Moving is a major life event that’s filled with opportunity: exploring new neighborhoods, meeting new neighbors, discovering local businesses, and redesigning your home. Whether you’re planning your first move or you already have a few (or more!) under your belt, we’re here to help with The Handled Moving Guide.
After decades of helping people settle into new homes, we’ve assembled collective wisdom, expert advice, and moving tips in one place: right here.
We’ll help you plan your move, organize your to-do’s, locate packing supplies, and provide all the essential info you’ll need to minimize disruption along the way.
PHASES OF A MOVE
Moving is like a choreographed dance: certain steps need to occur in order, but there’s plenty of room to improvise and make a move your own. In the sections that follow, we’ll provide an overview of the major phases of a move and offer tips to make each one run smoothly and efficiently.
1. Book equipment and labor.
Choosing when to move is a crucial first step. As soon as you know, book a reservation for a truck and crew (or identify a team of volunteers and start contributing to the pizza fund). Moves can be do-it-yourself (DIY) truck rentals, full-service experiences, or a pod container combo. If you need help choosing which direction to go, we’ve outlined the traditional options in our Moving Comparison article.
Most moving companies are much busier at certain times of the week, month, or year; booking early ensures the equipment and labor you need will be available. At Handled, we’re transparent and flexible: we’ll display a price calendar so you can choose the move date that fits your schedule and saves you the most.
2. Decide what’s coming—and what’s not.
Start with the big stuff: beds, couches, dressers, desks, and the like. Focus on items that don’t fit in standard moving boxes. If it’s time to replace any of these items, donating or selling them before you move will save time, effort, and space on the truck.
The Home Inventory feature in the Handled app makes this process quick and easy. Just photograph your rooms and let Handled’s computer vision identify objects so you can add them to your inventory. Sort items by action (move, sell, donate, trash), flag fragile items, and add notes to make sure everything ends up in the right spot.
What you choose to move is your decision. Think about this statement from Marie Kondo, “The question of what you want to own is really the question of how you want to live.” For more inspiration watch her video.
3. Assemble a packing kit.
Having the right tools makes any job easier and when it comes to moving, proper gear is a must for a happy packing experience. Also, using the right materials ensures your belongings will be safe and protected during the journey to your new home.
Standard items like thick-walled cardboard boxes, plastic bins, bubble wrap, tape, and markers are available in most large stores and online. Specialty items like dishpack kits with foam sleeves, couch covers, and wardrobe boxes are available at home stores, storage centers, and moving supply companies.
Of course, there’s also the internet. Uline.com is an industrial supplier with thousands of items to help you organize and pack to your heart’s content. There’s packing material designed to protect even the oddest shaped and sized items.
In Pack Like a Pro: Part 1, we take an in-depth look at packing materials and suggest a list to get you started.
4. Create Packing Central.
Professional packers often set up a folding table so they can work room by room and minimize disruption in the rest of the house. It eliminates bending over boxes on the floor and leaves the dinner table free for dinner in the days or weeks leading up to a move.
That folding table will come in handy in the days surrounding your move as your usual horizontal surfaces start disappearing. It’s a great space for keys, mail, and cleaning supplies while you pack and unpack.
If you’re ready for room-by-room packing tips, take a look at Pack Like a Pro: Part 2 for a detailed look at the packing process.
5. Follow the checklist.
Like most things in life, moving is a process; when it gets overwhelming, just focus on one task at a time. Even surgeons and astronauts use checklists; it’s because they reduce complex jobs into bite-sized chunks.
In an effort to make moving easier, we created The Ultimate Moving Checklist so you never miss a step. It’s a comprehensive guide with everything you’ll need for a successful move. Download it and follow along in the weeks before your move and you’ll be settled in to your new place before you know it.