Moving is typically considered one of the most stressful life events, but a little bit of planning can help to make the upheaval a little less overwhelming.
“With moving, it’s never too early to get started on planning or packing,” Julia Buerger, a senior merchant at The Home Depot overseeing moving and organizing products, says. She recommends starting to plan your move roughly eight weeks ahead of the moving date, and suggests breaking the job down into smaller tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
“A rule of thumb for how long it takes to pack for moving is one day for each room,” Buerger says. “Be sure to include the garage, workshop, attic, basement, etc. in your timeline. Also know that kitchens often take longer to get packed.”
While planning, and having the right tools for the job is crucial, so is having the right attitude, Ross Sapir, the founder and president of Roadway Moving, tells CNN. “Stay positive,” he urges, because while moving is indeed stressful, it’s also the beginning of a new chapter. “A new move is a new start.”
We asked these experts for their best tips and tricks to make moving as seamless and stress-free as possible, and what moving supplies are essential to getting the job done right.
Moving boxes are essential for a move, but Roadway Moving’s “Moving 101” tips make a point to remind you that all packing boxes are not created equally. “Acquiring high-quality boxes is essential in ensuring your stuff is well protected during transport,” Sapir says. “Are the few bucks you’ll save reusing boxes worth the risk of them finally giving out, causing your precious possessions to crash onto the floor?” When it comes to boxes, Buerger says, “It’s important to have a range of boxes in various sizes and heavy-duty materials, and avoid overpacking, which can cause the box to bulge or break.”
Among the range of boxes that Buerger recommends, there are specialty packing boxes designed to protect expensive and precious items, like televisions and your clothing. “TV boxes for flat-screen televisions can help simplify the packing process and keep belongings safe,” Buerger says. And while they’re not strictly necessary, Buerger recommends using wardrobe boxes for moving hanging clothing, both for ease of packing and unpacking and also to protect the garments from damage.
Another smart option for protecting your belongings when packing them for a move is to use heavy-duty plastic moving bins instead of cardboard boxes. “One of the best options are reusable moving bins,” Sapir says. If buying these types of moving boxes isn’t an investment that makes sense for you, “they can be rented at a low cost” and are “100% eco-friendly, a great alternative to cardboard boxes, crushproof and easier to move,” Sapir says.
Renting moving materials is something Buerger suggests as well. “Renting can be really helpful if you don’t have the space to store items like dollies, ramps and handcarts or if you don’t think you will use them too often.”
When it comes to packing, you probably already know to use a combination of bubble wrap, stretch plastic wrap and packing paper to wrap items before boxing them up. But you may not have thought of this smart trick: “Wrap small items in brightly colored tissue paper or a labeled plastic bag to prevent them from accidentally being thrown out,” Buerger says.
The experts we spoke to stressed the importance of having a labeling system for moving boxes, and suggested that you pack belongings room by room, using a color-coded labeling system, to further help with keeping things organized.
“Establish a labeling system for boxes — color-coded, for example — to easily identify where each box should be placed in the new residence,” Buerger says. As for the labels themselves, Sapir has a favorite. “Use Post-it Notes,” he says. “They are cheap, don’t leave a mark and are a great way to stay organized.”
Along with labels, scissors and box cutters are moving day essentials. Because these small items can get easily lost among boxes and packing materials, Buerger suggests setting up a packing station of sorts. “Once you have your supplies, I’d recommend keeping them in a designated area to make it easier to pack and label as you prepare for moving day,” she says.
If figuring out what individual items you might need for a move is overwhelming, Buerger suggests Home Depot’s moving kits. “They can be a good starting point,” she says. “Moving kits allow you to select the size of your move and give you all the packing essentials you need.” The Home Depot’s moving calculator can also help you to determine the number of boxes you’ll need for your move.
If you’ll be undertaking the move without hiring a moving company, investing in a set of lifting straps will be a good choice for transporting heavy and bulky items. Even if you’re relying on professional movers, lifting straps are a helpful item to have in the home. “Ergonomic lifting straps can make it easier to move bulky, heavy items such as mattresses or appliances and are great to have on hand any time you need to move these types of items for future projects,” Buerger says.
Lifting straps aren’t the only products Buerger recommends for moving furniture without causing a lot of damage — especially to wood floors. “Furniture sliders can also make it easier to move heavy items as you settle into your new space and decide on where to place your furniture,” she says.
The experts we spoke to also stress the importance of packing essentials in a separate, easily identifiable bin to avoid major headaches when you arrive at your new home. “This kit should contain things you may need after the moving truck is loaded or before it’s unloaded at the new place,” Buerger says, “including box cutters, cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper.” It’s also smart to pack a personal bag, Sapir says. “You always want to keep important documents, medication or any other items that you need access to right away.”