Preparing for a Move (Without completely losing your mind)

Cody and I have done a combined six moves in just over three years.  We’ve been married four years and lived three different cities. Our record is not great for being content where we are, which is why we signed a nice, long lease on our current place. Oops. All that to say, we are darn good at organizing for a move.

What we used


If you’ve been around me (Alyssa) any length of time, you know that spreadsheets are my friend.  It should come as no surprise that I made spreadsheets for the move.

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes come in a million colors and are just the right size for writing the contents of the box.  I’m not an advocate for writing EVERY SINGLE THING that goes into the box, but enough to give you a good idea.  Again, the goal is to NOT completely lose your mind!  “Kitchen” is too vague, but “6 blue plates, one corkscrew, that whisk that no one likes, and 3 wine glasses” is too specific.  Using sticky notes helps you pack smart AND be able to unpack smart.  “Dinner plates and kitchen tools” is clear enough!

Why sticky notes instead of just writing it on the box you ask? Well…I’m a fan of. . .

Color coding boxes

It sounds like a pain, but I promise you that on move-in day it will make everything so much easier.  That’s where the different colored sticky notes come in to play!  The key that most people forget is that you want to label it based on your NEW house, not your current house.  When you pack up the office/guest room now (and label it as such) it is no help to you when at the new place the office and guest room are two separate places!   It does take a little extra time up front to do this, but when your friends are helping you unload boxes and no one has to ask “where does this one go?” or open the box to find out what’s inside, it’s a HUGE time saver!

Lots of Tape

However much tape you think you need to pack up your boxes – double it. Or triple it. Whatever.  The fact is with every move we never buy enough tape and it slows down the process!  For packing tape, the one with the fancy dispenser is 100% worth the investment. We also found that having some masking tape on hand to keep the sticky notes in place throughout the move was essential! 


Boxes can be expensive!  Some places have buy-back programs for boxes you don’t use, but even so, I struggle to pay a high price for a bunch of cardboard!  To avoid the extra costs, I check local listings on Facebook and Craigslist for boxes.  Often times you can get boxes for cheap (or even free!) that have only been used once! Another place to check for boxes are local liquor stores.  Again, you can get boxes, often for free, that are heavy duty!  We LOVE these boxes for our cups, bottles, and even toiletries. You can also cut down on the boxes that you need by packing into things you already own such as suitcases, backpacks, coolers, and any other bins you have laying around.


Now you have your supplies, it’s time to pack –

First things first

The first things to pack are things that don’t need to get used before the move. Typically, the most popular season in real estate is summer! Based on that, you can probably pack up your holiday decorations, winter clothing, and any other winter items you have.

Next up

The next thing you will want to do is go through your house and PURGE.  It’s time to sell stuff and give stuff away.  My general rule of thumb is that if it is not sentimental and hasn’t been used in the last six months (excluding seasonal items that are only used once annually), it’s time to say goodbye.

Everything else

It’s time to pack everything else, remembering to pack based on where you want it in the new house!  Pack from least used to most used items to keep things that you need accessible. Depending on what vehicles you are using to move, you may even want to set the most essential things in a different area. If you have movers coming, have these essentials loaded last if possible, so they are the first thing off the truck. If you’re using your own vehicles, pack these in the car you plan to drive to the new place first!

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