5 moving tips to keep you from wanting to hide in a box

Moving is no picnic. After each move we’ve had, we pretty much say, “Never again.” Trust us, we’ve moved four times in ten years (from an NYC apartment to an apartment in Richmond, then to our first, second and third homes). There are tricks to make your move go more smoothly. Here are five that will change your mind from “never again” to “Well, that could’ve been way worse.”

1. De-clutter before you pack it up
Dive into this project on the early side. There is no better time to get rid of clutter, duplicate items, and broken things than before a move. The more boxes and bags of stuff you can eliminate beforehand, the fewer things you’ll have to pack, carry and unpack. Try to think of the packing as a filtering process. Don’t mindlessly dump the whole junk drawer into a box. Some of that stuff doesn’t need to go to your next kitchen drawer. Paring down can take a while, and you don’t want to run out of steam, because that’s when you just start dumping everything into moving boxes without looking at it.

2. Use what you own as packing materials
Before you go in search for moving boxes, assess what items you have at home that can double as moving containers. Think about suitcases, storage ottomans, wastebaskets, and small decorative boxes. These containers are coming with you anyway, so you might as well use them to move other things. The same goes for packing peanuts and bubble wrap–you might be able to use your dishtowels for extra padding. You’ll probably still need some moving boxes, but using things you already have can mean fewer trips in and out of the moving truck and less wasted space. Plus, it can take your “back and forth up the stairs” count down and make your trips more efficient to the moving truck.

3. Don’t let labeling stress you out
We’ve all seen the stereotypical moving boxes quaintly labeled “kitchen” or “bathroom.” While labeling can be a big help, it can be inefficient and unrealistic to expect that all items in a single box will belong to just one space. Meticulously cataloging every item can be exhausting and tough to sustain throughout the moving process. Instead, find a system that works for you; whether it is labeling key items in a box, sticking color-coded stickers on a few boxes, or just snapping photos of each box before it gets closed up.

4. Pretend you’re going camping
You might not have everything unpacked right away, which is why it’s helpful to set aside an MVP box or two of the items you’ll need to access ASAP. These items typically correlate to the things you’d pack if you were forced to “rough it” on a camping trip. You know, things like clean clothes for the next day, toothbrushes, and a few simple things to cook with. Don’t overlook less obvious items like toilet paper, basic cleaning supplies, sheets, towels, and phone charges. These MVP boxes will help to make your first 24-hours in your new pad a lot less stressful.

5. Movers don’t have to be all or nothing
Hiring help for your move is an excellent way to reduce stress and back aches, but it can also be tough on the ole wallet. The good news? Hiring movers isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. In our last move, we packed and transported anything that we could fit in our car, but hired a small group of movers to help haul a few large pieces and heavy furniture. By hiring for only the most physically demanding items, we kept our moving costs down and our own energy up.