Tips on How to Move a Household Without Too Much Stress

Updated on June 19, 2012
S.B. asks from Kiowa, CO
12 answers

We will be moving about 80 miles from our current home. Anyone have any tips on how to pack or anything you have learned to make this easier on us? I don't want to buy 100's of boxes but don't know what to do or how to even begin. HELPPPPPP,lol.

We have moved many times in the past but always had packers and they loaded it and brought it to us, this time no.

Thank you

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answers from Miami on

Hi. I have moved so many times over my 45 years -- including across states and across oceans....some suggestions

--pack over a period of time.
- throw out or give away all stuff you do not want or need
-- then start packing slowly each room, labelling boxes for each room they will go...(living room. bedroom #1...etc)
-- pack week's worth of clothes in suitcases in case washing machine in new place not up and running.
--- try to have place cleaned before you move in.
Best of luck,jilly

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answers from New York on

Yes, think about getting the kids/ pets out of the way. Send them to grandma's for the weekend. Have grandma come over and mind them at your old or new house.

Another thought is, assuming you can afford to do it this way. have cleaners come to the new home before unpacking, and get into all the nooks and crannies. Get your new shelf paper up etc before unpacking your dishes and your linens. Camp in the livingroom if need be for a night or two and get properly cleaned and unpacked rather than doing a rush job of it.

You'll do fine.
good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Load the truck boxes first, furniture last, so that when you unload, the furniture goes into (roughly) place, and the boxes (marked by room) can go to the appropriate room in the available space--in a stack.
Use dishtowels and bath towels to wrap breakables from the kitchen/dining room. Leave clothes in the drawers and get a few of those closet hanging boxes from U-Haul--every closet can go in it's own box.
And PITCH stuff BEFORE you move, not once you get there.
Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Go to the Uhaul store and rent a dolly. Buy a tape gun and go to the dollar store. They have flattened boxes stacked up to the ceiling and are glad to give them to you.

Use your linens, tea towels, pillow cases, etc to wrap breakables. Keep your blankets out to wrap bigger furniture to avoid scratches. Furniture moves easier also when you put a blanket under it to help it slide. Be mindful of labeling everybox with the room it goes into and of the weight of the box. I will pack a box with half books and the other half towels or decorative plants or something super light.

When loading up, approach it like tetris. Everything slides into its slot to make the most of your space and keep things from shifting on the drive.

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answers from Bloomington on

We've moved across the country a handful of times. 80 miles seems do-able to me! :)

Use boxes from liquor stores. They are super durable, small enough to carry, and are FREE! They don't tear them down, so you don't have to put them back together. They were perfect for dishes, books, odds/ends, etc. Not so great for large/bulky toys.

Pear down and get rid of anything you don't want to move 3 times or more.

When you get to the new place, label your kitchen cabinets with masking tape of where you want everything. This becomes a great job for someone to help you when you get there.....they aren't going through your personals, and you need your kitchen ASAP. LABEL YOUR SILVERWARE!!!

Have an idea of where you want your furniture when you get there. So you are not holding up the show trying to decide.

Set-up your beds immediately when you get there. Keep clean linens for beds, towels, etc. packed separately in your car. Pack you, hubs, and your kids like you are going to a hotel, keep that separate in the car.

I only bought a roll of plastic wrap ($10 at Walmart), and a roll of bubble wrap. I used free boxes (also look on CL or Freecycle), and newspaper.

For the packing, designate a place in your house or garage (be careful of things that melt in the heat!) and start putting your packed boxes there....away from the kiddos.

Ask for lots of help to pack the truck, but be READY with everything packed. Feed and water your help often, and thank them profusely!

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answers from Eugene on

We got a floor plan of the house we were moving to, walked through the new house and marked where furniture should go. We also labeled the rooms to match the labels on the boxes such as, "Joe's bedroom". On moving day, we could just point to the plan to show the movers which room and against which wall to put stuff.

What I wished I would have done: marked boxes with stuff I needed right away. Not just "kitchen" but "kitchen - COFFEE MAKER".

I found my best free boxes at Costco because they had multiples of sturdy boxes in the same size so they stacked nicely.

We found a local company that just provides manpower for a move. They charge by the hour, are licensed and bonded, and will load and/or unload the moving truck. We rented and drove the truck, packed and unpacked. This made our move more affordable.

Have ziploc bags and duct tape available. When we took apart our bunk beds, there were lots of little parts which went into the zip bags and were taped to the underside of a larger piece so we could find everything together when we got there. Works for small screws and parts that fall off as you go.

