Organizing to Move: Key Tips

The key component to a smooth relocation is organizing before a move. I know it’s easy to say rather than do. And a lot depends on the amount of time you have on the front end. Confession, we weren’t always fortunate to have the time to organize first. Those moves were rough. Loose items falling off of the back of a pick-up truck rough.  

As I wrote and recommend in another piece, Moving and Packing Tips, use a spiral notebook to get organized and keep track of to do lists. I create my own lists based on our specific needs and use a flexible format. There are loads of moving checklists out on Pinterest. Use one as a reference and adapt it to fit your needs. 

In a pinch, because things change quickly, you can use blank pages from the notebook to write yourself or someone else a quick note. I love my iPhone dearly, yet it’s not always convenient or faster. 

A 6” x 9” notebook with pockets is large enough to write easily and small enough to toss into most bags. Binders have the flexibility to move pages around and add additional paperwork, preprinted checklists and tabs. Choose the format that’s best for you, and your work style.

First Steps: 

Start by thoroughly decluttering and purging. This makes organizing to move much easier. Go to the items that you don’t use, love and know what to do with first. You’ll have less to organize, less to move and less to unpack if you do this thoroughly now. This golden task will also save you both time and money on moving expenses. Per my tips in Decluttering Before Relocation, sort to make 3 piles: trash, donate, and recycle. 

After decluttering and purging, the next step is to sort before packing begins. There are a variety of ways to sort, either by person or by room and category. Relocate items to the room that they will be unpacked in before packing. Whether you’ve hired movers and packers or doing it yourself, sorting is a must. This will speed up the time it will take to unpack.

Also, go look at rooms and areas, such as pantries, the attic and garage, that have the most clutter. Decluttering these spots will require more time. Plan accordingly and give yourself the time necessary to do a thorough job. Again, head over this blog post for more suggestions. 

Packing and Materials:

Moving boxes that are the same size stack more easily on dollies and the truck. If you belong to an online community group, ask if anyone recently moved. They may have free boxes left over. And make sure any used boxes are clean. I didn’t, only once, and missed a few spinach leaves. They got packed in with a bunch of living room decorative items. 

Newspaper is great packing paper, though it runs the risk of getting ink stains on items. Or purchase paper from a moving company or supply store. Bubble wrap is an alternative, too.  I’ve also used dishtowels, table cloths and other soft items to protect dishes and breakables. 

Organize and pack items that you aren’t using first. Heavy items, such as books, should be packed into smaller boxes to keep them from getting too heavy to lift.

Stuff that’ll Move with You (not on the truck): 

Make another pile of the items that will remain with you during the move. Or if they are items used daily, keep them out wherever you use them and be careful not to pack them. More than likely these will go with you on the road or by air. 

Chargers and items that are used regularly should be packed in clear bins or bags so that they are visible and easy to find in the chaos. Start thinking about how you’re going to pack laptops, iPad and other technology. Entertainment, to help you relax and destress is important. A book and a deck of cards, perhaps.

Other necessary items that may be riding along with you are bedding and towels, toilet paper, tissues, a dish towel or 2 and some utensils. Pack cleaning supplies if they will fit, or buy them there. It will be good to run and errand and see a bit of your new place. 

Think about the number of days that you’ll be in the house before your stuff is delivered and what you’ll need. I swear by packing cubes when we go to the beach and travel and think the bigger ones could be useful when packing a full car. 

Other Important Items: 

A big mistake I made when organizing to move from Atlanta to Cincinnati was leaving my social security card in my dresser. In the chaos of getting estimates and having people in and out of our house, I completely forgot I had quickly shoved it there. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t with me until after we moved into our new home. Although there are a lot of good people out there and our movers have been great, this story could have gone in another direction even if the card had merely fallen out of the drawer. I freaked out when I found it. 

So, PLEASE pack ALL important paperwork such as passports, social security cards, wills, insurance policies, possible valuables, heirlooms, etc. carefully. Holy cow. I can’t stress this one enough or too many times. Find a good spot to start a pile and then on the day of the move, relocate it to a neighbor’s house. Or your car so that the movers don’t accidently put it on the truck. 

Spend the time upfront decluttering and organizing to move so that you’ll have more time to spend recovering and settling in. This is a time for fresh starts and self-care. And if you find that you’re having a difficult time getting acclimated and connected to your new town, try our course. Or consider relocation coaching. 

RELOCATION RECOVERY is an affordable self-paced online course designed to guide you through the post-relocation period. It’ll help you thrive by showing you how to process your emotions, make friends and connect faster in your new place, and so MUCH more. For more information, read about it here or click here to go straight to the course.