Photo by Beth Kanter

2012 Update: The advice here still rings true – it’s never too early to begin planning your move! Fortunately in 2012 there are a huge range of services available to make selecting professional movers easier. All the major rental companies have websites where you can compare prices for hiring removal trucks and get quotes for a team of removal men. If you’re really looking to save money, local odd-job men who offer use of their van and labour for a day will be much easier to find online via their personal websites or listings pages such as craigslist.

If you have decided to hire a professional mover, begin interviewing as soon as possible. There are many good websites with suggestions and recommendations on the best movers for your situation. Regardless of whether you have hired a full service mover or are doing it yourself, the following information will help make the process much easier.

There are two absolutes to moving — it is never too soon to start packing and you have possessions that you should sell, donate to a charity or throw away instead of move. You can start packing the seasonal items as soon you can. Holiday decorations, seasonal clothing, special occasion tableware, keepsakes, all of the things you won’t need to use between now and the date you move into your new home. It helps to have a staging area where you can temporarily place the boxes that have been packed waiting or moving day. As you pack these items ask yourself “do I really need this”. While it is often easier to pack things then to get rid of them, remember you will not only be packing it, you will have to carry it, hire some one to carry it, unpack and find a place for it in you new home. If in doubt, throw it out!


Purchase or locate new or used regular size boxes to use for packing your belongings. Having many of the same sized box makes stacking much easier. Get special boxes for clothing, books, china, and other heavy, fragile or large sized items. You will also need packing material bubble wrap or paper as well as packing tape. A moving supply company can help with these items.

As you pack make sure you mark each box with it contents and which room it should go go as well as a unique number such as “Pots, Kitchen, 23”. This will help make moving in much easier. Then record this information in a notebook as well as more detail on exactly what is in the box such as “large stock pots, frying pans” as well as note which items you want to unpack first. This will help with organizing what you are moving and plus if you are missing anything after the move you will know what was in there for insurance claims. Boxes with contents that are fragile or must have a specific side up should be labeled as such. For these items, pre-printed labels are easier to see and use instead of hand-writing this information.

Unpacking and getting comfortable

The moving van just unloaded the last box and is pulling out of your driveway. You are now alone in your new house and eager to get comfortable and make the house your home. You look around for a place to sit and all you see are boxes, boxes and more boxes. Now starts the unpacking stage. If you marked all the boxes with contents, room, and number they boxes at least should be in the right rooms or left in an area where they can be moved later. Using the list you created when packing start with the high priority rooms first, typically the kitchen and a bathroom. As you empty boxes flatten them and consider recycling them. Many moving companies and packing material companies will take back the boxes you used. They will sell them as used to the next family that needs to move.

After you have settled into your new home and begin to enjoy the added room, larger yard, better schools or whatever were your motivations to move you can have the confidence from reading Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision that you decided to move instead of remodel because it was the right decision both financially and emotionally for you.