The Best Way to Unpack for a Stress-Free Move

Moving into a new home is certainly an accomplishment, one to be acknowledged and appreciated. But the moving process doesn’t stop there! Unfortunately, you are only halfway done — now you have to un-pack.

Just like packing, there’s a smart way to unpack, and plenty of not-so-smart ways! Follow these guidelines for the smart way to unpack:

Upon Arriving

  1. Explore — Take some time to look around and feel the space out before you dive into the unpacking frenzy, especially if you have kids. Appreciate the calm before the storm.

  2. Check utilities — Make sure the utilities are all on and working.

  3. Clean — Consider cleaning before you bring anything inside and start the unpacking process. Yes, your landlord or the last tenants or owners most likely did so already, but this way, you know it’s clean!

  4. Check for damages — As you or movers bring your things inside, be on the lookout for any obviously damaged boxes. Check major appliances like dryers, washing machines, etc. for damages as well.


To avoid overwhelm and minor breakdowns, break the unpacking process down into manageable chunks.

Start with your essentials box(es) — (you packed one of those, right?) Open it up and divvy up its contents into various rooms. I like to set things up in the following order:

  1. Beds — Decorations and clothes can wait, but at the very least make sure you have a bed to crash into at the end of the day!

  2. Food — Once your beds are ready for later, it’s time to make sure you can eat. Again, leave the bulk of your kitchen-ware for later, and for now, just unpack enough for basic meals for the next day or two.

  3. Bathrooms — Next on the essentials list is the bathroom. Get at least one bathroom in working order so that everyone can shower, brush their teeth, etc.

  4. Living Room — For many, a couch and working TV is close behind sleep, food and showers in terms of essentials! A well-deserved family movie is a great way to unwind after a long day of unpacking, as well as a good incentive for kids to help you out during the day.

  5. Decorations — Before you dive into the thick of the unpacking, take some time to set up a few family photos, children’s artwork and homey knick-knacks around the house, to help you feel more at home.

  6. Tackle the rest of the house — Now that you have a functional kitchen, living room, and bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone, it’s time to dive in!

Move from the ground up: rugs, furniture, things to fill cabinets, drawers, etc., and then decorations (artwork, posters, etc.). Leave closet and storage space-items for last.

Common areas like the kitchen, living room, dining room, hallways are best to tackle during the day, when everyone is energized. Leave individual rooms for the evening/night-time to give everyone a chance to unwind and settle into their personal space at the end of the day.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll find yourself unpacked and box-free in no time! For help with what to do next, check out our guide: Tips for Settling into Your New Home.

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The Big Question: Do I Need Cable?

Moving is a chance at new beginnings. A new home, new circle of friends, new job, new city, and new favorite restaurants. And maybe, just maybe, a new way to watch TV?

More and more people are “cutting the cord” and freeing themselves of cable bills once and for all.

Should you do the same?

To decide, let’s take a look at what options are available to you these days, besides cable.

For Live Events

HD Antenna — For as low as $10, you can purchase a high-quality antenna to attach to your television, which will get you free access to most cable network channels, allowing you watch live events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

For Your Favorite Shows

Hulu Plus — For cable networks shows like The Voice and Modern Family, Hulu Plus lets you stream shows from channels like FOX, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central and FX for only $7.99/month. Add CBS shows for an additional $5.99/month.

Dish Network’s Sling TV — For $20/month, you’ll get access to most cable content, including shows from channels like AMC, TNT, TBS, A&E, ABC Family and more.

A La Carte — You can also buy seasons (and individual episodes… but who does that?) of most cable network shows on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Streaming Services — It’s worth mentioning that streaming services like Netflix ($7.99/month) and Amazon Prime ($99/year) are producing more and more top-quality content. If you’re not attached to any cable network shows, but are generally hankering for quality television, either of these services would serve you well. House of Cards (Netflix) and Transparent (Amazon Prime) are great places to start!

Amazon Prime also provides add-on subscription options for Showtime and Starz ($8.99/month each), and for the Game of Thrones junkies out there, HBO provides a streaming service called HBO Now, which is $15/month.

For Movies

For pay-as-you-go movies on demand you can use Amazon Prime, iTunes, CinemaNow, Google Play and YouTube and Blockbuster OnDemand. Movies are usually around $10–15 to purchase and $2–6 to rent, depending on release date and whether or not they’re HD.

You can also rent DVDs at Redbox locations for around $2/day, and there are even a few Blockbuster locations still alive and kicking!

For Sports

Sports continues to be cable’s biggest claim to fame. If you’re a die-hard sports fan, it might be difficult for you to ditch cable and still be happy.

