Tips for a Stress-Free Move, including Moving Checklist


Reader Question:
“Do you have any helpful tips for moving?  I hate the last minute rush of packing where nothing is organized and unpacking is a nightmare…. I’m planning on starting to pack this week and I have a few weeks before we will be able to move, so there is lots of time to get organized and have a plan… but I’m not quite sure where to start. Any ideas on how to stay organized in the process and not go crazy on moving day?”

It is so important to have a plan when you are packing and moving.  We moved twice in one year (the same weekend in May both times!) and both times we moved, everyone helping with the move commented on how organized and easy the move was!  Every time we move we are done after only a couple hours and the whole moving crew ends up sitting around eating pizza, drinking beer and hanging out.  It usually ends up being a pretty fun day!  So today I want to give you a few tips to make moving easier.

Start packing as early as possible:
When we move I usually start packing 2-3 weeks before the moving date.  You aren’t always using everything in your house and there are things you can definitely live without for a couple of weeks.

Also remember when you are packing to throw away, or donate, things that you haven’t used in awhile.  There is no point in moving something you never use!  If you find something and didn’t remember that you owned it you should probably just get rid of it.  Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter your home!!!

It’s important to pack like things together. 
Don’t mix ‘n match your boxes because it will make unpacking extremely frustrating.  I hate it when I help people move and they are just throwing random stuff into boxes at the last minute.  Have a plan and label your boxes well.

Here is a moving checklist to help you pack:

1. Start with the closets
* Bedroom closets: Start by packing all the random stuff that sits on the closet shelves.
* Linen closets: For the couple weeks leading up to your move just rewash the sheets and towels that you are currently using so that all the other linens get packed up.
* Entry closet
* Game closet

2. Under the bathroom sinks
There a few things under there that you probably use every day, so leave those out, but the rest of it can be packed up.

3. Books
Books are super easy to pack and are something you can definitely live without for a couple of weeks.  Remember to pack books in small boxes because they get heavy really quickly.

4. CDs and DVDs
These are super easy to pack and a quick thing to cross off your list!

5. Pictures and decorations
I LOVE having pictures in every room of the house but when it’s moving time the walls and shelves in our house are totally naked.  These are simple things to pack and even though your house will look sad for a couple of weeks it’s totally worth it in the end.

6. The garage
Pack up tools, garden stuff and whatever other random stuff that you have out in your garage.

7. Toys
When we moved last time it was the first time we’d moved having a child.  About a week before the move I picked out a few of Malea’s favorite toys and books and then packed the rest.  It’s amazing how kids don’t really need that much to entertain themselves. :)

8. Next is the kitchen
Leave out only the things you know you will need the last week in your home and then pack up the rest.  This is where meal planning comes in handy because if you know what you are going to cook the last week in your house then you will know exactly which pots and pans you will need and which ones you won’t.

Here are a few other areas to start packing up in your kitchen:

* Cooking utensils
* Cookbooks
* Spices
* Pantry
* Silverware (leave out 1 or 2 of each but pack up the rest)
* Dishes (leave out 1 or 2 of each but pack up the rest)
* Glassware (leave out 1 or 2 of each but pack up the rest)
* Platters, serving bowls

Leave out only the bare essentials.  
When we moved the last time I had a “Kitchen” box that I left open on the bar and as I used something (and knew I wouldn’t need it again) I’d put it in the box.

After all of those things are packed the only things that should be left are the bare essentials plus any large artwork and your furniture, oh and your cleaning products {you have to leave those out so that you can clean the place after you move out!}.  Next put all of the boxes together in one location {like the garage} so that they are in one place ready and to be thrown into the moving van on moving day.

I promise you if you have a plan, like this one, and stick to it, your moving day will be a piece of cake.  Moving is a big deal but it doesn’t have to be hard.

Good luck and happy packing!  You might want to also see How to Make Unpacking Stress-Free.


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

Leave a Comment



  1. Thanks Anna! That will help a ton with my moving project. I loved the idea of having a "kitchen box" and packing as I go along will really help with the stress of packing.

  2. Your advice was very helpful, thank you! Just a little somethin to add to that, labeling each box also helps a great deal. I like to write on the side of each box what the contents of it are plus which room the contents belong in. I found that while packing, I had certain boxes that still had some room in them for more items. I didn't want to put unlike items in them so I simply put an "X" on the side of the box with a red marker for later on when I'm packing the last minute items.

  3. Crystal says:

    SO happy that I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest. You have so many helpful tips but I found this moving list to be extremely helpful while packing for my move!

    • Awesome, I’m so glad! Thanks for taking the time to tell me, I always love to hear stuff like that from my readers. :)


  4. Stephanie says:

    Love these tips! I am moving in a little less than a month and I am going to be using your advice! I also featured you over at my blog. :)

  5. Thanks so much! We’re just starting our packing prep so this was awesome to come upon :)

  6. One tip: Don’t pack your linens/blankets/towels away first. Use them to cushion or wrap fragile and breakable things when you are packing – pictures, candles, flower vases, etc. I also use hand towels and washcloths for protecting plates and glasses when packing up the kitchen. This significantly reduces the amount of bubble wrap or other protective wrap that you have to purchase!

  7. Some great tips there. All pretty obvious when you think about it but many of these tips would be missed when in the middle of a move as I will be next month!

  8. Thanks for the post, I’m moving next month & this will be helpful!

  9. I have moved so many times through the years, everything from a new location in the city to cross-country. Your list is great and it’s spot-on. The one thing I cannot stress enough to people with whom I discuss packing strategies is getting rid of stuff. Moving is your best opportunity to reduce by donating unused items – and packing is the best way to figure out which items are not used.

  10. BONNIE JOHNSON says:

    This was excellent!! I’ve learned through many moves! The easiest was where I did all these things. The next morning while my daughter slept, I started on the kitchen. IMAGINE when she got up to help & found everything in it’s place–DONE! I always make sure I have one box WELL marked to be opened 1st for the kitchen–like the kettle, coffee pot, etc! Same for bedding, bathroom supplies. Pack a suitcase for overnight & next day! And yes–PURGE- PURGE! Amazing the ”junk” we hang on to.