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Cut down on moving day stress with these helpful pointers for packing, unpacking and all the little things in between.
Knowing how to pack is the first step to a smooth move. Take a few extra moments to do things right and thank yourself when it’s time to unpack.
Get rid of anything you don’t need. Now is the perfect time to sell or donate items you don’t need. Pay close attention to storage areas and be brutally honest about whether you will use an item or if it warrants a place in your new home.
Lock down help. Before you get started with packing, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be hiring professional movers, enlisting the help of friends and family or both. Take the time to choose a day, call around for quotes and make sure your helpers are available.
Set some realistic goals. Maintaining a “one thing at a time” mindset is the best way to tackle a big project. Grab a calendar and write three to five realistic goals per day for the duration of your packing time. Laying out a visual schedule will also help you be strategic with what to pack first and any budget expenses you may have.
Change your address early. Changing your address on any open accounts at least a week before moving will help save the hassle when you’re busy unpacking.
Plan meals according to your schedule. To avoid having to toss food, plan on scheduling your last grocery shopping trip between one and two weeks prior to moving day.
Create a moving day playlist. There’s nothing quite like the power of music to get everyone motivated. Creating an upbeat, energetic playlist that the whole family can enjoy will keep spirits high and stress levels as low as possible for when it counts the most.
Make use of the storage you have. To save space and money on packing materials, make use of baskets, hampers, suitcases and other boxes or containers around the house.
Pack plates vertically. Rather than stacking plates in boxes, try to pack them vertically (like you might vinyl records) with paper or other packing materials between. This can help you fit more in each box and it also helps prevent chipping and shattering.
Prevent a huge mess. Cover the top of open toiletries with saran wrap or Zip-lock bags. There’s nothing worse than opening a box only to discover that its contents are covered in shampoo. Open the bottle, place plastic wrap or a sandwich bag over the opening and then replace the cap tightly to prevent leaking.
Keep clothes on hangers. Keep your clothes on their hangers and then tie a trash bag around them, leaving the hangers sticking out of the top. This frees up boxes, saves time later and keeps your clothes safe from tears and stains.
Label, label, label. There’s no such thing as too thorough when it comes to placing a clear label on each box. At minimum, it’s a good idea to label all boxes by room and category. But depending on how many things you’re moving and how many family members you have, you may want to create a document or spreadsheet with a list of the items contained in each box. Other ideas include numbering boxes or using a color code system.
Pack an overnight bag. Once you’re close to completely packed, be sure to set aside a bag with a few changes of clothes and any toiletries you use on a daily basis. This will ensure that you have easy access to necessary personal items, even if the rest of your wardrobe isn’t easily accessible in a sea of boxes.
Make sure everything is completely packed before your helpers arrive. You’ll likely be pressed for time on the big day. It’s best to make sure that all boxes are completely packed before friends and family arrive to help.
With its loud noises, constant movement and unfamiliar houseguests, moving can be scary for our furry friends. With heavy items being moved and so many people coming and going, there may even be opportunities for pets to get hurt or lost. Keep your pets happy and free of harm with these important safety tips.
Update your pet’s id tags. Before moving day, make sure your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and that their collars have current id tags. If they are not already microchipped, you may want to schedule an appointment.
Keep dangerous substances out of reach. While harmful foods, cleaners and medications are normally locked up tight, it’s easy to accidentally leave them out in the open on moving day. When packing poisonous substances, choose a plastic storage container that can’t be chewed into, tape it tightly and label it clearly.
Designate a safe room for pets. A pet can slip out an open door, undetected in the hustle and bustle of moving day. Designate a specific room with a latching door where you can house pets safely, and be sure everyone involved with your move knows where they are being kept.
Give your kids easy tasks to complete. Giving your children a simple, repetitive task to complete helps them feel included in the moving decision. Plus, it keeps bored hands calm and busy. Older kids can help label boxes and wrap breakables, while younger children can sort toys or clothes by type.
Use naptimes to get things done. If you have young children, naptime is a great opportunity to get moving tasks done. Just be sure that you’re only completing tasks that involve other areas of the home so they don’t wake up to a favorite toy or blanket getting packed away.
Say a formal goodbye to your home and surrounding landmarks. Walk your old home’s grounds and help your children say a formal goodbye to the familiar sights they’ll miss. Walk around the neighborhood and visit best-loved parks and restaurants one last time as a family. Help them make plans for their new rooms. Making plans for a brand new bedroom is fun for everyone, even if moving isn’t. Get them excited about their new home by helping them map out plans for their new room and any kid-friendly common areas like playrooms, basements and dens. If your budget allows, letting them choose a new bedspread or a few new decorative items will help them feel included and excited.
Host a get-together for close friends and family. A goodbye-for-now party is a great way to get family and friends together one last time before you move. Make sure to involve your children in the planning process, especially when it comes to the guest list and activities. Be sure to take lots of photos and exchange contact information so they can keep in touch with friends. Get them excited about their new home and community. Involve your children in researching all the interesting landmarks and fun things to do in and around your new town or neighborhood. If they’re switching schools, try to schedule a tour in advance and tell them about all the activities they’ll have the chance to try, as well as the new friends they’ll make.
Pack a bag with must-have toys and belongings. To prevent meltdowns once you’ve reached your new home, set aside a bag with cherished toys, clothing and other items you know your children will want. If they’re old enough, set a limit and include them in the process of putting aside items they can’t live without. You might have them decorate a special box of belongings to be kept with them in the car or placed last in the truck for easy access. Keep snacks and drinks on hand at all times. For moving day and the days of unpacking ahead, have plenty of favorite snacks and drinks available. Keeping your kids nourished and hydrated will cut back on irritability and keep the moving process streamlined.
Keep bedtime and morning routines the same. As you unpack and get settled into your new home, the more consistent you can be, the better. This means keeping bedtime and morning routines largely the same as they’ve always been to help establish good habits and a sense of “normalcy” for your children.
Be prepared to hear them out. Moving stirs up complicated feelings for everyone, adults and children alike. Talk to your children. Explain why you’re moving and prepare them for what to expect during the process. Be ready to listen when they express feelings of fear or even anger. You’ll all make it through the move together!
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