Moving can be a nightmare. The longer you’ve been in your current place, the more things you’ve acquired, which need to be packed up, loaded into trucks, and unpacked. There are heavy items, fragile items, important items that can’t get stuck in a box for any length of time, and much more. What can you do to make the whole process easier? Here are a few life hacks to get you through without as much stress and hassle.

Keeping vs. Discarding

Before packing everything up, go through all of your stuff and decide what you really need when you move, and what you can do without. The complete set of your favorite TV series on DVD is probably something you’ll want to keep. But Grandma’s old 25-volume set of Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia can probably be thrown away.

But the trick is to have more categories for your things than just “keep” and “discard.” For the things you keep, determine which things you use regularly, and which things you’ll need sometime down the line. The things you use regularly should be packed in smaller boxes that are easy to unpack. In particular, have one box of things you’ll need that night, once the moving is done: things like toothbrush and toothpaste, towel and washcloth, daily medications, etc. Label these boxes as important, and put them in the moving truck first. That way, they’re the last ones to come out as you unpack, and won’t be buried under a ton of less important things when you need them.

As for the things you’re getting rid of, have several categories: things you’re throwing away, things you’re donating to charity, things you’re giving to your friends, etc. You may also have a yard sale to get rid of some of your unnecessary possessions—and make a little extra money in the process.

Other Tips

  • Take pictures of the back of your television, computer, and any other devices that have multiple cords plugged into them, so that you can easily tell which cord goes where when you’re putting it all back together.
  • Rather than pack dress shirts, coats, dresses, and other such items into boxes, leave them on the hanger and wrap them in a garbage bag. This will keep them nice and neat, minimizing wrinkles.
  • Try to use up perishable/refrigeratable items such as milk and eggs before you leave, as you’ll have to take everything out of the refrigerator before you move it. If you have things left over right before the move, throw an impromptu party to use up the extra food. Or, if you run out of something too early and need more right before the move, buy a smaller container: a quart of milk, rather than a gallon, or six eggs instead of a dozen.
  •  If you’re moving any open bottles of liquid, whether they’re food, makeup, paint, or something else, you need to keep them from spilling while in transit. Unscrew the cap and place plastic wrap over the mouth of the bottle. Then, replace the cap. Trim away the excess plastic.

Moving is a major undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little pre-planning and a bit of ingenuity, you can get all your stuff from one place to the other intact. Happy moving!