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How to Organize for a Move to a New Home

By February 16, 2020June 13th, 202423 Comments

Learn how to organize for a move to a new home. Moving is a stressful endeavor. Read these tips and they will reduce some of the anxiety and thus relieve your stress.

 Whether you are selling your home and then moving down the road, moving from apartment to apartment, or preparing to move across the country into your first home there are some simple steps to follow so that your move can be as stress-free as possible.


Create a realistic timeline for yourself. If you are single this is a fairly simple process. Answer these questions for yourself. If you are not, sit down with your partner to answer these questions:

  1. When do you have access to the new
  2. How far are you traveling?
  3. Are you hiring a moving company or
    renting a truck?
  4. When do you want to have everything
    packed up and ready to go?

Packing Up Process

Now that you know when you want to have everything packed up and organized for your move to a new home you can plan the packing up process.

Even if you are hiring a company to pack your belongings, you will want to go through every zone to make sure the packers will only be packing things you want to have with you.

There are several distinct zones in almost everyone’s home: kitchen, bedroom, desk (or home office), dining area, and living area.

Some homes also have a shed, garage, or tools zone.

Think about the different zones in your home.

Use a Calendar

An important step to organize for a move to a new home is to use a calendar. I’m a paper and pen person and always do my planning on a paper calendar. I recommend everyone, even those who generally use an electronic calendar, use a paper calendar for something as involved a planning a move. You can print a monthly calendar view as well as a weekly view with plenty of space to write in.

When you use a paper calendar it is easy to see at a glance when you have scheduled things to do.

Since life goes on, even when you are beginning to organize a move to a new home, it’s important to be able to see what you have to do to prepare to move as well as the other commitments you may have.

Schedule packing up one zone at a time in your calendar. If you have the luxury of time, allow a week for each zone.


Buy your supplies one zone at a time.

I know you can return unused boxes to the supply company but it’s best if you can buy what you need a little at a time. This way you’re not cluttering up your space with random supplies.

You will need:

  1. Boxes (book boxes are the easiest to
    carry – get more of these and less of the bigger boxes)
  2. Tape
  3. Permanent markers
  4. Small note pad and pens (to inventory
    each box)

How to
pack each zone

As you go about packing up each zone in your home do yourself a favor and only pack the things that you use, think are beautiful, and that you love.

Things that are broken

Things that are broken need to be fixed before they are packed or removed (toss or recycle).

If you don’t use something, let it go. You know I’m talking about that piece of kitchen equipment that looked so fabulous in the store or online but that you have only used once since you brought home.


Clothes you don’t wear need to leave so that someone else can wear them.

Children’s toys

If you have children, go through their toys and remove the ones they have outgrown or no longer play with. Consider inviting your friends with younger children to come over and let them take any toys that you are letting go.

Trash is simply that, trash and can be tossed.

If you no longer want something you have options. You can sell it yourself, take it to a consignment store, or donate it.

No matter what, I can not stress this enough, do not pack things that you don’t want.

Let’s say you come across something that great-aunt Suzie gave you when you graduated from college. You don’t like this thing, you don’t use this thing, you really don’t want this thing, but you are hanging on to it because it was given to you by someone you love.

Give yourself permission to remove it from your possessions. Take a picture of it so that you will remember the gift. Let someone else have the benefit of owning it. Acknowledge that it is taking up valuable real estate in your current home. Since you are getting organized to move to a new home, let this thing move on to someone else.

Packing boxes

1. Make a list of the contents of each box you pack

2. Number your list (box #1 has these items)

3. Put the number on the outside of the box – write really large – put the number on multiple sides.

4. In addition to the number, write the name of the room in which the box will go at the new home. This is important. You may pack a box in your current home in the family room and the contents of the box may go to the office in your new home.

5. Also, make an inventory of all the furnishings you are bringing with you. This can be a photo inventory. HomeZada has a fabulous, easy to use home inventory app which you can download.


One of the details to attend to as you organize to move to a new home is to go to the Post office (you can also do this online) and fill out the form to change your address. Here is a link to the information.

Pack your vital documents into a box (or boxes) that will go with you in your car. You want to have immediate access to these important papers, just in case. Also, it’s a good idea to keep them in your possession.

Pack your jewelry to take with you in your car.

Consider packing a small box of handy cleaning supplies because you may want to dust a cupboard or wipe down the bathrooms and kitchen counters with a Clorox or Lysol wipe.

If you are selling your current home

If you are selling your home to move to a new home, check out this article. There are fabulous tips on what to do to make your current home more attractive to home buyers.


