Moving Tips

Moving day doesn’t have to be stressful. While the thought of packing, transporting (then unpacking!) all your belongings may indeed seem daunting, moving can actually be quite cathartic and even—dare we say—fun! All you need is the right moving tools and a few key steps.  Follow these expert moving and packing tips for an easier, faster move.

Before you move

1Plan your move—the right way.

PLan your move

Before putting anything into a box, plan your move on paper (or your phone). According to GetMovers COO Jane Patterson, the earlier you can start that process the better. “Personally, I would start a month ahead,” she says, and recommends the following key steps during that time:

  • Stock up on key planning items, like organizing folders and sticky notes to keep yourself organized
  • Make a list of all your key dates, including closing dates and final payments
  • Determine whether you’re hiring a mover or soliciting help from family and friends, then book them
  • List everyone you need to contact (utilities, internet, the post office for mail redirects, etc.)
  • Make bookings, like elevators, parking spaces or even the spot in front of your house
  • Make a workback schedule that allows you ample packing time
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Quick Tip
When making your bookings, always give yourself at least an extra hour on each end so you have a buffer.

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2Declutter like a pro organizer.

Declutter before moving

Busy families accumulate a lot of stuff. There’s no sense moving that stuff if you’ll eventually chuck it, so when planning your move, be sure to factor in time to declutter as well.

“Movers charge based on how much stuff they have to carry,” explains professional organizer and Ease Up founder Lindsay Whisen, who advises doing a purge of your whole house while you’re at it. “If you’ve lived with storage for 10 years, treat a move like the fresh start it actually is,” she says.

If you’re wondering how to declutter before moving day (and where to start!), here are some tips to help make the process a through and effective one.

  • Sell or donate furniture and fixtures you no longer need
  • Go through old drawers and bins
  • Tackle closets and remove clothes and other items that don’t fit
  • Don’t forget to sort through shoes and outdoor accessories
  • Get rid of small appliances you no longer use in the kitchen
  • In the bathroom, throw out old bottles and expired medication
  • Stash small items in baskets, jars and caddies

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3Stock up on essential moving supplies.

Moving supplies

To save even more time when packing for moving day, equip yourself with handy supplies but also scope out what you already have at home that can be useful. Old blankets can help protect art or flat-screen TVs, for example. Or if you order items online, you may want to start stocking up on that brown packing paper, says Patterson.

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When planning your move, it’s just as important to consider what you’ll need at your new place upon arrival. Consider packing a go-bag with essentials like the box cutter, toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer. A multi-tool can also come in handy for quick assembly of things you’ll need on your first night, like your bed frame.

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How to pack for a move

4Be sure to use the right size (and type) of boxes for the job.

Use the right boxes when moving

Wondering where to get moving boxes? Many people grab free moving boxes from grocery stores or other local shops, but you can also purchase boxes from moving companies, which will usually take back any unused boxes as well. According to Patterson, the key is to have lots of different sized boxes on hand to cover all your needs.

Patterson recommends:

  • Small boxes for heavier things like books or kitchen items
  • Large boxes for lighter and non-fragile items
  • Wardrobe boxes to easily transfer closet items without having to rehang them
  • You might also want to consider garbage bags as a practical solution for holding clothing than boxes
  • Opt for clear bins for things that tend to take up a lot of space, like shoes or anything else where it helps to see what’s inside
  • Flat-panel boxes for flat-screen TVs (although if you kept the original box that works as well)
  • Stackable bankers boxes for moving lots of paper

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While packing can sometimes seem overwhelming from the onset, Patterson recommends pacing yourself. “Just do a little bit of packing every night, because, with kids” she says, it’s hard to concentrate for more than a couple of hours at a time.”

5Label your boxes (the easy way).

Label your boxes when moving

One of the best ways to save yourself time when moving, according to moving experts Whisen and Patterson is to use labels or colour-coded stickers to keep your boxes organized. Not only can this help save time during a move, but on the other end as well, when unpacking.

Whisen and Patterson recommend placing these labels on the top and side of each box, minimum, although if you’re not stacking boxes in the same order, Patterson says to mark all four sides.

