Smooth Move

I’m in the process of packing to move about 18 hours away. I actually enjoy moving. Let me repeat that…I LIKE moving! (echo, echo, echo)

I have to learned to love the feeling of cleaning out the corners of my mind which, if you’re obsessive compulsive like me, is really what you’re doing when you are packing and decide you don’t need that chipped glass anymore or those pants you are seriously never going to fit into again. These things that we keep around clutter both mind and home which eventually starts to weigh you down emotionally.

My favorite part of moving is getting to the new place and starting fresh. With boxes whose contents are well organized, you make setting up your new home a fun and exciting activity. No, really!

Okay, Okay…Well, these tips may not make it fun for you but they may, at least, make it easier and less stressful so if you’re moving or know someone who is, here are some things I have learned throughout the years that I find are very helpful and worth considering. I’m sure you know some of these already.

  • Start early
    It IS possible. The earlier you start, the more casual this chore can become. You say, “but what if I need my stuff?!” How much stuff do you need when you travel? Do you need more than half a dozen books? I don’t think so. Do you need your entire out of season wardrobe? I am knitting a sweater, 2 sets of socks, planning menus, and posting on my blog right now…I move in less than two weeks. I have time to do these things because I started early.
    Starting early also helps cut down on the amount of things you will have to move as well as your costs because it gives you more time to make difficult “toss” or “keep” decisions. When you are pressed for time, you tend to keep everything in order to avoid going through it which makes you move more things which costs MORE MONEY.
  • Keep trash
    Hah! Okay, what I really mean is hang on to paper bags, plastic bags, pieces of cardboard, old boxes, and newspaper. These will all prove extremely useful. (We were receiving wedding presents so I started saving all the boxes and packing materials. Crate and Barrel use awesome, excessive amounts of padding paper which comes in VERY handy.)
  • Keep a station

    This is very important. Find a corner. This may seem like it will be an eyesore but it’s not as much of one as having moving supplies and paper and boxes strewn about your entire house. I’m using an old card table in the spot where all my art supplies were. You will need it free of things so that you can do all of your wrapping and taping and packing here. As soon as you are finished with a box, move it off of your table.
  • Invest in materials

    There are some things you are just going to need to buy. It’s worth it. 3 or 6 packs of packing tape, bubble wrap, blank newsprint (see last tip) and FRAGILE stickers. I know moving is expensive but I swear, the money you spend on these three things is worth it. Bubble wrap comes in huge rolls for 17 dollars. This roll goes far when used in conjunction with paper and they are usually perforated! When I discovered that, I was thrilled. The Fragile stickers are bright red so you can’t miss them. They aren’t that expensive either so you do not have to use them sparingly. You’re going to need a lot of tape. Suck it up and buy the value packs. You’ll save in the end.
  • Recycle boxes
    (Okay, I know you’re thinking you already know this, but just hear me out.)
    Ideal places to hunt for boxes are in the dumpsters/cardboard only dumpsters behind shopping centers. We scored two giant boxes filled with earth friendly (water soluble) peanuts! We found ours behind an electronics store. If you think about it, there are some stores that sell fragile things. Well, they have to have these things shipped to them, right?  These are the places you’ll have the best chance of finding free peanuts, bubble wrap, and stuffing paper!

  • Check box bottoms
    Always check the bottoms of your found boxes that haven’t been broken down before packing them. You may need to add some extra tape to insure the bottom doesn’t fall out once it’s packed.
  • Make your own boxes
    You’re going to eventually come across something that has very odd shape to it and won’t fit in any boxes you’ve found. Don’t go hunting down some perfect sized box. Make your own out of a larger box. (I’ll admit, I am no good at this but RPK is.) All you have to do is break the box down flat and the use it more like wrapping paper.
  • Multiple boxes in view

