Moving: Tips and Tricks

We’re moving! I can hardly believe it myself, especially given that we weren’t actively looking. I, however, have a serious obsession with what I affectionately have termed “real estate window shopping”. It goes a little something like this; me sitting on the couch with the laptop, scanning Redfin and my local MLS, plugging a multitude of criteria combinations and seeing just what I *could* get in my dream areas if I could ever convince my husband to move. Once I’ve spotted a gem, I turn to said husband and exclaim, “Look at this gorgeous turn-of-the-century farm house!” to which he inevitably asks two questions, 1) how much, and 2) where’s it at, knowing fair and well it will be 1) stratospherically out of our price range, 2) somewhere far, far, away, or 3) in a neighborhood I wouldn’t leave my bike in. “But it’s got amazing potential,” I opine, to which he chuckles and flatly ignores me in favor for whatever is on t.v.

To be fair, he moved an awful lot as a kid and as such, is not too excited at the idea of moving yet again. I moved often as well, but to me it was always an adventure, an opportunity for new possibilities.

So I nearly choked when I found a beautiful home, in a fabulous area, that was…wait for it…within our price range! I quickly employed the help of one of my best friends, who just so happens to be a real estate agent. We made plans to go see it, the husband begrudgingly, the two of us excitedly, because I knew for him this house would be a game changer. Yes, it needed some cosmetic updating to make it more like “us”, but it was practically turn-key, which is a must for the husband. And it was built in the 80’s. The 1980’s. That alone, I think, was the selling point to him (homie has an obsession with the 80’s something fierce).

Within a two-day period we were in contract on the new house AND on our home. It’s been warp speed ahead since.

So now comes the worst part of moving; packing. I HATE packing. But I’m way too frugal (read: poor) to pay for a moving company to pack our stuff so it ends of being he and I after the kids are in bed, night—after night—after night. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, I’ve been trolling the web and asking friends for packing tips and I figured I’d share some, just in case you too find yourself suddenly buying a house and trying to figure out how to stuff it into a single truck like a tetris game.

Tip #1: Bag You Clothes

via Renaee Sowe

This one is from my friends Ashley and Jessica: Instead of folding and boxing your clothes, cover several hanging pieces with a large black trash bag. Pop a hole in the middle of the sealed in end, thread your hangers through, and toe the bottom in a knot. Now they’re protected and you can lay them down in the trunk of your car or hang them from your hand rails in the backseat.

Tip #2: Pack You Books in Rolling Suitcases

This prevents the weight of your books from tearing your boxes and makes them easy to move without breaking your back. My problem is I have way more books that suitcases, but I’m using this tip for the heaviest ones.

Tip #3: Create a “Packing Caddy”

via Kristy at

Gather all your packing items together (scissors, tape gun, Sharpies, etc) and put them into a caddy with a handle. That way everything stays together, can transport easily from room to room, and your not constantly asking your spouse where the (fill in the blank) is.

Tip # 4: Wrap Your Furniture/Mirrors in Saran Wrap

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="349"] via Rocky Mountain Movers

This may seem a bit of an overkill, but it will save you many tears shed over Great Aunt Trudy’s chair that now has an oil stain on it. Put an X of tape over your mirrors to help protect them from shattering and wrap your furniture in saran wrap. You’ll thank me for this later.

Tip #5: Eat Your Food

via For Rent

I know this sounds silly, but stop shopping for food a week or two prior to the move and make an effort to eat all that you’ve got. Nothing is worse than a refrigerator filled with food you need to toss. Or trying to borrow enough ice chests to move it all.

Tip #6: Use Soft Items as Space Fillers

I have finally found a purpose for all of the damn stuffed animals my girls have! Stuff them around your more fragile items to protect them in the move. This works not only with stuffed animals but also throw pillows, towels and blankets.

Tip #7: Take a Photo of Your Cords

You know all of those cords that make your life function, like the t.v. cords and the internet cords? Then you also know the jumbled mess they make once disconnected. Save yourself the frustration of trying to reconnect them through trial and error and take a picture of them plugged in.

Tip #8: Use Wine Bottle Cases for Your Glassware

Okay, I might be outing myself here, but wine cases aren’t very hard to find around my house. The cardboard dividers are great protectors for glassware, so re-use those babies!

Tip #9: Tape screws/anchors/picture hangers to the backs of art and furniture.

via Instructables

If you have to dissemble your table for moving, it’s a quick search to find the nuts and bolts that put it back together when they’re taped to the underside of the table top. Same goes for art…and anything else requiring small parts to hang up or put it back together.

Tip #10: Pack a First Night Box


I need to thank Pinterest for this one. I’d never thought of a first night box, but it totally makes sense. After spending all day packing, and unpacking, most of us just want a shower an a good night’s sleep. The first-night box makes this easy. Everything you need for that first night; sheets, pjs, toothbrushes, face lotion, it all goes into the box.

Hope these help. I’ll be making the big move in two weeks and as I’m putting all of these tips into action I can tell you they really will save you time, money, and an awful lot of work. If you’ve got any other tips I should know about, please share! I’ll take all the help I can get.

Speaking of which, what are you doing two Saturdays from now? Cuz if you’re bored, I’ve got a job for you.




10 Comments on Moving: Tips and Tricks

  1. Michelle Perry
    May 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm (3 years ago)

    I “think” I’m busy that weekend. :) But you’ll love the area. I love the Raley’s on F.O & Walnut…I call it my little neighborhood market. El Palmar on El Camino and Mission is good Mexican food. Silver Sake on Marconi & Walnut is our go to sushi place.

    • roxannestellmacher
      May 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s awesome to hear! We’re so excited and can’t wait to explore the neighborhood.

  2. Shaunaaaaa
    May 29, 2014 at 5:23 pm (3 years ago)

    We are moving tooooo..but we move Saturday!!! Eeekkk I’m so not ready! But one thing I’ve been doing is numbering my boxes and writing the contents of box on a list. I’ve loved this! I’ve moved to many times and never done’ll help me to find my crap later. Good luck with everything! I’m excited for you guys!

    • roxannestellmacher
      May 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Are you really, Shauna? Where to? And I love the number idea.

  3. Kelly Prior
    May 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Tape any and all remotes as well as the cables and wires to whatever they belong to. When unpacking set up bedrooms then kitchen first. Use whatever re-usable shopping bags you can ( i have a friend that moved using not a single box just bags and rubbermaid bins which was mostly rotating storage anyway). When packing plates use paper plates and or coffee filters in between. Both can be reused as intended or an art project later. Ummmm that’s all I can think of off the cuff….

    • roxannestellmacher
      May 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Those are some good ones!

  4. Blair
    May 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Make sure you have wine glasses and a corkscrew in that First Night box!

    • roxannestellmacher
      May 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm (3 years ago)

      You, Blair, are a woman after my own heart. I’ll have my second drink in honor of you (first goes to not ripping out my hair, of course).

  5. Laura Saenz
    May 29, 2014 at 10:24 pm (3 years ago)

    We are pros at moving. Great tips, may be obvious but label boxes by room/ items. Super helpful!

    Also, we always posted our moving boxes in the free section on Craigslist after unpacking. We made the takers break them down to clear space, they were more than willing. You may even be lucky enough to find some free boxes before YOU move.

    Best of luck and congrats on the new house!

    • roxannestellmacher
      May 30, 2014 at 8:39 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Laura!


Leave a Reply