If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time (the inside of kitchen cupboards, the oven, windows, etc.), and if possible, vacuum each room as movers empty it. Try to keep your supplies together in one container or carton to make things easier to move from room to room!

You’ll need lots of boxes – probably more than you think – and having enough boxes will make your life easier. Have about 10 boxes set aside to use for last-minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. You’ll need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint (newspaper can stain your items), packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household goods. When the truck is all packed, you can then return any unused supplies, or just toss them.


To help yourself – and your movers - get organized, use brightly colored boxes, and give everyone a different color! You’ll be able to see at a glance which boxes belong to which person, and where those boxes will go in your new home. Let each family member also prepare an ‘Open Me First’ box with items they’ll want ‘right away’ in the new home – a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, a phone charger, nightlights, toothbrush, pens and paper, keys, tissues and toilet paper, travel cosmetic case, and so on. And don’t forget the snacks!
Bubble wrap and packing peanuts aren’t cheap. You can use stuff like towels, sheets, and clothing to protect your breakables, but unless the things you’re boxing are squeaky clean, you’re going to have a ton of laundry to do after you unpack.
What to do instead? If you own a paper shredder, chances are you’ll be shredding a ton of paper clutter while you’re getting ready to move. Instead of dumping the shredded paper into the recycling bin, you can use it to cushion blows. To avoid a big confetti-like mess, stuff the paper shreds into plastic grocery bags before using to pad boxes and fragile items. Just remember to tie a knot at the top of each bag to prevent spilling.
Another good tip to know: clean plastic bottles in an assortment of sizes can be used to stop odd shaped items from shifting around the confines of boxes.

Here’s an easy way to keep track of your important and first-needed items: Fill luggage and duffle bags with clothing, sheets, towels, toiletries, and paper goods! Even for short moves, you’ll be able to quickly spot your navy suitcase holding your favorite sweaters, whereas “Box #189” might remain elusive for days. Besides... you gotta move ‘em anyway!
It might seem like common sense, but there are some things you should never put into a moving van -- your personal, must-need papers! Your list of “important” papers might include birth certificates, school records, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Don’t leave these with the mover. Keep them with you and move them personally.
Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, orange for the dining room, etc. As you pack your boxes, apply colored moving tape or stickers on the box near the box number. In your new home, put a matching sticker on the door to each room so the movers will know where to put everything when they arrive at the destination. It’s also helpful to post a big sign on the wall in the room where you want boxes stacked, (“Boxes here please”) to keep them out of furniture and traffic areas.
Think of moving as the ultimate decluttering opportunity!
The less stuff you have, the cheaper it’ll be to move it — and the neater and faster your new home will come together. Start as early as possible, and divide items into “keep,” “trash,” “recycling,” and “donate.” Be ruthless — if you haven’t used it in a year (or forgot you even had it!), you don’t need it. Stuff you really shouldn’t bother moving: open condiment containers, cleaning products, and stacks of old magazines.
Make a List
Write everything down -- you’ll thank yourself later. Before you pack even one box, create a simple record keeping system. Create a computer-printed list of numbers with a space to write the contents, or have a spiral-bound notebook for the job. Place a number on EVERY box you pack and jot down the contents on your list. Then, don’t put the list down unless it’s in a place you’ll call packing central. That’s where you’ll keep all of your labels, marking pens, box tape, and other supplies. When describing the box contents, be specific—”A-D files” is better than “files” and “Tulip dishes” rather than “misc. kitchen.”