    Have many different boxes taped up and put together and have them in plain view in your area. This makes it much easier to just grab a box of appropriate size.
  • At least two of everything
    This is if you are the only one packing. If there’s 2 of you packing, have 3 of everything. This means, markers, tape holders, and areas. This will cut down on wasting time and getting frustrated searching for a misplaced roll of tape or a marker that rolled under a box. It may sound small but it’s the lack of these little “situations” that keep you and your loved ones…well, loving one another.
  • Pack decor first
    I have ALWAYS done this. This means all knick knacks, anything on the walls and anything that serves no purpose besides sitting there and looking pretty. You won’t believe how great this makes you feel. This is something you can do very early on, at a nice pace and it is helpful when stacking boxes against the walls as you will not have to worry about anything on the walls. This is also nice because when you open these boxes in your new home, it will feel easier to switch up where things are as opposed to hanging all the same things in the same rooms.
    *Doing this will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and can get the ball rolling.
  • Then books
    This puts a serious dent in your packing!
  • Color code rooms
    This can be good for kids to help. Kids LOVE putting stickers on things. When all the boxes from their room are taped up, skip writing which room it’s for all over the box. Let your kiddo pick out his/her color and stick the appropriate stickers all over it. This saves YOU time and gets the wee ones out of your hair for a little while.
  • Go Easy on yourself
    Take plenty of breaks. If you start to feel stressed, go outside or away from the packing for a little while. Being surrounded by chaos can make you feel, well, chaotic. Lift as little as possible. If you need to see if something is going to fit in a box, put the box over the item upside down instead of lifting the item itself. Drink lots of water.
  • Blank Newsprint
    You can buy large boxes of blank, fresh wrapping newsprint. Often, you can also buy it directly from your local newspaper for very cheap.
    Yes, printed newspaper is very cheap and easy to come by but keep in mind these major things: it gets your hands filthy and feels gross AND you will need to wash/rinse EVERY dish that is wrapped in it after you move. Blyuch, right?

Remember, this is a great opportunity for a fresh(er) start. Be nice to yourself so your start in your new home is a happy one.


July 18, 2010. Tags: , , , . Cleaning tips, Me and Mine.


  1. Martha Ginn replied:

    You are a wise young woman…good advice, especially learniang to downsize and let go of things. As you get older, this becomes even more important. I heard a friend refer to her “stuff” as “earth weights.”
    Yeaaaaaaa…your Nana is on her way to My House right now! Good luck on the moving and settling in!

    • Modern Ma'am replied:

      Thanks Aunt Martha! I especially think it’s important to make room for the nicer things that we’ll eventually pass down to our children and so on. I hope you have a nice visit with Nana!

  2. Randi replied:

    YAY! As someone who will be moving across the country in a month, I so appreciate these tips! You’ve inspired me to start packing TODAY!

    • Modern Ma'am replied:

      Great Randi! So happy to be of help. And I think now is a perfect time to start at a very la-di-da kind of packing. We began about the second week of June, but then went on honeymoon for about 2 weeks and came back and picked up again and I think we’re going at a very nice pace.

  3. Linda Ginn replied:

    Something I like to do is label a packed box with the name of the room where it’s destined to be unpacked later. And when moving into the new place, I like to stack boxes in the room they need to be in, not all in one central location. In the case of a bedroom, I like to stack boxes into the closet of the room. This leaves floor space free for furniture and for design adjustments to be made without lots of boxes in the way. Sometimes this level of management isn’t possible, of course, but it works really well. — Linda

    • Modern Ma'am replied:

      I agree totally, Linda. And putting the boxes in the closet is a great idea. I also write the destination room and then, much smaller, a brief mention of the contents. Wonderful tips!

  4. bookwormbethie replied:

    I don’t mind moving either, although hubby & I have stayed put the past 5+ years so that is nice 🙂 But yes, moving is so nice, packing up everything all neat and tidy, labeling the boxes, bringing all your stuff into an empty space. Cleaning that empty space real good before you put your stuff in and make it home. Moving can be a good things, but I hope you and your hubby can stay put for a bit. Hurray for WI!

    • Modern Ma'am replied:

      I have to admit, I hate cleaning but I LOVE cleanliness more so I love that too. We get to show up at the house a few days before our things arrive and i am actually excited because all we’re going to do is paint and make extra sure it’s clean. We’re looking forward to this being the last place we rent before buying. I second that hooray!

  5. bookwormbethie replied:

    yes it’s a good idea to rent first in your new town, then you’ll have a better idea of what part of town you’d like to buy into. and heck, if you fall in love with your rental, maybe in the future your landlord would be willing to sell it to y’all?!

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