Network sports can be accessed with an antenna, and Sling TV can get you ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as other networks like ESPN U and the SEC Network (among others) for an extra $5/month. Sling TV has had connectivity problems during large events in the past, however.

To watch non-local teams play, you’ll need to get a specific league package, such as NBA League Pass,, MLS, NFL Game Rewind (no live games though) and NHL Gamecenter Live.


Depending on your preferences, it seems pretty clear to me that cable is slowly becoming obsolete. Mixing and matching the above options can get you pretty much everything cable does, for way less money.

Check out the The Verge and Slate for some helpful “calculators” to see how much money you could actually save if you bailed on your cable subscription.

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Tips for a Stress-Free Move with Kids

Moving can be especially hard for families, no matter what age your kids are. Follow these tips and guidelines to make your upcoming move as easy and stress-free as possible for your kids.


When breaking the news to the family, explain the reasons for the move, and give space for everyone to react and share whatever feelings come up. Children are extremely sensitive and can easily pick up on your mood, so try to maintain as positive an outlook as you can. At the same time, be realistic — don’t oversell the move and set your kids up for disappointment.

It’s best to simply expect this process to be intense, and prepare accordingly. Younger children may be confused and scared at the thought of leaving the only home they’ve ever known. Older children, more invested in their social circles, will most likely hate the thought of leaving their friends.

Your best bet when moving with kids is to include them as much as possible. The level to which you include them in the planning and decision-making processes, as well as the move itself, will depend on how old they are.

If you have leeway in terms of when to move, talk to your kids about whether they’d rather move in the summer or winter. If you haven’t yet decided where you’ll be moving to, include your kids in the decision-making process. Share whatever research you’ve done this far and compare areas of the country, cities, and specific houses with them. If you’re moving locally, bring them along to visit different parts of town and any houses you’re already thinking of.

Respect how difficult this move may be for your children. Organizing some sort of goodbye party with friends is often helpful.


As covered in other Moved guides, moving is a perfect opportunity to purge your home of clutter.

Let your children pack their own rooms, or at the very least let them put together a special box of their most important items. Clearly mark these boxes so you can easily find them when you arrive.

If possible, bring your children’s bedroom furniture with you to your new home, as the familiarity will help calm them in your new place.

Depending on their age, assign kids moving tasks to both involve them in the packing process and keep them occupied. If you have young children, consider having a friend, sitter or family member take care of them on moving day.

Stick to your regular schedule as much as possible throughout the moving process. Moving will be stressful and kids benefit from set times for meals, sleeping and waking up.


When you arrive at your new home, take some time to explore the place as a family. Consider playing a game or going to see a movie to lighten things up before diving into the unpacking process.

Get your kids rooms situated as quickly as possible, unpacking their special boxes. As with the packing process, give your kids projects to keep them occupied and ease your own workload.

Give your children (and yourself!) plenty of space and time to fully settle in. Moving is a massive upheaval and it can take a while for life to feel normal again.

Finally, make sure to keep in touch with everyone you left behind!

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How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move

Moving, like all major undertakings, is much easier when you plan ahead and spread out the process over time. Here are some general guidelines to help you do so:

3–6 Months in Advance

Start Budgeting: How early you want to start budgeting depends on how much you make, how tight your budget is, and how expensive you think your move will be. But generally speaking, the more time you have to save up money for your move, the better. (Related: How To Budget for Your Move in 3 Simple Steps)

2–3 Months in Advance

Start Hunting: How long it will take you to find a new place depends on if you’re renting or buying, what season it is, the skills of your realtor, what you’re looking for, and of course how determined (and lucky) you are. Some people find a new place in under a week, whereas for others it takes months. Best to err on the side of caution and start looking early.

6–8 Weeks in Advance

Start Planning: Decide on a concrete moving date, and start comparing the prices of different moving companies and moving-truck rentals (U-Haul, Ryder, etc.), with the cost of moving by yourself. Make sure to also factor in extra services you may need, like full-service packing, special crating (for pianos, refrigerators, etc.), vehicle-shipping, and storage.

4–6 Weeks in Advance

Take Stock and Purge: Go through your home (starting with closets, garages, basements and attics) and decide what you will bring and what you want to get rid of. See our guides on selling, donating, and throwing away your stuff for more help here.

Make a Decision: Once you’ve taken stock of your belongings, it’s time to decide how you’re going to move: by yourself, with a rental truck, or through a moving company (and which type).

If you’re using a moving company, 4–6 weeks should be far enough in advance to ensure they have slots available for you, and that they won’t gouge your wallet. However, if you’re moving between May-September (peak moving season in the US) you might want to start this process even sooner.

