Moving is rated as one of the most stressful events in life, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. With careful planning and organizing, the move process can be smooth and easy. I want to offer you a few simple tips to make moving easier. A little planning and preparation will help ensure you have a successful and stress-free move!

Plan ahead
Speaking of planning, you’ll want to plan ahead as much as possible. In most cases, a move is not a last-minute surprise. Start by creating a timeline for your move including closing dates and other important events.

Schedule the BIG stuff right away. Make sure you schedule movers, donation pick-ups and other packing and purging help as early as you can. If you have a two-stage move and won’t be moving immediately into your new home, you may need to reserve short-term storage as well. Whatever your situation, scheduling the big stuff ASAP will make sure you get the help you want and need and will also help you set a timeline for the rest of the smaller tasks.

Use a checklist
Moving is a project and a project requires coordination. I recommend you use a Moving Checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything important in the process. Let’s face it, there’s a lot that goes on when you’re moving, especially if you’re selling and/or buying a home. A good checklist can help you make sure you’re not forgetting any of those big or little tasks. If you want one that’s ready to use, you are welcome to email me at and I’ll send you one.

Don’t pack the clutter, purge the clutter! Moving is a great incentive to clean house and streamline your belongings. Scan your home for items you want to sell or donate. There are a variety of options for selling items – Craigslist, eBay, consignment, specialty online or local re-sellers, just to name a few. Pick the avenue you’re most comfortable with and take action! If selling doesn’t pan out, schedule charity donation pick-ups, junk removal services, or plan to take several trips to a donation drop-off. Pare down your belongings first as a separate process from packing boxes. Make your move lighter (and less expensive!) by removing items that you don’t want or use anymore. Separate your clutter into piles of donations, free-cycle, recycle, and junk items and make plans to get those items out! Once the extraneous stuff has been identified the packing will be much faster and easier.

Leave time for packing
Don’t wait until last minute to get your packing done. Carve out time each day (yes, even during the busy work week) to tackle packing items that you don’t need to use on a daily basis. Put essential items aside to move yourself in a suitcase or small box. These include a few days’ worth of clothing, toiletries, hand soap, towels and bed linens.

These are items you cannot or should not put in a moving van. If you are not moving locally, then you can arrange to have hazardous items picked up or bring them to hazardous waste day in your town.

  • Flammable items, including fuel and aerosol cans.
  • Liquids of any kind, but especially cleaning agents. (Never put ammonia and bleach together!)
  • Jewelry (Keep it with you.)
  • Important records, such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and legal, financial, and medical records. (Keep them with you.)
  • Candles, which can melt and make a sticky mess. If you live in a hot climate or are moving in the summer be careful with anything that can melt or go bad in the heat. This includes your vinyl record collection!

Hire help
There are services available to take care of your entire move for you.
Professional Organizers and Move Managers can help you with every step of your move – including hiring and supervising the movers. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of doing it all yourself then consider hiring professionals to do it for you. They will take the stress and frustration out of your move by managing every step of the process.  You can even go on vacation and return to a completely unpacked and organized new home. Imagine how nice that would be!

Bonus tip:
Don’t forget your kids or pets! They will be disrupted by the move and will need some time to transition. If possible, introduce them to the new space ahead of time. It is best to arrange for their care outside of your home during the move, so they will not be underfoot.

By Sarah Buckwalter

Certified Professional Organizer®

Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer® with over 18 years of experience in home, move and office organization. She is the founder of Organizing Boston. Organizing Boston is the largest professional organizing firm in New England and was awarded Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer.

Nationally recognized as an organizing industry expert, Sarah shares her expertise through speaking, writing and on television. She is a regular guest blogger for nationwide companies and has appeared several times on the hit series, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” on TLC.

Sarah also runs Organizing U. Organizing U is an online training platform focused on business development, to help Professional Organizers and small business owners achieve their dreams of success.