First of all – congrats on finding your new space! Moving into a new home can be an exciting experience. Especially after the weeks (or months) of searching in vain for the right place online and in person. Let’s all take a moment to relish in the fact that you no longer have to troll Zillow, Craigslist or PadMapper during every spare second. Again, congratulations on finding your new home! We made this expert’s guide to stress-free moving to help you seamlessly begin your life in your new space. So, let’s get started!

Before Moving In

We decided it makes the most sense to break this list into phases – Before Moving In, Packing, and After Moving In. There’s a lot that you need to do in the moving process and these sections will make it way more manageable.

1. Color-Code Your Furniture

Now that you know where you’ll be moving, it’s time to decide what is coming with you to your new space. Step one? Grab some Post-Its. Invent a color scheme which differentiates between Keep, Store, Sell/Donate and Toss. Step Two? Walk around your home and stick the corresponding Post-It with each article of furniture. The Post-Its aren’t just for fun – they can help you visualize what you do and do not have already.

If you’re unsure what to keep and what to get rid of, think about the dimensions of your new place. Sure, you absolutely love that vintage couch but will it fit in the new living room? Although dimensions aer your primary concern, keep in mind the other ways an item may or may not “fit” in the new place. Does it mesh with your fellow housemates’ tastes? Are you going in a new design direction? Does it fit with your lifestyle as you imagine it in the new home?

These are all important questions! That’s why some of the Post-Its are color coded for Storage. Storing furniture – and seasonal clothes and decorations, baby and kid items, etc. – is a great option. When you’re moving house, there are bound to be items that you don’t need right now but might need later on.

2. Get Everything out of Storage

Speaking of storage, before you move into a new home take stock of what you already have. If you currently rent a self-storage unit, trek out there to see what you’ve got! Similarly, if you have at-home storage in a basement, attic or garage space, haul everything out into the open. You might find some hidden treasures to take along with you or find some items you’d like to donate or sell. Or you might want to keep on storing the same things or swap in new items.

Basically, you just need to figure out what’s what when it comes to your current possessions. This will help you out a lot in the moving process.

3. Declutter your Current Space

There’s absolutely no reason why you should let your clutter move in to your new home with you. That means you need to get rid of clutter before you start packing or anything else. Luckily, we’ve written elsewhere on the best decluttering methods. Check our other blog about the 19 items you can toss ASAP to declutter your home. Looking for something a little different? Find out if Swedish Death Cleaning is the decluttering method for you!

Whatever method of organizing and tidying you choose, the important thing is to get rid of clutter before you enter your new space. Not only is living clutter free a lot easier in a new environment, detoxing your possessions can provide some closure on this phase of your life. We all know that certain spaces hold specific memories. Whether good or bad, you’re moving on and need to close that door with a light spirit to get the most out of your new home. Decluttering can really help you achieve peace of mind in this super stressful time!

4. Buy Moving Supplies

Sure, you aren’t moving yet, but the next phase is packing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to head out and purchase all your necessary moving supplies in advance of the packing mayhem. Thinking ahead ensures you won’t be left high and dry when you get to packing.

However, think outside the box when it comes to moving supplies. In addition to packing boxes, tape and cushioning, get your own luggage out. As we’ll show below, roller bags are a great way to transport heavy items. Duffle bags can be awesome storage for non-fragile items too.

5. Research Moving Companies

Not all moving companies are the same. Many offer different services, and the range in quotes can be pretty drastic. If you’re moving across state lines, you’ll need to find a moving company that offers this service. Or maybe you’re planning to move your items on your own. Again, take a look at truck and van rental prices across companies as they vary.

Compare not only quotes, but also online reviews. Sure Company A might cost half of what Company B is charging, but reviews might tell a different story. Keep in mind, however, that people are far more likely to write a review when a service was poor rather than if it was good.

6. Manage Your Utilities

Depending on what kind of move you’re making, you might be taking on utilities as a rental tenant or a homeowner or something in between. Regardless, you’ll need to not only work out your current utilities, but also those in your new space. Often this means calling up gas, electricity and water providers to cancel your account. Also call your cable or Internet provider to let them know you’re moving. Often, these companies have specific deals for moving to a new place and continuing service, so check those out too.

7. Change of Address & Subscriptions

Before you move into a new home, you’ll need to let the Postal Service know about your imminent change of address. This isn’t too tedious and can sometimes be done online. Or you could head to a nearby Post Office to inquire about changing your address. This will help with forwarding mail which can be super annoying.