Lock Down a New Home: If you haven’t done so already, now is when you really need to officially have a new place to move to. You might have a little more leeway if you’re moving into a new apartment, but when purchasing a home, it typically takes 30–45 days for the loan process to finalize from the time you make a decision.

4 Weeks

Start Telling People: Notify employers, friends and family, attorneys, accountants, banks, credit card and insurance companies, schools, magazines, newspapers, etc. of your new address. Submit a Change of Address to the post office, and get clear on what your state’s DMV will require of you.

Gather Records: Medical, dental, veterinarian, schools, etc.

Schedule Disconnects: Gas, water, electric, cable, satellite, etc.

2–3 Weeks in Advance

Start packing: If you’re going to pack yourself, now’s a good time to start. Obviously, if you’re moving out of a studio apartment, you most likely won’t need 3 weeks to pack your stuff. But if you’re leaving a 3-bedroom family home you’ve lived in for years, you’ll need all the time you can get!

Pack smart, by starting with what you use the least, and saving the essentials for last. Try to finish the bulk of your packing at least a week before you leave.

1 Week in Advance

Clean-Up: Finish packing, leaving an “essentials box” for moving day. Make sure fridges/freezers are emptied, unplugged and defrosted 24–48 hours before moving day.

Following these steps will get you adequately ready for your move. For tips and advice on what you need and what to do on the moving day itself, head here.

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12 Things You Need for Moving Day

Hopefully you read and followed our guide on How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move, in which case you’ll be well-prepared for moving day. If not, well, better late than never!

Just have the following 12 things on hand, and you’ll be good to go.

  1. Alarm Clock — You’re going to want to squeeze as much time out of this day as you possibly can, so set an alarm (or two or three) and make sure you get up on time!

  2. Proper Clothes — Moving is a sweaty, dirty process, so wear casual clothes and sturdy, rubber-soled shoes. Consider using moving gloves as well — a day handling cardboard boxes will leave your hands filthy.

  3. Extra Packing Supplies — Best to be prepare for the inevitable and have extra packing stuff on hand for the things you forgot to pack. That means boxes, tape, bubble wrap/towels, bags and markers.

  4. Important Documents — If you’re using a moving company, have the moving inventory, bill of lading, contracts and insurance paperwork on hand. For renters, have copies of your leases, old and new. Pro-tip: write down important phone numbers (your new home, realtor, landlord, the moving company, truck driver, etc.) on a piece of paper in case your phone breaks, dies or is lost in the mayhem.

  5. Phone Chargers — Nice segue, right? Your phone is going to be used a lot today, so keep a charger handy.

  6. First Aid Kit — Injuries do happen, so make sure to have the basics ready if you need them: Neosporin, band-aids, pain-meds, etc.

  7. Basic Tools — Having some basic tools on hand is always a good idea. A good place to start is a box cutter, scissors, Swiss-Army knife, hammer, duct tape, and a couple screwdrivers (Philips and flathead). And of course a bottle/wine opener for end-of-the-day celebrations!

  8. Cooler and Ice — Hopefully you planned ahead and did not leave yourself a fridge-full of food to deal with on moving day! Regardless, a cooler is still a good idea for snacks and drinks for the moving guys, helpful friends, and for your upcoming drive.

  9. Home Protection — Avoid damages, by putting pads on the legs of furniture, wrapping door frames, bannister railings, and any hard corners in moving blankets (with tape to keep in place), and covering your floors and carpets with whatever is handy: cardboard, plywood, carpet film protectors, old rugs, curtains, sheets, etc.

  10. Cleaning Supplies — Get that security deposit back! Or just be courteous. Have a room (or borrow a vacuum, since yours will probably be packed already), mop, cleaning-wipes, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, trash bags, etc.

  11. Toys and Snacks for Kids and Pets — Really, you’re best off dumping your kids and/or pets on a friend or family member for the day. Having them out of the way will make the move easier and less stressful for everyone involved. If they need to stay in the house, however, keep them out of the way room as much as possible. Also make sure you have plenty of snacks and comforting/entertaining items to stay occupied.

  12. Cash — For tolls, food, parking fees, tips (for moving companies, it’s expected! $20–100 per person is best, depending on their service and how tricky the move was), etc.

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The Skinny On Moving Insurance: Do You Need It?

To effectively decide whether or not to buy moving insurance, you need to first understand what moving insurance options are available to you.

Moving Companies

Moving companies are required by Federal law to provide you with two liability coverage options, referred to as “valuation” options. Note there is a difference here between valuation, which is regulated by the FMSCA and insurance, which is separate liability coverage offered by third-party companies and regulated by the state.

