The first blog installment about moving was “planning ahead.” Now – at least 4 weeks from move day – it’s time to get into action.

Packing, if you decide to do it yourself, and letting people (and companies) know your plans constitutes the bulk of this phase.

There’s an analogy that a move is like a ball rolling downhill – the closer you get to move day the faster time will be flying by. And before you know it, you’re just throwing things into boxes (if you’re lucky) in order to be ready in time.

Make a Packing Timeline

As we discussed in the last post, now is the time to spend your time and energy weeding your possessions and not wasting time and money moving items you don’t really need or want.

Plan out a schedule for completing the major packing in each room and allow for a full extra week to catch up on all the things you didn’t plan for. Start with the areas you use the least and save the more active areas for last. Packing the guest room closet, for instance, will have less impact on your day-to-day living than packing the kitchen.

Get Supplies

If you do any of the packing yourself, you’ll have to gather supplies.  Since the boxes are bulky and can take over your house, dedicate space to store them so they won’t get in the way.

Places such as Home Depot and U-Haul offer online box ordering with easy “kits” for different size moves that you can customize.

Buy rolls or boxes of packing paper; don’t rely on finding enough newspaper for padding delicate items. Large bubble wrap is often more useful than the small bubble wrap for medium to large items. And don’t buy cheap packing tape – it isn’t worth the hassle when it constantly breaks on your tape gun.

Have a dedicated small box or basket and fixed location where you always keep your critical packing supplies: markers, post-its, packing tape, tape gun, utility knife.

Label with the End in Mind

Whether you’ve decided to pack yourself or hire packing help, it’s essential to segregate items you’re taking with you into “like” groups to make packing and unpacking. This is why it is helpful to start with an organized home. If you have pared down what you own so that you only have items you need to bring with you, there’s minimal decision-making come packing time.

Make sure you label your boxes with the destination in your new home, i.e., master bedroom, downstairs bath, laundry area, for example. Consider labeling some boxes “UNPACK FIRST” for each room.

Utilize movers expertise and experience. You can save large and awkward items for them to pack on moving day, including all the hanging clothes in your closets. Make sure you let them know in advance what you are delegating.

It can help to have an inventory sheet with the box number and contents if the unpacking will happen over time or if your boxes will be sitting in storage for a time.

Remember to pace yourself. Packing can be exhausting! Take breaks, plan your meals, be realistic about how long you can work each day. Ask for help if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

Let People (and Companies) Know

Contact your utility companies on both ends of the move and make arrangements to transfer or cancel your service on the date you hand over possession of your home.

In addition to the utility companies, make a checklist of the people/companies who send you mail: Banks, Insurance Companies, and Medical Providers. Here are some of the basics:

The Goal Is This…

You walk into your new home, energized and ready to get to work … 

Every room has clearly labeled boxes of the items that belong in that room

The labels let you know which boxes you want to unpack first. 

When you open a box, you can efficiently put things away because you know where they’re going. 

Bonus: if you have helpers, it’s easy to direct them because the boxes are all well-packed, labeled, and organized!  

Next post – Moving Day!

Make sure you don’t leave any special things behind!