The Ultimate Moving Hacks and Tips

Moving can be a fresh start. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re an old hand at it, packing up a household can be cathartic or the most tedious and annoying part of it.

Either way, it’s your chance to audit your belongings and make decisions about what you’ll be taking with you, what you’ll be donating, and what will wind up in the dumpster.

To help you pack and protect your things for loading and unloading we’ve come up with a list of moving hacks to streamline your move and make sure no detail goes overlooked.

But first up, make sure you are prepared for the cost of your move by using our moving cost calculator.

Now let’s get into it.

Jump to the packing tips and tricks.

Moving hacks: 8 ways to make move day seamless

Ready to get moving? Here are some of the best moving hacks and packing tips to make your move day seamless.

1. Plan early

You should start your entire moving process now. Ideally, you should start packing around six weeks before your move date.

We’ve also created a moving checklist, complete with a downloadable PDF to help you with your move plan.

2. Use what you have

It’s tempting to run out and buy up a whole lot of brand-new moving boxes and bubble wrap. But before you do take a look around and see what you already have that you can use. Some popular household items that double as moving boxes include:

  • Plastic storage containers (like the ones used for storing clothes)
  • Baskets
  • Hampers
  • Suitcases and roll-on luggage
  • Briefcases, backpacks, and overnight bags

Set these items aside and load them up with as many belongings as they can handle. You might not have to purchase as many boxes with this moving hack. You can also try and get your hands on some free moving boxes.

Additionally, you can use things like towels and blankets in lieu of moving pads.

3. Stock up on packing supplies

Once you’ve figured out what you have on hand that you can use, then you want to stock up on the supplies you don’t have. Things like:

Cool thing to try: Use colored tape to differentiate which boxes are for which rooms. Like red for the living room and yellow for the kitchen. These are the types of hacks that will make you feel like you are killing it with the move.

4. Plan out groceries

If you’re staying in town, you can easily move any perishable items or leftover groceries to your new home.

You also want to pack some essentials like your coffee maker, mugs, paper plates, and snack foods in an open basket so they are easily accessible when you arrive at your new home. Nothing is worse than digging through piles of moving boxes trying to find plates to eat off of.

However, moving across the country is another story. In the event of a interstate move, make your last grocery shopping trip about two weeks before your move date.

If you plan out your meals, you can use most, if not all, of your food before you leave.

Also do this for household items such as toilet paper rolls, paper towels, and hand soap. The less you have to bring with you or throw away, the better.

For foods you couldn’t get to, check out Move For Hunger, an organization that takes on the food waste problem and the hunger problem in the country.

5. Book your moving company

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We couldn’t leave this one off the list because of how important it is.

If you book your moving company early, you can avoid getting hit with higher prices and ensure they’re available on your chosen moving day. Last-minute moves are expensive — and if you’re trying to do this during peak season in summer, you’ll likely have to settle for a less than stellar mover since they’ll be booked out.

The best thing you can do to avoid a stressful move is to book a great moving company. If you can afford it, professional movers can do all the loading and lifting for you. Moving container companies are another option if you want to do some of the packing work to cut down on costs, but want some help doing the driving.

6. Take a look at your lease agreement

If you are moving from a rental, breaking your lease before it expires can result in fees and other consequences so make sure you read it word-for-word to see what you are responsible for before you move.

If you rent, you will probably need to touch up the walls and baseboards of your former home with paint as well as clean depending on any stipulations in your lease. Failure to do so could result in not getting your deposit back.

Before you leave your old apartment, take pictures so you have proof you left it clean. If you are moving into another rental, take pictures before you move in to note any existing damage. Photos can help you get your deposit back.

7. Only keep the necessities

Many moving tips and hacks begin with decluttering your home.

If there are fewer items to pack, you’ll save money and have more time for other important tasks in the midst of the move.

Start with one room at a time. Go through your belongings, and decide what you can sell and what you can donate.

You’ll probably find a fair amount of items you can toss in the garbage too. Here are popular websites where you can sell items too valuable to donate:

Remember that hazardous materials, like cleaning supplies generally should not go

8. Put aside valuables

Not everything should go on a moving truck. Items that are irreplaceable or highly valuable should stay with you. Things like:

  • legal documents
  • family heirlooms
  • jewelry
  • fragile electronics

These items can travel with you in a separate car or van, or be packed with you in the cab of the truck if you are doing a DIY move.