The two valuation options are:

  • Released Value Protection (also referred to as minimal or declared value protection) — The moving company is liable for the total weight of your goods multiplied by 60 cents. So if your $300, 20-pound TV is damaged, the moving company is responsible for only $12. I’m sure you can see the limitations here! Understandably, this option is free and included in the moving contract.

  • Full Value Protection — The moving company is liable for the full value of your goods. If something is damaged, destroyed or lost, they will either repair the item, replace it with a same-value item, or reimburse you the cost of repairing/replacing the item. Note the “same-value” stipulation here: e.g. if your 2-year-old dryer is destroyed, you will get another 2-year-old dryer, not a new one. And Full Value protection does not cover anything worth more than $100/lb (jewelry, antiques, etc.) unless you specifically mention these items to the moving company. Prices for this option vary by moving company, and you’re usually required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance will not help you much. During a move, personal items are typically only protected in case of theft. So if you drop and break a couch on your way out the door, it’s most likely not going to be covered. Some insurance policies will also partially cover damages that occur during transit, but usually only a paltry 10% of their value.

And don’t forget about the deductible, which still applies during moves. If something is stolen, but you haven’t met your deductible, you’re not going to get full coverage.

Other Options

You can talk to your homeowners/renters insurance agent about extending coverage with one of the following options, or purchase them through moving companies or third-party insurance companies.

  • Valued Inventory: You purchase coverage based on the value of your goods. Usually purchased in large chunks, e.g. multiples of $1000.

  • Transit Insurance: For damages that occur in the truck. This is a popular option, as most moving companies’ basic options donot cover this.

  • Total-Loss Coverage: For “acts-of-God”, e.g. fires, floods, freak asteroid strikes, etc. This option is all or nothing, and does not cover individual items.

  • Pairs and Sets Coverage: For items that can only be purchased together, e.g. a vanity mirror/cabinet set.

  • Mechanical and Electrical Derangement: Would cover, for example, a TV that looks fine on the outside but hasn’t worked since the move.


If you don’t have a lot of expensive things, you probably don’t need insurance. Just be careful with your stuff! And if you’re using a moving company, remember you get their basic coverage option free-of-charge.

If you have many special or expensive things, however, like jewelry, china-ware, antiques, electronics, etc., you’re likely better off purchasing extra insurance coverage, as neither moving companies nor your homeowners/renters insurance will offer much protection.

And if you feel you’re between the two options just mentioned — go with your gut!

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How to Budget for Your Move in 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Get Clear on Moving Costs

To set a budget for yourself, you need to figure out how much it’s going to cost you to move. You’re not going to be able to pinpoint an exact number, but if you think about it enough (and keep reading), you should be able to get a fairly accurate estimate.

Start with all the obvious, big expenses. These include:

  • Moving Companies. If you’re planning on hiring professionals, get quotes from 3–5 companies for a ballpark number to work with. Make sure to include whatever extra service options you plan on using: additional insurance coverage, full-service packing, storage, special crating for couches, pianos, refrigerators, etc.

  • Packing Materials. New boxes are surprisingly expensive. You have plenty of cheaper options available, like renting used boxes or picking them up for free from stores. Don’t forget bubble wrap, packing paper, and anything else you might need.

  • Transportation. If you’re driving to your new home, you need to budget for gas, obviously, but also for tolls and food/accommodation for multi-day drives. If you’re flying, budget for plane tickets, checked-luggage fees, over-weight baggage fees, and transportation to/from the airport.

  • Closing Costs. These can be significant if you’re buying a home. Even when leasing an apartment you typically have to provide the first month’s rent, a broker fee, and a security deposit that can be 1–2 month’s rent.

Next, do your best to think of all the sneaky, hidden expenses that will try to mess with your budget. Things like:

  • DMV fees for a new driver’s license and license plates, or to update your vehicle registration. More information on this here.

  • Vaccinations, veterinarian fees, new registration papers for your pets.

  • Missing work — a day’s missed paycheck is basically subtracting money from your bank account!

  • Food and water for friends/family that help you move.

  • Long-carry fees — if you live in the city and they can’t park right in front of your house, they’ll charge you upwards of $100 for every 75ft away from your door.

  • Elevator fees — Your building may charge upwards of $75 for this.

  • Utility security deposits and installation fees.

The more hidden fees you can think of here, the more accurate your budget is going to be.

Step 2: Set Up Your Budget

Once you’ve figured out how much you’re going to spend on moving, it’s time to find the money for it!

