Image of family in living room unpacking moving boxes.

5 Top Tips For Moving And Packing Effectively

3-Minute ReadUPDATED: April 14, 2023


Between touring homes for sale, making an offer, negotiating with the sellers and getting a mortgage to finance the home, buying a house can be a ton of work. But even after the closing documents are signed and the keys are in your hands, your work isn’t done just yet. Now you must pack, clean, move and unpack, all while saying goodbye to your former residence.

Moving (across town or state lines) can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to make the process easier! Follow our packing and moving tips to help simplify this exciting – and sometimes stressful – transition into your new home.

5 Tips To Make Moving A Breeze

As mentioned, while moving can be an exciting time in your life, it can also feel overwhelming. Between all the things you need to remember and the seemingly endless pile of moving boxes, it’s easy to feel in over your head. A little guidance (from us!) can go a long way.

1. Declutter Before Moving Day

Since you’ll be packing and moving every item you have in your home, it’ll be the perfect time to declutter as you evaluate everything. By doing this before moving day, you’ll have less to pack, which means you may need fewer moving boxes and other supplies and you’ll make fewer trips to and from the moving truck. Decluttering before you move also gives you a fresh start in your new home.

To start, create three piles for your stuff: keep, sell or donate and recycle or throw away. As you go through your stuff, place your items in one of the three piles. Once you have a sell/donate pile, host a garage sale or post items on an online marketplace, like Craigslist. Anything that doesn’t sell can join any items you planned to donate to a local thrift store, church or charity.

Remember, sentimental items may hold meaning to you or someone you care about. Before selling, donating or tossing these items, reach out to family and friends to see if anyone would like them.  

2. Decide Whether You Want To Move Yourself Or Hire Professional Movers

When you’re deciding whether to move yourself or hire professional movers, consider the pros and cons, especially when it comes to cost. Depending on the size of your home, the average cost of hiring professional movers for a full-service move is $240 – $1,500 for a local move and $700 – $10,000 for a long-distance move. To rent a truck to move yourself, you can expect to pay $140 – $350 for a local move or $500 – $1,750 for a long-distance move.

Of course, the price tag isn’t the only factor in your decision. Here are a few others.

Pros Of Moving Yourself

Along with saving money, there are other advantages of a DIY move.

  • You have the flexibility to move on your timeline.
  • You have full control of how your stuff is packed and protected and how it’s moved.
  • If there are missing items, you’ll have a better idea of where they could be.
  • You won’t have to worry about strangers handling your cherished, fragile or personal and private items.

Cons Of Moving Yourself

Novice movers may find out real fast that there are some disadvantages to moving on your own. Consider these before you learn about them the hard way.

  • You may have trouble finding help moving.
  • You’ll have to figure out all of the logistics – from planning the move to packing the truck in a way that makes everything fit.
  • Moving can be physically demanding and you could hurt yourself.
  • You may have to rent or invest in certain tools that professional movers will already have.

Pros Of Hiring Professional Movers

There’s a reason that it may cost more to hire professional movers. They have the experience, tools and strength to get the job done. Here are just a few benefits of calling in the experts.

  • You won’t have to do the heavy lifting.
  • Movers are experienced in safely packing, handling and moving heavy, awkward, fragile or specialty items.
  • Movers know the most efficient way to move items and handle unexpected problems.
  • Professional movers don’t just have the expertise, they also have the tools needed for a successful move.

Cons Of Hiring Professional Movers

While professional movers may make moving day less stressful, there are disadvantages of hiring them to consider, as well.

  • You’ll need to schedule the move to a date and time that fits the moving company’s availability.
  • Along with paying for the moving service, you should also consider tipping the movers, which is an additional cost.
  • You may feel uncomfortable having strangers in your old and new home and handling some of your more personal items.

Financing Your Move

Several costs come with purchasing a home, including closing costs and a down payment, which can be thousands of dollars. After those major expenses, it can be hard to pay for the costs of moving, too. That’s where taking out a moving loan can be of great help. A personal loan can help you finance your move with lower rates than many high-interest credit cards.

