Master list move tips

100 Moving Tips from our Master List
100 Moving & Packing Tips

You are about to take your mini move, but just because it is mini, meaning your move is less than 1,000 pounds, it does not make it much easier! Maybe you are downsizing from a much larger space to a smaller one. Do you want tips on how to weed out the unnecessary items? Maybe you are moving to a new city. Do you want to know where to start looking and how to make the most of your travel experience? Answers to these questions and much more are inside this carefully compiled list of moving and packing tips.
Take a look with us.

Master List of 100 Moving Musts

Pack smart

Heavy items(i.e. dishes, books) should go in a small box, and light items(i.e. pillows, blankets) can fill a larger box.

Donate old items

give items such as clothes, kitchen items and household goods that you no longer want to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army and receive a tax write off!

Hunt down free boxes

Grocery stores, liquor stores, craigslist, Home Depot etc are all places to seek out free boxes from.

Pack plates right

set plates on their side (vertically) with cardboard in between rather than stacking them flatly.

Pack bowls right

Pack bowls upside down on their rim. Stack them on top of each other with wrap in between the layers.

Essentials box

Pack a box of paper plates, silverware, cups, snacks, cleaning supplies, toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, coffee pot and any other essentials you will want first when arriving at new home

Prep for arrival

Pack one dresser drawer with toiletries, towels and sheets for easy access upon arrival at new home.

Label boxes with duct tape scheme

Use different color tape for different rooms and create a key to refer to so you don’t forget what goes where! This will also help the movers know where to place the boxes.

Box holes

You can make carrying the boxes easier by cutting triangular handles in the sides (the point at the bottom and the long side closer to the top.)

Space saving

Tape together like items such as brooms and mops for easier loading and unloading

Efficient packing

Use your crock pot and pots/pans to fill with pantry items or spices before you pack into a larger box.

The bags are packed

Use suit cases and luggage to pack your heavy books, shoes etc.

Keep the pieces together

If you have screws, nails or small parts to a piece of disassembled furniture you can use clear tape to adhere the pieces together.

Pack glasses safely

Use wine bottle boxes for packing your glasses safely.

Saran wrap comes in handy

Wrap saran wrap around your liquid items like cans, bottles, body wash, shampoo and hand soap.

Grocery plan

Your final grocery shopping should be done two weeks before the move. Do your best to eat all your perishable foods the last couple of days. Have leftover meals the last night or two before the move or avoid cooking and have pizza or sandwiches.

Fill appliances

You can use your appliances to store items in if those will be moving to your new home.

The fridge

Defrost your refrigerator the day before your move

Utilities action plan

Call your utilities company to schedule the day you wish to turn off the utilities at the old house and turn them on at the new place

One room first

choose one room (a community room like the living room or dining room is best) that will be your first to completely unpack and set up. This will be the room you can all rest and gather in when the rest of the home might be overwhelmed with boxes.

Load last unpack first

Label the box of essentials “Load Last” so you know what it is.

Avoid breaking glass

Remove light bulbs before packing your lamps so that nothing breaks or gets messy in the moving process.

Plant Care

When moving plants to your new residence via your car, try not to let it rest against the windows, as the leaves will scorch. Take plants in your personal vehicle where they will have more room than being crushed in a moving truck.

Keep the Refrigerator fresh

Once you have thoroughly cleaned it out, you can place baking soda or coffee grinds in it for an added freshness

Care for your cosmetics

You can use a cotton ball to keep powdered items from cracking or things from spilling out of their casing.


be as sentimental as you need to. Those precious memory items should come with you in your car where they’ll be safely protected.

Ask for discounts

Don’t hesitate to ask moving companies if they are offering discounts. During the off-season especially, moving companies might give you a cheaper quote.

Apartment Move

You deserve that security deposit back. That’s why we encourage you to go through these simple, extra measures to leave your apartment in tip-top shape.

Clean the apartment

don’t leave grease on the kitchen back splash. spray down the bathroom and kitchen areas with disinfectant. dust and sweep/vacuum after everything has be removed from the place.


Fix any holes in the wall or paint any room you can, repair whatever may have gotten damaged.

Invite the landlord over

Have your landlord do a walk through inspection a week or two before your move. You can communicate and agree on the condition of the apartment. This insures that the landlord won’t charge you falsely for any damage etc.