The basics of setting up a budget is getting crystal clear on 2 things: 1) what you’re already spending and 2) what you should be spending. Once you’ve done that, you can go about setting your budget and allocating money for the upcoming move.

There are great apps/websites out there that can help you with this. For a deep dive into setting up a budget, check out Ramit Sethi’s guides on the subject. And for help managing your finances, Mint and YouNeedABudget are both great places to start.

Step 3: Stick to Your Budget

This is where the rubber meets the road. While the above guides and websites will help you immensely in sticking to your budget, here are a few easy, money-saving tips to get you started:

  • No buying things in gas stations (besides gas!).

  • Ditch the cable. Use the internet or sign up for Netflix. Or use your older brother’s account!

  • Head to YouTube and learn some DIY home repairs and hacks.

  • Start using coupons: Groupon, LivingSocial, Entertainment, etc.

If it’s too late to create a budget and you need to move cheaply — check out our 7 Tips for Moving on a Budget!

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How to Ship Your Car When You Move — Part 2

Make sure to check out the first article in this 2-part series for information on the different auto shipping options.

Because using a truck is the most common way people ship their vehicles when moving, in this article we’ll give you tips for picking a good auto mover company, and guidelines for preparing your vehicle for shipping.

Let’s dive in!

Picking an Auto Mover

You have two options for finding an auto moving company: carriers and brokers.

Carriers are the companies that do the actual vehicle-shipping. Brokers save you time and hassle by finding carriers for you, for a fee. Cutting out the middle man and going straight to a carrier will most likely be cheaper, but it might take you a while to find a company you like.

For brokers, MoveCars and Moving are good places to start. For carriers, check out Consumer Affairs’ list for the Best Auto Transporters for 2016. You can also talk to any moving company in your area, as many offer vehicle shipping options.

To avoid scams and bad moving jobs, stick with companies that:

  • Are accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have high ratings and no complaint histories.

  • Have active USDOT (Dept. of Transportation) and MC (Motor Carrier) numbers.

  • Are members of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).

  • Provide certificates of insurance.

  • Don’t ask for wire-transfer payments.

TransportReviews is a helpful site for vetting auto mover companies.

Preparing Your Vehicle

Once you’ve picked an auto mover, follow these steps to avoid any problems with the moving company or damages to your car:

  1. Wash it — Previous and potential damages will show more clearly.

  2. Empty it — That includes garage door openers, electronic toll-passes, CDs, etc. Some companies allow you to pack things in the trunk, with a weight-limit.

  3. Remove Accessories — Exterior spare tires, grill and car covers, non-permanent bike racks, luggage racks, spoilers, etc.

  4. Disable alarms — Fickle alarms can be triggered during the move.

  5. DO NOT fill your gas tank — Less gas in the tank means a lighter vehicle and a cheaper move! Most companies require you to stay within the quarter- to half-tank range.

  6. Check for leaks — You could be liable for damages if your car leaks all over the car below yours.

  7. Check tire inflation — To avoid damage during loading/unloading and transport.

  8. Take photos — The carrier should do this as well, but it’s always good to have your own photos in case of a dispute.

  9. Lock it after loading.

Side note: Some companies only accept vehicles in working condition, or they’ll require a things like certain amount of ground clearance, a working driver’s side door/window, or working brakes.

When the time comes to hand over your vehicle, the carrier will inspect it. Most carriers will require you to be present during the inspection. They will record any damages, nicks, scratches, etc. on a “bill of lading”, which they will hand to you.

Sample Bill of Lading


Then, when you pick up your car, if there are no new damages, you sign the bill, give it back to the carrier and you’re done!

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When Is The Best Time To Move?

Picking the right time of year to move can be the difference between a stress-free breeze and a hellish experience you’ll shudder to think of for years to come.

What season is best for you really depends on your particular situation. Let’s take a look at each season’s pros and cons:



  • Peak Season. May-September is when most people are moving. There will be plenty of open listings to choose from, and if you’re selling, you’ll have more potential buyers to choose from as well.

  • No School. Not having kids in school makes it easy for families to move long-distance.

  • Warm Weather. Both house/apartment-hunting and moving day will be easier and more pleasant during the warm summer months.


  • Peak Season. You’ll have more people to compete with and less room to negotiate with landlords/agents. Moving companies will also be busier, often overbooked, and will charge higher rates.

  • Hot Weather. If summers are hot and muggy where you live, home-hunting and moving day could be rough.

Takeaway: Plan far ahead, keep an eye on the weather, book moving companies well in advance, and be prepared to act quickly to snag a place before someone else does! This is the best time to move for families moving long-distance.



