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Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

by | Oct 18, 2015 | Moving

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Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}This post was sponsored by PODS®

Hello friends! I’m back today sharing the rest of my top ten tips for planning a move! If you missed part one with the first five tips for planning a move, you can catch up on MOVING TIPS PART ONE here. Now we’ll continue on with the rest of the tips!

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6. Make a master to-do list and assign tasks.

There are so many details involved with a big move. Everything seems to be slightly more complicated and take more time than you expect, so it is easy to feel like you are forgetting things or losing your mind. Making a list of what you need to do can help ease your mind that important things won’t be forgotten. Keeping a list on a physical piece of paper and clipping it in a clipboard or in a notebook that we could refer to all day long was very helpful. You’ll be adding to it and crossing things off constantly so keep it where you can see it! Our minds were put at ease when we could easily see what was left to be done so we could stop being stressed about things we had already crossed off.

The best thing we did to make the “planning to sell the house and move” stage go as smoothly as possible was to divide and conquer. We figured out what we knew we could do ourselves or what we had time for, what each family member could do to help and what we felt was best left to hired help.

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}
We hired
PODS to deliver their containers, as well received a referral from PODS to Hire-A-Helper who arranged help from Washington Labor Services (they were wonderful!) on the day of our loading (but not packers, we packed most everything ourselves), we hired a housekeeper to help us polish everything up the week our house was listed so we could focus on other details, we hired a window cleaner to give the windows a spring cleaning, and a landscaper to keep up on our yard work so we had one less area to worry about when our house went up for sale.

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

In many of our past moves, we did all of those tasks ourselves. But since we were busy with so many other things throughout this process (like, I’m writing another book that is due in a few weeks and continuing to run The Inspired Room!), we gave ourselves the gift of a little less stress. Whatever you are able to delegate and get help from friends and family or hire out, DO IT! You’ll feel more on top of the process and less exhausted, too.

If you want to find out about hiring Hire-A-Helper in your area, click here.

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

7. Be flexible

Moving is such a crazy time (have I made that clear yet? ha!). No matter how well organized you are, things won’t always go according to plan. Every time we had an unexpected turn of events, we just had to adapt and go with reality.

When we ran out of time for a garage sale, we put things out on the street with a free sign or donated them to a local agency. We didn’t make the money we wanted to by selling things, but we made people happy and that was a good feeling. When the offer on the house we wanted fell through, we were sad, but we just picked ourselves up and had faith we’d find the right one for us. When we found a house that wasn’t exactly what we had pictured, we looked at it in a new creative way. When there were challenges to overcome with making offers, dealing with banks, sellers, or delays in moving dates, or issues on inspection reports or other things that just didn’t go exactly like I wanted to in my fairytale mind, I had to just take a deep breath and let things go.

Things most often work themselves out if you are patient and calm, you don’t want to make life more complicated by being overly emotional or getting yourself stressed out.

8. Prepare for extra moving expenses

Moving is always more expensive than just negotiating the price of your new home. It’s astounding really, how much it costs! I never fail to be shocked at all the fees and expenses involved even to move just across town (or across the water, in our case!). You’ll be much less stressed if you prepare for it in advance. You might start to feel like you’re throwing around money like it grows on trees so setting aside “moving funds” far in advance will help make this whole experience less painful to your budget.

You’ll need supplies like bubble wrap, boxes, strapping tape, take-out dinner because you are too busy to cook, hiring movers, and if you are buying a new home, you might need extra for staying in hotels while house hunting or waiting for your house to close, you’ll need to plan for earnest money, home inspections and repairs that might be required, appraisals, reserves, realtors, excise and other taxes and other even unexpected items like repairs on a new home or fees to set up your utilities or other move-in expenses.

Setting aside extra funds (in advance) for moving expenses is really helpful. Your bank will start keeping a close eye on your accounts if you are applying for a loan, too, so being prepared for all the extra expenses can make your home buying purchase much smoother.

If you want to raise a little extra cash to help with the expenses of moving, plan some time several months in advance to list some of your sellable items on a website like Craigslist or eBay to sell them. If you plan out some ways to save and earn money in advance, you won’t be as time crunched in the end and lose money you could have had in your pocket. You can also search online sites for used moving supplies or get them for free from someone who is just trying to get them out of their house.

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

9. Gather bins, boxes and supplies.

Even if you’ve decluttered prior to the move, you’ll need plenty of bins and boxes to transport everything else. Winging it with duffle bags will make moving more time consuming and stressful, so thinking ahead to what types of boxes and supplies you’ll need is important.

We were going to do much of the packing ourselves, so we wanted to have supplies and ready to go. Our favorite smaller boxes were banker style boxes with lids. They are sturdy and hold even heavy items like dishes and books, but are still easy enough to carry. You can order them from Amazon or find them at Costco (the box that the banker boxes came in at Costco doubled as great art and frame boxes!). We ordered tape and bubble wrap online, but did have to go out to get more later, so I recommend ordering more than you think you need!

