If you’re reading this article, it’s probably time to pack boxes.
But in all seriousness, the concept of moving can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you have a family or are moving far away. It’s something we’ve all done and often do not necessarily look forward to. It’s also something that pays to be really good at because efficiency and organization is key.
We’ve rounded up the top 10 moving tips for families, so that you are confident going into your upcoming move and do not make mistakes that can cost time, money, and frustration.
1. Start small and start early
When your household is busy, it’s easy to avoid tasks when they seem too overwhelming. Moving is one of those tasks because we own a lot of stuff and it can take a while to pack up into boxes. You also need time and space to store everything before you move. It becomes even harder when your children, pets, and partner are home.
This is exactly why starting small is key. If you pack a box a day, it won’t feel as overwhelming and you’ll be able to start with the things you never use on a regular basis. For example, you can pack up holiday decorations, guest towels, or even out-of-season clothing. This way, you won’t even realize these things are packed away as you finalize other parts of your space before the big day.
Starting early makes an overwhelming task even more enjoyable. If you think you only need three weeks to get ready, add an extra week in case something goes wrong or an unexpected obligation comes up. It also may take longer to pack everything than you realized, which is okay. When you’re in a rush, you can be come disorganized, so starting early is the best way to go.
2. Label everything
There is never a better time to buy a label maker than right before you move. It can come in handy in everyday life, but remembering where you packed things is key. A sharpie on a cardboard box works, too. But, if you love organization, the extra step of a neat, label maker is super helpful.
Another important tip here is that you should always be as specific as possible. It is easy to just write “towels” on a box even though you also threw in your shower curtain. Then, when you’re unpacking, you’ll be missing a shower curtain and wasting time looking for it. This is an example of why we recommend that you go a little above and beyond and list as many things as you can that are in the box. It takes time, but will definitely save you time later.
3. Get multiple moving quotes
If you choose to use movers or a moving company, it’s important to know what you’re paying for. If you don’t go this route, then you’re in for a workout, but will save a good chunk of money.
Professional movers can definitely make the moving process more enjoyable because you have people helping you with the heavy items. They also help you finish transporting everything much faster than you or your family could on your own.
There are two main things to look for when requesting quotes from moving companies. The first is what do they use to calculate the cost? Do they charge per hour? Is there a charge that multiplies by the number of movers used? Does the distance between homes or buildings matter? In my experience, distance and time are usually the most common markers of cost. However, it’s important to ask for clarification and detail when you look at a moving quote.
Another good practice to ask about insurance and see how you would be covered in case something gets damaged or lost. Not to mention, you should always acquire multiple quotes because one company could be particularly busy on the day you want to move and that’s why it is more expensive than another.
4. Clean before you move
Whether you are moving into an old apartment or a brand new home, it’s always important to clean the space before you move your belongings inside. Dirt, debris, and other things could be lingering on the floors and shelves.
Sometimes, the previous owner will clean or provide cleaning services, which is a huge help. If not, it’s best to plan to clean before your move date if you have access to the property. This is because you’ll have more time and space before your items arrive. Even if you only clean a portion of the property, you’ll have a place that you know is clean to either store or unload your belongings.
The biggest areas to clean once you arrive are the shelves, which accumulate a lot of dust, the bathroom, and the kitchen. You should make sure that the kitchen does not have any leftover food or crumbs because that could lead to bugs or other animals. Along those lines, it is a huge tip to call an extermination service before you unpack. This ensures that you won’t have a problem with pests later on down the road.
Check Out: 5 Best Cordless Vacuums for a Family Budget
5. Allow time for renovations
In both apartment and home life, there are always items that need to be fixed or replaced. This can mean two things:
The first is that if your new place is undergoing renovation before you move in, you might not want to set your move date until a few days after it will be the ready. The reason for this is that construction takes time and sometimes missing parts or other unforeseen circumstances can lead to a delay.