  • Dead Season. Almost no one moves during winter, which means if you find a place, there will be almost no competition from other buyers and you’ll have all the power during price-negotiations.

  • Cheap Rates. Moving companies are at their cheapest during winter.


  • Dead Season. Less people moving means less places available. Selling a home will also be much more difficult during the winter.

  • Cold Weather. When it’s freezing outside, looking for a new place is unpleasant and moving-day is miserable. Freezing weather can also damage items and cause safety hazards.

  • Holidays. They can be stressful enough without dealing with a move on top of it all.

  • School. Most people seem to agree it’s harder on kids to switch schools halfway through the year.

Takeaway: Difficult overall due to the weather and general lack of activity. But potentially much cheaper if you can find an open place. This is the best option for those with a tight budget.



  • Weather. Both seasons offer generally better weather, less competition and lower moving company rates than summer or winter.

  • Selling. Houses typically sell for more money in the spring.

  • School Shift. If you live near colleges or universities, many apartments will open as students finish school.


  • Less Activity. There will be fewer open homes and apartments for you to move into and less people looking to buy.

  • School. Spring/fall are awkward times for kids to change schools. Spring-break is a potential window for families moving locally, however.

Takeaway: Both seasons are less extreme than summer and winter, making them great options for moving for pretty much everyone except families moving long-distance.

Once you’ve picked a season that will work best for you, keep in mind that moving companies are most busy on weekends (when people are off work), and at the end/beginning of the month (when most leases end).

If you can swing it, moving on a Tuesday or Wednesday in the middle of the month will typically be your cheapest option.

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The Best Way to Pack for a Stress-Free Move

If your goal is a stress-free move, you need to pack with a plan.

Rushing around in a frenzy, stuffing everything into garbage bags the night before moving day? Not a great plan. That’s how your things end up broken, forgotten, or accidentally thrown out with the garbage.

The best way to pack for a move is to start early and pack smart. Just follow the guidelines included in the 3-step process below, and you’ll be well-prepared for a stress-free move!

1) Purge.

Start 5–6 weeks before moving day, by taking stock of your things. Decide what you actually want to bring with you, and for everything else, check out our guides on how to get rid of it all. You can give extra stuff to friends and family, donate it to charity, sell it online or set up a garage sale, or simply throw it away.

2) Prepare.

Once you’ve purged, it’s time to gather packing materials.

If you’re using a moving company, they may provide you with everything you need, in which case you’re off the hook!

But if you’re in charge of getting your own packing materials, you’ll need the following: boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, wrapping pads for fragile items, and — if you’re using cardboard boxes — scissors/box-cutters and lots (and lots) of packing tape.

You can save money and grab used boxes from people on Craigslist who’ve just finished moving, Liquor and grocery stores, and sites like UsedCardboardBoxes. Another, environmentally-friendly option is to rent plastic moving boxes from companies like RentAGreenBox, Gorilla Bins, Bin-It, and JuggleBoxMoving.

Don’t forget you can save space by packing things in your laundry baskets and suitcases!

Finally, take note of everything that you’ll need a special box for, like hanging clothes, guitars, stand-up lamps, cribs, artwork, televisions, etc., and get those boxes as soon as you can.

3) Pack.

Three weeks prior to moving day, start packing all of the non-essential items in closets, attics, and out-of-the-way spots.

With two weeks left, pack the majority of your clothes, dishes, books, artwork, etc.

If you spread it out effectively, then the last week is basically just clean up!

Leave for last an “essentials box”, which will include your valuables and anything you might need during the move or in the first few days after arrival. Options include: toilet paper, toiletries, towels, flashlights, batteries, snacks, bottled water, valuables, a change (or two) of clothes, laptops, phone chargers, basic cooking supplies (plates, cups, utensils, can opener, soap, sponge, etc.) medications, bedding and pillows.

The “essentials box” is also great for kids! Have your children pack their own box with whatever items they deem special. They will love being able to pack it themselves, and you can add to it yourself after they’re done.

A few general packing tips:

  • Label boxes! Use printout labels or a big marker to let future-you know what’s inside.

  • Pack room-by-room to keep things organized.

  • Heavy stuff at the bottom, lighter stuff on top.

  • Fill empty spaces with clothes or packing paper to avoid damage.

  • Wrap fragile items in clothes to save on paper and bubble wrap.

And the last of our packing tips for moving? Don’t forget anything!

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Don’t Forget These 3 Things When You Move

Moving is like juggling 50 balls while running down the street. If one or two balls dropped behind you, who could blame you for not noticing? You’re still trying to keep 48 other balls in the air!

Here’s a list of things people commonly forget when they move…

1) They Forget to Bring Everything.

