the smart girl’s guide to moving

I have moved eight times in the past six years. Yep, that’s right, EIGHT times…and one of those times was a 3,000 mile move across the country! Moving is always an annoying, migraine-inducing experience, but I’ve become a bit of an expert. Whether you’re moving into a college dorm, your first apartment, or your third house, here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way!

Use The Right Boxes
Think about what you’ll be packing and choose boxes that are the appropriate size. Also, think about how you’ll be transporting the boxes. Before our move to California, I bought these huge pins that were awesome. They held so much, but at the end of the day they weren’t the right size for our car, so we ended up not using them. Think ahead and make sure you’re not purchasing storage boxes/bins that aren’t appropriate for what you’re packing or your method of transportation.

I personally like to use identical size boxes for the majority of my packing. It helps you maximize space in your car, and they’re easy to stack. I recently had the opportunity to try out Packaways storage boxes, and I am already planning a bulk purchase for my next move (which might be within the next year unfortunately!). They are so far superior to what I used last time. They’re reusable, affordable, not made of cardboard (made of polypropylene), and they go from this…

to this…

without any tape in 3 steps. I love that Packaways come in several different sizes and shapes, but my favorite part is the color range of the line! Not only is it super fun to have brightly colored boxes, but it’s practical too. I know there’s an urge to label every box while packing to make unpacking easier, but boxes labeled “jewelry”, “valuables”, “electronics”, etc might have a greater probability of getting “lost” or stolen in the moving process. For your security, think about using color coded boxes. All clothes go in green, kitchen goes in pink, whatever you’d like! These are definitely sturdy enough to be reused for storage purposes after the move too, so I really think they’re a great value for the money! If you’re interested in purchasing Packaways, you can visit their website here.

Whatever boxes you decide to use, please be sure to consider the size, shape, and material before you start packing!

Maximize Space/Pack Creatively
Use every single inch of every single box. No empty or wasted space. Don’t waste your money on bubble wrap/tissue paper. Think creatively and use items you’re already going to pack as cushioning. Use your kitchen rags, hand towels, or pot holders as cushions between breakable plates, bowls, cups, or platters. Similarly, use your bath towels to cushion furniture or prevent scratches. Fill every pair of shoes with a pair of socks. For high volume items, such as comforters or pillows, consider the vacuum-sealed, space-saving bags. I’ve seen them at Target and the Dollar Store, and they can easily reduce the size of high volume items by at least half. If you’re moving in your car and not a huge U-Haul, think about utilizing every spare space. Use flexible bags or items underneath seats and in awkward spaces in between boxes.

Organize/Eliminate as You Pack
Since you’ve already decided what boxes you’re going to use, decide on a color code before you pack. If you’re not using colored boxes, consider using colored stickers or a numbering system to identify boxes. In addition to packing the appropriate items in the appropriate boxes, get rid of everything you don’t want or need as you pack.

Use a three bin system: Pack, Donate, Trash. Be brutal, go on gut instincts. If you find sweaters in the back of your closet that you forgot you even owned, get rid of it. I know it’s hard, but if you haven’t missed it for several years, you’re not going to miss it in the future. I try to throw away anything that is obviously trash, and I donate anything that could be beneficial to anyone. Call your local charities and see what they accept. Some shelters even accept used cosmetics and toiletries.

Some Things Just Aren’t Worth It
 Some things just aren’t worth moving. Even things that you love or use everyday. If you’re moving to a nearby area, maybe this step doesn’t apply to you, but if you’re moving across long distances…really think about everything’s value. We figured out that it would be more expensive to move some of our furniture than it would be to purchase the same item again at our new residence. Most IKEA furniture is just not worth it in my opinion. Taking the chance on taking apart all the little pieces, not losing them, and being able to reassemble it without damaging the furniture is not worth the cost or the effort. We have had great luck selling IKEA stuff on Craiglist for about half of what we payed for it. In addition, we were able to get the new items delivered to our doorstep for $20. Amazing.  Is your furniture worth enough to justify that expensive moving service or the cost of the U-Haul? Are you planning on keeping these things long term? Can you sell them for a fair price and easily replace them at your new residence?

In conclusion,  moving is super annoying but being really prepared can make the process a whole lot easier! What are your best moving tips? Any horror stories?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


  1. October 5, 2012 / 8:47 am

    Really great tips. Thanks so much for sharing. My boyfriend and I have been planning on moving out this year, so we could use all the help we can get! haha.<br /><br />xo, Adriana.<br />

  2. October 5, 2012 / 2:22 pm

    These are great tips! Extremely useful for moving to college &lt;3<br />x<br />-Imani Love

  3. October 5, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    Hey girl, this is Dalayna from Pointing Up, I love your header graphic, that font is amazing! Happy to be following you :)<br /><br />Dalayna

  4. October 5, 2012 / 5:21 pm

    thats one thing i had to keep reminding myself when i was moving that NOT everything has to go with me to my new place! great tips!

  5. October 5, 2012 / 9:19 pm

    Eight times in six years! Wow that is quite a lot, I moved across the country to where I am now a few years ago so I totally feel you on how big a pain moving can be. I ended up UPS-ing most of my stuff.. lol Not the most economical for moving but it did the trick.

  6. October 6, 2012 / 4:36 am

    Nine years ago we moved from NC to Seattle. Two years ago we moved back to NC. Both huge moves. We significantly reduced our belongings with each move. I feel lighter with fewer things. 🙂

  7. October 7, 2012 / 9:42 pm

    holy cow that&#39;s a lot of moving – i think you can safely call yourself an expert!

  8. October 8, 2012 / 12:26 am

    Eight times?? You must be a pro lol. Thanks for sharing these tips! They will definitely come in handy when I move…

  9. October 8, 2012 / 9:18 am

    I wish I had read this two days ago as I just moved house!

  10. October 8, 2012 / 12:47 pm

    Thanks for checking out my blog, following you back! 🙂

  11. October 9, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    I have to tell myself this all the time when trying to get rid of stuff. New follower!

  12. October 12, 2012 / 2:59 am

    I absolutely loathe moving! But I wish I had known about this packaways website…anything that&#39;s colorful always makes anything better 😉

  13. February 27, 2013 / 7:11 am

    At the time of moving i used cardboard boxes but stuff couldn&#39;t fixed well in that.Agin i am moving in next couple of weeks so i will try these packaway boxes and will let you know.I have already opted for <a href="; rel="nofollow">Man with a van London</a> service to make my move hassle free.<br />