We also purchased a number of clear plastic tubs from Costco for items we planned to keep stored in our garage long term (similar to these).

Upon researching the best way to transport awkward or slightly larger decorative items, we discovered that you can actually rent plastic bins that can be delivered to your old home and picked up from your new place!

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

We rented from EZ Binz in Seattle and would absolutely do it again. This service meant that we didn’t have to hunt around for lids that fit old boxes or use lots of strapping tape. They have attached lids that are are easy to snap close, they are environmentally friendly, and they offer the perfect size for packing most items. They are sturdy to protect belongings and easy to stack in a moving truck, too. As a bonus, they’re great because you will unpack within a shorter time frame in order to return the bins, rather than putting off unpacking boxes for later. They were also delivered with a dolly, which ended up being a lifesaver for us on numerous occasions.

They were delivered right to our house and stacked up in our garage, ready for us to grab and pack! EZ Binz services the King County area. We highly recommend renting if you need a lot of bins or want to be doubly sure your breakables are in sturdy containers.
Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

Having the bins of uniform size really made packing the truck much more efficient. See the great selection of bins offered here!

Order specialty boxes in advance for anything especially tricky or breakable. We ordered these TV boxes and art boxes from Amazon (we used the boxes that the big boxes came in for bigger items!). You can also order wardrobe boxes, which might be a more convenient way to move clothing and keep it organized than throwing everything in garbage bags! Ask me how we know that. :)

For inexpensive packing using what you already have, use your rolling suitcases for books or clothing. You can sometimes keep items like clothing in dressers if it isn’t too heavy to transport, which saves a step and boxes.

You can often gather boxes in advance for free from grocery stores. Stop in your local favorites and ask if they have available boxes in the months prior to your move. Ask for boxes when you shop at warehouse stores, too, and save them up for your move.

If you have freestanding cabinets and dressers that you are bringing with you and using in the same way as you did before, pack each of them one by one and label the boxes with the cabinet and drawer they go in. You’ll be happy when you move and can return to some sense of normalcy instantly by unpacking directly back into those cabinets!

Top 10 Tips for Planning A Move {Part Two}

10. Focus on the essentials.

I recommend packing an “essentials bag” to carry with you when your move is near. This will save you the stress of finding out essential information you needed to look up (or papers you were supposed to sign to enroll your kids in school next week) are somewhere in one of your 150 boxes.

Consider your move like a trip! You’ll be away from the comforts and routine of home for awhile, even if you are moving directly from one home to another. Things will get lost, or at least feel in disarray for awhile so pack things separately that you’ll know you want to find right away.

I packed a bag of essentials like tooth brush and toiletries and multiple changes of clothing for when we would be “in between houses” (or the first week at the new house) and a bag to carry my laptop, iPad, phone and computer chargers, important notebooks, moving papers and bills, and anything I knew I would need to have handy.

It’s also helpful to visualize your first few nights in your new home and what types of things you’d want easily accessible. You don’t want to have to hunt down your sheets and pillows that first night when you are already exhausted, so pack a box or two that you keep with you to unpack right away so you can get a good night’s sleep and make a few simple meals.

In our last move from Portland our moving truck was delayed by a snow storm so we had to go shopping right away to have the basics! We could have avoided that additional expense had we packed a couple of boxes for our first few nights.

If you’re in the process of moving and I’ve completely stressed you out with all of this information, don’t worry! Remember that the only thing you can do is take it one day at a time, checking tasks off your to-do list! Say no to as many ‘extras’ as you possibly can during the move process. You won’t be able to keep up with everything, so focus on the essentials. Your house will likely be a mess for awhile. You’ll likely end up wearing the same clothes for a week. You might never figure out what happened to your favorite spatula.

Eventually, you’ll finally get settled. You’ll look back on the moving process and laugh, and vow to never ever move again. Right?

What are your best moving or packing tips? Please, feel free to SHARE ADVICE OR MORE TIPS IN THE COMMENTS! You can find PART ONE HERE.

Thanks again to PODS for their partnership in our move!

See more on our “move out day” post and our “move in day” post!


  1. Kay

    HA! @ swearing you’ll never move again! Famous last words, for sure. Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of one ourselves — albeit only a couple blocks away. We’re taking a bit at a time, making it difficult to know where “stuff” is — at the new or the old house?? Good X’s

  2. Yvonne

    Great article. We moved half way across the country, luckily it was a “work” move, so they gave us a budget. Like you, we decided what we could do, and what we would pay for. We used part of our budget on having the movers unpack. It was great! At the end of day 2, all boxes were unpacked and back in the movers truck. Most items were in the cupboards – so long as I knew where I wanted things, that’s where they went. Furniture was in place and beds were made.
    We also chose to move out of our sold house and stay in an apartment, so that we could move straight into our new house having sent the truck ahead a few days before, when we arrived in our new city. Within half an hour our neighbours arrived bearing welcoming gifts of food!

