my top tips for moving

I was chatting with a friend the other day as she kept me company while I pack up for my impending move and she suggested that I share my tips for moving. I guess it makes sense, really. Even if you include all of your toes, you’d need more hands to count up all the times I’ve moved as an adult. To call me ‘a wanderer’ is putting it gently. I tend to move a lot, and when I do, they are big moves (I’ve moved across the country 3 times). So without further ado, some tips from a self-declared expert:

It’s worth it to invest in professional-grade packing materials. I suggest looking for local business who sell bulk moving supplies and deliver (I used Bay Area Box Express). I was able to get enough boxes for my entire apartment, plus tape, foam, and bubblewrap, all delivered to my door, thus saving me time and money. Believe me when I say this: you do not want to deal with scrounging up boxes at the grocery store. Two words: fruit flies. Also, when it comes to long-haul moves, you absolutely must have sturdy boxes. Another reason why this is a great idea? Because I was able to chat up the owner of the box delivery company and he suggested a few contacts for moving companies. I ended up going with one that he suggested and got a friends and family discount. Not too shabby.

my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.com my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.comCreate your own numbering system. For long distance moves, the movers always use their own mini sticker labels to track your stuff. However, I prefer to use my own system in addition to this. When I start to pack a box, I give it a number. Then, I create a spreadsheet on Google Docs with the number and a list of everything that’s in the box. That way the movers don’t know what you own, but you do and can find it super quickly when you’re in the new place. For example, if you’re looking for clean sheets and towels on your first night in your new place, you don’t want to deal with digging around in a million boxes. Instead, look at your handy spreadsheet and you’ll see it’s in box #5. Plus, because the list is on Google Docs, you can access it via all of your devices, even if you don’t have internet installed yet.

my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.comLabel well and often. Going back to my numbering system, I suggest writing your number in large numbers on all 4 sides of the box, as well as the top. That way when the movers stack the boxes in your new home, you don’t have to worry about which direction the number is facing. Also, I recommend investing in a roll of fragile stickers and practically coating the boxes in them. I got this roll of 500 from Amazon for less than $10.

my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.com When it’s time to pack, group like with like. This is pretty straight forward, but I know the temptation is to eventually just start throwing stuff into boxes. When you’re in your new place, you’ll definitely appreciate organization and grouping, believe me. Also, invest in Spacebags; they will save you so much space it’s not even funny. Also, they are pure magic. Guess how many pillows are in this Spacebag?

my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.com(answer: 12)

my top tips for moving (whether it's down the street or across the country) www.jojotastic.comThese are just a FEW of the tips I’ve gleaned over the years of picking up and moving. I’m sure you all have loads of tips, too, so be sure to leave ’em below in the comments!

photography by Jojotastic

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Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

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4 Comments

  1. 5.3.16

    so great!! thank you for the recommendation! the trick with the hanger is awesome! hopefully I don’t need to move in a long time. it’s always so exhausting!

  2. 5.3.16

    so great!! thank you for the recommendation! the trick with the hanger is awesome! hopefully I don’t need to move in a long time. it’s always so exhausting!

  3. 3.31.15
    Paloma said:

    Wonderful tips ! Thanks so much! I am moving next week and I am so freaked out! web site

  4. 2.12.15
    Nancy said:

    I was like you for a few years. When I first moved from the east coast of Canada to near Toronto, those first few years I moved 8 times. It was rough going.

    You’re right, it totally does suck scrounging up boxes (thinking you have enough, and you have to go back at least 4 more times for more boxes). I usually went to McDonalds (their fry boxes are the thickest cardboard I’ve ever seen), and Walmart bakery. I was told to steer clear of grocery store boxes, but I did go in and ask for anything other than produce boxes. Because, yuck flies.

    When we moved from Canada to the USA. We were very particular about labeling our boxes. It was extremly tedious and slowed down the process, but I would definitely recommend it again. Especially since we had ~175 boxes in the end. We #’ed each one, and then wrote EVERY SINGLE ITEM that went in that damn box. I hated it. But it was great to pass into the boarder guys – we knew exactly what we had, in case they asked if we had anything we weren’t allowed to bring in.

    Oh wait. You did that too. Sorry. Typing a comment as I read through your post.

    Man, this is long. Sorry again! Lol

    • 2.12.15
      joanna said:

      wow, so many awesome tips. thank you for sharing!