  • Things in the home. It’s easy to forget to pack things that seem a part of the house itself, like curtains, drapes, rugs, mirrors and plants. Other common areas forgotten include the cabinets under the sink and over the fridge, storage areas in the basement, attic or under the stairs, and medicine cabinets.

  • Things outside your home. Don’t forget your outdoor furniture, garden accessories and tools, hoses, plants, flower pots, planter boxes and whatever is in your shed, if you have one.

  • Things around town. Make sure to remember the contents of your safety deposit box, clothes at the dry-cleaners, items in storage, things neighbors, friends and family have borrowed over the years.

  • Collect records. To avoid a potentially expensive, lengthy hassle having them transferred later, you’ll want to collect all personal records, including medical, dental and pharmaceutical records, children’s school files and veterinarian records if you have pets.

  • Speaking of pets, don’t forget them! You’d be surprised how many cats and dogs get left behind during moves. Here are some tips on this.

  • Leave some behind. Amidst the packing frenzy, make sure you do leave behind spare keys, garage door openers, and any items you borrowed.

2) They Forget to Tell Everyone.

  • The people. Let everyone know you’re leaving! That includes family and friends of course, but also neighbors, housekeepers, gardeners, babysitters, etc. Then there are the officials: schools, employers, banks, government agencies, insurance companies, and the post office.

  • The companies. Call your utility companies and schedule your water, electric, gas, satellite, etc. to be disconnected the day after you move.

  • The memberships. Cancel memberships (gyms, yoga studios, etc.), return library books and movie/game rentals, and pick up any prescriptions.

3) They Forget to Prepare for Arrival.

  • Take measurements. “Will it fit?” Don’t forget to ask this question! Trust me, you don’t want show up with a couch that won’t fit through the door.

  • Get the keys. Get all the keys: You have the key for the front door, but does it open the deadlock too? A successful move is one where you actually get inside your new place.

  • Accommodations. If your beds won’t arrive ’til after you do, make sure to book sleeping arrangements well beforehand, so you’re not scrambling for a place to sleep after a long day of moving.

  • Parking. “Where can I park?” Another great question, easily forgotten. Waking up to realize your car’s been towed is no fun.

  • Pack the essentials. Include anything you might need in the first few days. A good place to start is toilet paper, toiletries, towels, bottled water, snacks, a change of clothes, phone chargers, and things like plates, cups, and utensils. See #3 here.

It’s easy to forget what you’re forgetting, so don’t hesitate to refer back to this post throughout the moving process!

And if, despite your best efforts, you end up still forgetting a few things, make sure to write them down when it’s all over. That way, the next time you move, you’ll have a personalized list to refer to.

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The Proper Way To Donate Stuff You Don’t Need

As you pack things for your move, you’ll notice a lot that you no longer need but could be valuable to others. Clothes, furniture, electronics… anything really. As long as it’s not broken or gross, it likely can be donated.

There are three benefits to donating…

  1. You help others in need.

  2. You get rid of things you don’t use.

  3. You can get money back with a nice tax deduction.

So how do you actually donate?

The Goodwill and Salvation Army are always good places to go with your donations. Depending on your state, there are a multitude of options. See this article for your state.

Don’t have time to drop it off?

That’s okay! You can have Big Brothers Big Sisters come pick it up or have a TaskRabbit do it for you. It’s easy to donate.

How do I deduct charitable donations?

The IRS has eight tips for deducting charitable contributions that you should look at before donating. In order to properly make the deduction you will have to value your goods. Check out Goodwill’s Valuation Guide for a rough estimate of what your donations are worth.

That’s it! You’re able to get rid of some stuff, pay less in taxes, and help other people in need. And moving is a perfect time to do it.

Have stuff you need to sell or throw away? Check out these two articles (selling & disposing) about how to do those. Good luck!

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How To Sell Things When You Move

Moving is a perfect time to get rid of things. As you pack, you’ll notice items that you simply don’t use anymore. Many of these things are still in good condition and useable by someone else. Selling them is a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you don’t need while banking some cash in the process.

So how do you do it? There are several places where you can sell your stuff…


This is the obvious one. eBay has been the go-to marketplace for two decades for people looking to buy and sell. You’ll have to take a little time listing and shipping, but they’ve made it pretty easy at this point. Notably, their integration with Shyp makes it super easy to send items to buyers after they are sold.


Another obvious option. If you trust the people on the other end, this is a great place to sell things quickly. There is more risk to getting it done here because, unlike eBay, there isn’t transparency regarding the buyer and their history and the platform doesn’t actually facilitate the transaction. Everything is up to you. But nonetheless, it’s another high-traffic site where you can offload your goods.

