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14 Tips When Organizing and Planning A Move

05/12/21 | Dana LaRieal Morales

In honor of National Move month, we are going to take a trip back in time to March/April of 2013.  This is when my husband and I were anticipating the arrival of our daughter.  It was also when we decided it was time to move into a stand-alone home.  My goal when I began the process of planning our move, was that I wanted to make sure that my husband and family would know where I wanted things to go and what was in which box in case I was not able to be there. 

I knew that I wouldn't be able to move around as quickly as I wanted because I was carrying this extra load (my daughter) and I also couldn't be at the condo, new house and storage shelter all at the same time. So knowing the goal I set out to find a way to organize the move so anyone could jump in and help.

I want to share with you some key tips on how to plan a move, and don't worry...being pregnant isn't a prerequisite!

Create a Move Binder

This is the master binder that will help keep you sane.  You will have one place to reference everything related to your move.  Check out my post Increase Your Chances of a Successful Move with a Move Binder for more detailed information.

Establish Responsibilities

If you and your spouse/helper are available on move day, delegate move day responsibilities. In our scenario, my hubby was responsible for getting the truck loaded/moving the heavy stuff and I was responsible for the little things, last-minute packing, and new space coordination.  This helped eliminate the need for everyone to contact me for every decision. If delegation isn't possible, you definitely want the next three items.

Create a Floor Plan Map

 This is invaluable in helping to plan out where everything needs to go in your new space.  I learned this trick from our many many office moves at the law firm.  It was standard practice that you would draw out how you want your office set up with your desk, filing cabinets, computer, etc.  That way the people moving you would know where to place your items and wouldn't need you there to show them.  You tape the floor plan on the wall outside the space and/or place it in the space so the movers can see where to place your large items.  Check out How to Organize Your Move with a Floor Plan Map for more information. 

Create a Kitchen Map

This is also an invaluable tool if you are able to create one.  In the Prepping for a Move: Create a Kitchen Map post I detail the specifics of how you create one.  The kitchen is usually the first one you organize and the one that you can easily delegate to someone else to arrange if you have a map.  It is also the one area (other than setting up your bed(s) and cleaning your bathroom) that you want to make sure is up and running so you can eat and make coffee during your first week in your new home. 

Have a Move Meeting

Yes, a meeting...one with everyone involved in the move.  When you have four or more people involved moving and packing items it can get chaotic really quickly.  It is helpful to have everyone in one space so you can ensure they are all on the same page.  Use this time to explain the space colors, floor plan maps, responsibility delegation, timing, break or eating schedule and any other instructions that are needed.


Now you knew this one was going to be on here!  Just think about it, moving is costly so why would you want to waste time and money moving items you don't need or want?  For those with short notice, it may be more difficult, but you can still do it.  If you pick up an item to pack, and you think to yourself - what is this or why do I still have this?  Then don't pack it, put it in a predetermined giveaway/throwaway box or bag.  Think about the space/home you are going to and whether or not the item(s) are needed in your new situation.

Pack Based on Your New Space

I think this is one of the most important tips (other than the one above) that I can give you.  Think about your new space and how it will be arranged.  Pack your boxes based on the new space not the old.  This will definitely come in handy if you are used to keeping non-room related items in a space just because you didn't have a dedicated space for it.  For us, we were moving from a 1355 sq ft home to a 3000 sq ft home.  My guest room, guest bathroom, overflow closet, baby room and office didn't have to share space any longer.  If I had packed all the items together as they were in the old space, I would have had to travel up and down the stairs just to put items away.

Color Code your Rooms

 This will be helpful for you and for your movers.  We will get more into this in a future post, but you want to assign a dot color to each room.  We got our dots at an office supply store, but most big box stores have them in the office supply section.  We used one package that had all the primary colors and one that had pastel colors. 

Create a Box Inventory

 For those going on long moves across the country, this can be extremely important to prove you had an item in case of loss or damage.  This is also helpful when you are trying to find something, in your new space, before you get completely unpacked.

I created my box inventory because we moved things to storage before we put our house on the market and I wanted to be able to quickly locate items should we need to retrieve them prior to moving into our new home.  I also knew it would help to have the count, room and description of what was inside when it came time to move into our new home. 

Pack a bag...or Two

 Really, each person in your home should probably pack as though they were going on a week or weekend-long trip.  You are going to be exhausted when you finish moving everything and all you will want to see is your bed and MAYBE a shower before you go to sleep.  When you finally wake up, you will need to be able to locate your toiletries and a change of clothes.  

Now, playing devil's advocate, what are you going to spend the day doing on day two?  Are you going to unpack everything?  Well, okay in my case, yes...but it was very helpful to not HAVE to do this.  Make sure to put your valuables in this bag as well or include it with the next suggestion. 

Pack a Box...OR Two

 Using the same premise above,  you need to be able to quickly find your sheets, coffee, snacks, hand towel/towels, etc.  Yes, some of this you could pack in your suitcases, but I would suggest you have a separate box for the more bulkier items.  I also suggest that you carry this box in your vehicle to ensure it arrives safely and you know where it is.  The thought is to pack items in this box that you will need right away...again think about a week-long trip where you have to bring everything, what would you need? 

Cleaning Supplies

This is another set of items you want to have set aside for easy access.  You will need to clean your old space once everything is out and clean your new space before you put everything in.  If nothing else make sure these items are the last thing loaded on your moving truck, unless you are moving cross country then you may consider putting them in your vehicle as you may arrive before your stuff.

Schedule Utility Start and End Times

You need to ensure you have your utilities (water, electric and/or gas) turned on at your new location as well as shut off at the old space.  It will be hard to clean your new home if you don't have water or electricity.  You also want to verify how they will calculate your new and old bills, so you don't get overcharged.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

This seems so simple, but so many people forget about this step.  You will be really active on move day and you don't want to run out of energy or worse have a medical issue due to your blood sugar dropping.  Eat something substantial, but leave cracker barrel for another day.  You don't want to be so satisfied that you are sluggish most of the day.  

Happy Moving!!!