7 Essential Moving Tips + Free Printable Task List!

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okay, enough baby talk for a second jeeeez! now let’s go back to that post about moving since we also made a big life change less than 3 weeks ago. moving is rarely fun, almost always stressful and most all of us have to do it multiple times.

while there are a few ways to make moving suck less, i have compiled some of my top moving tips as well as a printable task list! we have moved to three states (and back to two states twice) so i am making this for you as much for me, because i know this won’t be our last move.

essential moving tips

okay, let’s get into some simple yet surprisingly helpful tips first:

1) pack 1 suitcase

this will be your go-to while on the road and once you arrive. fill this suitcase with clothes for your journey as well as 3 more days worth of clothes/toiletries for once you get the keys to your new home. include any medication or dog food you may need too!

2) create a “pack last – essentials” box

pack and label 1-2 boxes “pack last – essentials” and have that be everything you need for the first day and night in your new place. it should have a few plates (paper or real), a few cups, a few piece of silverware, towels, toilet paper, and paper towels. perhaps throw in a well-wrapped chocolate bar or vodka shooters because you’ll need those after moving in.

3) have clean sheets!

you could pack these in your essentials box or opt for a trash bag with them in it as we did. having a set of clean sheets to put on your mattress (even if it’s on the floor) is a game changer. my husband said he fell more in love with me when i pulled some nicely smelling sheets out for him to make the bed with!

4) keep your toolbox separate and last

keep your toolbox separate and pack it in the truck last. this will make it easily accessible to start putting things back together. be sure to throw in a pair of scissors too!

5) keep soft material things out!

by material things, i mean soft and squishy materials. save towels/extra sheets/blankets/ placemats/cloth napkins to be used as padding for dishes or other fragile things. we also used lots of scarves, gloves and t-shirts to put in boxes to fill gaps for extra protection. everything is coming with you and they don’t care where they go!

6) keep valuables separate

keep your jewelry, important documents and other keepsakes in a transportable backpack so you can easily bring it in a hotel with you and in a safe spot once you arrive. if you do keep them in box – don’t label it valuables because it may walk off.

7) snacks and medication – in the car!

if you are driving a long distance, we all know how vital delicious snacks are so i don’t need to remind you of that. one thing i almost forgot was tylenol and pepto (fast food wears a system down) should we need it on the road. it’s easy enough to throw in a snack bag and remember to keep hydrated!

because i like you so much, i also made you moving task list so you don’t forget things to do before you move and after you move (like updating magazine subscriptions). you can download and print it out here: Moving Checklist!

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.21.43 AM

what other key tips would add when you are moving, whether down the street or across the country?


  1. Elyse

    March 9, 2016 at 7:05 am

    YES! This literally couldn’t come at a better time since this is my first time moving more than 2 hours a way(which means NO help from my family!) in 10 weeks… Printing and pinning just in case I lose the print out in the chaos that is sure to come in the next 10 weeks!
    Elyse recently posted…Importance of Self-Care in Marriage

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      oh good i’m so glad it came at the right time for you, elyse! exciting times to hear more about your big move 🙂 thanks for pinning too 🙂

  2. Kate

    March 9, 2016 at 7:58 am

    We’re hoping to move across the state at some point, back to the town where I grew up, so this will be helpful! I also suggest labeling boxes, not just with the contents but also what room it needs to go to. That way if others are helping you unload boxes they know exactly where to take them. Also, liquor stores are a great place to get boxes for free, and they’re perfect for packing up drinking glasses!
    Kate recently posted…Weekending

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      oh heck yes with the labeling boxes – very good call out! great tip of going to liquor stores too AND i learned that you can get free, used boxes from most u-haul places!

  3. Erin @ Very Erin

    March 9, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Perfect timing on this post! Dave and I just started our house search, so hopefully we’ll be making the move sometime in the next few months 🙂
    Erin @ Very Erin recently posted…How to Deal With the Post-Wedding Blues

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      oh YAY house search, erin! how fun! i hope you find the perfect home – this will hopefully be our last move before we move more permanently into our very own house!

  4. Jennifer Haston

    March 9, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Fantastic post! I would add.. be sure that you schedule something for the two of you to look forward to (after the move) a massage, a nice dinner_ also a date night somewhere in the middle of the madness that is moving.. I think our pizza and scrabble in the new place will always hold a special place in my heart because it was our first night in a new place (without all our stuff) because we did a “gradual move” so that gave us a few weeks to fully move.. At the time, I thought this is a good plan.. but after all was said and done I think we will do the mad dash moving forward.. drawing it out over a few weeks was torture.. but you live and you learn..

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      oh that’s a GREAT addition, jennifer! i love that a lot. we had a bagel date the morning after we moved in to our new place and it was perfect. i agree about the mad dash of a move – we were getting antsy to just get on with move towards the end of 2 weeks before we left!
      chelsea recently posted…7 Essential Moving Tips + Free Printable Task List!

  5. Amberly

    March 9, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Great list! We’ve only ever moved within 10 minutes of where we were already moving…. And both moves were really out of the usual, quick and for one, we lived at my in laws for three days in between because the carpet wasn’t in our house when we had to be out of our apartment….. But I’m hoping our next move is a little better 🙂
    Amberly recently posted…Parenting Can Strengthen Your Marriage

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      lucky ducky! i am now realizing i have never moved less than 1.5 hours away (when i moved to college) otherwise they have been across statelines. also sounds stressful to have the in between of being at your in-laws for a few days between moves but glad they were there!

  6. Amanda

    March 9, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Amazing list! And I totally agree with you on every single point! Moving states is rough!

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      glad you agree amanda, fellow state mover 🙂 glad to see you back in blogging world too 🙂

  7. Sara

    March 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I wish that I had this post in the past while moving! I tend to haphazardly throw things into bags and boxes and then wonder why I can’t find anything later.
    Sara recently posted…An eHarmony Success Story

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      hah that has sort of happened with things for our office but otherwise i’m pretty darn proud of how organized this move was 🙂

  8. Audrey

    March 9, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    GAH. These are awesome tips and a great list. I would forget to do half this stuff… All my moving experiences were just with home to dormroom to home again! I’m good at packing but doing all the extra stuff would wear me out!
    Audrey recently posted…My Final Thoughts on the Final Downton

    • chelsea

      March 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      i knoooow what you mean! i finally created this list because i kept waking up with anxiety like “omg. what am i forgetting?!” it’s exhausting. i still have yet to change our car stuff over…

  9. Melinda

    March 9, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Put basic cleaning gear in your pack last box. Dish detergent, bleach maybe, wiping cloths and teatowels. You may well have to clean cupboards etc before you can unpack your items into them.

    Any items that have screws etc, put all the bits in a plastic ziploc bag, label it with what they belong to and put them all in a tupperware container along with allen keys and screwdrivers. DO NOT stickytape them to the item, no matter how many times the removalists suggest it. Keep them all in a container – and make sure you know where the container is packed.

    • chelsea

      March 10, 2016 at 7:44 am

      great tips, melinda – i know you have had your fair share of moving around for sure! good call on not actually taping screws to the objects them selves. thank you for adding this!

  10. Dawn

    March 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

    If you are traveling with pets! Make sure you have clean litter and the litter box handy if you’re with your precious kitty or kitties. Dogs are a whole other story. 🙂

  11. Charlene

    March 10, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    This is such a great list! You certainly know how to move!
    Charlene recently posted…What 10 Famous People Have to Say About Communication