Moving Guide 101: Getting Started, Tips, Must Have Items

One of the hardest life changes, after becoming a parent, of course, is a major scenery change that requires a move to a new location. Getting your home packed up, the family prepared, emotions sorted into check, and then the long process of settling in a new place… it’s definitely a time-consuming and stressful event. Moving with children adds a new layer of difficulty. In this guide, we cover all you need to get started moving, things to know, tips, and must have items. Before we get started, make sure to check out the other articles about moving below:

What You Need To Get Started Moving

Getting started when moving is the hardest part. You have no idea how to just “dive in”, so you panic, and it gets out of hand quickly. Instead of dealing with that whole drama, just follow this set-up instead. By laying a strong foundation for your move, you can have an easier time maintaining the organization of it!

A Solid Plan

No one can successfully move without a good game plan. As a parent, it’s going to be an especially stressful time, since you have the kids to worry about on top of everything else. Before you do anything, come up with a good plan.

Make yourself a timeline, and then a task list of all the things you need to get done before the move. Make a seperate list for packing details. Once you have a clear vision on everything that has to get done before the moving day arrives, cross-check your calendar and exclude the busy days where little moving-related work will get done.

Now you have a realistic idea of how much time you have, the workload you’re looking at, and you can make an educated guess on how to begin scheduling the tasks for the moving process. This is how you can come up with a great moving plan.


Next up is the importance of organization. I know, as a parent, we barely even know what that means anymore, right? For moving, it’s really important you stay as organized as possible to cut down on damages, time delays, confusion, stress, and lost belongings.

A few things that help with organization is by using a color-coding system for packing, working in each room at a time, and prioritizing early tasks as quickly as possible. Organization can help you save gas by doing your Goodwill trip with donations on a day you’re already in town, or helping you preserve nap time by scheduling movers, repair men, new owners, or landlords at ideal points in the day to come by the house.


Your plan will help immensely with time management. The worst thing you can do during a move is procrastinate, which leaves you at risk for potentially running out of time or damaging your things while rushing. In all honesty, time management is the key to stress reduction when it comes to a move.

Set yourself deadlines, and stick to them. Pencil them on your calendar, set phone reminders, ro ask a friend to harass you into finishing the tasks by their deadline. Have everything donated by a specific date, preferably a few weeks prior to the move. Secure your movers by a deadline, set packing goals, and collect or order boxes and supplies within plenty of time.

Some Help

Don’t think you can do this all on your own! Think ahead and get reliable people on board to help with child-care, meals, and the actual moving process. Depending on the nature of the move, you can look into babysitters, part-time day-care systems, or anything else that takes some stress off of you.

One big mistake that almost everyone makes is not getting help soon enough. No one wants to feel guilted into a last minute request to help with a move, so start early on and try to get plenty of people on board to help with loading, unloading, and childcare. You may need to bribe them a little, but if you’re planning on selling/donated your couch… maybe it could be used as a bargaining pawn.


Let’s face it. This is going to be rough. You are going to get frustrated. You’re already tired and run a little thin, and this is just another thing to worry about… so take it all in stride. Don’t leave everything up to yourself, remember to delegate. Ask for help. Plan ahead. Stay organized. Stick to a schedule.

Most importantly? Give yourself a break! If you’re too tired to pack that box today, just leave it for the morning. You can’t get frustrated with yourself, too.

6 Essential Things You Need When You Move

I know, I know. The last thing you’re dying to do is shell out more cash for this move. Moving is really expensive, and I get that! But if you want to cut down on the stress, sometimes a few extra dollars are worth it if it gets you better sleep at night and simplifies the moving day process.

These 6 items were what saved my mental state during my move, and I highly recommend them to any parent trying to coordinate a stressful moving experience.

1.   Stretchy Self-Stick Plastic Wrap

You don’t even know how handy these little miniature plastic wrap things were to me during my move. Not only did they help secure dresser drawers, boxes, breakables, and more… they came in handy for getting all those last-minute items packed away, too.

2.   Plenty Of Permanent Markers

Sharpies are the most reliable marker out there, but if they’re writing on tape and cardboard all day, they run out of ink fast. I ran to the store twice for extra markers, and I wish I’d just stocked up on them before the packing process began. Luckily, bulk packs are pretty cheap!

3.   Portable Pack ‘n Play

I threw out just about anything baby-related that wasn’t considered easily portable during my move. Since I had to travel between the two houses a lot, and was everywhere in between as well, it was really important to me that all of my baby essentials were light-weight and quick to pack up. Especially the pack ‘n play, which changes lives.

4.   Folding Laundry Hampers

Instead of wasting all of your trash bags and helping contribute to landfills, I decided to try something a little more practical. While packing up the clothes in my family, I used inexpensive folding hampers, and it worked great! If you fold the clothes nicely and stack ‘em up, you can fit an entire wardrobe in these, and they’re great to reuse as a regular laundry routine for the future, too.