Packing tips: 8 tricks for an easy move

Once you’ve booked your moving company, gathered your supplies, and made arrangements for your old space, it’s time to pack.

You’ll learn how to pack clothes, how to pack the kitchen, and where to start if you’re lost and stressed.

1. Keep your focus narrow

Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about everything that you need to do, just focus on one room at a time. This will prevent you from mixing items from different rooms together, which will make unpacking them more complicated, and will ensure that things are packed well to prevent damage.

Bonus tip: Color code each room and keep a legend on you. This can pay off when it comes to unpacking.

2. Pay attention to box weight

Heavy boxes are difficult to move and susceptible to breaking. If you don’t fill them completely, fragile items can bounce around and break. So pay attention to box weight.

You can avoid these problems by filling small boxes with heavy items like books and filling large boxes with light items like bedding, towels, and linens.

You can also fill the bottom half of the box with heavy items and the top half with light ones. This distributes the weight across all of your boxes and prevents them from becoming heavy quickly.

Of course, if you are a book fanatic, packing books can seem daunting. Stick with book boxes that are made smaller than regular moving boxes to keep the weight down. Make sure to pack books on edge when putting them into boxes.

3. Use your supplies effectively

While it’s important to stock up on supplies, it’s also crucial to use them effectively.

To prevent boxes and cartons from bursting open during your move, use two pieces of tape to secure the bottom and two pieces for the top. Then, use two more pieces to wrap completely around the top and bottom of the box.

When labeling boxes, be sure you write what’s in the box and which room it goes to. This will help the moving company or your friends know where to place each box.

4. Keep small items together

One of the best moving hacks is staying organized throughout the process. Wrap things like chargers, cords, and cables with rubber bands to prevent them from tangling and keep them together in their own clearly labeled box.

Small pieces that go to shelving, hardware, brackets for mounted televisions, and other easily lost objects should also be kept together. Put them in labeled, sealable plastic bags and tape them to the item they belong to or the box the item is in.

5. Prepare your electronics

Computers, televisions, gaming consoles, and other electronics are a pain to pack and unpack, primarily due to the cords that flow in and out of them. To ensure you get these items set up easily in your new space simply take a picture of where all the cords plug into the device.

If possible, electronics should go back into their original box. Whatever box you use, make sure you wrap your devices in bubble wrap and place them upright in the box. Then pack any empty space around the device with more bubble wrap.

If you are moving a custom-built PC or gaming computer you should remove the graphics card and wrap it in bubble wrap to pack it separately. Don’t forget to write “Fragile” clearly on any box that contains electronics.

6. Don’t stack the dishes

If you’ve packed up your kitchen before, you know how much packing paper you need to ensure nothing breaks. It’s also important to know how to pack plates to prevent this tragedy. Be sure to individually wrap breakables.

Plates can easily stack but don’t place them on top of one another in the box. Instead, place them sideways (standing up) to prevent additional weight on them.

You should also wrap sections of plates and bowls with another piece of packing paper for additional cushion.

7. Pack clothes with minimal effort

If you plan on using wardrobe boxes to pack your clothes, make sure you zip-tie the hangers to the metal bar inside the box. This will lessen the chances of your clothes winding up in a heap at the bottom of the box.

If you are in a rush, or don’t want the added expense of wardrobe boxes, use these moving hacks for clothes:

  • While everything is still on its hanger, place the clothes in a large garbage bag and tie it at the hook of the hanger.
  • Use vacuum-seal bags to pack your clothes. Don’t have vacuum-seal bags? You can use a garbage bag, just make sure it doesn’t have any holes. Simply hold the bag closed with one hand and insert the vacuum with the other.

Both of these methods make your clothes easy to stack, and they’ll stay clean during the move.

8. Take an overnight bag

Whether you’re moving locally or across the country, you and your family members should pack an overnight bag. While moving and packing hacks help, you’ll most likely still be exhausted once it’s all over.

Don’t spend your first night in your new house digging through boxes to find your toothbrush. If you pack your essentials in a bag you keep with you, you’ll take the hassle out of searching for necessities on your first night in your new home.

Ready to make your move?

If you know that you will probably be moving again, try and hang on to some of the packing materials you shelled out for. That way, your next move won’t be as expensive. We hope these moving hacks help you approach moving day with confidence and determination.

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