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answers from Columbia on

Pack up everything you can and empty every room that you can. It's amazing, you can get to the "bottom" of a room and still find things. Empty is best.

Put everything in the garage. That way you can back the truck up to it.

Hire professional movers to PACK your truck for you. This is so helpful! You pack the boxes and have everything ready, they show up and put it all in the truck. I've done this for unpacking too.

Streamline. Trash or donate things you've not used in over a year. There's no reason to move stuff that's just going to collect dust in the garage/basement.

Best of luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

If you don't want to buy boxes, try asking a manager at your local grocery store if they can save some for you. Also, ask any and all friends/neighbors to save all of their old newspapers for you to use as packing material around your breakables. Label each box as to the room it goes into, and when unloading, take each box to their respective rooms. I would hold back any cleaning supplies you need to finish cleaning up the old house after everything is moved out. This also allows you to easily acces the cleaning supplies when you get to your new house, and you can do a quick clean before you start moving stuff in. HTH!

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answers from Dothan on

80 miles is a, 'cake walk' you can leave the clothes in the drawers as well as anything that isn't going to break, put your breakables in boxes with paper between/around each item because the jarring movement of the vehicle could still cause breakage. Anything that is NOT breakable can be put into plastic garbage bags. Take one load for the kitchen, DR, etc. & put them into that room when you arrive in your new location. If you are using a moving truck adjust the truck the same way, the heavier items (stove, frig) need to be placed in the center of the truck.

Moving is ALWAYS a madhouse even when done professionally so don't stress it too much & try to move in the early morning hours & late afternoon hours to beat the heat!

Best & Enjoy your new home!

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answers from Norfolk on

Use Craig's List and Freecycle to get boxes - we got all our boxes that way and got rid of them that way too after the move was over.
If there are things you can donate/get rid of now (old toys, too small clothing, books, knick knacks, general de-junking) - do it now - the less you have to move, the easier it gets.
I must have gotten rid of 6 boxes of mugs and we still had 2 boxes of them to move with us.
Do what you can to eat up what is in your cupboards/fridge - moving food is a pain.
If you have a can/jar of what ever that has been sitting on a shelf for 5 years - toss it out now.
You'll buy new at your new location.
We packed boxes ourselves - labeled what it was and what room it should be going to.
Have sticky tabs with you and a marker so you can label rooms in the new house.
For a lot of clothes, we used the vacuum packed plastic storage bags - put the items inside, sucked out the air with the vacuum cleaner, then sealed it shut - it really compacted down quite small and we could fit more into smaller spaces.
On both ends of the move, we hired help to load and unload the truck.
My husband's strong, but he really needed some extra muscle to move some of the bigger furniture even with the hand truck and furniture dolly.
We have 5 step to get into the house - we backed the truck up to the front door and put the truck ramp right onto the porch and avoided getting down off the truck and back up the stairs.
I packed one box that was traveling with me in the car (along with the house plants and dinosaur model that was too fragile to travel any other way) - had my jewelry and medication in it and other things I knew I needed to keep track of.
Try to go easy on yourself - moving can be stressful - you'll get through it.
Have pizza delivered on both ends (use paper plates) so you don't have to cook and then wash up pans and dishes.

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answers from Redding on

Mark your boxes for what room they belong in. Try to make sure those boxes go to THAT room.

The last thing you pack is the stuff you will immediately need when you get to the new place such as toothbrushes and the coffee maker.

Moving is always pretty crazy, try to make it an adventure rather than widow maker event.

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answers from Pueblo on

Unfortunately, we've moved 7 times in the last 8 years. Movers were involved in only 2 of those, and they only did the grunt work, we had to pack. Some things we do .. .
--We got boxes from Craigslist, Freecycle and local stores. Call your Walmart or local grocery store and ask them for boxes. They usually have a time when they are available (early morning after stocking) and will save them for you if you ask. Liquor stores have small strong boxes that are good for books and heavy items.
--Figure out a way to label your boxes. One time we used colored stickers for upstairs, downstairs, kids, etc.
--If you have a garage, and if you have the time, work on your garage first and park your car outside. Start packing unnecessary items as soon as you can and put the boxes in your garage. It is SO easy to pack a truck from the garage!
--Clean a room as it's empty, shut that door and put a sign on it that it's done.
-- Pack as if you are going on a trip, probably a week. That way, when you get there, you can get to work unpacking instead of looking for a certain item that you absolutely need. Also, we always had several "right away" boxes that went with us in the car. . . coffee maker, can opener, sheets, towels, SHOWER CURTAIN (learned that one the hard way, lol).
Good luck!

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