Moving Tips: A Survival Guide


We all know that moving can be super stressful. I have had my fair share of experiences as I have moved multiple times between Europe and the US. I learned that if you do not plan your move, then you just add more stress when the unknown happens. For my recent move from California to Washington State, I wanted more peace of mind and minimal stress so I could enjoy my 1000 mile drive to my new life. The following four rules helped me to survive and to be operational within a day of arrival.

Rule 1: Plan effectively

Ok – planning is work. The upside: It helps reduce pressure when you move. To me, a good plan minimizes potential surprises by giving you time and tools to prevent bad outcomes. In essence, a good plan reminds you to accomplish all tasks in time:

  • Make sure you start planning your move early.  A good rule of thumb is that moving a family household out of state, requires six to eight weeks of preparation.
  • Use checklists templates or create your own checklist. If you search for “moving checklists” you will find more checklists than you need:
  • Present your moving plan to your household (family) members early. Incorporate their feedback and don’t be afraid to delegate important things. Get all the help you can get!

Rule 2: De-clutter and donate

This surviving rule belongs on top of every checklist: The less stuff you move the less you have to worry. If you don’t de-clutter your household regularly, anytime is a good time to start. All the clutter you have and decide to keep, will only cost you more money: it has to be packed, moved, stored and unpacked.

  • Yard sales are great to get rid off clutter. Ideally, make it a habit to sell off stuff you don’t use anymore. Sort out things you haven’t used in the last six months. Yes, it is hard, but it will make your life easier. Plus, the upside of all your hard work will be rewarded when you count the money you made that day.
  • If you don’t have the time for a yard sale, consider donations. Donations can be tax write-offs, and you can support a good cause. I would recommend having an itemized list of all items donated.

Rule 3: Keeping things handy – all the time

Searching for things that have been packed could be painful. Moving Van is a great iOS app that allows you to identify the contents of every box you pack.

Carrying a box of binders with you is definitely not the best way to keep your important documents handy. I recommend going paperless before you move. Going paperless gives you peace of mind because you know at any time where your most important documents are:

Rule 4: Stay calm under pressure

Not everything will happen as you planned it. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t work out. Stay calm during these times of crisis. Take a deep breath and if needed, take a short timeout, especially when you have the feeling that everybody is breathing down your neck. Under pressure, you can make some excellent decisions – if you focus:

  • Keep in mind that no decision is perfect.
  • Sort out big issues first. For example, being a day late in the new home might appear like a big issue. However, if you inform people affected by your late arrival, this might become a small issue. Remember, everybody knows that moving is a hassle.
  • Now that you have singled out a potential solution for moving forward, think about the details (do you have all the phone numbers to call the affected people, etc). Before making the final call, get all the information that could affect the outcome of your decision.

More sources:

Go paperless today, de-clutter and donate unused things at least every six months. I promise, sticking to these survival rules will help to make your next move much easier.


The Ultimate Moving Checklist
6 Week Checklist for Moving into Your New Apartment