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3. Packing Tips For Common Items

Packing can be the most tedious and time-consuming part of moving but getting your life from point A to point B safely – and securely – is what’s most important. Our packing tips will help you get there without too much hassle.

Make A Moving Checklist

Whether you hire a moving company or decide on a DIY move, there will be several details you’ll need to keep top of mind. Creating checklists of things to pack and things to complete leading up to the move will ensure you remember everything.

Having a moving day itinerary will help keep you on schedule and make it a smoother process for everyone helping with the move. Make sure your to-do list and itinerary have the contact information of all parties involved, too, in case there’s a problem.

Stock Up On Packing Supplies

You can’t start boxing things up until you have the right packing materials, which may include:

  • Cardboard boxes to hold your items
  • Packing paper to use as a buffer between items in a moving box
  • Packing tape to seal cardboard boxes
  • Box cutters to easily open taped boxes
  • Bubble wrap or newspaper to cushion and protect breakable and fragile items
  • Moving blankets to provide padding and protect large items
  • Plastic wrap to protect wood finishes and keep furniture doors and drawers shut
  • Moving dolly to transport heavy pieces of furniture and multiple boxes at once
  • Cargo straps or rope to secure items in the moving truck
  • Plastic bags for hardware, wires and other small pieces that should be kept together

Make a list of the packing materials you need, then see where you can borrow items or get them at low cost or for free. If you have a friend who recently moved, check to see if they have any boxes or other packing supplies that they’re looking to get rid of.

Visit your local thrift shop or liquor store to see if they have unused boxes in the back. You may also be able to rent bigger items, like dollies, from local packing supply shops or truck rental locations.

Use The Right Boxes For Heavy Items

Heavy items, like books and kitchen items) should be packed in small boxes, which are more compact and, thus, sturdier than large boxes. Smaller boxes are also easier to hold and carry. Large boxes are better for lighter items, like towels, pillows and clothing.

4. Set Yourself Up For Easy Unpacking

The best way to set yourself up for easy unpacking is to know which items go in which rooms, and be aware of exactly what’s in each box without having to open it. Here are a few different strategies for labeling your items.

Use A Color-coding System

A color code will help you or your movers know where every box and piece of furniture should be placed in the new house. Simply assign a separate color for each room and place a sticker of that color on every item that goes in that room.

Describe What’s Inside

As each item goes into the box, write it down on a running list. Once the box is packed, tape the list to the box. That way, you’ll know every item each box includes without having to open it. Better yet, take a picture of the interior of the box once it’s packed and tape the picture on the outside of the box. Looking at the picture will be just like looking inside the box.

Use Original Boxes

If you have the original box for small appliances or pots and pans, use those boxes for those items. You know it will fit and the outside of the box will tell you exactly what’s inside.

5. Pack And Plan For The Day Of The Move

At the end of moving day, your new home is going to be filled with boxes and furniture scattered in every room. The last thing you’ll want to do is search everywhere for items you need to begin setting up your new chapter. That’s why it’s important to pack a few essentials separately in boxes and bags that are easily accessible for your first few days. These essentials include:

  • Everyday toiletries, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and deodorant
  • Pajamas for your first night
  • A change of clothes
  • Toilet paper
  • Phone and computer chargers
  • Important documents, like your driver’s license and insurance cards
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towel
  • Cleaning supplies

Final Thoughts

Moving is a lot of work – from deciding whether to hire a professional or move yourself, to packing your things and transporting your life to a new house. However, there are several ways to help make your move as smooth as possible.

Prepare your finances ahead of your move by saving money or taking out a personal loan to budget your moving expenses. Create an efficient packing strategy that declutters as you go, setting you up to easily find the items you need and ensuring each item is placed in the correct room.

After all, having a plan in place is the best way to quickly enjoy all of the excitement that comes with your fresh, new start.

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