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Moving: Getting From Hither to Yon

Updated: May 17, 2022

Today I welcome Susan Gardner as a contributing author on a series of articles about moving. Whether you're moving cross-country to "be closer to the grandkids," finally going to your dream home, or finally going to a retirement community, you have to move. As our author would say, you get to "pick up every single item and put it somewhere else." Susan's expertise in this area is hard won. Enjoy this series.

-Ed Zinkiewicz


After making the decision to move and preparing your house for packing, it is time to get from Point A to Point B. Here you pack, move, unpack and get settled. Let the fun begin!

Checklist and Team

Most moving companies offer a checklist that you can use to schedule the two months up to moving day. Here is a link to one at Real Simple. As you work with the checklist, you have options. Some tasks may need to be do-it-yourself; others can be hired out. Or you can do it all yourself or hire everything done for you. But no matter how you slice it, moving takes a team.

And you are the team leader, setting the pace and tone for everyone through your energy, direction, emotion, and engagement whether you are hiring most of the work or relying on family and friends. While family and friends can be a tremendous help, I recommend that you hire as much of the work done as you can afford unless you really love the the control DIY gives you.

Packing Tips

The lion’s share of the work is packing. Keep the job systematic and orderly, whether you are doing it yourself or having it done. Packing is most easily organized when you have made specific decisions about things that will be moved and where they will be placed in the new home.

Specific labeling and photos make the difference. Labeling every box, for example, “Den” or “Bedroom A,” is a good start. But if you want to take full advantage of the help your movers can give, be more specific. Label the walls in the rooms where things go, and also put that label on each related box. Label other specific areas too (“Den–Cherry Bookshelf,” “Bedroom–Curio Cabinet,” “Garage–Workbench,” for example). The more specific the labeling, the fewer times a box or piece of furniture will have to be moved to be in the right place. Your back and your movers will thank you! Be sure the labels are large and clear and exactly match what is written on the boxes. Use the pictures, which you can put in a notebook or on the appropriate wall, as a roadmap.

One question to ask is, “Do I want to replicate this space in my new home?” If you want a grouping of art to be hung the same way, take photos of the layout and measure the dimensions from top to bottom and left to right. Tape the photo to one of the pictures and keep the group separate from other pictures. This small investment of time on the front end will make the re-hanging much simpler. If you want a bookshelf filled like it was before, again, take a photo and pack each shelf in a separate box. Print the photo, tape it to the shelf, and label each box to stay with that shelf.

One of the biggest reasons for time, and therefore cost, to increase in a move is indecision. To avoid, budgetary surprises, ask a friend or family member who has good spatial awareness to make a floor plan and be responsible for putting up the labels and pictures before the movers arrive. Having this step done can help you wake up on moving day prepared! If you don’t have anyone to help you with this task, consult with a professional organizer or a move manager for a step-by-step plan