There’s a reason they say moving is the third most stressful event in life. Not only does it throw your typical routine out the window and add to an already growing to-do list, but living out of boxes for days (or let’s be honest, weeks), and not knowing where things are can weigh heavily on your sanity and your body.
But we believe no matter your age or what stage of life you’re in, moving doesn’t have to be stressful. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide outlining the five essential phases to a seamless, stress-free move, so you can manage your move like the pros.
Over the last 15 years, we’ve helped thousands of individuals and families plan their moves. Here are the five phases we guide our clients through step by step.
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is forgetting to plan what will go where in their new home. Taking the time to create a proper floor plan helps make sure you’re only packing and moving furniture that will fit, and it will also help alleviate stress on moving day. Knowing exactly where to point the movers as they’re hauling in that giant sectional or curio cabinet will make things easier for both them and you. It also will help avoid setting down a heavy piece of furniture in the wrong spot.
Try to get your hands on a floor plan, measure all of your furniture, and each wall in your new home, and try to map out your home design long before your movers ever arrive. Before you pack a single box, take the time in advance to plan how the furniture will be arranged in your new space. When we help our clients move, we sit down one-on-one with them with a floor plan, and measurements of all their furniture, so they know exactly where everything will go on moving day.
Sorting and decluttering
There’s no better time than a move to get rid of items, furniture and clothing that you no longer need (or didn’t even know you had). We recommend starting this process four weeks before you plan to move and setting aside a few dedicated hours each weekend to get it done.
As you go through this process, make three spaces in each room for “take,” “sell/donate” and “trash piles.” This is an excellent opportunity to go through your things and part ways with stuff you no longer need, especially if you’re downsizing into a smaller space. In addition, you’ll save money by not packing unnecessary items. Hold a walk-through with family and neighbors to identify their chosen items. Put together a yard sale, post online, or take items to consignment that you think you might be able to sell. The more you get out of the way, the easier it will be to see what is left to work with.
Packing and moving
As tedious and time-consuming as packing can be, unpacking can be even worse if you don’t prepare. Our recommendation? Use LABELS. Organize items in groups (i.e. kitchen items in one box, dress clothes in their own box, you get the picture). Make sure you use packing tape to affix the labels to the box too so they don’t fall off.
Use soft things, like pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels to wrap around fragile items like lamps and large vases. That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone: You’re packing items that can take up space like pillows, and also protecting smaller, more fragile items. Remember, it’s all about efficiency!
Pro tip: Pack overnight bags for your family members that include a few changes of clothes, toiletries, towels, personal electronics, snacks, and anything else you might need en route.
Unpacking and settling in
If you’ve ever moved before, we’re guessing that the unpacking and settling in phase usually lasts a few weeks. Our clients are always surprised when we’re able to get them almost fully unpacked and settled in in just one to two days. Our secrets? Other than having multiple sets of hands, here’s how our professionally trained team members go about it:
- Designate a space in each room for boxes to be stacked – choose a location that does not block traffic, and that you can work around in case the boxes remain there for a few days.
- Designate a space for empty boxes. As boxes are unpacked, flatten them and carry them out to that space. Determine what you will do with the empty boxes – recycle, throw, or have your movers take them.
- Unpack wardrobe boxes first, as they take up a large amount of space.
- Then, unpack your kitchen, then bathrooms, then main living areas.
- Place toilet paper and a roll of paper towels in a convenient bathroom so that you and the movers have a bathroom to use!
- Identify your bedding box as soon as possible, unpack and make your beds so that everyone can go to sleep at the end of an exhausting day.
If you need an extra set of hands, you can buy anywhere from 4 to 16 hours of our time right here, starting at just $300.
Clear and and prep for sale
When you can’t wait to get into your new space, it’s easy to forget about making sure your previous home is ready for its new owner. Whether you’ve already sold it or it’s still on the market, you’ll want to have your home professionally cleaned and completely cleared out. That may mean arranging for unwanted items to be picked up for donation or making a few trips to the local donation center.
(Pssst … we have an entirely separate blog post dedicated to helping you find a home for your unwanted items. Read it here.)
Want professional help making your move stress-free?
We’ve been helping individuals and families move and downsize for more than 15 years. We specialize in helping you purge and declutter, pack, unpack and settle into your new home, be it a bigger or smaller home or a retirement community. We sit down with you to understand how your daily routines and lifestyle, so that when you step into your new home after moving day, everything is exactly where you’d put it.
For a complimentary consultation and quote, get in touch with us here.