Get Moving!

Maybe you have heard the statistic that moving is one of life’s top three stressors. Don’t be scared!  Using these tips will make your transition less stressful for your family. Remember, your move is a new adventure for your family!


Before You Leave Your Old Home:

1. Make sure each child has their own bag packed with any toys, blankets, or books that they will need to go to bed at night. These will help them feel comfortable during the transition.

2. Purchase an expandable file folder and start gathering documents such as birth certificates, passports, and currency.  These items should not be shipped with your household goods.

3. Call your doctors to obtain written copies of the family’s medical records. Offices sometimes charge for these documents, so have a form of payment ready. Also, see if your doctor can refer you to a new doctor in your new location. If applicable, ask for copies of prescriptions in case you cannot see a doctor quickly in your new location. If you have remaining refills at a local pharmacy, call to see if they can transfer them to a new pharmacy where you are moving.

4. Arrange for the home to be cleaned after all your furniture has been moved out. Stay one night in a hotel and return to the home to clean, or hire a cleaning service to do the job for you while you are traveling to your new location. Keep in mind that many real estate contracts state that the home must be left in “broom clean condition”. Failure to do so could result in a fee, or difficulty at closing.

5. Call your utility companies to arrange for final readings. Give them your new address to have any remaining bills forwarded.


You should also contact your homeowner’s insurance company to inquire about the same. If you are moving long distance and are moving your vehicle, check with your auto transport company and make sure their delivery timings are right.

7. Send out change of address cards to friends and family.

8. Fill out a change of address and mail forwarding forms with the Post Office. These forms can be filled out online as well.

9. Pack irreplaceable or valuable items such as cameras, jewelry, wedding photos/videos, or family treasures to travel with your family. Also, keep in mind that most van lines are not climate controlled. Consider this when deciding to ship items like candles in with your other possessions.

10. If you are packing yourself, color-code your boxes. (Blue for the kitchen, red for the bedroom, etc).  Involve your children; let each child pick their own color for their rooms.

11. Pack a kit of the following items for use while you are in transit, and for your first night in your new home:

Toilet Paper

A Shower Curtain

Snacks and Bottled Water

Clean Clothes

Cleaning Products

Flashlight and/or Night Lights

First Aid Kit Medicine Needed by Your Family

Air Mattresses and sleeping bags (If you decide to spend your first night in your new home.)***See sleepover suggestion in “When You Arrive at Your New Home” section.


When You Arrive At your New Home:

1. Start by sorting your boxes and bringing them to their appropriate room. (Red to the kitchen, etc).

2. Evaluate if you will need to purchase any organizational supplies such as shelves, pot racks, closet systems, etc. Purchase these before you start to unpack. Not doing so will make unpacking more complicated.

3. If you need assistance in getting unpacked contact a professional organizer. They will help you determine the best organizational systems for your new home, have them installed, and unpack your possessions using the systems. Get settled in your new home the right way!

4. Use labels and/or sticky notes to help everyone locate items in the kitchen cabinets or pantry. This will alleviate questions and frustration when trying to find items in their new locations.

5. Allow kids to help unpack their room. If possible, allow them to decide where their bed will go, where they want their play area to be located, etc. This allows them to make the new room their own.

6. Have a sleepover your first night in your new home. Set up air mattresses, play cards, or if you have the capability, watch a movie on a laptop or portable DVD player. Bring flashlights and snacks for the family. Spending your first night all together in one room helps kids with the new creaks and noises associated with a new home.

7. Unpack every box.  Even if you are not using everything in your new home, you should unpack everything to look for any missing or damaged items. Insurance often limits the amount of time you have to file a claim for missing or damaged items.

8. Call welcome or newcomer services in your area. They will often provide you with a basket or package of coupons and offers for your new area. You will probably be eating out for a little while, so you might as well save some money!

9. If you do eat out a few times be sure to ask for menus, coupons, and business cards. Create a three ring binder with the menus of the places you like, and make sure to circle the items your family enjoyed. This will come in handy on those busy nights when you just aren’t sure what to eat.

10. After you have been in your new home for about a month, re-evaluate your organizational systems. What is working for your family and what is not? Are you still missing items? Are the items you use in your daily routine hard to find or use? If you did not hire a professional organizer when you first moved in, now is a great time to do so.


  1. says

    Such a great article! When it comes to moving – planning is everything and I speak from experience here, so you can trust me! Very useful tips here, I hope more people read them!

  2. says

    Label your boxes with name of room and what is inside. If the items are fragile, write the word FRAGILE and an arrow indicating what end is the top so those moving carry it the right way.

  3. says

    The tips here are amazing! Let’s add a basic packing tip: Plan ahead by organizing and budgeting everything. Develop a “to do” list so you won’t forget something critical on the moving day and create an estimate of moving costs. ~ Battersea Man and Van Ltd.

  4. says

    Great tips! I’ve been sharing this post with clients (I’m a Realtor) forever! Plan to include it in a Round Up post of best moving tips.

  5. James says

    enlightening. i prefer to label and separate things that would be slight of need later. i would recommend a removalist if you’re willing to spend, less hassle and safe but be sure to get a reliable company though.


  1. […] Get Moving by Bonnie Joy Dewkett at The Joyful Organizer has put together the most comprehensive list of moving tips I’ve found. Her list is divided into tasks to complete before you leave your old place and what to do when you get to your new home. I love that she suggests putting together a kit for your first night at your new house. […]

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