Remember to breathe. Selling your home, organizing your home to move to a new home, and moving are stressful life events. Go through the contents of every area of your home, one area at a time. Tune into yourself, your partner and your children. Take mini breaks and do as much as you can in advance.  Please reach out to me for more information on how to organize for a move to a new home.

 Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.


  • Melanie says:

    My in-laws are starting this process after selling my husband’s childhood home. It’s exciting but it’s going to be an undertaking! I’ll save this and share with them. Thank you

  • Great tips! Moving is so stressful and there are so many steps. Setting up for a move was my main task with my downsizing clients when I was doing residential organizing. I started creating a box tracking list where I labeled the box a number and had a sheet on a clipboard with the details of the content. It worked well for people who were moving later in the future. It would allow them to remember if they needed anything before moving the box.

  • Seana Turner says:

    Moving is just such an exhausting endeavor. Wonderful advice here. Decluttering ahead of time not only saves you effort on the back end, it also saves you money. Still, I have found that most people end up moving a few things they decide later that they don’t want, so this is fine. Set up a donations bin as soon as you get to your new location:)

  • LISA GESSERT says:

    Excellent! I am in the process of a move myself! Happy to see i am doing things right..LOL Great blog great information!

  • I love the “open me first” box idea. Nobody wants to search for the toilet paper!

  • Great article! People who move don’t think of all the details you’ve listed until they move and then can’t find the important things. When I moved across the country (some 2150 miles) I built a moving book with all the details and research on the new location as well as a list of all the items that I packed. I couldn’t have done the move without that planning.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    Superb advice, as always, Diane. The timeline you reference is absolutely essential, and I think numbering the boxes with corresponding lists is a must-do for keeping things moving. The only tip beyond this that I share is: always pack a shower curtain liner in your “first day” box. Even if the former owners leave behind a shower curtain, that’s…sub-optimal. Bring your own, just in case there’s no shower curtain, and if it’s not needed, you always spread it on the floor like a picnic blanked if you need a clean space to eat or work when you first arrive.

  • These are all wonderful tips! Creating a timeline and putting all moving related tasks on a calendar is so important to reducing stress during a move. I also like how you stress that you should not pack things you don’t want. I often help my clients to unpack and get organized in a new home, and during that process, we often find car loads of items that they want to donate because they have no place in their new home. It would have been better to sell or donate those things before packing and moving. Decluttering before a move saves both time and money!

  • I just helped my daughter move this weekend. She’s starting a new job tomorrow and she wanted to get everything unpacked and organized before hand. That was a tall order but I also knew that she was going to be in very good shape.
    She is super organized, still, rearranging all of her belongings to fit in a new space was challenging. I taught her about measuring not once but twice and file folding her clothing in drawers makes it much easier to see everything.
    I just loved reading your article. Moving happens all year round so it’s always timely.

  • An inventory is so important. When I moved some of my mom’s stuff back to the east coast after she passed, it reminded me of what I sent back. Since it took about two weeks and I was dealing with the other financials for her, it helped take it off my mind so I could deal with the other tasks.

  • Great tips – especially the one about using a paper calendar. I use a digital calendar as well as a task manager, but I think the only way to really see how a big project will be scheduled is to have it on paper.

  • Sara Skillen says:

    All great tips here – I have been meaning to do an inventory with HomeZada for years, and this post is renewing my inspiration to get it done. It’s a good idea whether you’re moving or not.

  • Seana Turner says:

    I am working with a client right now who is building a new home, trying to get ready to sell her current home, and clearing out her parent’s old home. It is a LOT. Because some boxes are going into storage for the time she is selling her home, and not yet able to move items into the new home, we are working hard to inventory each and every box in detail. That is such a good tip. And putting big numbers as you say so she can easily find what she needs. We are using plastic boxes with flip-top lids for these items to ensure they are easy to open and close, and weather-tight. There are some items that she hasn’t yet decided where she will put them in the new house, so we can’t label each box with a room name, but knowing what is inside each will make it so much easier when she finally moves in. Wonderful advice:)

  • These are such fantastic tips for moving. As you said, moving is one of the most stressful times of life. So many things and unknowns are in flux. To top it off, there are tons of decisions that have to be made. It can be exhausting, as in having “decision-fatigue.” So if possible, pace yourself and enlist help from friends, family, and professionals.

    I’ve helped many clients edit before a move, pack and unpack. What I’ve noticed is that while we talk about not taking or packing the things you don’t want or need, sometimes at the last minute, time or energy is spent and they end up moving those items in question. Then at the other end, when unpacking and getting settled into the new home, another round of edits happen. That seems fairly common in my experience.

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