Why is it important to pack organize the way you pack? Because it will make unpacking so much more enjoyable. Because YAY – you have a new home. But I know moving can be stressful. Take out some of the stress by packing in a smart, efficient way.
Purge. The last thing you want to do when you move into a fresh, clean, blank slate is to bring a bunch of clutter that you don’t want or use. Take the packing process as the best opportunity to work from room to room, eliminating clutter that you don’t want to bring with you.
Start early. The more lead time to give yourself, the less likely you are to shove miscellaneous items into one box… having no idea what you’re unpacking on the other side. Starting early also ensures you have the time and energy to do the necessary purging to make it an organized move.
Here’s a good timeline:
From the moment you know you’re moving: begin being mindful of everything you’re buying or bringing into your home. Start to reduce the amount of unnecessary items you’re buying and begin casually taking inventory of all the things you currently have that you don’t want making it to your new home.
1-2 months before you move: take a weekend and systematically go through the big areas of your home with a donation bin. Your closet, kid’s closets, playroom, kitchen, garage. Try to do an overall purge, with the end goal that you’ll have less stuff to move.
4 weeks before: Organize all important documents that you'll be taking with you, and any important home documents that you'll leave to the new homeowners. Look into moving companies and begin getting quotes. Research the new area you're moving to and join any useful online communities (Nextdoor, Facebook community groups, etc.). Update your address for all your billing, medical, and other important records
3 weeks before: Start boxing up off-season clothes, seasonal decorations and tableware/bakeware, keepsake items, books, and anything you know you won’t need in the next 3 months (in the garage and house). Take measurements in your new home to begin planning organizational systems, to order the correct size of new furniture, and to make sure your furniture will fit.
2 weeks before: Begin packing up 90% of your kids toys (you’ll be amazed with how little they actually need!), decorations, art, mirrors, vases, fine stemware/glasses, entertaining items, unused bedding, linens and towels.
1 week before: Pack up 90% of your clothes and toiletries (or only as much as you need for the duration you’re not in your next home). Start emptying out and washing containers that you plan to take with you, box up kitchen appliances.
Days before you move: Buy some paper plates and cups – you’re officially in camp-mode. Box up all remaining kitchen, bathroom, pantry and laundry items. The only things left are items you’d take on a trip – so pack like you're going on a trip and plan accordingly... will you be in between houses 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months?
Moving day: Deep clean (or have a team or professionals lined up to help). Take one last look around. Walk through all of the rooms to make sure nothing is left behind. Look in unexpected places where things tend to hide - cabinets, drawers, deep shelves, etc.
****Don't forget to sneak in some self care! Moving day is long and there are so many things to keep track of throughout the process. Make sure to prep water bottles and a bundle of your favorite foods to have on hand. Remember it's okay to rest and recharge when you need to!
Have a system. A timeline like the one above is a great way to keep you on track and make it feel more manageable, but you’ll also want a system that works for you. Just like any form of organizing, systems help make life easier. A system for your move should do the same. Here’s a few key systems:
Label everything – and make it even easier by color-coding. The minute you tape up a box, label it – in multiple places on the box. You want the contents to be clear however you stack the boxes, and for whoever is transporting them. Color-coding by room makes unpacking a breeze once the boxes are all in their new home.
Contain loose parts – as you start to dismantle furniture, take art down, or sort through drawers, you’ll need to find homes for screws, tools, specific batteries, keys, etc. Use ziplocs you have around the house, or any secure bag that you can label.
Take note – during a move, so much is going on around you and within your head! Keep a notepad handy, or download my FREE printable Organized Move workbook which will keep you on track and sane.
Keep items in the same categories within boxes. Keep room contents in their own boxes, and within rooms, categorize items in their own boxes. Example – in a child’s room, have a box for their toys, their bedding, their clothes, etc. This will help the unpacking process be so much smoother and simpler.
Purge some more. This really will make the biggest difference when you unpack. When you’re going through each space, bring several boxes – and not just for the packing. Label one “donate,” “recycle,” and “toss.” Having those boxes handy will completely change the way you pack. Instead of the compulsion to throw everything in the moving box, you’ll be forced to think your way through each item. Do you love it, need it, or use it? If not, DO NOT BRING IT TO YOUR NEW HOME. Instead, lovingly place it in one of the other boxes.
Make sure you’re set up on the other end. Start off on an organized-foot at your new home by creating a binder. This is where you’ll keep all utilities info, weekly/monthly services, paint colors, contractor names, etc . You’ll be so glad you created this resource hub from the get-go. Not only will you be referencing it a lot, but you’ll avoid cluttering your desk/entry with papers that can neatly go here. Here’s a few other ideas for entering your new home in an organized way:
Arrange for a cleaner to come in before you move, or head over there the day before to give a good clean. It’s always nice to start your new chapter in a clean home.
Think about any habits or systems that didn’t work at your previous home. Do you need a new drop-zone setup, a different filing system, an easier to see pantry system? Now is your time to give it some thought so that you can create the space you love.
Just remember – you've got this! Moving can feel like such a huge undertaking but by using all of these tools, tips, and tricks, you'll feel more at easy and less overwhelmed. Plus, look at all of the time you just saved as you move into your new home. You're already more organized and have more time to enjoy your new space - time to explore the neighborhood and have fun!