tripping over your move.  Remember, we’re saving your sanity here. 

    If you’re moving out of a room to renovate it, please consider storing your belongings WELL out of the way of your project.  Depending on its scope, your project could become very, very dirty, and I highly doubt you’ll want your nice things getting dirty! 

    Considerations on where to put the mess while you’re working away:

    • Your basement
    • Your attic
    • Your generous, kind, patient family member’s basement or attic
    • Last resort: a storage space (please don’t do this to your finances, but if you really have to, and the cost is worth it to your sanity, then don’t let me stop ya!)

    Enjoy your less stress renovation

    Here’s hoping that these basic moving tips will help you clear out house with ease, whether it’s for a full-on move or for an exciting new project.  It’s truly easier to work on a room that is empty, and truly easier to move when you have a plan in place.

    What have I missed?  What’s your best tip for someone moving their belongings from one place to another?


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