5.   Traveling Moving Dolly

Give yourself, and the friends you roped into helping you move, a break and work smarter, not harder. This dolly is affordable, but even better, easily portable. It’s a folding dolly, but up for heavy-weight tasks like being loaded up with boxes and moved back and forth from the van to the house.

6.   Clear Storage Bins

Most of your stuff will be packed away into whatever boxes you're able to get… but you want a few clear bins that allow you to see what is inside. I keep these reserved for important items I know I’ll need quickly at the new house, and these are usually packed, unpacked first. The high visibility helps a lot!

Quick Guide To Efficient Packing

Surely we all know how to pack… but the desire to do it quickly often argues with reasonable methods. If you want to stay efficient and make the job of unpacking simple, try to stick with these steps for easy packing. It’s not about using the least amount of containers and taking the least amount of time, but more about getting it done efficiently.

Step One: Keep It Small

Small boxes are way easier to move, and it helps keep your items properly organized. When you load up with as many massive boxes as you can find, you tend to have heavier trips, which lead to more chances for mistakes and damages. Plus, you can fit too much into large boxes, and you want to minimize the amount of miscellaneous, random boxes.

Try to stock up with as many small boxes as you can, staying within the medium-small range. The bulk items of a room you are packing can go into the medium boxes, and the small boxes are for heavier items or sets. As you get your boxes, keep them in the rooms you’re going to pack up, so you can take a good inventory of how much supplies you really have compared to the things to pack.

Step Two: Label Everything

I liked to use a color-coding method for packing, but on top of that, I also labeled every single box. I used a numerical system for level of priority during my packing, too. The boxes with the most important items were labeled #1, #2, and so on, in order. I also would use a specific color for each room, and labeled the boxes accordingly. Orange was for the kid’s room, purple for the kitchen, etc…

It seemed like a lot at first, what with the numbers, colored tape, and written labels. In the end, it really made all the difference! I was able to load the moving van more efficiently, and unpacking was truly a breeze, and there was little stress over lost items.

Step Three: Work Room By Room

As you begin packing, focus on one room at a time. I worked from the top of the house, from the back to the front. I would pack as much as I could in each room, without infringing on daily essentials, before moving onto the next room. The last thing you need is several half-finished packing projects, with supplies scattered in every room, and the boxes a jumbled mess for when you need anything.

As you pack, keep the boxes together in that room until it’s time for the official move. Stack them neatly out of the way, with their labels facing forward. If it helps, you can also use short-hand lists for each thing in the box, so you can find them easier if needed.

5 Tips For Completing The Moving Process

There is a lot of information packed into this guide, so I want to try and break it down a little easier for you. These 5 tips will take the advice I’ve already given and push it a little more, bringing you more peace and more efficiency in your move.

A big part of keeping your head screwed on straight during a move is just remembering not to forget the little things. Making lists, double-checking small stuff, and staying organized are really the only big things you need to remember, but these 5 tips also help a lot, too!

1.   Keep essentials in clear crates

This was touched on earlier, but I want to really emphasize the importance of this now. It’s hard to really pack everything, especially stuff you need frequently. I’m talking about cooking supplies, beauty supplies, shampoo, batteries, phone chargers… you name it. Whatever you need nearly daily should be placed in clear bins, so you can locate it and retrieve it easily no matter which house you’re at.

2.   Unload the boxes into their designated rooms

Don’t let your movers, buddies, or your own laziness make a harder unpacking job for you later. Dumping all your carefully packed and loaded boxes into a pile in the biggest front room is a great way to overwhelm yourself tomorrow when it’s time to unpack… and it’s a great way to make all that packing organization feel useless. Since you did put in all that work while packing, use it. Unpack the boxes to their proper rooms, and keep it organized and tidy by stacking them up nicely against the wall of where they go.

3.   Unplug everything the night before

Think about all of the electronics and appliances in your house. The freezer and the fridge need to be defrosted, the TV has 7 different cables all tangled up, the washer and dryer have that long vent to fight with… it’s a lot of work. Now, imagine having to deal with all of that in the middle of loading up the truck and moving? Not a fan, right? So take an hour and do it before bed instead of waiting for it to ruin the moving flow.

4.   Schedule tasks over a couple of weeks

Don’t give yourself 4 days to pack, especially if you have babies in the house. You need plenty of time, plenty of preparation, and enough rest. Rely on your solid game plan for this, and really coordinate with your calendar. Schedule your deadlines and tasks between regular life activities and needs, and give yourself at least 2 weeks to get it all done. The more time you allow yourself, the better!

5.   Ask local businesses for boxes

Instead of buying cardboard or plastic crates for way more than they are worth, ask the liquor store for beer crates and boxes, or a restaurant for the fry containers. In my town, there is a giant book warehouse, and I got most of my boxes from them. All I had to do was ask around!


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