How to Keep Your Move Organized and On Track

How to Keep Your Move Organized and On Track

by, North American Van Lines

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto 

There are 300,000 things in the average American household, from large pieces of furniture to unmatched socks. And when it’s time to move house, you and your loved ones have to pack every last piece! Keeping track of all those items can be challenging for anyone — which is why it’s important to get organized, stick to your plan, and keep a tight schedule during your move.

Organization looks different for everyone. Some people naturally turn to calendars and to-do lists, while others use apps or spreadsheets. However you choose to organize the process,  these seven tips can help guarantee an organized, streamlined move.

Declutter First

Let’s be honest: do you really need every one of the 300,000 things filling up your home? If we’re telling the truth, many of us hold onto stuff we don’t need — particularly if we have the garage and closet space to store it. 

If you want to make packing easier for you and your family, the first step is to declutter your space. Go room by room and separate your belongings into three categories: 1) items you use, 2) items you love, and 3) items with sentimental value. If an item doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it’s best to donate it or throw it away. This system will ensure that nothing unnecessary follows you to your new space, leaving you with less packing to do before moving day.  

Make a Binder

As you clear out and declutter your home, you’ll inevitably uncover important documents you’ve tucked away for safekeeping: school records, medical documents, kids’ art projects, and more. How can you keep them organized and safely stored during your move? We recommend creating a “moving binder.”

Run to the store (or dig through any old school supplies you have handy) and grab a simple binder with sleeves for storing your papers. Fill it up with all the documents you want to keep. This will prevent important papers from getting lost in the move, and it gives you a place to store moving checklists, utility company phone numbers, and other documents you need for your move. (It’s okay if you need more than one binder. The goal is to get organized — whatever that means for you!)

Set Deadlines

Moving day is the final cut-off point, looming over you for weeks before it’s time to load the truck. But you can make that deadline feel like no big deal! All you have to do is set mini-deadlines for each task on your to-do list. 

Grab a calendar and mark your moving day, then work backward to determine when you want to be all packed, when you need to schedule pickups for donations, when you’ll have your utilities switched off, and so on. Make sure to set reasonable deadlines — allow yourself enough time for work, relaxation and spending time with your loved ones. 

Break Large Tasks into Smaller Ones

If your to-do list is just three items long (“find a new place,” “pack” and “move”), moving day is going to feel like an insurmountable challenge. Those three items are big jobs — so big, in fact, that you may not know where to start. But the truth is that moving is the cumulation of many small and medium-sized tasks. For example, “find a new place” is a large task that consists of several smaller ones:

  • House hunting
  • Closing or signing a lease
  • Setting up utilities
  • Updating your address with dozens of providers
  • Etc.

Make your upcoming move feel more doable by breaking your three-item list into lots of little tasks. “Pack” may seem like a tall order, but “pack dining room cabinets” or “declutter kids’ closets” is a much easier step that you can accomplish with confidence. A detailed to-do list protects against last-minute surprises — like discovering you forgot to pack the garage just as the movers pull up.

Delegate Tasks

They say many hands make light work. If you’re moving with your family, it’s wise to get all hands joining in! Assign tasks to members of your household and let them be responsible for getting them done.

Of course, it’s important to assign age-appropriate tasks. For example, older children and teens can pack their rooms and general spaces like the living room, while younger children should decide what books and toys they no longer need. Once you have a list of tasks, hold a family meeting to review everything that needs to be done. If no one volunteers, assign tasks fairly, so no one person has to do everything. As an added benefit, putting all the tasks on the table will let everyone see how much work goes into moving.

Check In and Celebrate

Whether you’re a family or an individual on the move, the moving process can feel like a marathon. Find ways to keep everyone (including yourself) motivated and accountable — if you don’t, you’ll keep missing deadlines until moving day arrives!

Set up a system of check-ins to make sure everyone is completing their tasks on time. If everything is on schedule, make sure to reward yourselves and celebrate your progress! At the same time, establish consequences for tasks that don’t get completed, and hold firm to them.

Tip: Giving little rewards throughout the process can make moving much more fun. It’s a great way to make new, special memories with your loved ones.  

Work with the Pros

Of course, one of the best ways to keep your move on track is to call in a team of professionals. Movers can help you pack, load the truck, disassemble furniture for easier transport and storage, and even unpack in your new place! They have the experience and equipment to make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible.


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