Moving And Packing Tips: The Ultimate Guide To Relocating Your Home

Moving and Packing Tips - Neighbor Blog

Congratulations on your upcoming move! Now that you’ve found your new home, all you have to worry about is figuring out how much your move will cost, deciding whether to hire professional movers and packers or not, finding affordable storage, and transferring your entire life to a new location. So whether you’ve just finished signing the paperwork for your dream home or you’re trying to get away from your crazy roommates, you could probably use some serious moving tips to make the the next few weeks go smoothly.

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled the best of all the moving tips out there to give you the ultimate guide to moving and packing. Read below for great moving tips and packing tricks to help you keep it together and survive your move.

Costs of Moving

Moving can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, so the money left over in your checking account after paying for your new place might not be enough to cover your moving expenses. On top of packing supplies, professional mover fees, and truck rentals, there are some hidden moving expenses to keep in mind that could make the cost of your move go way up.

Cost Of Hiring Professional Movers

Deciding whether to use professional movers or not is one of the first decisions you need to make while mapping out your move. Movers can save you a lot of time and hard work, but you might save a lot of money just doing everything yourself.

Local movers usually charge between $20-$30 an hour to load, transport, and unload your boxes for you. Most companies are happy to offer packing and unpacking services as well, which will run you an extra $25-$35 an hour. For long-distance moves, plan on spending a little less than $1 per pound of stuff you are transporting, and be sure to ask about any extra charges up front.

Try this free moving cost calculator to get an estimate for the cost of your move.

While exploring your mover options, be sure to watch out for moving fraud. If a company claims to offer moving or packing services at a significantly lower cost than similar companies, it could be a red flag. Check out the Department of Transportation’s moving fraud guide to learn what you can do to protect yourself. Like everything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Tips for Moving Preparation

Stack of moving boxes

Declutter Before You Move

Get rid of everything you don’t want before you go to save time and boxes. Depending on how long you’ve lived in your current home, you’ve probably acquired more stuff than you realize. Take one area at a time, and sort your things into three piles: keep, discard, and sell/donate. You’ll be able to pack unessential items and wipe down shelves and cupboards as you go.

Set Up A Moving Budget

Using a notebook, spreadsheet, or your budget tool of choice, set up a detailed moving budget template. After putting in big items like mover fees and transportation costs, be sure to leave room for miscellaneous items you might need to buy once you get to your new place.If you skip this step and don’t have a detailed budget in mind, your move could end up costing more than you planned on, and maybe even more than you can afford.

Research Professional Movers

Pull out your phone and start looking into moving companies during your spare time. Get as many online quotes as you can and then get in touch with your top candidates to discuss further details. You’ll find that the majority of companies are crazy expensive. So if you want professional movers and don’t want to mortgage the farm, then you should check out Dolly. Dolly connects you with local pickup truck owners who are ready to help with your moving, delivery, and hauling needs. Whether you need help bringing home a new dining table, picking up a couch you found on Craigslist, or need heavy lifting help during an apartment move, Dolly’s got your back. Get truck & muscle, anytime you need it, in Boston, Chicago, Denver,  Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle.

Dolly Moving Company

Find Affordable Storage

Start by making a list of the things you need to store and the amount of time you need to store them. After you have an idea of what you need, spend time looking around and finding the best storage for your needs. Overspending on storage can really put a hole in your moving budget. You will save yourself a lot of money and stress if you get this step taken care in advance. Check out Neighbor to find an affordable storage option that’s right for you.

Make A Moving Plan

Take an evening to sit down and come up with a timeline for everything you need to do for your move. Planning everything out in advance is the best way to stay on track during the coming months. Be sure to write daily moving tasks on your calendar so you don’t forget anything important. You can use the moving checklist below as an outline for your plan.  

Moving House Checklist

When you’re preparing for a move, it’s all too easy to let time get away from you. Don’t make the mistake of leaving everything until the last minute. Use this moving checklist to ensure you get everything done beforehand.

1-2 Months Before

  • Start the decluttering process
  • Research moving companies
  • Start collecting moving boxes
  • Get a folder for all moving-related notes
  • Arrange for medical, school, and other records to be transferred
  • Inform important parties of your move
  • Schedule disconnect times for utilities
  • Get measurements of your furniture and other big items
  • Start using up the food in your freezer

2 Weeks – 1 Month Before

  • Put valuables and important documents in a safebox to personally transport
  • Stock up on packing tape and other moving supplies
  • Go to your nearest post office or online and do a change of address
  • Start packing and labeling boxes

Week Before

  • Don’t buy any more groceries
  • Refill prescriptions and stock up on other personal items
  • Pack travel bags with a week’s worth of clothes and hygiene products for everyone in the family
  • Leave out a few cleaning supplies for a final sweep through on moving day
  • Confirm payments and plans with movers, landlords, and storage facilities

Day Before and Day Of

  • Defrost the fridge and freezer at least 24 hours in advance
  • Keep extra bags handy to store last minute items
  • Clean each room as it is emptied
  • Relax – If you’ve prepared in advance, you’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful moving day

Preparing to Pack

Packing your entire house could take anywhere from 6 days to 6 weeks depending on the amount of things you need to pack. Before you get started, we’ve made this packing checklist to keep you from ending up in a packing pickle.

