3 (More) Tips for a Smooth Move

Today I'm sharing a few more ideas to make moving as seamless as possible.

I talked a lot about the importance being prepared in 3 Tips for a Smooth Move, but those were more general (big) things that could be done ahead of time. These suggestions are more specific (little) things that you'll want to do once the move is closer.

Keep in mind I'm writing this from the perspective of a military move, so outside people will be doing the packing, loading, and moving; my wording and suggestions reflect that. However, I think these tips could be easily modified and applied to a DIY move as well.

Focus on the Details

Even though the movers will technically pack most stuff (except some chemicals and the occasional randomness), I like to try to finish as many consumables as possible beforehand. This means using up shampoos, lotions, cleaners, food, etc. You can never be completely sure (a) that they will pack something that is open, or (b) that if they do pack it they will secure it properly and it won't explode all over whatever it is packed with. To play it safe, we like to use up as much as we can so there is simply less to deal with.

Organize the medicine cabinet. Don't move expired or unwanted meds. (If you need guidance on how to dispose of them properly, here are some tips from the FDA.) Plus, you'll already want to go through and pull out anything you need to have with you in the suitcase, so while you're in there it just makes sense to do a quick clean up.

Put anything small that you want to keep together (e.g., medicine bottles, nail polishes, hair accessories) into ziploc bags so they don't get tossed around in a random box.

Know if they are taking everything out of drawers or leaving it as is. Sometimes movers will pack everything into boxes. Sometimes they will just move, say, a dresser, as is with the clothes still inside. Usually when they do this they also try to fill all available space. If that is the case, you may want to go ahead and fill up any un-used (or under-used) drawers with clothes or blankets or whatever rather than have them choose what goes where.

Clean everything. Send kitchen chairs free of crumbs, wipe down furniture, take big toys outside and hose them off. Run bath toys and items from the toy kitchen set through the dishwasher. Make sure it all has a chance to completely dry out.

Pack for the Transition

This will look different depending on how many days you will be spend in a partially packed house and/or living out of a suitcase and/or traveling to your new home. In our case, it will be about two weeks total.

We will pack our suitcases similarly to how we pack for a Disney trip, but instead of one outfit per person per day, we will likely go with four per person max. Yes, we will need to do laundry a couple of times, and yes, we will all be sick of the clothes in the suitcase by the time we arrive. But, four changes of clothes times five people is more than enough to worry about.

Make sure to consider weather (moving from warm to cool? cool to warm?), activities you might do while in transit (e.g., swimsuits for a hotel pool), and entertainment for yourself and the littles (e.g., books, small toys, art supplies, a few DVDs).

Get Ready for The Big Day

Some tips for the night before and/or the morning packing begins:

First and foremost, if you don't want it packed, get it out of sight.

Our experience has been that movers will pack every nonliving thing that is not nailed down. I cannot even count the number of people I know who have found trash or dirty dishes neatly packed with their household goods upon arriving at their destination.

Make sure the trash and recycling are taken out and all receptacles in the house are clean and empty.

Here's a trick for "hiding" kitchen items you don't want packed: put them in the refrigerator, the stove, or the microwave. Seriously, they may try to pack last night's lasagna dish from the sink, but they will not open any of these. Food from the pantry you still plan to use up, the coffee pot, dishes and utensils for a night or two, laundry detergent . . . whatever you'll need in the short-term until the day you walk out the door can be easily hidden here.

Plan for your pet. If you have a pet that needs more space and will have to be let out (e.g., dog) you may want to find a sitter for the day or board him. Other pets (e.g., cat) can simply be put in a small room (e.g., bathroom if you have more than one, laundry room) for the day. You will need to make sure (a) anything in that room that needs to be packed is outside of the door and (b) there is a sign on the door that there is a pet inside and it is not to be opened.

Put your suitcases and anything else you don't want packed (e.g., cleaning supplies, vacuum and/or mop) in the car or the "pet" room if you have one. If there is something you want/need to leave out all day (e.g., cell phone) it's best to have it on your person so it's doesn't accidentally end up in a box.

Make sure the kids' "loveys" or sentimental must-haves for sleeping/travel are also hidden away!

Because we usually have dozens out at any given time, we also need to be aware of any library books we have laying around and "hide" those as well so they don't get mixed in with our regular stash.

Park your car on the street or at a neighbors. Make sure it's far enough away that it's not blocking access in/out of the driveway, garage, front door—wherever folks are going to be moving about.

Finally, hope the kids find it "fun" and don't panic when all their stuff starts disappearing into boxes.

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