Millions of people move house each year. Getting ready to move to a new home is a project that can be made easier with a little thought and planning.
What do you do to get ready to move?
I’ve moved house many, many times. When I was growing up, my father was a bit of a wanderer, so we moved often. I never liked it, but after I grew up and established a home of my own, I realized how much tougher it must’ve been on my mom, moving a household and a bunch of kids.
Mike and I have moved quite a few times in the 40 years we’ve been married – across town, but more often across the country. Right now we’re contemplating moving again, to downsize a bit now that our kids are all out on their own.
Keys to getting our house ready to sell, and getting ready to move into a new house
- Plan ahead
There are tons of resources online to help with the planning, including a number of checklists you can download to make sure you stay on track (like this one: Moving Checklist – Printable To-Do List For When You’re Moving Homes). Think through what needs to happen, and start a notebook or other resource to keep all the info:
- Movers? Or moving trucks and friends if doing it yourself
- List of utilities, subscriptions, and other vendors you’ll need to get address changes to and/or line up for the new home
- Kids’ school records and family medical records
- Get rid of stuff!
We visited an open house at a house we liked a lot, but I left feeling like the house needed to be cleaned. We realized it wasn’t dirty, but it felt that way because every closet was packed with clothes. That was a lesson for me about the effect of over-filled spaces on the way a house looks and feels.
Your house might not look or feel cluttered, but . . . do you really want to pack and move everything you currently own? We don’t, so we’re looking hard at the stuff we own, pulling out items we don’t use or need or love to find new homes for. We’re offering it first to our grown kids, then everything else will go to charity. You could also choose to have a yard sale or sell on eBay or Craigslist, or Poshmark for clothes.
Some things to consider rehoming:
- Dishes, utensils, small appliances
- Furniture, lamps,
- Cosmetics and other bathroom items
- Craft supplies
The less you keep, the less work and expense is required to move it
The more you get rid of now, the easier it is to clean and touch up the house for sale
- Gather manuals and paperwork for any appliances or systems you’ll be leaving. Put them together in a folder or binder for the new owners, or put them all in a single drawer in the kitchen.
- Evaluate and schedule repairs or touch-ups needed before listing the house. Label any cans of leftover paint with the color, brand, and which room each was used in, and leave them all together in one closet or cupboard or shelf.
- Pack in stages – start early to pack out-of-season clothes, decor, bedding, books, and specialty kitchen items you don’t anticipate using before the move.
- Designate one space for all the boxes to go such as an unused guest room or the garage
- Label boxes by the room they’re supposed to go into, as well as indicating weight (heavy, medium, light), fragility, and which side is up; consider color coding
- Maintain an inventory, either in a notebook or in an app, with boxes numbered and a brief list of the key items in each. This will make it easier to find what you need at the new house.
- A few days before the move, pack a suitcase for each family member with clothes, toiletries, medications, etc., that’ll be needed for the days before and after the move; live out of that suitcase so you know where necessities are and they won’t accidentally get packed.
- Prepare packing supplies
- The obvious supplies: boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, padding, furniture cart and/or dolly for heavy stuff
- Use Ziploc bags to contain all the small parts for any disassembled furniture or electronics. Tape them securely using quality packing tape to the underside or inside a drawer, or label each with the piece the parts belong to and designate a single box, bin, or basket to put ALL those baggies in and keep it where you can find it. It doesn’t go in the truck–it goes with you.
- Prepare a tool kit for disassembly and minor repairs: hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
- Pack a first-day essentials kit and take it with you in the car
- Cleaning kit – all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, sponges, rubber gloves, toilet bowl cleaner, cleaning rags, broom, mop, bucket
- Bedding for the beds you’ll want the first night and towels for those first showers
- Paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery
- Paper towels, hand wipes, toilet paper
- Tool kit – tape, nails, hammer, screwdrivers, scissors, pliers, extension cords
- First aid kit – pain reliever, band-aids, any necessary medications for family members’ illnesses, allergies, etc.
- Games or toys to entertain the kids if you have them
- Snacks and bottled water
- Pet food and dishes
- Phone chargers
- Make arrangements to get into the new house early to measure, clean, paint, etc. It’s easier to do some of these things before the rooms are filled with boxes and furniture. As an alternative, put as much as possible in the garage or one room until you’ve done whatever cleaning or painting you want to do, then move stuff into the room.
On moving day
- Arrange for childcare and/or pet care somewhere away from the house
- Make sure to walk through your old house, checking drawers, cupboards, closets, attic, basement, etc., to make sure nothing is left behind
- Once you get to the new house
- Have someone designated to direct the crews – where to put boxes, furniture, etc.
- Assemble and make the beds as early in the day as possible, or consider booking a nearby motel room for the first night or two
- Consider having boxes for each room stacked in a closet, to leave more space in the room to assemble and arrange furniture and to have a little less chaos
- Know where there’s a pizza place or other food option near the new house that will deliver, so you can feed the family and your helpers
What do you think?
Share a story about one of your moves – or your best tip for making it work smoothly. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below this post or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email.
- How to Get Ready for Your Next Big Move: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
- How to Organize, Plan and Prepare for a Household Move
- Moving Checklist – Printable To-Do List For When You’re Moving Homes
- How to Prepare for a Move: The Ultimate Guide – Updater
- 41 Moving And Packing Tips To Make Your Move Dead Simple
- The Start-to-Finish Guide for Moving to a New Place
- Smart Move Tape Streamlines Packing and Unpacking for Your Next Move
- Moving Checklist | Real Simple
- 15 Tips To Plan, Prepare, And Pack For A Move – CheapMovingTips.com
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Royse City, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
David Johnson says
First off I just wanted to say thanks for the shoutout!
Second: great article and tips!
Packing in stages is good one and something that isn’t mentioned often. That really helps with spacing the workload out, decluttering before the move, and giving you a better idea of just how MUCH stuff you really have.
The only problem that can come with that, is needing things that you already packed but didn’t anticipate needing again before the move. I don’t know why, but life has a way of doing that.
Me: “There’s no way I’ll need that jump-rope before the move. She literally never plays with it. I’ll pack it”
3 Days later….
My Daughter: “Dad do we have a jump rope? I think you got one like a year ago.
Me: (in my head “Should I tell her?…ugh”) Yeahhh, but I packed it already.
Her: I need it. It’s the only thing that will work. Can you get it for me? Pleaseeee?”
Never fails. Haha! Oh the joys of moving. Patience is key, but there are definitely memories made in the process.
Anyways, I just wanted to say I like the blog. Nice work!
-David from CheapMovingTips.com