When we got ready to move last summer, I didn’t think the insanity would ever end. Especially the packing. It’s no easy feat to pack up an entire house with four children. The last time we moved was 10 years ago – Nate and I had only one child (Nathan) and we moved from a small two bedroom apartment. I don’t think we even rented a moving van. This time was an entirely different situation.
It wasn’t just packing six people. It was the uncertainty of when we would actually move. There’s always a last minute scramble for paperwork and we were no exception. And the closing date for both old and new houses was in limbo as our realtors and mortgage brokers scrambled to get everything ironed out.
As our (hopeful) moving date came closer, I went into crazy planning and organizing mode. While there were some things I couldn’t control (appraisals and underwriters to name two – here’s some tips for surviving the paperwork madness), packing was one thing I could do. After I pushed past that whole are-we-actually-going-to-move-on-our-set-moving-date-because-the-closing-date-could-be-delayed, I decided to have faith that the Lord would work it out and dove headlong into making the move as easy as possible.
I found many great moving tips on Pinterest, including ideas like packing plates between paper plates and wrapping breakables in sheets and towels. But the one thing I knew was most essential was labeling the boxes. There’s so many different ways to do it and after I experimented with a couple ideas, I finally came up with something that worked incredibly well.
It worked so well that, after the move, my husband came to me and emphatically thanked me for this awesome idea because it made moving so much easier for him and his friends.
The #1 Moving Tip:
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The idea is to color code each room and label each box accordingly. There’s different ways to do this, but I settled on buying colorful little round Avery dot stickers. I ordered my stickers from Amazon, but you can also find them at office supply stores, like Staples. Here’s the Avery stickers I bought:
Avery Blue, Yellow, Green, & Red Round Labels
Avery Round Black Labels
Avery pink, orange, green.
1.) Make a list of rooms in your new house or apartment and assign a colored dot to each one.
I ended up with 9 different colors for 9 different rooms. Originally I listed 3 of the 4 bathrooms, but later decided it was easier to just put the master bathroom boxes in with the master bedroom. I found it easiest to keep my list in Google documents where I could easily edit or print out another copy.
Print out your list and attach a colored dot next to each room. This will be your Moving Color Key chart.
I printed three moving color keys – one to keep on hand as I packed, one to display at the new house, and one spare (because even if you’re very organized, stuff likes to get lost when moving.)
2. Label each box with the coordinating colored dots.
The next step is pretty fun: packing the boxes and labeling them. This is where the simplicity of this sticker system comes in handy. Instead of hand writing which room each box belongs to, you simply add a sticker. (Also much easier than duct tape colors – another idea I toyed with.)
I added 5 stickers to each box – one for each upper right hand corner and one for the top of the box. This way, no matter which side the box is facing, it’s obvious where it belongs.
You should still label what’s inside each box – ie “books”, “Christmas decorations,” “Toys”, etc.
One more tip: to keep better track of what’s inside essential boxes (ie kitchen), you can keep a little pocket sized notebook and write more details. I did this for some of my kitchen boxes – “Kitchen Box #1” on the box and in my notebook, where I noted more specifics, like “regular utensils, kids’ cups, tupperwear,” etc. This makes life so much easier during those first few days after moving. Again, you shouldn’t need to do this for more than a few boxes. Unless you really like lists. Which I do. But I had to stop somewhere.
3. Make simple signs with the colored dots and hang in each room.
The next simple part of this moving tip is to print out signs and hang them in each room of the new house.
For example, my living room boxes had red dots. While the moving key clearly showed this, I didn’t want our moving helpers to have any doubt about which box went where. So I printed out papers with the name of each room displayed in large clear letters and then attached at least two of the coordinating colored dots. This way it was super easy for anyone to see which box belonged where.
Even small children can understand matching colored dots!
On our moving day, things were incredibly busy and exhausting, but this simple moving tip worked so well that even our guy helpers commented on how easy it was. If it works for the guys (bless their hearts!), I knew it was a success.
Another bonus: this easy moving tip made unpacking so much easier than I anticipated. I had the entire house unpacked within the first ten days because everything was exactly where it belonged!
Have you moved recently? Planning a big move this year? Leave me a comment and let me know what your best moving tip is!