In the 14 years my ex-husband was home, we moved over 30 times. You most likely don’t know anyone else that can pack a Uhaul as good as me (if it didn’t fit, I didn’t get to keep it!) nor do you know someone who can put up a home as quick (because I’ve literally done it SO many times!)
Moving is hard and overwhelming. It’s a lot of work, you get tired, it’s physically and emotionally draining. Then you get to the new house, look around at all your stuff and have NO IDEA where to put it all. If you are planning your next move, these tips and strategies will drastically help you know exactly how to unpack a house in two days!
How to Unpack a House in Two Days
The very first thing you want to do is…
Layout furniture before you move
You have to go to the new house before you move, measure, and figure out where all your big furniture is going to go. Where will you put the couches? Where will the entertainment center fit? On what wall do you want your headboard for your bed? Where will the dresser go?
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Don’t forget the garage. Where will your garage pantries go? Your shelves? Your lawn equipment, snow shovels, bikes, kids cars?
The more you have planned where it will go BEFORE you move, the EASIER it is ONCE you move.
If you want to put things away super quick after you move, plan out everything. On this move that I just made, I already had a lot lined up where it was all going to go, down to the dishes, bowls, plates, cups, silverware, etc.
You absolutely will get overwhelmed with decisions after you move, so the more decisions you’ve already made, the less stressed YOU will feel and the faster you can put it up, because you already know where it goes!
Take pictures before you pack
Over the years, there have been times where I’ve really needed to remember where I had certain things and I can’t.
A good example is my garage pantries. I have everything in a certain order, so that I know where everything is.
Taking a picture of it BEFORE you pack it with your phone, will greatly help you when you want to put everything back! This one tip alone has helped me SO many times and helps me put things back where they belong super quick!
Refrain yourself from organizing
It’s been three days since I’ve moved at the time that I’m writing this and everything is put up, including my garage. Is everything organized? No!
Here’s the trick. I KNOW that things will move. I had an end table in one spot, and it’s just more convenient in the office than the living room. So, I moved it. I put my glasses in one cabinet, but I find myself hoovering over another cabinet to get them — I will move them!
You don’t have to be set in stone on where things are. Throw all your food in the pantry. Don’t worry about organizing it. Just get all those dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, pots, and pans put up in SOME cabinet or drawer where you think they can fit in best. You can fiddle around with the layout of all that later when you’re settled in and find yourself drawn to one area more than another. It’ll all start coming together.
What you DON’T want to do, is have everything in boxes. You’ll never find ANYTHING like that. Seriously!
Then, as time goes on, start organizing the things how you want them, but at least you’ll know where everything is!!!
Do not pack early
I know this must sound so incredibly crazy, but I NEVER pack anything, at all, before 3 days before I move. Listen, even as a single mom, I can pack my whole house in that time-frame, and so can you.
You don’t want to pack early for several reasons…
1) You’ll forget which box you put something in.
2) You’ll need something you packed and never be able to find it. You’ll go out and buy one to replace it, wasting money and time.
3) You’ll pack wrong items with wrong items. There have been many times where I’ll start filling up a box and because I’ve packed early, can’t finish packing the room, so I go on to somewhere else. Then, the boxes are filled with a mish-mash of everything and nothing makes sense. I’ll lose something because I put that can opener with my kids stuff. LOL. I’ll end up buying a can opener because I can’t find the one and have no idea where it’s at.
Speaking of which…
Don’t let anyone else help you pack
Again, this may sound crazy, but goes along with the logic that YOU need to remember where everything is. Every time I’ve had helpers to pack, I’ve lost things, not known where they are and it’s just a mess. With good intentions, it’s literally sabotaging you.
Note: The only exception is if that same person is helping you put the same boxes they packed away in the new house.
Pack the things yourself, so you know where everything is.
Never take clothes off of hangers
A little known trick is that if you take about 10 articles of your clothing with the hangers in them and fold them in half, only the very middle clothing piece will even have a chance to get wrinkled.
I can get about 20-30 clothes in a 13-gallon trash bag and call it good. At the new house, throw the few wrinkled clothes in the dryer with a wet washcloth and bada-bing-bada-boom, you’re done! If you’re me, you just hang them up and they get the wrinkles out all by themselves…most of the time. Yeah, I’m not an ironer. 🙂
Do this with everyone’s clothes. Seriously, it saves SO much time.
The only thing I would say about this one, is that if you have stairs, roll the bags down the stairs, don’t throw them. It’s much easier to NOT have broken hangers. We always liked to have a soft landing for them like a pillow or something and they all rolled down like a snowball. This will help pack the Uhaul much faster and you will save some energy!
Label your boxes well
For pete’s sake, label those boxes. If you pack misc. items all together, make a list on the box lid. I’ve listed like 10 items on the outside of a box before. You want to know where everything is quickly!
If you’re using a moving company however (especially long distance), it may not be the wisest idea to list valuables on the box covers. You could use a spreadsheet and number the boxes instead. Be sure to always pack your valuables with YOU in YOUR car and not in a moving van. Things that are easily broken like a TV, I always pack in my car too and not in a moving van.
