3 Key Steps of Moving

Planning To Do List

Moving is something I feel most of us approach like the flu. We see others doing it, going through it, try to skirt around having to get too close to it, and put off thinking it will happen to us as long as possible.

Like the sneakiest of little bugs though, it creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re looking at a date where you need to be out of your current abode and into a new one. The body aches and sweats begin.

Having moved across the country three times, and moved in general over 20 times (I just stopped counting after 20), I consider myself a bit of a moving expert.  So, moving into the new house was something I was pretty well prepared for despite only having a week to pack and move.

Thanks to my rather transient adult life, each move imparted some additional bit of moving wisdom on me. It’s a fine science though, so for all those folks who find themselves facing the inevitable moving moment, here are some extremely tried and true steps and tips!

STEP 1: You Organize.

Take stock and sift through all the books, papers, clothes, forgotten boxes at the bottom of your closets, and piles of stuff that have accumulated in every corner of your home. This stage should also be called “The Purge” because you need to toss what you don’t use or can live without. It’s cathartic, I swear. No tears.

*TIP: Categorize.

Wherever you can, lump your belongings into categories based on where it’s located, what you use it for and how often you use it.

For example, your cook books would be likely be lumped with “Books” and if store them in your kitchen, destined for the “Kitchen.” If you don’t use them frequently, you can set them aside to pack sooner rather than later.

This process does take some time, which is why I recommend starting on this at least a month out, but I promise it is worthwhile when you go to pack, move and unpack.

STEP 2:You Pack.

Seeing as you’ve brilliantly sorted through everything and know what you have now, packing can be done in stages. You start with the things you use least. Remember those teetering piles of books? Those can be first up! That closet you stick all the holiday decorations and excess things in? That’s next!

Depending on your schedule, it’s best to pack in clusters versus all at once, otherwise you wind up feel completely crushed and won’t even be able to lift your head off the pillow for days.


Get yourself some white index cards, loads of clear packing tape, and a thick, dark marker. These are your best buddies when packing.

Just as you categorized everything early on, you need to label everything once they’re packed. Each box, trash bag and storage container, even if it’s a shopping bag, needs a label with what’s in that bag/box/container AND where it’s going in your new place.

The part about what’s in the box is more for your benefit, but the location of where it’s going is for you and that lovely group of friends/family you begged, pleaded with and blackmailed to get you to help you move (or if you’re really going for the gold, the hired movers doing the heavy lifting).

The labels absolutely save you. Trust me.

STEP 3: You Clean.

While not the most glamorous, cleaning is still an important step, especially if you’re leasing/renting, as you’ve likely got a little pile of cash tied up in a security deposit.

I praise the incredibly smart people who invented the Magic Eraser, as those can be used on all those inexplicable scuff marks that end up on walls, doors, window frames and floors. It will clean just about anything with a smooth surface really.

Whatever your choice of cleaning products may be, or perhaps you will opt to have the professionals handle this step and just hire a cleaning service, you should set aside a day after your move to clean your former home.

NOTE: If you have some larger repairs or home improvement projects like wall painting or hole patching, you’ll want to tackle these before you move out to ensure they’re done properly and don’t cut into your unpacking time on the other side of moving.

Some additional random tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are hiring movers, lock down your date as soon as you know it. Don’t dilly dally on this one.
  • Make a list of all the accounts, subscriptions and vendors who have and need your address. You’ll need to change your address with them about a week before moving.
  • Leave the night before your moving day free and get out of your apartment/house to do something fun. Plan to be done your packing a day early, so you can go enjoy yourself, get your mind off moving and enjoy your current neighborhood, while escaping the overwhelming piles of boxes at your home.
  • Reward yourself and your moving help with a bit of nosh before, during or after your move. You’ll all need the strength and a delicious breakfast, sandwich and beer to wash it down with go a long way.


Moving is a drag. There’s just no way around it.

But what it promises – a new beginning – is exciting and worth the pain and anxiety. And unlike the flu, moving is a major step in your life and one that should be celebrated.

No doubt you’ve moved before, so what little gems of advice would you share?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *