Over the past week or so I asked the internet for moving advice. Let’s be honest, I sorta begged you guys to help me find grace and to dole out advice in the midst of our 1,000 mile move.
And boy did you guys show up! Dozens of you chimed to share with me the tips and tricks that saved your life in the middle of a move.
I’ve sifted through the scraps of shared advice and come up with this list which includes not only packing and practical tips but advice that gets down to the heart and soul of the up-ending chaos of packing and unpacking one’s life.
I love this list because it represents a community of real people sharing their best moving advice. It’s like calling all your friends for help, but it’s all in one place. Like some sort of online moving party.
So here we go. (did I mention you guys rock?)
1) “Spend as much time as possible just soaking up the friendships you’ve made (in your current location)-coffee, dinner, just long chats. Packing will happen and the going through of stuff will get done, but your face to face time with friends is a must for now“ – Carol C
2) Ask yourself three things about everything you pack, do I: Need it? Love it? or Use it? If the answer was no to those three questions, then don’t take it with you. We only ended up bringing about 25% of our belongings with us to the new house, and life in the new place easier and less stressful! - Stephanie B
3) Use colored tape for color coding according to each room. Have a special color for things you will need immediately- Ryan B (echoed by many others)
4) Label every box and where it will go in the new house. Be okay with packing boxes that you know you wont get to until 3-4 months from move in day. Be ultra organized…. you just have to make time for that. Oh and when someone offers to help ALWAYS take them up on it. – Rebecca S
5) Don’t be afraid or shamed to use paper plates for the last week – or even longer. It’s fun for the kids to pretend every meal is a picnic! – Pam W
6) I hired two movers for 2 hours only to lift the heavy stuff. We have always done it ourselves and we fought a lot about silly stuff. Our movers moved ONLY the heavy things (oak furniture, boxes of books, mattresses, etc.) down three flights of stairs. Worth. Every. Penny.- Kelli S
7) Chocolate chip cookies and frequent date nights. – Anne V
8) When it comes to packing, pretend to be a professional. Don’t get sentimental about things; act like they belong to someone else. Carefully, but quickly, just wrap it and get it in a box. The quicker the better. At this point, it’s a job to be done, not memories of grandma or your firstborn- Janice S
9) Make the family take mini vacations….. a 15 min all stop and drink a pop or eat ice cream together. Do this frequently and it allows you talk and plan too. – Mark A
10) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – and seriously, even if boxes get packed “willy-nilly”; you’ll get a laugh when you unpack. And trust me, you’ll still need to laugh when the unpacking begins. – Pam W
11) Schedule time to process, particularly with the kids. Make appointments for it, because if you don’t, the time is gone, and they’re asking hard questions and you’re saying, just a sec, I’ve gotta make these three phone calls! There’s gotta be time to talk about it. – Esther E
12) Just laugh. laugh at the lunacy of it all. because you’re right, moving can be stressful but it’s really not that big a deal. just laugh. Try to detach yourself from all your stuff. the house you’re leaving is just a house, the clothing you “can’t live without” is just clothing. cherish the memories but let go of the stuff. – Tim G
13) Use professional movers and have them set up beds and hook up all appliances….it’s worth the money! And direct the movers to place the boxes into the correct rooms when you arrive. Trust me, you Do Not want to have them just stack it in the garage. Been there. Done that. Not cool. – Leah M
14) Packing a kitchen is often the biggest pain. Pack it early and eat off of paper for a few days. Don’t save it till last. Use styrofoam plates between your glass plates instead of individually wrapping them. - Ashley S.
15) Put your living room together as soon as you can and relegate all the boxes to other rooms so you have one “sanity room” to retreat to when you start whimpering at the thought of unpacking even one more box. – Leanne P
16) Pack a “First Things” box. This box goes with you and not on a moving truck (or it’s THE last box on the truck). Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, a hand towel, Chlorox wipes, bandaids, the remotes. Think of things you will want in the first several hours after moving in. Mark this box in a special way so it can’t get mixed in with other boxes. – Janice S (echoed multiple times)
17) Stop and intentionally savor small moments. my kids, almost weekly, say to me “remember our first night in our new house when we ate taco bell at midnight?” I told them that night that I never want them to forget that moment because it was our first night in our new house. Little did I know it was the taco bell they would remember- Rebecca S
18) Space saver vacuum bags are amazing for clothes and bedding!! I saved so much room using those, you can put several bags in a suitcase or in tight spaces. Best thing ever! – Emily H
19) Avoid using Uhaul at all costs, they are an evil company. I say that without exaggerating. The trucks are poorly maintained and their system ensures no one can be held responsible. Their phone support is nonexistent. – Ed C (echoed multiple times)
20) Set a certain number of boxes you want to pack or unpack each day and stick to that goal. You won’t kill yourself on either end and it will be done before you know it. – Sarah M
21) We budgeted for dinners out so neither of us would have to cook. It was important to get out of the chaos, too! - Kelli S
Thank you all so much for contributing! If more moving tips come in I can always add them to this post so go ahead, share your secrets of grace in the chaos of a move.