Minimize the stress of moving – 20 tips

Minimize the stress of moving day with these plan-ahead ideas.


You’ve decided on a house and everything is moving smoothly towards settlement, so the next logical step is to break all of the moving parts into easy to follow steps to make it a success.

Here are some tips to help you avoid, or minimize, moving day stress:

1 Organize early

Try not to leave anything until the last minute. Unless you have to move in a few days time, which is highly unusual, chances are you have 30- 60 days to make a plan and ensure that moving day runs smoothly. Try to create a list that breaks everything into small tasks to complete week by week. This will help avoid having to face everything at the day of the move.

2 What’s your move strategy?

How are you going to get from point A to point B on moving day? For shorter moves, you can either count on family or friends with trucks or consider renting a truck for the day. If you have a big household, or will be moving a long distance, you’ll want to price out moving companies.

3 Keep your movers in the loop

If you go with a mover, make sure to let them know what to expect. If you have heavy furniture, like an armoire or piano, or know the place you are moving into has access restrictions (like a small elevator, walk-up only or narrow driveway) or whether you will need help with disassembly or assembly of furniture, for example, make sure your mover will know as they have to be able to have the right equipment ready and be able to estimate the total time and cost to move you.

4 How to pick the right transportation

If you’re moving a short distance, you may be able to get away with making more than one trip. But, if you are moving a longer distance or have more items, you’ll need to make sure you have the right size of truck to cart your belongings in one go. Below are some simple guidelines when determining the size of your truck:

• In general, the contents of a one-bedroom apartment will fit in a 16′ cube truck.

• Two to three fully furnished bedrooms will require a 24′-26′ truck to ensure your move is completed in one load.

• The contents of most houses can be moved in the same 24′ truck with one or two trips.

5 Time to purge

Working room by room, weed out items that can be thrown away or donated. Dispose of any items that have not been used in two or more years. The less you have to pack, the more you’ll save in moving expenses. You can either hold a yard sale, or, take the time to sort and donate gently worn clothing to Goodwill, put furniture up for sale on a site like craigslist, recycle old magazines and catalogues and shred old documents.

6 Assemble a packing kit

If more than one person is packing, stay organized by establishing a system. Have blank inventory sheets prepared so one person can tackle each area or room – this way you’ll know exactly where your items are and if anything is missing. Makes unpacking a breeze. Arm each packer with a pen, black marker, and packing materials, like newspaper, a packing tape dispenser and boxes.

7 Green your move

Instead of cardboard, consider packing in reusable containers – items will be better protected and you’ll be able to use them as storage in your new home. Ask friends if you can borrow any containers they aren’t using. Consider packing clothing and lines in vacuum sealed bags – saves space and protects items from water damage. Out of season closing will be storage ready. These can be labeled to go directly into closets until you’re ready to deal with the contents. You might also consider using older linens to wrap breakables.

8 Reuse boxes

You may still need a few cardboard boxes to round out your moving kit. A few weeks before you start packing, grab a few each time you visit the grocery store or wine store (these boxes in particular are compact and sturdy, making them easier to carry.)

9 Take inventory

This is especially necessary if you’re hiring a moving company. Having a record of your household items is useful if something goes missing. Consider keeping a spreadsheet of the contents of each box. Then, assign each box a number and all you have to do is write that number on each side (maybe with the appropriate room listed, as well).

10 Label everything!

Label all sides of the box (avoid the top). Try labeling each side in marker so you can easily find what you need in a stack.

11 Be aware of condo rules

Moving into a condo isn’t as easy as pulling up to the front door and loading your boxes onto an elevator. Be sure to check the moving policy before scheduling your moving day. For example, some condos don’t allow move-ins on Sunday. You may need to book a service elevator and a time frame for moving in or pay a deposit.

12 Use luggage or dresser drawers

You need to take your luggage with you, so why not use it as a box? The same goes for dresser drawers. You may need to remove them for transport, but if you don’t have too far to go, they can be helpful for light items.

13 Have a moving day kit

Keep one box aside of “essentials” that you’ll need on moving day: cleaning supplies, light bulbs, toilet paper, garbage bags, a change of clothes, your toiletry bag, etc.

14 Be ready for your movers, whether hired or friends

Whether you have family or professional movers showing up at your door, be ready for them when they arrive. If it’s a hot day make sure to have water and snacks ready – these will be appreciated.

15 Protect your valuables

Find a safe place to store your valuables on moving day. Insure anything that’s valuable or breakable if you’re using a moving company. And if you’re moving a computer, do a quick backup of important files just in case something happens in transit.

16 Delay deliveries

If you’ve made some new purchases, such as a couch or dining room suite, schedule the delivery after moving day. That will help you focus your attention on moving day itself and will avoid any congestion between delivery people and the movers.

17 Don’t mistake belongings for trash

Try to avoid packing things in garbage bags as they could be accidentally thrown out on moving day.

18 Hook up essential services

Make sure you understand how utility bills (gas, water, electricity) will be transferred over to you from a previous owner. Also, arrange to have your phone line, cable and Internet working if necessary. Create a check list of utility bills, statements, or other personal documents that are mailed to your current home and use this as a checklist as you request a change of address or shut off notices. Make sure to record the date in case your utility company continues to bill you – this allows for seamless transition, freeing you up for unpacking post move.

19 Find a pet sitter for the day

If you have a pet that could be traumatized by a move, arrange to have them stay somewhere during moving day. If you’re hiring movers for a long-distance move, be sure to arrange your pet’s safe transport to your new home.

20 Get off to a good start with your new neighbors

If it’s possible, start off on the right foot by informing your immediate neighbors that you’ll be moving in and what kind of moving vehicles you’re using. If you’re moving on a weekday, make sure your truck isn’t blocking anyone’s exit. If it’s wintertime, clear your driveway of snow and ice so you don’t slow down your movers.

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
REALTOR® - Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia
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