Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tips for Moving {DIY Style}

I thought about posting this before we moved, but I wanted to see if my "system" really did work before sharing it with you.

We DIYed our move.  We rented a truck and had a bunch of friends help with the boxes and furniture.  Here are a few of the strategies we used to help things run smoothly.

*Get the biggest truck and reserve it early.  I know, I know, you don't have that much stuff.  That's what I thought.  Get the big truck just in case.  We almost ran out of room in the big one!

*Don't be afraid to ask for help.  I know this is easier said than done.  We don't have family in town, so we've had to learn to lean on friends a lot.  They have been such a blessing to us, offering to take the kids, helping with  the move itself and helping me with unpacking/organizing.  Also, we originally had commitments from about 12 people to help with the move and 8 showed up.  Life happens and other things come up for people, so be sure you plan to have enough hands!  Also, be sure to provide food and drinks for the people helping you.

*Don't move junk with you.  I've heard so many people say, we'll handle it when we get there.  We might need this.  If you haven't used it in your old house, chances are you won't need it in the new house.  Do yourself a favor and get rid of it.  If you need some help with decluttering, here is a great article from Becoming Minimalist.

The following are a few items you are allowed to collect/hoard:

*Hoard organizing tools and look for deals.  I've found shelving for the garage, bins and baskets at Goodwill or on clearance at stores.

Need window treatments for the new house?
*Hoard supplies for window treatments so you aren't overwhelmed by the expense all at once.
Here are a few of the deals I found in the month before we moved:
$5 rods (gorgeous!) with hardware from IKEA
$3 tablecloths (for curtains) from WalMart

$1.50 per yard fabric from WalMart

*Start hoarding boxes.  Ask friends who have recently moved.  Post something on Facebook about looking for boxes.  Or check freecycle.  Don't forget the packing tape and paper.  When we ran out of boxes, we found more at a great price at Home Depot.  They were between $1 and $2 each!  They had good prices on packing paper too. 

*Label boxes clearly.  Our boxes have been through a few moves already so we had to find a way to distinguish our labeled information from all the previous moves.  I used yellow construction paper and wrote the level of the house, room, and contents on each label.  My husband laughed at me and said, "our friends who are helping us aren't idiots; most of them have advanced degrees and don't need it spelled out like that."  I say you can never be too specific!

*Label furniture.  I just used a piece of blue tape and a piece of paper on an area of the piece where I can be sure it won't damage the finish.  You don't want the people moving the stuff to have to ask you everytime they bring a piece of furniture in, "where does this go?"

*Label the rooms in the new house.  Again, you don't want to have to direct people every time someone brings an item into the house.  I just used a big piece of paper taped to the doorway of each room

*Avoid shoving everything in the garage of the new house.   This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Get the boxes into the rooms where they will be unpacked.  It will save you a lot of digging through piles of boxes later on.

*Have everything packed in boxes before the move starts.  Yes, everything!  I know what you're thinking:  we'll come back and get it later with the minivan, truck, whatever large vehicle you have.  Trust me, avoid this temptation.  Once you are in the new house, you are going to want to be working on/in the new house.  I don't care how many odds and ends you have shoved into boxes marked "miscellaneous".  We found it best to get it into a box or get rid of it.

*Give yourself some grace.  This is a stressful process.  The house we were moving from didn't have a garage; we had boxes stacked to the ceiling in our master bedroom and kitchen for weeks.  I needed to calm myself down every morning since those boxes were the first thing I looked at each morning.  I just told myself it was temporary and we needed to make a few sacrifices to get to a better place.

Hope your move goes well!


  1. Great advice! Labelling where boxes go is the smartest thing, people don't want to read what's in the box and figure out where it goes, they see kitchen, they put it in kitchen, done and done.

  2. Great tips! We are going to be planning a move in the next year to another state so i saved this post in my favorites!

  3. Hope your move went well. This is great advice. I particularly like the coloured squares on the boxes as even though I told my husband it's the black writing for this move he is still reading the blue!

  4. I found your blog through Home Stories A to Z. From someone who has moved too many times, I wanted to share a tip I've used that even professional movers have appreciated. I label all my rooms by color. Then the boxes that go in those rooms have the same color label and the name of the room. I have a piece of paper with that color on the door of the room. I then have a master chart inside the main door (whichever one the movers or friends are using) with the labels and arrows pointing directions. I give everyone a quick walk-thru and explain the system. We usually box everything ourselves and have professional movers load and unload the truck. They've all been impressed with how easy it is.

  5. I love the idea of labelling furniture, boxes AND new rooms. That's very smart.

  6. don't want to move anytime soon...but keeping this list...just in case ;)

  7. As soon as we sell this house we're going to move! Thanks for the advice!

  8. These are great tips! I look around my house and think, "if we ever move it is going to be a PAIN!" We have so much random stuff now! I hope you get settled quickly! Good luck!

  9. These are great tips. I hate moving more than anything but sometimes you just have to do it so may as well make it as painless as possible.

  10. Do it yourself packing up is the cheapest thing but stressful for us. Plan ahead for your moving up. If no time to pack up hire removalist.

    Joseph @ inter state removalist sydney

  11. That was some very helpful tips you shared with us. It's true that people tends to get confused and pack everything regardless of the fact that whether they need it or not. Our Removalists in Melbourne always provides the needed help and tips for them to differentiate the trash among their stuff.


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