Follow these simple tips to make your next move easier than you thought possible.

So you're moving to a new place? Great! A new town is a new adventure, for many reasons. You get to learn a new map. You get the chance to make new friends. You get to learn about new businesses, perhaps open your own. But before you can do all that, you have to learn how to move to a new place. It's fairly easy, actually. Here's how I know...

I've moved fourteen (14) times during my 36 years, a little less than once every two years. Most of it was on a four-year pattern in the Air Force (my dad was an Officer), and the rest was my own life choices. But enough about me. Here's what I learned.

When you move to a new place, whether you move to a new house or you move to a new state, all that stuff you own goes with you. Simple, right? Yes, except for the stuff you've been holding onto for years is now a burden, and no longer a great memory.

So I suggest you Start Packing Early. You can buy moving kits online, and get an early start without ever leaving your house.  There's no such a thing as beginning too early, by the way. The Boy Scouts teach our young men to "Be Prepared." The Minutemen, a group of soldiers who had to be ready at a minute's notice during the American Revolutionary War, were well-prepared to go to battle. They had stores of munitions that they could carry in their closets, in chests, and in their sheds during colonial days in America. They were always ready. And being prepared is just a good strategy.

To make the unpacking process easier once you've made the move, you'll want to label your boxes. Many people take way too much time on this step by listing the box's contents on the outside. This is fine if you have only one thing in the box such as DVDs, books, etc., but if you are like everyone else, most of the boxes will contain too many things to list on the outside.

So follow this tip: Write down what room you want the box to go into in your new home. By following this simple tip, you'll save time trying to remember what you just put in the box (were there toothpicks in there, too?) but you and your helpers will be able to quickly unpack the moving truck because the box will tell them exactly what room to put it in. You can worry about what's inside later. Most of your oft-used goods will be the last things you pack anyways, so don't worry about packing stuff you know you'll want to have early on in your new place. You'll have it handy because the box will be in the right room.

Before you move to a new place, even before you know you're going to move to a new place, take inventory of what you own. If you've purchased a good homeowner's insurance policy, you have likely documented all the stuff you own already. This is a good place to start.

Take a look at that list. How much of it do you really use? And by 'really use' you should think of it this way: have you used it in the last month? If it's a seasonal item, did you use it during its most recent season? If not, put it in a box to be sold or given away. Go through your closets, underneath your beds, and in your attic or basement or garage and gather all the stuff you don't use. You'll be amazed at your ability to make moving easy by simply having less stuff.


Once you're done gathering your unused goods, it's time to Lighten Up. You can hold a Garage Sale, or you can skip that step and donate it directly to a local charity. You can even take the time to list individual items on Craigslist or eBay or any other you-sell-it site, but that's a time-intensive endeavor if I ever saw one. If you find yourself with an extra car that you don't want the hassle of selling, you can donate that to charity, as well.

Now that you've lightened your load, you can learn to live on less. Some of your stuff may be in boxes already, depending on how early before your move you started packing. No problem, just go get it from the room you designated that box be delivered to when you packed it. You did remember to label your boxes, right?

With less stuff cluttering your daily life, you may feel an initial sense of concern. Most of us have become so dependent on our stuff (ever see the TV show Hoarders?) that we can't think clearly without a bunch of stuff going on around us. Take the opportunity before you move to your new home to become comfortable with less. It will save you money at your new place when you don't feel like you have to stuff your house full of useless knick-knacks and various cute little goodies. This is a life-long strategy, not just a moving tip, so feel free to come back to this article later on or visit my friends at The Minimalists ( for ongoing, regularly updated tips on living with less.

If you have a lot of stuff or don't want to pack and load all your belongings, you can also hire a moving company.  This gives you added peace of mind, knowing that your possessions are covered by the moving company's insurance policy inn case something is lost or broken.  If you have concerns about theft, take the time to create a documented inventory of your possessions, or keep those in separate boxes that you will move yourself, in your car or van.  

After you have moved into your new place and are getting settled in, don't forget to unpack EVERY box. I have friends that have lived in their house for over seven years, and they still have that ONE box they haven't unpacked. Do you think they need what's in that box?

I doubt it too, but it could be important paperwork, or an heirloom piece of jewelry, or a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card inside that box.

Empty BoxCredit: Flickr user RebeccaLeeP

There could be something in that box that you could sell to pay off your bills and become debt-free. Whatever is in that box, it's up to you to decide to hold onto it or not. But you can't make an intelligent choice if you don't know what's in the box.  Your kids (or some kids in the neighborhood) would love to play in your boxes too, once they're empty.  Another great way to make new friends.

Another friend of mine celebrates every time he finishes unpacking another box. He loves the 70's band Queen, and so he shouts "another one bites the dust!" each time he finishes emptying a box. It's a feel-good kind of thing, but it works. He also likes to listen to audiobooks while he's  unpacking, which is a great way to effectively multi-task.  He says it just keeps his energy going.  This is the same friend that recently moved into his new house across the state in under a week, and he is anything but a minimalist. He has tons of stuff. He's actually more into "stuff" than many people, but he doesn't like clutter; he just likes stuff. By celebrating every box unpacked, he motivates himself to continue unpacking until everything he owns is unpacked and put in its new place in his new home. He's a stud like that.

What happens if you unpack every box after moving to a new place, and you find stuff you still don't have room for or don't need? This happens. If you find yourself realizing some of that baggage you just moved to your new place with you isn't necessary after all? Have another garage sale! Granted, there won't be as much as if you had a garage sale before you moved, but this is a great way to meet your neighbors and make friends in your new neighborhood, while making a few dollars for your next adventure: finding the best neighborhood restaurant in your new city.

I hope these tips have helped you plan your next move.  Whether you move to a new city, a new state, or even a new country, these tips can improve your transition.  If you want to make a few bucks and sell some stuff before making your next move, read this article for garage sale success.

Where will you move to next?

RealtyTrac Credit: Flickr user RebeccaLeeP