10 Tips for Moving Efficiently

See also: Organising Skills

Roughly 36 million Americans have changed residences since the start of the pandemic, marking a mass exodus out of cities and into rural areas. This year, experts predict many others will follow their lead. While the overall migration trend remains on a decline, it’s evident that Americans are ready for change, with millions willing to move to make it happen.

Perhaps you’re one of them. Whether you plan to move for work, family, or personal reasons, you’ll soon pack up your things and make the great migration. The success of your endeavor will depend on how well you plan and prepare. Luckily, there are plenty of tried-and-true tips out there to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Use the following ten tips for a fast, efficient and stress-free move, then file them away in your subconscious in case you need them again down the road. 

1. Designate Donate and Toss Boxes

The first step to any big move is downsizing. What can you get rid of to lighten the load and make your move more efficient? As you sort through your belongings, have donate and toss boxes at the ready. This strategy forces you to make an immediate decision about which items you’ll keep or get rid of. Use the room-by-room method to compartmentalize your clearing out and take inventory of what you have. Make a trip to the donation center and dump after you finish each room.

2. Make a Moving Folder

A lot goes into selling and buying a house, and you’ll be doing both at the same time! Get organized by getting your paperwork in order and keep everything in one easily accessible location with a moving folder. Start collecting new addresses, purchase agreements, contracts and more and keep them together. Make hard copies of documents you’ve been storing on your mobile device, too. If your phone or laptop dies during the move, you’ll be glad to have the paper version with you.

3. Keep Clothes Where They Are

There’s no need to pack clothes into boxes when you’ve already organized them with drawers and hangers. Instead of removing and rearranging everything, simply wrap everything as is. Use trash bags to wrap the items in your closet. Get ones with drawstrings so you can tie them around the hanger handles and keep each bundle secure. Use plastic wrap to secure individual drawers and simply slide them into your dresser once it's on the moving truck. Easy as pie!

4. Put Heavier Items on the Bottom

Do you plan to load the moving truck yourself? Make your job ten times easier by packing heavier items on the bottoms of boxes and lighter items on the top. Then, pack the heaviest boxes toward the front of the truck, for balance. This packing method will also force you to unpack lighter bins first. In doing so, you’ll warm up your muscles and boost your heart rate to reduce your risk of injury.

5. Color-code Boxes

Most people helping you move will fail to sort your boxes as they unpack them. What was meant to go in the living room will inevitably end up in the bathroom and vice versa — unless you color-code your boxes. This simple tip will save you lots of time in the long run. Label the top and sides of each box with big bright stickers that coordinate with each room in your new home. Then, make a cheat sheet to help out your movers.

6. Put Boxes in Each Room’s Center

Regardless of who’s physically moving your belongings, it’s crucial they place all of your boxes in the center of each room. Avoid stacking them against walls as they can easily leave scuffs, scratches and marks. Lining the walls can also make it more difficult to assemble furniture after you get it inside the house. Most people place couches, dressers and other large pieces around the outskirts of each room, so designate the middle for boxes and bins.

7. Get a Truck with a Ramp

If you’re a DIY mover, getting a truck with a ramp should be one of your top priorities. Sure, it might be cheaper to rent a truck without one. However, this one simple addition will save you time when you’re ready to load everything up. Instead of lifting every box and piece of furniture over the back end, all you’ll have to do is walk up a small incline. Your arms, back and shoulders will surely thank you when all is said and done.

8. Ask About Special Crating

Whether you’re moving small, framed photos or massive oil paintings, transporting them requires extra care. Properly pack artwork and keep it safe with special crating. Most moving companies offer this service for an additional fee. However, you can just as easily crate items yourself with simple supplies like masking tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Mark glass with an X to stop it from totally shattering or moving around too much if it does break.

9. Keep Track of Small Parts

Small items like nuts, bolts and screws are difficult to keep track of during a big move. Yet, you’ll inevitably get stuck with a few loose parts, especially if you plan to disassemble furniture or appliances. In this case, it’s best to keep these pieces in Ziploc bags and label them well. Put all of them in one special box or tape them to the underside of each item. That way you know exactly where these items are when you reassemble things in your new home.

10. Pack an Overnight Bag

The last thing you want to do once you get to your new home is go scrounging around for your toothbrush or a roll of toilet paper. Keep these necessities on your person by packing an overnight bag for moving day. Include a change of clothes for each family member, along with essentials like cell phone chargers, prescription medications and earplugs. Pack bedding, too, if you plan to sleep on your bed that first night. Otherwise, an air mattress may come in handy.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Use the tips above to make your move more efficient and less time-consuming. The more you can do before the big move, the better. Prep, plan and pack months in advance and look for ways to cut corners without compromising your budget or belongings. Remember, you don’t have to be persnickety to arrange a seamless move, but it doesn’t hurt, either.

About the Author

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.