We’ve heard that the summer months are the most popular time to move and this year more than ever we reminded of its truth. With four more client moves to go in the next month, this year we’ve hit a company record when it comes to moving projects. For some of the projects we are helping with the decluttering and staging, while on others we do everything from packing, coordinating movers, and organizing the entire home. The moving process can be a lot to manage and includes so much prep and coordination that when moving day comes you are ready to just be done.
Whether you move every year (like I did in my 30s...more about that here) or have been settled in your space for decades, the process can be overwhelming and it might be difficult to know where to begin. So, we’re sharing the tips that we give to our clients and implement on each and every project that we work on. Regardless of the size and scope of your move, these tips can help to streamline the process and create a better (or at least less stressful) experience.
- Choose how you will move. Your budget will help to make this decision for you, but it’s important to figure out how involved in the process you want to be/need to be. If you are doing it yourself, you’ll need to give yourself extra time to do buy the supplies and carve out time in your schedule to pack and unpack. If you’re hiring movers then we recommend getting a couple of quotes to compare prices and level of involvement that they offer (quick note: if you are in the DC area and are looking for a mover we’ve included our go-to companies on our Resources page).
- Know your options. In our experience, moving companies are pretty flexible with their involvement, you just have to know to ask for their options. Most companies offer everything from DIY packing to full service options,which are: (1) they drop off supplies in advance to let you pack on your own, (2) they just pack the big stuff and breakables (like TVs, art, and china), (3) pack the entire house, and (4) pack everything and then unpack everything and remove the boxes from your home.
- Map out your floor plan. Before you pack, think about your future space and what will fit. Will your future living room fit your existing couch? Will your utility shelving unit fit in your new garage? Are you downsizing and no longer need guest bedroom furniture? Make a plan to dispose of or sell these items so you aren't stuck dealing with it on the other end when space is limited.
- Declutter. Choose one room to focus on at a time and touch every item in that room to determine how it should be categorized. Remember: while the item might not take up much room in a box, you will eventually have to find a place for it in your new home. If it's not something you need, love, or use on a regular basis, let it go. Go through every room in the house and categorize all items: KEEP, DONATE, CONSIGN, and TRASH. Set a "donation date" during the last month leading up to the move. Schedule for a donation pick-up or carve time out of your schedule to drop off items at a local donation center. (PS: If you’d like more pre-moving day decluttering tips we wrote a full post addressing the topic right here).
- Inventory. When you pack a "miscellaneous" box it likely will remain a "miscellaneous box" after your move, tucked away in the corner of a room because its contents are too daunting to put away. Take the time to categorize items and keep like with like when it comes to packing a box, creating a detailed inventory so that you know where to find what you're looking for without having to dig through each box.
- Create a moving folder. Include important document (i.e. estimates, receipts), and a full inventory list of what you will be moving. As you identify items to KEEP, add it to the inventory list. When you get to your new home you will be thankful that you have all important paperwork in one convenient location.
- Create a packing system. Assign each room a color using colored tape (i.e. kitchen=red, bathroom =blue, etc.) to make it super easy for everyone involved to know where the boxes should go as they are being brought in to your new house. For categories that can include multiple rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, etc.), we recommend adding the specific room name next to the tape. So, if you want to label the Master Bathroom box you would use blue tape and the text “Bath-Master” to signify where the box should go in the unloading process. Take it one step further by numbering each box (so blue tape, “Bath-Master” #1). As you prepare for the move and are creating your inventory list make sure to add a “Room” and “Number” column. Add the details (Bath Master-#1) next to the items on your inventory list that are packed inside so that when you are looking for a specific item (like your coffee pot, socks, band-aids) during your unpacking you don’t have to open each and every box to find it.
- Handy carry the essentials beforehand. When possible, it’s great to get inside the home before the movers arrive and get essentials like cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, and some food and drinks ready to go so that your not stuck waiting for those supplies to make their way over to the house on moving day. Also, hand carry items that you know you’ll want to access, like toothbrushes, a (clean!) set of sheets to throw on the beds, etc.
Are there any tips you’d like to add? Leave your tips, comments, and questions below!
PS- Have an upcoming move? Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, check out our Moving Checklist to make sure you are prepared for moving day!
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Rachel and Company is a professional organizing firm based in Bethesda, MD, serving clients in the Washington, DC area including: Potomac, Maryland Georgetown, the Palisades, McLean, Arlington, and Alexandria, Virginia.