moving tips

My Best Moving Tips

I’ve worked in real estate for more than a decade now and like to think I know a thing or two about moving. But, having been through my own move recently, I was reminded of the toll moving can take on you both physically and emotionally. So, I want to share my thoughts on my best moving tips to make your move a bit easier.

Packing and Preparing

My husband and I decided to do a “power unpack” this time around, where we unpacked every single box before going to sleep. Since we had been renovating and most of our belongings were in storage for several months, this goal was a bit more aspirational than we realized. But we did it! Yes, we were up until 4 in the morning, but we played some music, opened a bottle of wine, and got it done! One thing that helped with the process was taking the time to purge before we put things on the moving truck.

Paring down your possessions before moving will make the whole process significantly easier.

Figuring out how to unload your unwanted, but usable, items can be overwhelming. Some people just want to be rid of their “stuff,” while others would love to earn some money while decluttering.Below are the best options I found during our packing (and unpacking) period.

  • Donate to People in your life – We were able to donate most of our gently used items to people we actually knew. The owner of the cleaning company that cleans our house was able to take most of the items for people who work for her company, which made the whole process somewhat painless.
  • I found the following websites and apps super helpful in paring down:
    • Craigslist.  You’ll find just about anything for sale on this giant classified ads site. Items are listed in categories like books, furniture, electronics, clothing, bikes, toys and games and MUCH more, so it’s a great place to post your items for sale (for free!). Added bonus: there is a whole section for free items.
    • LocaNextdoor platforml ListServs. Nextdoor is a Facebook-like neighborhood platform. While it’s mostly u sed for sharing news and getting recommendations, it is a fabulous option for both buying and selling items. Many neighborhoods maintain their own listservs as well.
    • Offer Up / Letgo. Both are sites similar to Craigslist, but since users must verify themselves they are (supposedly) a little safer.
    • Buy Nothing (Facebook Group). By joining your local Buy Nothing group, you can post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. You can also ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. No buying, selling or trading allowed! Click here to find your local group.
    • Facebook Marketplace. Here you can find exactly what you are looking for by filtering results by location, category, and price. Want to unload items? By listing on Marketplace, you can reach buyers you know are in your immediate area.
    • Carousell. This app (and website) makes it super easy to buy and sell new and secondhand items from your smartphone.

Once you’ve gotten rid of items, it’s time to pack them up. Professional movers all offer packing services as well. While it’s an added expense, it can be very worthwhile, especially for kitchen items and breakables.

Other Things To Do Before Moving Day

Moving truck

  • If you are moving to a congested, urban area where parking is tough, be sure to reserve parking for the moving/delivery truck (note: this link is for Alexandria City only – check with your local jurisdiction).
  • Order a new trash/recycling bin. I’ve found that most people want to start fresh, so ordering new trash and recycling cans from your jurisdiction is the way to go. Again, check with your local jurisdiction to order new trash cans and recycling bins (Alexandria City links)
  • Confirm that all of your utilities will be operational and set up in your name as of moving day.

Moving Day

There are several little things you can do to make moving day a bit smoother for everyone.

  • Have a “travel bag” with toothbrushes, toiletries, medicines, etc. to keep in your car, not the moving truck. This bag should be the first thing you bring into your new home.
  • Have clean towels and bedding ready for everyone sleeping in the new home. Pro Tip: Be sure to make up the beds first! You will be tired and will be grateful when you can flop right into a freshly made bed.
  • Stock each bathroom with toilet paper, hand soap and a towel.
  • Have paper towels, kitchen soap, trash bags, and cleaning supplies (Windex, stainless steel wipes, marble or granite counter wipes, and disinfectant wipes).
  • Unpack your kitchen items first and start running the dishwasher immediately so you have clean glasses, silverware, plates, and bowls right away.
  • Set up a grocery store delivery for your moving day so you don’t need to spend time running to the store.
    • Prime Now (Whole Foods), Instacart, and Peapod are all options in our area.
    • Order perishables that won’t make the move (milk, eggs, bread, cheese, some meat, produce).

If you’re like me, you’ll also want something that will make your house feel like “home” on day one. For me, that was making sure we had a stocked fridge with the essentials and clean plates to eat off of (see above), some cold waters (and Sauvignon Blanc), fresh flowers, and a great-smelling candle. Think about what will put you at ease while you unpack and be sure to plan in advance.

Kids

If you have kids, I have several tips.

  • Have someone they know well (a nanny, teacher, grandparent, relative or close family friend) spend moving day with your kids outside of the house. Moving to a new home will be a big adjustment for them; the move itself brings a lot of chaos when unpacking and settling in. We found it was best for the kids to see the house once it is “ready.”
  • Unpack the kids’ rooms second (first, make sure you have clean plates, glasses, etc. — or at least paper products — to get you through the first couple of days). Have some familiar items in there but add something fun and new. When my family moved, we transitioned our older son Brooks into a “big boy” bed and added some fun animal-themed sheets and toys to help make the transition a bit more fun for him.
  • Up the Fun Factor! Brooks also loves bubbles, so when we brought him to the house for the first time, we unveiled an automatic bubble machine blowing bubbles outside of the house to welcome him to his new home. Let’s just say Doug and I are sick of hearing the word bubbles, but he loves his new house!

For more on moving with kids, read our related post.

Settling In

After unpacking, you may need help with some smaller projects like breaking down and removing the boxes, hanging TV mounts, assembling furniture, hanging window treatment hardware, and more. I found that TaskRabbit is the perfect platform for quickly finding people that can help with a variety of tasks.

The Bottom Line

Moving is definitely one of life’s biggest hassles and stressors. My best moving tips? Take the time to pare down your belongings before the big day. Whether you’re looking to sell or give away items or find a handyman, make the most of today’s technology to make things a bit easier on yourself. Do some advance planning with your new jurisdiction and utility companies so there aren’t any snafus on the big day. Pack some key essentials to keep with you on moving day (toiletries, cleaning supplies, bedding). Lastly, do something for yourself to make it feel like home. You’ll be glad you did!

Are you considering a move? Please let us know. We’d love to help!

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