At the same time, you’ll want to update your subscriptions to newspapers and magazines with your new information.

best guide to moving

8. Take Care of Your Pets & Car

Pets are such a big part of our families that you might forget they aren’t actually human. That means they might not be welcome on planes, trains or buses. If you’re moving a longer distance and won’t be in your own vehicle, now is a good time to figure out transportation for your pets.

Some movers choose to set their dog or cat up in a kennel nearby the new home. This is a good option if your pets tend to get underfoot. When you’re unpacking you’re not going to want to be minding that the doors are closed or whatever else you need.

If you have a car that you won’t be transporting yourself, you’ll need to figure out transportation for it as well.

9. Backup Important Docs – Digital and Paper

Before you move in, make sure you backup your devices. It’s also a good idea to make copies of important documents and store them in separate areas. This helps you avoid misplacing a crucial item in the chaos of the move. Backing up your tech devices is a good call because accidents can happen in the moving process. You don’t want to be left without your most important resources when you move in!

move in guide

10. Donate Food

Before you get to packing up your kitchen, you’ll need to donate or throw out the food items you can’t or don’t want to bring with you. This includes perishable items as well as non-perishables. Set aside some coffee (or tea) and filters, however, as you’ll be wanting those when you wake up the first morning in your new home!

11. Schedule a Grocery Delivery

Speaking of food, think about your first days in your new home. Do you really want to have to go to the grocery store in the middle of all that unpacking, organizing and cleaning? Probably not. Instead, schedule a grocery delivery using an app or online for the morning after you move in. That gives you time to set the fridge up first and get your kitchen in order before filling it with your essential food items.

Of course, you don’t need to get absolutely every grocery item at this point. Stick to what you know you’ll be needing in those first days. Cereal, coffee – whatever it is.

Packing

We’ve finally made it to packing! Packing before you move somewhere is a pretty big undertaking. Here are the steps you need to take to keep yourself sane and make this move totally seamless.

1. Make a Moving “Essentials” Bag

Each member of the household needs to make an “Essentials” bag for the move. The Essentials bag ensures everyone will have what they need for the first night and morning in the new house. Whatever that means for each individual might be different, but here are some ideas:

  • Electronics (phones, tablets, chargers, headphones, etc.)
  • Pajamas or loungewear
  • Towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste,shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.)
  • Stuffed Animals or Blankets
  • Coffee/Tea and Filters
  • Important Personal items

The idea is just to get the things you can’t make it a night or morning without. The last thing in your bag might be a Ziploc with your own ID, passport, birth certificate, etc. inside. This keeps everyone accountable and organized.

the best moving guide

Photo by Russ Hendricks / ToolsAreHome.com

There’s a second Essentials bag the household as a whole will need. In this bag, you’ll want to pack:

  • Toilet Paper and Paper Towel
  • Hand soap
  • Cleaning Supplies

This separate bag will come in handy on move-in day when you do a clean of the new place before unpacking your things.

2. Start with Storage

Okay. The first thing you’ll want to do after you have your Essentials bag packed, is to pack up anything you plan to store. This could be holiday decorations, seasonal clothes, off-season sports gear, cribs or strollers, furniture – whatever it is. By getting these items packed away for storage first you have more breathing room to deal with the rest.

Additionally, getting your items in storage early on saves you some massive headaches down the road. And it’ll make you feel like an organization guru for having thought of it beforehand. Check out on-demand storage with Livible to schedule pickup and delivery on your time!

3. Use Luggage for Books & Bedding

Wheeled luggage is great for transporting heavy items like books from one home to the next. Rather than breaking your back trying to haul your library from one space to the next, pack your books in a wheeled bag. Similarly, pack the bedding you’ll need on move-in day in duffle bags.

Duffle bags are great holdalls for non-fragile items like duvets, sheets and pillows. Also, this can help easily differentiate between what you need ASAP and what can wait when you arrive. Just grab the bag for each room and pop it in there when you move in.

4. Make a Digital Inventory

As you pack each box or bag, snap a pic of what you’ve put and where. In no time you’ll have an awesome digital inventory which will make unpacking 10x easier. Knowing where certain items are is basically the most irritating part of moving into a new home. All you need are a few plates to chow down on your move-in day delivery, but you have no idea which of the 5 “Kitchen” cardboard boxes the plates are in.

The digital inventory, or even a regular one, also keeps you organized. Rather than randomly tossing items into boxes, you’ll have to think about what you’re packing. This can even help as a last-ditch decluttering effort because it forces you to look at each item.

