Moving to a new country and new city sounded like an exciting adventure, till actually came the day when I needed to start organizing everything and packing up.

The whole cycle of packing and moving can be daunting. However it shouldn't. Here are simple, yet powerful tips I've accumulated after 4 moves in the last two years.

1. Decide if you actually need to move

A friend's moving out and offers his awesome apartment for cheap or was it just a lucrative offer you've seen on Craigslist? Or you just started feeling trapped in your own space? If you have second thoughts about moving, apply this simple formula:

New place > Old place + hassle and expense of moving

Or another option including more variables including factors that are important for you:

New place + location - commuting time > Old place + hassle and expense of moving + location - commuting time

Also, have a look at how taxes differ from state to state if you plan to cross the border:

2. Find moving boxes for free

In terms of size and choice it's best to contact furniture stores. Ring them up at least a week in advance and ask if they give you away the boxes. I also had luck getting middle-sized boxes from the pet store I typically shop at and a nearby corner store. The keepers were pretty happy to get rid of them. Also, here are 8 more places where you can find free boxes. Why you should pay for something you can get for free?

2a. Upgrade your boxes with DIY handles

It takes a few seconds and a cutting tool to make small triangle holes at both sides, yet the boxes are now much easier to carry, especially if they contain heavy items like books or dishes.

3. Color code or Q-code each

The old-fashioned way I used is to assign a specific color to each box depending on the room it should go to. Also, I've marked each box with a number and kept a text file on my tablet with the legend saying that Blue-1 goes to bathroom and has all my shampoos and rubber ducks.

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The new way cool kids suggest is to label each box with a Q-code. Just copy all the content of your text file to some code generator like this one. A code can contain up to 250 symbols that are usually enough to list the continence of a single box. Print them, label 'em have zero problems locating your goodies after they arrive. Besides, it keeps the content of your box relatively hidden, unless you've hired a geeky moving company.

4. Tape is your best friend

It not only seal the boxes, but can prevent loads of other harm. Place tape crosses on mirrors (like Mulder did in the X files) to prevent them from sliding and possibly crashing. Seal all the liquids that can spill with tape and also you are likely to use hell load of tape for sealing bubble wraps and sticking together certain items. For instance, I tape all together all cleaning supplies.

4a And so does the stretch wrap

It's giant plastic wrap you can use to group things together like a stack of smaller boxes or books. Also it works great to wrap blankets and covers over your furniture, thus avoiding having a separate box for them.

5. Take a photo of all your cords

If you are not planning to spend extra bucks and DIY your TV, DVD and PlayStation yourself it's a very-very wise move to make. You've just saved yourself a bunch of time on googling instructions and actually figuring out what you are supposed to plug in where. Same works for all the kitchen accessories, fridge (don't forget to defrost it 1-2 days in advance and wipe it dry!), washing machine and pretty much any other appliances having 2+ plus cords.

6. Quick pack clothes with a trash bag

Just put everything as it hangs including pegs inside a trash bag, It will take seconds to place everything back inside a new wardrobe in the same order. However, keep in mind that some moving companies will not take items placed in trash bags or request additional payments for that. (yep, sadly).

7. Prepare a first night box and carry it separately with you.

Or a first night suitcase if you are moving internationally. In any case, even if you think you'll start unpacking just as you arrive. Probably you won't. What to keep in the box? I stick to toiletries, a change of clothes, some basic medicine including bandage, bedding, a utility night, some cups and plates, coffee, tea, snacks and a kettle.

8. Calculate the costs of moving: DIY vs Professional movers

While it seems like hiring a van and asking a few friends to help out, there are a few extra costing factors to consider like: insurance (who'll pay if Jone breaks your grandma's piano?), post-moving massage sessions and overall time spent. Also, if you are relocating for work, your company can get deductive from the moving, thus they shouldn't mind paying the moving bills.

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If you opt to hire a moving company, target local movers. For instance, E-Z Moving SLC offer way better rates around Salt Lake City and Utah, compared to the North American national moving company.

Also, I typically ask for friends recommendation and read reviews at Moving Scam to avoid getting into unpleasant situations afterwards.

9. Take care of the messiest task once you arrive

Unless you've moved into a shiny new property, there will be mild things you'd like to fix - like sealing drafty window, insulating hot water pipes with spray foam or getting rid of popcorn ceiling. And yes, it's better to do all those things till you've started unpacking and placing furniture. Also, if you'd wanted to hire a cleaning company, you'd better do it now.
Here are some more important things you should do before you've moved in:

Photo credits: Hip2Save and Homesthetics


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