stress free move

Hubby and I are getting out of this rental home and buying our own first home! I’m a military brat who’s moved more than a dozen times in my 25 years, and I usually HATE it! But, I’m determined not to hate it this time. I want the whole experience of being a first time homeowner to be magical with fairy lights, singing in the background, and rays of sunshine.  But when I come crashing back to reality, it’ll be nice to have a moving guide to stick to and follow, so I’m going to share my stress free moving tips and tricks with you.

First of all, plan on starting the packing and organizing about 2 weeks before the big move day.  Search the free section on craigslist for moving supplies; there’s always someone who’s just moved and wants to get rid of their moving materials.  Or stop by target, walmart, or some other big store like that and ask them when they’ll be stocking things.  When they stock, it means they have HUNDREDS of empty boxes lying around in every shape and size that they’ll let you have (you never know what you can get just by asking). Once you have that done, here are some general rules and tips I like to stick by.

  1. Break the house into sections (keep reading to see my section list)
  2. Pack at least 3 boxes a day
  3. Every section of the house you pack, (closets, kitchen, garage, etc….) fill a bag to either throw away, donate or sell. I’m ADAMENT about this point.  This cuts down on your clutter and gets you to what you really need and want in your new home.  Don’t just pack everything and think you’ll organize and go through it at your new place.  Trust me YOU WON’T!
  4. Use towels, blankets, etc.. to wrap your breakables in, this cuts down on the amount of bubble wrap, newspaper, etc.. that you need
  5. When going through your pantry, donate most of the canned goods, boxed meals, bags of pasta, etc.. to your local food pantry
  6. This might go without saying, but LABEL, LABEL, LABEL!
  7. If it’s not already done, separate you holiday decor into their own boxes (christmas, halloween, etc..)
  8. When taking apart furniture or anything with small pieces, put the pieces in a ziploc bag and tape that bag to the underside of that piece of furniture so you’re not wondering what goes to what

If needed, check out self storage prices

Now, here is my list that I stick by to stop myself from going crazy and feeling overwhelmed.  Remember, start about 2 weeks before, pack at least 3 boxes a day and fill a bag a day with things to trash, sell or donate.


  1. bedroom closets – pack the clothes you’re not currently wearing; like now it’s summer so all our fall and winter things have been boxed.
  2. linen closet/laundry room – do you need those 10 extra guest towels and 5 extra sheet sets in the next month? probably not.  pack ’em up.
  3. books, cd’s, dvd’s – leave out a few movies if you must for a few family movie nights and some books for kids bedtime stories, but away with the rest.
  4. guest room – i’m sure you’re not going to have company spend the night right before your move so get that room packed! This does include taking apart the bed frame and any other big pieces of furniture.
  5. bathrooms – yes, medicine cabinets, cosmetic drawers, kids bath toys, stores of backup shampoo’s, conditioners, lotions, etc.. are all included, only leave out what’s necessary.
  6. kitchen/dining room – you don’t need the fine china, holiday serving platters, 8 cupcake and cake pans or the fondue set.  wrap and pack.  Get it down to your trusty pot and pan, and the everyday plates and bowls you’ll need.
  7. garage/attic/basement
  8. garage/attic/basement
  9. garage/attic/basement let’s face it, this is the problem area for most people.  You’re gonna need more than one day.  Don’t try to do it all at once and get frustrated and stressed.  Take it on in a few days; just remember the minimum 3 box rule, and the trash/donate/sell rule.
  10. coat closet – if you’re like me, the front coat closet is the junk closet.  besides the random 1 coat in there (huh…..that’s not mine.  who left that here?) you have wrapping paper, kids art supplies, my art supplies, etc.. pack it ALL! I bet there’s nothing in there that you can’t live without for the next 2 or 3 weeks.
  11. all wall decor – pictures, shelves, your kids art projects; get it all wrapped and packed.  you want to see your bare walls.
  12. bedroom closet’s. again. – yes, it was #1 on the list and you packed the winter (or summer, spring, fall) wardrobe, but you still have everything else. This is where you need to get picky. fill your big suitcases with about 2 weeks worth of outfits for everyone and box the rest.  I mean everything.  Shoes, accessories, purses, those pair of pants you swear you’ll fit into again, everything!
  13. playroom/game room – pack away the toys, puzzles, train table, basketball hoop, whatever you got going on in there and that does include taking apart any furniture you have in there.
  14. living room/family room – pack the tv, dvd player, wii, stray dvd’s, etc…
  15. all final things left out – those final dishes, pots and pans, clothes, toys, whatever, that’s still floating around, get it together and taped into your last box!

A day or two before the move, make sure all your big furniture is disassembled, including beds (just sleep on the mattresses on the floor). This is especially important if you’re hiring movers to do the big stuff for you and you’re paying by hour.  Have it all taken apart so they can just lift and move it for you, and have it done as quickly as possible.

Read through your lease agreement, if renting, and make sure you know how the house has to be left in order to get your deposit back. Do you need to vacuum and mop or just sweep? Paint over any scuff and marks or they’ll take care of that?

If you can get the keys to your new place before the move day, do things like painting the walls before you move in. The new paint smell will be gone and it’ll be a lot easier to do when the home is empty than trying to push boxes out of the way. Another tip to make moving into the new place easier; write on piece of paper what each room will be (johnny’s room, jane’s room, etc..) and tape that piece of paper to the door of each room. Have the movers place your appropriately labeled (you did label didn’t you?) boxes into the coordinating rooms.

Step back for a second and marvel at your stress free moving expertise! You new de-cluttered, gutted, and organized life is waiting to be unpacked. How long it stays that way, is yet to be seen.  Don’t stress over unpacking all at once either.  Make sure you take your time doing that as well. Except for the coffee pot. Tear through every box looking for it. You need to find the coffee pot, how can people expect you to function without that? Sorry…..I was projecting 😉

Hope my tips, tricks and list help someone out! Don’t forget to share with your friends and family who just happen to be in the moving process right now.


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