  3. Lisa Mothersead

    I sketch out new kitchen and closets and figure out what’s going where, to the best of my ability, before moving. (It helps if the sellers let you take puc’s at inspection.). Then, we have a big garage sale and sell what won’t work in the new home. Goal being to make enough to pay for the movers. Hire a niece or nephew to help the little ones unpack their rooms because they need it set up quick. Get free/non-food boxes for things that will be unpacked fairly quickly and buy new boxes/cheap at Lowe’s for things that will be stored in attic, etc… Have fridge delivered day of move, change of address cards sent out before move, and utilities and cable double-checked for correct scheduling. Also, helps to hire cleaning service to clean up home you’re leaving a lil later than you think you’ll need them as you always run over.

  4. Ann

    When a neighbor asks “what can I do to help” ask them to wash, dry, and fold all the sheets, mattress pads, etc. from the beds. When the clean laundry is returned, put it inside the mattress boxes so it’ll be on hand and ready to use when the mattress is unboxed. Wait as late as possible to pack the kitchen and then declare a “no more dishes” rule and switch to paper EVERYTHING while you pack up all the dishes, silverware, and pots/pans.

  5. Debbie from MountainMamaOnline

    This is amazing – great tips!! Fortunately I have decided that I am never EVER moving again so I won’t need them! :)

  6. Maggie

    Yikes it’s all coming back to me. My hardest part was when we opened boxes things had been broken. Going thru all of it was terribly stressful. I recommend getting full coverage . I know it’s more but so worth it. Also check your weight of the truck. They have a tendency to change it and your bill goes way up.. I know your thinking they can’t do that but it happened to us. Very frustrating. Ask neighbors, friends and family about movers. Get recommendations. Also know the company selling the move is not always the company packing or moving you. Again frustrating. You think your hiring a certain company but they sell your contract to another mover. Again happened to us. The more you know the better your move will go. Ask are you the ones packing and moving us. If they say no I’d look elsewhere..

  7. Jen Spadaro

    We are currently in a move. Our closing date is still floating around so it should be in 2 weeks or so. The biggest thing that helped me was decluttering the house for it to sell. All my extra side tables and decor and books went to our walk up attic. I donated, sold, and threw away so much stuff. Then I spent some time putting the stuff in the attic in moving boxes and labeling them. I didn’t close them up since I didn’t know if we were definitely going to sell the house. Once we were under contract but appraisal not done I vowed to pack up the whole attic and basement. Once the appraisal was cleared I started packing up the actual house. because the house was really in staging mode it was very sparse. I packed up the kitchen right away and moved to paper and plastic. We just have pots and pans and cooking utensils. But it’s nice to be able to pack away everything else. We have 2 kids 5,1, I homeschool and I’m pregnant. So it’s all about trying to get as much done ahead of time and just doing a little each day and it gets done. I also stopped doing my serving responsibilities at church about a month from our closing date. It’s important to take things off your plate that you can’t do. We are still attending church and bible study. But I couldn’t do everything and serve. my advice is be ruthless about decluttering your home, purge of anything you don’t want to take with you. And just pack 1-2 boxes a day in your storage area. Even when you have a very full life 1-2 boxes packed or bags of garbage or things to be donated is enough. Slow and steady!

  8. Loran | Old World Living

    I love your tip about packing the essentials all in one place. We lived in the same house for 25 years (FL) before moving here (TN). We drove straight through (it took about 24 hours of traveling with 3 vehicles and 14 people) and we didn’t pack ANY essentials, so when we got to the new house, we had NO pillows, NO blankets, NO changes of clothing… nothing. (At least not where we could get to them easily). And we were so bone tired. I mean, really. So, we’ll never do that again! Haha!

  9. Marilyn

    Hi Melissa, Just getting caught up. I had to laugh when you mentioned losing your favorite spatula. My husband has one that he loves to use. Once we had to evacuate for a wildfire. Our house was fine, praise God, but my daughter packed my husband’s spatula, and forgot that she had. We didn’t unpack that particular box for quite some time, and couldn’t figure out what had happened to that spatula. When we finally unpacked the box, she remembered how she had “saved it” for her Papa. :-)

  10. thefolia

    I love the idea of EZ bins, I will have to look into it for our next move, unfortunately it’s inevitable! While I loathe the process of moving, it’s wonderful to purge and recycle a lot of stuff! May the force be with you and happy nesting!

  11. Morgan

    I totally agree with you! When it comes to moving, being prepared and organized is your saving grace, Thanks for all the advice!

  12. larissa

    You made a great point about how hiring professional movers can make moving day less stressful and even safer for my family. It seems like it’s easy to damage things by accidentally dropping boxes when carrying them to and from my home. A team of professional movers would know how to handle carrying heavy boxes safely to the truck and into my new home, so I should rely on professionals to carry my belongings for me, instead of possibly damaging my items. Thanks for posting this!

  13. Christina

    You make a smart suggestion with the “essentials bag.” Separating your most important items from the others and keeping them in a secure location can save you a lot of trouble in the long run,

  14. McKenzie

    I think one of your most important suggestions is to be flexible. You are never going to know what might be thrown at you. Thanks for sharing!


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