Pack a suitcase
One of the BIGGEST TIPS you need to know is to pack a suitcase for your entire family for 5 days. All clothes, socks, undies, toothbrush, toothpaste, shower stuff, hairbrush, etc. Anything you’d pack to take on a trip or vacation, have it all there in suitcases.
Don’t forget pets! They need a zipper baggy of food for 5 days too, along with two bowls, one for water and one for food. Anything else they may need, like a bed, leash, etc. have them all packed too.
This will ensure that you’re not scrambling after you move to get your kids to school on time or to bed at a decent hour.
Everything is there in the suitcases and you have FIVE days to unpack and find things! This one tip will literally change your moving experience and I can’t recommend any other tip higher than this one! It’s absolutely crucial!
Speaking of suitcases…
Super awesome packing tricks I’ve picked up along the years:
Pack your most fragile/important stuff in suitcases. Things like that $1k vase your great grandma left you. Wrap it up super well with bubble wrap of course, but I always pack my most fragile stuff in suitcases, not boxes. They tend to be taken care of better in transport and you can even put the suitcases in the car with you instead of in the moving van.
Every single zipper in that suitcase can be utilized for important stuff. Important papers, jewelry you don’t want knocked around, use all the space in that thing and wrap things well.
Use space saver bags, but if you’re out, use a garbage bag, put a vacuum hose in it and as long as they bag doesn’t have any holes, it’ll keep the air out and save space for a day or two (not a permanent solution).
Wrap your glass cups in clean socks. Just put the socks over your glasses and you’re saving space and it’s a much more Earth-friendly moving system! 🙂
When packing plates, get creative. You can use newspaper, paper towel, coffee filters, magazines, or even clothes. Think about your daughters clean shirts. They could easily go in between the dishes. One shirt can wrap 2 plates. Be creative when packing so you’re saving space. My ex-husband had a rule, whatever didn’t fit in the moving truck, didn’t go. I lost a lot of stuff that way and started getting super creative to get it all to fit!!! 🙂
To save space in the kitchen, put spices in stock pots. Fill up each and every thing you can to save as much space. Also, sometimes, I didn’t put stock pots and pots/pans in boxes at all. They won’t break, so you can put them in bags and get away with it. Maybe not the glass lids, but the actual pans you can.
Your big screen TV. Put this in a car, not the moving van and cover it well with one of your kids blankets. No need to buy the packing blankets when you have some already. 🙂
If you don’t have a knife block, you can put knives in an oven mitt and label it knives. Make sure everyone in your home knows the knives are in there, for safety and put it with other kitchen stuff or in your designated “important stuff” suitcase.
Here’s one of my favorite tricks! Everyone takes their clothes OFF the hangers to move them. They put them in boxes or bags but when you unpack those clothes, they are all gonna be wrinkled!!! Wanna avoid that? Fold your clothes in a big bunch (think: 10-20 so it’s not a crease) in half and put inside garbage bags. When you have stairs, you can literally throw those down and not have to climb so much stairs. Just make sure there’s no one down there as you throw them down. 🙂
You WILL break a few hangers. Lost: 50¢ to save you a good 15 mins going up and down those stairs for all your clothes. Worth it! 🙂 Best of all, they will NOT get wrinkled that way. Just be sure if you throw them down, you are using quality bags. The cheap-o bags will split as you drop them.
Avoid boxes from falling out from the bottom. When collecting boxes (from shipments you get, etc.), leave the boxes taped. It’ll save you on supplies and be sturdier in the move. Double tape all boxes that you’ll put heavy stuff in it. And here’s the thing…most people tape the box again at the seam. When double taping it, make a cross symbol. Go vertically and horizontally. It’ll hold up better. Be sure not to overstuff boxes with heavy things, like books. Use smaller boxes for those kinds of things.
Likewise, if you have too heavy of furniture, consider selling it on Craigslist or Facebook groups before you move. Replace it when you get there with a gently used piece of furniture. It’s a great excuse to “buy something new” too. 😉 Something that matches your new decor better.
To keep mirrors from breaking in a move, here’s a cool trick. Tape with masking tape each corner to corner (ONE piece of tape) diagonally and press the tape down good. Then tape side to side and vertically in the middle. You should have 4 pieces of tape running through the mirror. This will help the glass NOT break, but if it is bad and it does break, it will keep all the shards together instead of bitty pieces everywhere.
Zipper bags are your best friend. Blow them up and seal for an instant air pouch protector as needed.
Moving in the winter? Be sure to have someone snow shovel the driveway and put salt down if needed. Don’t try to move with snow on the ground. You can slip and fall. Also, wear snow boots in such cases and they have traction on the bottom of the shoes to help.
Moving with pets? I like to use a wire pet crate and put it in the back of the SUV for our dog. It gives him plenty of room and he has his soft bed, a rawhide, and a couple toys so he’s comfortable. Be sure to keep a leash, a bowl for water (and a couple water bottles), plus treats, a food bowl, and a little zipper bag of food as needed that you can easily access. Animals need breaks too! 🙂
I hope all these tips and hacks are beneficial for you one day!