By: Ian M.

Chances are you have moved in the past, and you are probably going to move again. If there is one thing I’ve learned over numerous moving experiences, it’s that I hate it. I loathe finding boxes, packing, navigating a half-packed house, and then loading and unloading trucks. To be honest, I kind of enjoy the organization that comes from unpacking, but the stress of living in disarray is just plain awful. Having recently moved myself, I have compiled a short list of helpful tips. Maybe you already do some of these things, but you might find a few surprises too.

Obtaining Boxes

In order to move, you’ve got to find some boxes. Unfortunately, boxes aren’t cheap. Buying a pack of five might not break the bank, but buying fifty is quite a financial hit. Factor that into all of your other costs from the move and the price point of cardboard boxes can’t be ignored. So, instead of going and buying brand new boxes at a department store, try to get them for free.

What I’ve done in the past is checked online to see if anyone is trying to get rid of their cardboard boxes. Boxes take up space, even when broken down, so people are often willing to give them away for free. You’ve just got to show up and take the boxes off their hands. The only problem with this approach is you won’t have uniform boxes, which will make the loading and packing process a little trickier. If you don’t feel like dealing with that hassle, try department, grocery, or bookstores. They usually just throw their old boxes away. If you ask, they might give you as many boxes–all the same size and shape–as you need.

Find Padding

Packing upThe most nerve wracking part about a move, at least for me, is all the super fragile things that accumulate in a house. My awesome tea steeper that my wife got me, handmade wooden crafts from my grandfather, old books I’ve collected, and several other things are all quite fragile. Generally, people use packing paper to protect these kinds of items. But, packing paper–like boxes–isn’t exactly cheap and contributes to waste.

Instead of going out and buying paper, try using things you already have around the house. Do you get a newspaper? Use old magazines and newspapers to wrap, stuff, and protect fragile things during your move. Rather than throwing away the billions of plastic bags you get from the grocery store, use them to pad your boxes. If all else fails, use some old tee shirts or towels.

Tag Your Boxes

When it comes time to finally unload, unpack, and organize everything, it is a huge pain to not know what your boxes hold. This might seem obvious, but make sure you list the items you put in your boxes and what room you want those boxes put in. This helps with unpacking, but also makes life easier while loading the truck. Knowing what room each box goes in lets you organize your truck by room, minimizing the confusion for everyone you’ve enlisted to help in your move.

Look Into Storage Space

Storage spaceI don’t much care for navigating a house riddled with boxes before a move. The smaller your home, the more noticeable the clutter. It just isn’t all that fun having to move boxes around just to get at things so you can pack them, and then move the boxes back. Consider renting storage space to help with your move. An external unit can give you a little extra breathing room so you don’t go crazy before a move and can also give you a little extra time to get things unpacked.

Get Friends to Help

Again, this might be obvious, but it’s really nice to have friends and family help you move. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Maybe you can return the favor later on. If you ask for help, you need to make sure that you have taken care of everything you need to before help arrives. That means have your old place packed, organized, and cleaned before anyone else shows up.

Stay in the goodwill of your friends, and make the process much easier, by being ready when moving day comes. If you find you need help with the packing it’s ok to ask for it. Just make sure the people coming to give you a hand know what to expect.

I understand that the prospect of packing everything you own and moving it can be a pretty daunting task. I remember, when my wife and I were first married, we moved all of our stuff in a Honda Accord. Those days are long gone. But, moving doesn’t have to be a super stressful experience. Focus on the excitement, take advantage of some of this advice, and enjoy your new home.