I have moved a grand total of 11 times in the last 12 years. That's a lot of moving. I don't recommend it. Ha! But the good news is that I've picked up a lot of helpful tips through all those moves and today I'm sharing them with you!
1. Use a coupon code when renting a moving truck. When you change your address with the post office, you can opt to receive coupons from different companies. The last three or four times we've moved, they have had a 20-30% off coupon with Budget Truck rentals. They are usually cheaper than U-Haul to begin with, so this has been the best deal for us, but definitely shop around! You can probably find coupon codes other ways too. If your moving dates are flexible, it may save you a lot of money to move on a weekday.
2. Get free moving boxes. Most retail stores have tons of great, clean, sturdy moving boxes. We just usually drive up behind a strip mall and look for the "cardboard only" dumpsters. I've also heard good things about fast food boxes. If you talk to a manager, they are usually willing to save a pile for you. You can also find free moving boxes on Craigslist or other online selling pages. If you know you will be moving often, save your boxes from move to move! We have had the same boxes for the last four moves and it was worth the space they took up to have boxes ready to go for the next move.
3. Use old documents as packing paper. You're supposed to dejunk when you move anyway, right? So go through your file box and use old magazines, school papers, phone books, and junk mail to pad fragile items. Then you can dispose of them when you get to your new place. Just be careful if you use anything like bank statements or utility bills that may contain personal information.
4. Buy lots of packing tape. LOTS! Then decide on a home for it and always put it away. Nothing slows you down like spending twenty minutes trying to find the stinkin' tape. How does that roll disappear so easily?! I like to have a few rolls placed in strategic positions... one for the kitchen, one for bedrooms, one for downstairs, etc. Then I'm not hunting all over the house for a roll. I know that the kitchen tape will be on top of the microwave because I always put it back there when I'm done taping a box.
5. Label boxes by content and destination. I used to label boxes by the room they came from in the old house, but I quickly learned that it's useless information. Instead, I label the box with what's inside and where I want it to go in the new house. Then when people are helping me unpack, they know where to put things.
I have seen several tips to use colored duck tape to label boxes, but at $3 a roll, that's way too expensive! Plus then you have to color-label rooms in the new home so people know where things go. I just write the labels on with a permanent marker. I can read, everyone who will help me move boxes can read. It works and I don't have to spend $20-30 on colored tape.
6. Put together an OPEN ME FIRST box. This is the box that holds all the essentials you will need within the first few hours when you arrive at your new home. I like to use a clear plastic bin with a lid so that it's easy to keep separate from cardboard boxes. Here's what I have in my box:
- toilet paper
- shower curtain
- bath towels and hand towels
- paper plates/cups/utensils
- paper towels
- garbage bags
- grocery sacks
- phone chargers
- basic tools for assembling furniture (screwdriver, hammer, etc.)
- pieces of disassembled furniture (in labeled ziplock baggies)
- dish soap/sponge
- water bottles
- pen and a notepad
- cleaning rags
- moving envelope (see #7)
7. Keep a moving envelope. I keep all information that I need relating to the move in a manilla envelope. This includes things like utility information, new school schedules, rental agreements, realtor contact numbers, moving truck rental papers, etc. You do not want this important information to get lost in the abyss of cardboard boxes!
8. Pack a suitcase for each family member. I pack just like I would for vacation. I include clothes, toiletries and medications for three days. It simplifies things immensely to know you've got the essentials and don't need to dig through boxes at midnight to find pajamas or diapers.
9. Pack bedding at the last minute. On the morning of the move, throw pillows, blankets and sheets into garbage bags. Label them and toss them in the back of the moving truck. Then you can just remake the bed in the new house. When it's finally time to sleep, you'll be so thankful everything is together. And if you want to go above and beyond, make sure to wash all your bedding a few days before the move so you won't have to worry about it for a while at the new house!
10. Snap a photo. Before you drive away, take a picture of your whole family on the front steps of the old house. It is so fun to look back and see how our family has changed. Then I always know how old the kids were when we moved. Here's one of us from several moves back:
I'd love to hear your best moving and packing tips. Leave me a comment below!