There are lots of ways to help make your house-hold move easier and smoother. Read here for help to get your life, and your possessions, organized for a peaceful and stress-less move.


Make a list.
Write everything down! You'll thank yourself later. Before you pack the first box, create a simple record keeping system. Create a list of numbers with a space to write the contents. Or, use a spiral-bound notebook for the job. Place a number on each box you pack and list the contents on your list.  When describing the box contents, be specific -- "A-C files" is better than "files", and "Sunflower dishes" rather than "Kitchen-misc".

Have plenty of supplies on hand.
Have lots of boxes, more than you think you'll need.  If you buy your boxes from a moving company, you can always return unused boxes for a refund. If you got them free from a grocery store, just discard or recycle any leftovers.) Have about 10 boxes set aside to use for last minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. You'll need strong packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use newspaper, packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household goods.

Use wardrobe boxes.
These tall boxes are perfect for bulky, lightweight items such as comforters, pillows, and blankets, as well as clothes that need to remain hanging.  You can also use them to pack shoe boxes and other bulky items.  Be sure not to make the boxes too heavy to lift!

Keep things together.
Insist on keeping things together when you are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes. Keep larger corresponding items (such as a cable TV cord) in Ziplock bags, and tape these to the underside or back of the item. As a backup, have a box for small parts open on the kitchen counter and fill it with cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items of furniture or small appliances.  Keep this box with you, or mark it well so that it can be easily located on move-in day.

Pack ahead.
Anything you can pack ahead of time will save you time on moving day.  Box up your shampoo and extra toothpaste and live out of a travel cosmetic case for the last week or two. Pare down cooking utensils and food supplies to bare essentials. Wastebaskets can also be packed (putting things in them!) while you switch to using plastic grocery bags (hang them on a cabinet door or door handle to collect your trash.)

Consolidate cleaning supplies.
If you need to clean your old place after moving out, put together a box of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time (the inside of kitchen cupboards, the oven, windows, etc.), and vacuum each room as movers empty it.

Use your luggage.
Fill luggage and duffle bags with sheets, towels, & clothing. Even for local moves you'll be able to quickly spot your beige suitcase holding your favorite shirts, whereas "Box #29" might remain elusive for days.

Safeguard valued items.
It's a good idea to keep valuable possessions with you.  If you have a long move and no room in your vehicle, bury the items in a box titled "Misc. from Kitchen". Either way, check your homeowner's insurance to see how you are covered during the move, and if you need additional insurance from the moving company.  Also, find out what paperwork (receipts, photos, and appraisals) you may need to file a claim in case of a loss.

Keep important papers with you.
Your list of "important" papers might include: school records, birth certificates, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor information, maps, and more. Don't leave these papers with the mover. Keep them with you for easy access!

Personal boxes.
Use brightly colored storage boxes, one for each person. Let each family member fill theirs with items they'll want right away in the new home -- a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, nightlights, address book, paper and pens, keys, and so on.

Moving may not be the most fun you've ever had in your life, but planning ahead will go a long way toward making the process more bearable.