  • It’s also helpful to create labels or sheets to hang on each room of your home or condo, so movers (or friends helping with the move) can easily know where boxes are going
  • No labels or stickers on had? Whisen recommends using painter’s tape since it’s noticeable and inexpensive
  • If colours are too confusing, consider assigning each room a number instead

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6How to pack everything more easily

How to pack for a move

  • How to pack clothes for moving

While it may be tempting (and seem much easier) to simply leave clothing in dressers or drawers when moving, Patterson recommends you avoid doing so, as it adds unnecessary weight to a unit and can potentially damage your furniture. However, it’s perfectly fine to keep smaller items in there.

Instead, Patterson recommends opting for a wardrobe box where you can easily transfer your hanging clothes from one home to the other. Otherwise black plastic garbage bags can be handier than a box.

  • How to pack furniture for moving

When packing your furniture, use plastic sheets and bubble wrap to help protect each piece during the move. The key is to imagine how you’ll lift each piece. For example, wrapping a sectional couch together without separating it would make for a pretty hard move. Be sure to unhook and separate the sections first. Then, once you’re at the other end, and have arrived at new home or condo, start by reassembling furniture before unpacking the other boxes.

  • How to pack books for moving

Smaller boxes are ideal for books because they give you better control over the weight. Patterson recommends clearly marking “ books” on your labels or the box itself to help avoid any sudden lifting injuries.

  • How to pack dishes for moving

When packing your dishware, always place shipping paper in between dishes. Alternatively, you can also use bubble wrap. Whisen also recommends packing your dishes into smaller boxes where they’ll be more contained and therefore less likely to break. You can also use common kitchen items, like a large pot, as a vessel” “Don’t just move empty space,” Whisen explains. “Put extra hand towels and use extra tea towels to pack up tea cups inside that pot as well.”

  • How to pack plants for moving

If you have large plants, you can transport them as is.  Patterson says you can also wrap the plant base in bubble wrap, if you want to give pots that extra layer of protection.

  • How to pack a moving truck

If you’ve rented your own truck, remember to pack heavier items towards the walls of your truck, and distribute the weight as evenly as possible. This will help to protect your items from hard stops or annoying potholes as you drive towards your new place.

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Moving in

7Plan ahead on what you’ll need upon arrival.

plan ahead on what you'll need upon arrival

When making your list of what you’ll need upon arrival to your new place, consider the following:

  • Grab a large tote basket and keep essentials, like a pen, box cutter, screwdrivers, snacks and water bottles handy at all times—on both sides of the move.
  • Invest in new locks and change the originals as soon as possible upon arrival because you never know who has keys to the old ones
  • It’s easier to do quick wall repairs before moving things in and setting up, so consider bringing along a kit.
  • Bring a toilet plunger and new toilet seats if you’re unsure about the washroom situation at your new place

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8How to move with kids and pets.

How to move with kids and pets

“If possible, it’s best not to have a pet at home during a move,” says Patterson. “They can get out and run away ,plus small pets are also a tripping hazard.” If you have small children, she also advises to find a sitter for the day, if possible.

  • If you’re unable to find a pet sitter, keep animals inside crates or carriers, and consider moving them to the new home first.
  • When moving with kids, arm them with plenty of distractions. Keep a phone or tablet charger nearby, set up a designated area for them to hang out in, and keep plenty of snacks handy—it’s probably going to be a long day.

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9Clean your new place—before moving in.

Clean your new place before moving in

It’s a lot easier to clean a space before you move in than it is to do once all your things are there. If you can get keys to your new home before you move in,  get rid of any leftover gunk, garbage and grime so you truly are moving in on a clean slate.

  • Bring fresh toilet brushes and product to get bowls sparkly clean
  • Clean out all appliances, including the fridge, oven, and microwave before using them
  • Remember to wipe out the insides of drawers and cabinets before stocking them.
  • Now’s a great time to wipe baseboards clean as well.

10Unpack bigger items first.

Use a dolly when moving bigger items

If you’re making several trips on your own or moving over an extended period of time, Whisen recommends that you start with big items, like furniture. “The infrastructure should get there first,” she explains. “You want to be able to unpack into these items instead of having the contents with no storage items for them.” A few tips to consider when doing so:

  • If hiring movers, consider taking apart large furniture pieces, like bedframes, before they arrive in order to save time (and money)
  • If moving large items yourself, use dollies and stair-climbing carts for extra support
  • Once you’re at the other end, at you rnew home or condo, re-assemble furniture before unpacking other boxes
  • Stack boxes along walls in order to better see and plan the furniture in your new space

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