Your Network

This is probably the first place you should go. Reach out to your family, friends, co-workers, and any organizations you belong to. You can send a good old-fashioned email or post in places like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to let your network know.


LetGo is an interesting app that lets you buy and sell goods to people in your area. This is a good option if you’re looking to offload something quickly and don’t a lot about how much you get for it. Post it on there for a cheap price and have someone come by to pick it up.


Amazon is the e-commerce destination for pretty much everyone. They have a seller program which allows you to sell your used goods along side all of their other products. You pay a small fee to do so, but will have a lot of traffic coming to your page.


This is another e-commerce site that enables you to act as a small business selling your goods on their platform. They specialize in unique goods and have an audience looking for these niche items. It’s a good place to offload anything that wouldn’t fit on the above sites.

Garage Sale

This will take some time to set up and market, but it’s a good way to get rid of things if you have a free day. You won’t get as much traffic as an online marketplace but the transactions will be quick and painless.

eBay Valet

Don’t have the time for any of the above? Give it to eBay and let them sell it for you. They, of course, will keep a percentage of the sale but it’s the price you pay for the service.

There are also countless niche communities where you can sell and trade specific products. Search Google and see what’s out there. If you take good pictures and market the goods well, you can quickly get rid of your junk and make money on it. And for anything you aren’t able to sell, you can donate it to people who need it.

Happy Selling! 😉

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How To Throw Things Away When You Move

When you move, it’s a great time to get rid of things you no longer need. There are three ways to get rid of these things. Throwing things away is often the simplest or easiest option. It’s the go-to route for low value items that cannot be sold or donated.

But throwing things out can be harder than you think. Here’s a breakdown of how to treat certain items…

Small Items

Disposing of small knick-knacks is pretty simple. Grab a garbage bag, fill it up, and take it outside. If you’re getting rid of paper, make sure they don’t contain sensitive material. If they do, you’ll need to shred them. You can get this done at a UPS or Staples, if you don’t own a shredder. Or — if you need to shred in bulk, there are third-party services who will come to your home, to shred and dispose of everything for you.

Large Items

For larger items, like furniture, you can’t just toss them in the regular garbage. First you should consider selling it (see here), but if it’s broken, tarnished, or simply unsellable — you’ll need to dispose of it.

Be careful about how and where you dispose of these large items. Each state has their own rules and regulations around how to do this, so refer to your state’s website on how to proceed.

Hazardous Waste

This includes anything like automotive products, paint, batteries, electronics, flourescent lightbulbs, certain household cleaners, garden and pool chemicals, and many others. For these you can have someone like Waste Management (or any other removal service) come pick it up and handle the disposal for you.

Extra Food

When it comes to the kitchen, you’ll likely have some extra food to throw away. But wait! There’s a solution here. The great people at Move For Hunger are doing some incredible work to bring this potentially wasted food to familes in need. This will happen automatically with your Moved concierge and any of their moving company partners.

Before throwing something out, always ask yourself if it can be donated!

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How To Get Rid Of Stuff When You Move

Moving is the perfect opportunity to purge and get rid of things that you don’t need. Once you identify the excess stuff that you have, there are three ways to get rid of it.

1) Disposal.

This is the default behavior when getting rid of stuff. It can be surprisingly more difficult than you would imagine, depending on what you need to get rid of. For smaller items, it’s relatively straightforward. Larger items require more consideration and planning

There also may be state and federal regulations to consider when disposing of certain materials. Don’t make assumptions and make sure you do your research before disposing of anything potentially hazardous.

For more details about disposing of items, see “How To Throw Things Away When You Move”.

2) Selling.

Have stuff you don’t need but is still valuable? Sell it! Odds are that someone out there is looking for what you have and will pay you for it. It feels great to recoup money for something you don’t need or are no longer using. Who doesn’t want some extra cash?

There are plenty of sites where you can sell your stuff. The only drawback to doing this is the time investment. Unless you’re a pro, you’ll have to spend a chunk of time and energy to list, sell, and deliver your items.

Read “How To Sell Things When You Move” for the best places to sell your extra stuff.

3) Donations.

If you have things that are valuable but you don’t want to sell, you should seriously consider donating them. It’s a great thing to do, you get a nice tax deduction, and (most importantly) you’ll help someone and earn some karma points in the process.

Unfortunately this isn’t the easiest or most accessible thing to do. You need to understand what is right to donate, where and who to donate it to, and then physically get it there.

To better understand how to donate, check out “The Proper Way To Donate Stuff You Don’t Need”.

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