5. Label Everything

We mean it. When it comes to packing and moving, you’ll want to label absolutely everything. Trust us, there’s no such thing as “over-labeling” when it comes to moving. Don’t just write “KITCHEN” across the top of a box! First of all, write it on the sides as well. This helps if boxes end up stacked. Second, be more specific. Is this box packed with fancy or regular place settings? Cups or wine glasses? Mugs or bowls? Serving spoons or cereal spoons?

All these different labels will become super important when you’re unpacking in your new space. You can color coordinate your labels too. This is one of those Pinterest ideas that seems great and super organized. However, color-coding your box labels based on room is only helpful if you can remember what each color means. So, keep that little caveat in mind.

6. Insure Your Items

Not everything needs to be insured – your Essentials bag, for one. But for big items like furniture or pianos, you’ll want to make certain they are covered by insurance. Whether this is mover’s insurance through your home or the moving service, it’s important. Insurance for your items in a move can make all the difference if the unexpected or accidental occurs.

7. Ready Your Mattresses

If you’re bringing your mattresses along with you, check out our guide to properly storing a mattress. Even though you won’t be storing it for long – just the transportation time – it’s useful to know the Dos and Don’ts of mattress packing.

8. Clean Your Home

Give your home one last clean. After you’ve packed up everything, wipe down counters and sweep floors. Take care of any damage if you’re looking for a deposit to be returned.

empty room move in guide

After Moving In

Finally. Finally. You’re read to start unpacking in your new home! This is the fun part. It’s also the slightly chaotic and sometimes stressful part too, however. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t need to be done in one day or night. This is your new home and you can take whatever time you need.

best move in guide

1. Take Photos

Take photos of your home right when you get there. Before the boxes and everything else piles up and hides things. This is important for making sure you don’t end up charged for existing damage or anything else. Save this pictures in case you end up moving out or if there are any issues.

Once your boxes and items are delivered, take photos of those too. It might seem like overkill, but damage to the moving boxes can mean damage to your possessions. You can bring up damages to the moving company to see if they offer reimbursement.

2. Clean Your New Home

Before you get to totally unpacking, make sure all the cupboards and floors are clean. You don’t want to start unpacking your cups and glasses only to realize there’s something gross in the cabinets, right? You can wait to wipe down countertops until after you’ve unpacked though. Chances are most of the surfaces will end up dusty or dirty as you unpack, so wait until then to deal with that.

best moving checklist

Sweeping at this stage is a good idea, however. Before you put the couch or carpet down, make sure the floor is actually clean. This way, you won’t be moving into a mess.

3. Put Bathroom Essentials in Place

Toilet paper, toothbrushes, towels and the like can be taken from individual and household Essentials bags and put into a cleaned up bathroom. At the same time, everyone can plop their own Essential moving bag into their room or space. No need to unpack at this juncture, but getting it out of the way is a good call.

4. Check on Utilities

Although this should be taken care of prior to moving in, check that water, gas, electricity, etc., are all in working order. If they aren’t, call up the service provider to check if there’s something amiss. More likely than not, the provider is simply waiting on your call.

utilities

5. Set up Wifi and Electronics

Once you know you have power, get to work on the wifi. Trust us, this will make move-in day so much easier for everyone involved. Get the Wifi set up and make sure every member of the household gets on it. If there are any issues, you can tackle them head on. You’ll need to find the best location for your router, and you can determine if you’ll need to purchase signal extenders at this time.

6. Unpack Bedding/Bedrooms

Once you’ve had your bed frame and mattress moved into your bedroom, unpack your bedding and make the bed. This simple step is the key to making move in day a breeze. When you’re ready for bed at the end of the day, having your bed ready to collapse onto will seem like a blessing. Sort this out before you move onto the rest of the unpacking madness. You’ll thank us later.

7. Unpack the Kitchen

After the bathroom and bedroom, the kitchen is the next room to unpack. You don’t need to unpack absolutely everything, but at least unpack the necessary items. Think: plates, glasses and cutlery for dinner, mugs, spoons and bowls for the morning. No need to unpack the fine china on move-in day. Save your energy for the important items and get to the other stuff tomorrow.

8. Get Some Takeout or Delivery

You’re going to be exhausted. There’s no need to prepare some big meal. Instead, rely on every movers favorite standbys. Takeout or delivery, often eaten on the floor, is a moving rite of passage. Celebrate your new space and enjoy the fruit of your efforts!

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Make Moving Incredibly Easy with On-Demand Storage

Moving can be really stressful, but we hope this guide has made it easier! To make moving and storage the easiest it can be, check out Livible. Livible is on-demand storage, offering pickup and delivery whenever works for you. You’ll pay about 15% less than you would with traditional self-storage, and you’ll get all the modern services you want and need. Get your Instant Quote today and see what you could save when you store with Livible!