Moving Week- Prepare & Organize

I have moved every summer since I was 17 years old.  In and out of dorm rooms at Saint Mary’s College then back home to St. Louis before leaving for Michigan, Chicago, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona and now Colorado.  Only 2 of those moves were related to the military.

Whew.  That is an entire decade of moving.

Whether you are moving across town or across country, with or without a moving company, I hope my experience can help you prepare for your move.

Three weeks to a month before:

Begin to consume any remaining food in your pantry and refrigerator.  No one wants to toss an entire bottle of mustard, use it and don’t replace it until after the move.

Focus on eating fresh foods and simple meals (i.e. grilled chicken and asparagus) and meal plan to prevent over-purchasing groceries.

Assess how much propane you have in your grill, if moving in-town this might not be a major deal but when traveling long distance, an empty propane tank is critical.  If you have a lot of propane, plan to grill more often and give your oven a break.

At Least 2 Weeks Before 

Sort through every closet, every drawer, every room and separate items into three piles.  Take. Toss. Donate.

Donate items that are in good condition, gently used but not in the past year, duplicate items and items that are unworn or unused.

Toss or recycle items in poor condition, broken, mismatched or missing parts or pieces.  Don’t get too sentimental here, think about where that item will be in the next 6 months. In an unopened box? Taking up room in a cabinet? Cluttering the countertop?

Take items you wear or use frequently that are in good condition, sentimental, functional, fit well and those that you use often.

Plan for final cleaning, will you do it yourself or save some frustration and hire a company?

Plan to have utilities shut off or transferred on a certain day and have your mail held or forwarded to your new address.  It might seem early but waiting until the last minute will only cause another headache.


A week before:

Take down pictures from the wall and place together so they can be packed together.  If you use a moving company, separate wedding pictures or family heirlooms that you want to move yourself.

If using a moving company, clear out a bathroom and put everything you are taking with you (suitcases, sentimental items, etc) in the bathroom then close it off so it doesn’t accidentally end up on the moving truck.

Clean out storage spaces and place items in their intended “home.” For example, I store decorative items in a guest room closet so I moved those items into the living room for ease of organization and unpacking.

Purchase packing equipment if moving yourself, I suggest purchasing more than you think you need, especially tape.  Oh, and spring for the fancy tape dispenser, it’s a serious time saver. Also, be sure to have a few sharpies on hand.

Pack the house room by room from start to finish to keep things organized.  Label all boxes accurately, list “fragile” if necessary.

The week of:

Wash as much laundry as possible before you unhook the washing machine.  If you have a front load, I hope you saved the shipping bolts!  Most moving companies will put the bolts in place.

Pull out original boxes for your TV, DVD player, crystal stemware, etc. if you have them hanging around.

Set aside a set of towels per person, bed linens, air mattresses and pillows and place them in the room that is off-limits to movers.

Pack suitcases and/or overnight bags.

Prep your pets, set aside enough food and toys, the dog/cat bed, kennel or anything else your pet will need.

Throw together a bag for essentials like tissues and paper towels.  It’s always nice to have a few things handy when you first move in to an empty house or apartment.

Plan snacks, I have an entire post devoted to this later this week.

Follow these tips and you will hopefully have a stress-free move!


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