14 Tips for a Stress Free Move!

14 Tips for Stress Free Moving!

The thought of packing up an entire household, moving it to another home is enough to make my eyes cross.

Especially after our last move. Disaster. I was pregnant. Things didn’t get done in any kind of order or timeliness.

Moving day came and it was a mess. We had family members scrambling to help us get everything out of the house. Beds still needed to be taken apart. We had to go rent our 3rd storage unit. And as we drove away, we looked like the Clampetts with everything piled into our pickups. We were just missing Grandma up on top.

There was no need for the chaos.

Moving is a big event. It’s a lot of work. And not everyone has help. Without our families and a few friends, we would have had to move everything on our own. Or hire a moving company, and I’m too cheap. And we don’t have extra money for that, let’s be real.

I’ve put together some helpful tips I’ve learned through selling a home and buying a home to help eliminate the stress of your sale and move!

They’re in no particular order. Happy moving!

  1. Declutter! – This is a big thing. Buyers need to be able to see their things in your house. There has to be a vision. The first time our agent said this to us, I rolled my eyes. Oh brother, you can’t picture your stuff in a house because my stuff is in the way?

Yep! When my husband and I started looking for a home, there were so many that were jammed packed with just random stuff that I couldn’t see past it. It was hard to even see the real layout of the house because of the mass amount of junk!

Get rid of the extras you don’t need, throw things away, have a garage sale, donate, pack up and send it to a storage unit. Whatever you don’t need to live, get it out of there.

This step also makes your actual move out easier. Most of your stuff is already gone!

  1. Paint – You may like your iridescent aqua painted living room, it may be very beautiful, but that’s a bold thing for a potential buyer to walk into. We’ve been told it’s best to repaint those extravagant rooms a more neutral color.

I can’t say that this is always practical because repainting can cost a bit of money. However, if you can swing it, do it.

  1. Clear out the backyard – I’m not talking about relandscaping and putting in ponds to make a personal oasis. But clear the junk piles, toss out the rotting toys, mow the lawn (or weeds). Make it presentable so a family can see what their options are with it. And don’t leave any of that junk when you move! Unless you prearrange with the buyer to leave your woodpile for them, or the movable fire pit you don’t want anymore, don’t just leave it behind.
  2. Take down your stuff – If there are things on your walls that you do not intend to leave after you sell, take them down. Do this BEFORE you even start showing your house. It is assumed that anything that is anchored to the walls (curtain rods, large mirrors, shelves, even decorations) will be left when you move out.

The couple that bought our home actually got upset and complained to our agent because we took my daughter’s growth chart that was hung on our laundry room wall. I made it. It was a straight plank of wood that I painted and decorated and it was scribbled with my little girl’s measurements. Why would they want that!?

And on that note, be reasonable when you go to look at homes. Don’t expect that someone is going to leave the decorative shelf in their kitchen that has been in their family for 3 generations. Let’s be realistic peeps.

  1. Clean out your cabinets and your drawers – Store anything valuable in a safe or somewhere locked. Potential buyers will look everywhere! They have no business in your dresser drawers, but believe me, we came home to some things open.

It’s definitely reasonable for anyone looking to buy a home to look in closets and cabinets. We need to check out the storage space, that’s a big thing for a woman! Ha!

But be sure to lock up your valuables!

  1. Keep keys accessible – Locks on gates and electrical boxes, sheds, or whatever else is on the property that should be looked at may need to be opened. If there are people coming to see your home, leave those keys available for their agent. You don’t want to gather your kids and pets up to get out of the way for a buyer just to have to rush back to find keys.
  2. Rent a LARGE storage unit! – Oy, this was something I should have put my foot down on. We had a lot of crap to move but my husband only rented the small unit for our first clear out. By our final moving day we were up to 3 units. That was so unnecessary. Don’t make our mistake. You may not think you have much but once you get to shoving it into the unit, it fills up quickly. It’s better to not fill the entire unit up than to have to play Tetris or scramble to find another storage unit to rent. You never know when a facility will run out of spaces.
  3. Clean – A friend of ours is a real estate agent and she says one of the best things you can do before you list your home is hire a professional cleaner. It will make a huge difference in pictures and when buyers come to look. It’s not always practical because of the expense, but it is a good idea.

No one wants to look at dirty homes. Believe me, we walked out of plenty that were absolutely filthy! One home we walked into had dog poop smeared on the floors in the kitchen and up the side of the kitchen cabinets. The current family was still home, and I was absolutely appalled. I told our agent how disgusted I was and walked straight back out.

I’m all for being respectful and courteous while in someone else’s space, but that was unsanitary and just baffling.

So clean, clean, clean!

  1. Be respectful – While you’re out looking at homes, keep in mind that most of the time someone still lives there. Please don’t let your children run up and down the stairs and through all the rooms. They could break something or get hurt. Even if you have an offer in or are in escrow and you’re just taking another look. Keep your kids with you.

Also, be mindful of what you say about the current homeowners and where you say it. When the couple that bought our house left one day, they decided to stand on the porch with their agent and say very rude things about me. They were upset that our house wasn’t completely packed up and moved out, and they hadn’t even gone into escrow yet. I was in my office packing and just happened to overhear because the porch shared the office wall. I was called lazy and unreliable. They didn’t even know me! Not to mention how unprofessional that was for the agent to allow that on the porch.

After Selling

  1. Take apart large furniture – If you have large pieces that need to be disassembled to be moved, do this first. You may discover that you lost a piece of hardware you need to take it apart that you have to look for or go buy. Don’t be us, don’t leave this til the day of your move. Take apart bed frames and head/foot boards. You can sleep on mattresses on the floor. The kids will think it’s great!
  2. Schedule utilities shut off – Be careful with this one. Schedule the shut off for the day after you move out. I had ours scheduled to be shut off the day we moved out and the electricity was shut off before noon. We had to finish packing (our fault) and moving with no air conditioner. I couldn’t even vacuum before we left (Something I didn’t have to do, but it would’ve been kind).
  3. Designate a bright box or Tupperware for spare keys and hardware – As you’re moving, things can get misplaced very easily. I was putting all our spare car keys and miscellaneous keys into a plastic bag on our counter. It got thrown away. Everything. We lost spare car keys. We lost all the hardware to our master bedroom bed set. I was so upset. But had I had a specific box for everything, they would have been safe. A plastic bag is a bad choice, especially with multiple people being “helpful”.
  4. Color code packed boxes – Use colored sheets of paper, markers, stickers, or a stripe of paint to color code your boxes. Blue for master bedroom, pink for daughter’s rooms, green for kitchen, and so on. When you get to the new house, put the same color paper on the correct room door. This could make moving in so much faster. If you have friends and family helping you, they’ll be able to take boxes right into their designated room and Voila! You just have to unpack now.
  5. Clean your new carpets! – I’m borderline germophobic. So the first thing I did was get the carpets cleaned, cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms. I scrubbed and scrubbed. I couldn’t have gotten it all done without my sister-in-law and her husband. Everything had to be cleaned before we moved anything in. You just never know…

Last thing? Order pizza and enjoy your new house!

Stop by the comments and leave some tips I may have left out!