Are you moving soon? It doesn’t matter if you are moving across town or across the country, it is hard to move. And it is a lot of work.
We are a military family and typically military families move every three to four years. We have moved three times and two of those times I’ve moved on my own. I know now how important it is to be prepared for a move and how much prep work is required before the movers come to pack up the stuff.
Moving is a lot of work, but I’ve learned some things to make the transition easier. Here’s some tips to help keep your sanity and make the moving process more enjoyable for everyone. And as an added bonus, many of these tips will help make unpacking easier, too.
- Start cleaning out, downsizing and organizing at least a month before you move.
Organize Boxes by the Room or Item
- Use different colored tape or marker on boxes to organize by the room and label (pink = baby’s room, yellow = kitchen).
- Or pack by the type of item and label (orange = frames, gray = decorative items). This is especially helpful if you need to downsize in your new place.
With younger kids, they can “help” by scribbling or taping (with the appropriate color, of course) on the specific boxes according to which room or item they belong to. This gives kids something to do, all the while keeping you a little more organized.
“Open First” Boxes
- Organize a kid box of items to help them with the transition – picture of friends, crayons and coloring book.
- Organize a survival box for you of items you need to survive – coffee maker, coffee cups, coffee.
- Organize a Day 1 in the new house box – roll of toilet paper, soap, disposable plates and plasticware, scissors, trash bags, Clorox® wipes and maybe even instant coffee.
Utilize Copious Amounts of Ziplocs®
- Kitchen items – anything in the kitchen that will fit into baggies: silverware, spices.
- Like-items together – socks, underwear and bathroom items, and small articles such as toy sets and pieces of toy sets that belong together.
This saves A LOT of time when unpacking. You don’t have to wash things that were in bags and you don’t have to look for missing pieces because it is all together!
… And Garbage Bags
- Turn garbage bags upside down over a group of clothes on hangers to act as a garment bag and then tie the bottom of the bag.
- Buy same size boxes. This makes packing a trailer super easy.
- Use paper plates between moves for quick and easy.
- Use your own soft items like towels and bedding to pack breakables so you use less packing paper.
- Use the giant plastic wrap rolls from U-Haul to wrap big pieces like couches.
- Cover wood furniture with large blankets and then plastic wrap.
- Pack the truck in 3’ x 5’ sections. DON’T load all your boxes first.
- Use ratchet straps to keep items from shifting in the trailer. Connect from corner to corner of the trailer, in the shape of an X.
- Leave enough room in the trailer to slide mattresses on the top of everything.
- Disassembled furniture takes up less space and is less likely to be damaged.
Use Items You Don’t Want to Move
- Try to use all the items in your pantry about a month before you leave. Have “no-spend weeks” where you make creative meals with all the items in your freezer and pantry instead of throwing it away when you move.
- Stop buying large items of shampoo and conditioner a few months out.
- Purge early – don’t move stuff you don’t use or want.
The Moving Company
- Ask the moving company for a spare roll of their tape and a box. Pack some of the liquids (in Ziplocs®) they won’t pack like shampoo and put in the box and seal. This makes it easier to load into your car.
- Remove all pictures from walls before they arrive.
- Pack specific items in their original boxes (e.g. china) before they arrive or they will take your empty boxes, move them empty and pack up those specific items separately.
- Move things that are important to you if possible.
- Mark a door with a sign: DON’T PACK THIS ROOM. Pick a room (like an extra bathroom) to put stuff in that you don’t want the movers to move. Then everything you don’t want to move will be in one room and off-limits while the movers are there.
Find Child Care
- Moving Day – if there’s any way you can find child care for even just a few hours on Moving Day, it will take away a lot of stress.
- If you can’t secure child care, try to schedule spaces of time when you can get stuff done. Alternate with your spouse, a friend or older child to take turns watching your kids.
Amanda Huffman is a military veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a civil engineer, including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. They are currently stationed in Southern California, living the dream and making frequent trips to Disneyland. Her blog, Airman to Mom, incorporates stories from her past military life and her perspective on life as both a veteran and military spouse. Check out more about Amanda on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
This article was previously posted on Amanda’s blog, Airman to Mom. It has been edited for The MOPS Blog.