The second is that you might need to move in temporarily before something can be fixed. As a result, it’s important to establish this before you move so that you organize accordingly. For example, if the kitchen needs a new fridge, then it might not be worth unpacking your entire kitchen before that happens. Renovations usually lead to moving things around and emptying nearby shelves. However, this is always something you can work around once you’re in your new space.
6. Always unpack your bedroom and bathroom first
When it comes to moving tips for families, be sure to target your necessities first when unpacking. If you make a list of the things you cannot go the first night with out, you can keep these items in the same couple of boxes. When you arrive in your new home, you’ll know immediately that these are the boxes you need to open first.
If you’re unsure and just want to get started unpacking, then we recommend starting with your bedroom and bathroom first because you’ll be needing these items sooner than you realize. Moving is tiring, so as long as you get everything inside and set up your bed, you’ll be able to go to bed that night comfortably. You also should think about buying a few basic supplies for the bathroom if you didn’t pack them. For example, soap, toliet paper, paper or cloth towels. You’ll be set for the first night if this is all you can accomplish.
Of course, families might need a few extra things right away like supplies for your children.
7. Unpack at least one box a day after arrival
If your family is very busy and it seems like it will take forever to get settled, then you should follow this tip where you unpack at least one box a day after moving. This way, you’ll never go one day without organizing. It will definitely take time to get everything the way you like it, but organization becomes much easier once your items are visible.
When your stuff remains in boxes for too long, it becomes hard to remember what you own in the first place. Even if you unpack and then leave a couple of things out, you’ll be able to find a permanent home for them over time.
8. Don’t buy a ton of new furniture at first
Like the last couple of moving tips for families, this one has to do with getting settled. Specifically, it is helpful if you wait and visualize your new home and its function before you buy new furniture. It is totally understandable that you would want to get new items for your house or apartment. However, if you wait until you move in, or even after you’ve lived there for a while, you will make smarter, long-term purchases.
This has to do with the function of your new space, which you won’t truly know until you arrive. As a result, you might purchase something that you think will look good and then when you move, it doesn’t fit or look the way you thought it would. This is a good thing to avoid because returning furniture is a hassle. It’s also not a fun chore when you’ve just moved all of your belongings. Basically, patience is key here.
9. Repurpose items you already have or go thrifting
This is one of the many moving tips for families that will save you time and money. Specifically, you can reuse items that you already own as temporary space fillers or new DIY projects. This is great if you’re unsure what kind of furniture you want in your home. You can set up a room in a temporary way until you are married to an idea. The furniture can always be donated or sold at a later date. You’d also be surprised how many creative ways there are to repurpose old pieces of furniture. You can paint, add onto, or change the design purpose after you get settled.
Thrifting furniture for a low cost can help you save money or try out new ideas before you spend a lot of money on one thing. This prevents buying trends that come and go, which ultimately wastes money because you don’t use it for very long. How many times have we thought we really wanted something for our living room before we hated it a few months later? This is a great tip to keep things affordable and functional.
10. Don’t set a housewarming date right away
After you move, it’s a really exciting time and that makes it tempting to invite your friends and family over to check out your new space. A good tip, especially for families, is to wait about 2 months or more before doing so.
There are a few different reasons for this, but mainly, you should get comfortable before you invite others over. The same goes for your children. It can take a while to adjust to a new space, especially for kids, so it’s best to take the pressure off of everyone. This way, everyone will have something to look forward to later.
Not to mention, this also gives you some breathing room if your furniture delivery gets delayed, or a renovation takes too long. You’ll be able to get your space situated before you host, which is ideal.
In times of change, it can be overwhelming, especially when your family is re-establishing roots. The biggest takeaways from these top 10 moving tips for families are to take your time, get things done one at a time, and allow room for error. It shouldn’t be too stressful, so it’s helpful to alleviate any unnecessary pressures. Plus, your energy should be focused on your family, work, etc. while you’re moving in the background. Hopefully, these suggestions make for a seamless move and you won’t have to spend unnecessary time or money during the process.