Preparing To Pack Checklist

  • Start as early as possible
  • Make sure you have gotten rid of all the things you don’t want
  • Have valuables separated to be packed in a safebox
  • Know what needs to go to storage
  • Work out a detailed labeling system
  • Have moving boxes and packing paper ready to go
  • Take inventory of your things

Packing 101: Where to Start

Where to start packing

It makes the most sense to pack non-essential items first, but with an entire house full of non-essential items, what should you really pack first? To answer this question, we’ve put together the perfect packing timeline to guide you from start to finish.

  1. Get started by packing the least-used room in your house. This could be a guest room, sewing/crafting room, garage, or attic. When you’ve finished, move on to other rooms you won’t need to use before your move.
  2. After you’ve packed all the unimportant areas of your house, it’s time to skim non-essential items out of living spaces. Start with the living room and children’s bedrooms. Pack everything you can do without for the next few weeks.
  3. Tackle over-crowded areas of these rooms first as they will take the most time to effectively organize and pack.
  4. When you’re ready to move on to the most-used rooms in your house, start with the kitchen. Leave only the bare minimum of food and cooking utensils in an open box, and pack everything else.
  5. Save the bathroom and bedroom for last as they have several items you need to use every day.

Packing Tips and Tricks

Now that you know how to get started packing up your house, here are a few things to keep in mind while you go. These packing tips will help you overcome any packing challenges you may face.

Organizing Moving Boxes

Keeping your moving boxes organized doesn’t have to be a chore. These three labeling hacks will have you packing like a pro.

  1. Along with the room the box came from, write a description of the items inside. Your description can be short, but keep it detailed enough to give you a good idea of what’s inside the box.
  2. Use a different color to designate each area of your new house. You can use stickers or tape to mark the boxes accordingly, making it easier to unload the moving the truck.
  3. Use a numbering system to keep an inventory of all your stuff and ensure no boxes are lost. As you pack, write a number on the side of each box and then write the same number in your notes with a list of every item inside that box. Taking inventory as you pack saves time and makes for a more accurate inventory list.

Packing Fragile Items

Packing fragile items

Be sure not to overfill boxes with fragile items in them. Pack a few items in each box and then use packing paper, newspaper, or bubble wrap to fill in the empty space. If you have any priceless fragiles, they should be packed in their own box. Lay a blanket across the bottom of the box, and put a pillow on top for extra padding.  

Flat items, such as dishes, should be stacked vertically rather than horizontally in the box to help them absorb shock.

Be sure to label all your fragile boxes with “FRAGILE” in big letters on the sides and top. Communication is key to making sure your items are protected.

Packing Pictures and Wall Decorations

Picture frames, mirrors, and wall hangings should be wrapped and properly protected before transporting. Get some packing paper or bubble wrap and wrap the picture like a present, making sure everything is covered. You can fit several wrapped small frames in a normal moving box, and get specialty boxes for large frames.

If you don’t have any boxes that will fit your large frames, just take apart regular moving boxes and flatten them. You can secure the flattened cardboard to both sides of your frame in place of a box.

When the time comes to transport your pictures, be sure to load them on their side rather than laying them flat.

Packing Clothes

Packing clothes in a wardrobe box

Utilize luggage, totes, and even dresser drawers while packing your clothes. Light-weight items like socks and t-shirts can be left in drawers without making your dresser too heavy to move. Fold or roll your other clothes and pack them into suitcases and totes that you already have. Wardrobe boxes can get expensive, so use them sparingly if you have a tight moving budget.

Packing Books

Make book boxes easy to handle by using several small boxes in place of a few bigger ones. Packing too many books in a regular-sized moving box makes it nearly impossible to lift the box and greatly increases your chances of having the bottom rip out. You might be tempted to just pack a regular-sized box halfway full of books, but this weakens the sides of your box and makes it more likely to collapse. Save yourself the trouble and keep a supply of small boxes to pack books and other heavy items .

Packing The Kitchen

Packing the kitchen

The kitchen is usually one of the hardest rooms to pack. Going through countless drawers, shelves, and cabinets can seem daunting, so here are a few kitchen packing tips to help you keep your sanity

  • Start decluttering the messiest drawers and cabinets before moving on to neater ones
  • Pack decorations first, and then move on to vases, expensive glassware, and other items you don’t use often
  • Host a dinner party to get rid of extra food in your pantry and fridge
  • Keep an open box with only the essentials, including one set of dishes and utensils for each family member


It’s no secret that moving is not an enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you plan ahead and get organized, you can have a stress-free and affordable move. Make a plan, start packing early, and enjoy the adventure of moving.


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