Keep it friendly

Leave on the best terms possible with your apartment landlord. You never know when you may need a reference for another apartment.

The key is

Have all your keys ready to hand back

Final notice

Give a 30 day notice to the landlord if you will not renew the lease.

Don’t leave anything behind

you’ll burden the landlord and the future tenant and may get charged for the removal! Just be safe and clear out ALL your possessions. 35) Take photos of the whole building when you leave so as to have proof of the condition you left the place in. It’s an extra legal measure that could greatly benefit you in the case that a landlord would accuse you falsely of damage to the place.

Moving Animals

Pets are an important part of the family. They bring laughter, comfort and joy to life, so you want to make sure to give them the best possible move experience. You can do this by keeping them calm and well-adjusted. Happy pets make your life easier. Here are a few ways to give your pet a happy move while you can also keep your own peace of mind.

ID tags

Update your pet’s I.D. tags with the new home address.

Talk to the vet

Retrieve a copy of all your pet’s medical records from your vet.

Stock up

Have extra pet medication in case it takes time to locate a new vet for your pet’s medication in a new city.

Vet suggestions

Before you move ask your vet to recommend a new vet hospital or vet office in your new area. You can also make some calls to have a couple ideas in mind.

Have a pet plan

Don’t fluster your pet in the midst of the moving chaos. If at all possible arrange to have a friend or family member watch your pet while the bulk of moving happens.

Keep animals contained

Move your animal in a crate inside your personal vehicle if possible. This way you can be near your pet and keep it safe for the journey inside a crate.

Make it familiar

Set up a space in your new home as soon as possible with your pet’s favorite, familiar items. Trying to recreate the pet’s old space as much as possible will help the animal transition to the new location better.

Clear Out That Kitchen

The kitchen might be your packing nightmare. It’s the place in the home that gets the brunt of action but even the most organized home owner could forget a thing or two when packing up the many parts of a kitchen.

Weigh the cost

If you are downsizing, take into account the cost of items. If your toaster is not of much value and you can find a smaller one after you’ve moved, then choose to get rid of it.


your new kitchen’s space and needs matter. Will you need all your mini appliances? Is there enough room for all your dishes or do you need to donate some?

Fragile food

place into hard containers so they don’t crack, break or crumble.

Heavy items

canned goods are heavy to move usually cheap to purchase. Consider donating yours to a food drive or food pantry instead of moving them all.


Be sure to check all the expiration dates on your food before donating or packing.

Pantry Packing

if the items are expensive (like spices, for instance) then find a way to pack them (see tip 11). If the item is cheap to replace (flour, sugar) then consider giving it to a neighbor or getting rid of it.

Cleaning Closet

Go through your cleaning supplies and make sure that you don’t have double items of anything. If you are trying to downsize, you can try to combine a liquid product from two half-full bottles down to one.

Be Careful

Are any boxes fragile? Mark them “FRAGILE.”

Be thrifty

Use sheets, blankets and pillows as protection to keep glass items safe in boxes. You’ll save money that would have been spent on bubble wrap or styrofoam, and you’ll save space.

Not the newspaper

Newspaper is not your safest wrapping material. Try using bubble wrap or blankets.

Breakdown the Bedroom

You may find that you have a lot more “stuff” tucked away in nooks and crannies of your home. The bedroom is the number one place that unnoticed stuff accumulates. You can handle it though!

When to start

6-8 weeks out from your move.


Keep the season in mind. Will it be fall and winter where you are moving to? Go through the summer/spring clothes first and pack them away.

One year test

whatever you have not worn in over a year can be donated. You likely won’t miss it.

Sort it out

go through all of your storage items and boxes of “stuff.” Make sure you aren’t bringing along items you could live without.

Pack precisely

Labels are your friend. Label the top and sides (or use colored tape, see tip 8, according to each room’s color).

Count the boxes

Be especially thorough and number your boxes for each room so that when you are unloading you know when something is missing.

Furniture fortitude

use padding or bubble wrap to protect your wood or glass furniture that could get scratched.

Group the closet

Move the clothes from your closet in groupings of about 13 so that the clothes remain hung on hangers with a garbage bag around them. You can even label the outside of the bag for extra organization.

Tear down

Disassemble any furniture that can be made more compact so as to leave extra space on the truck.

Keep track of parts

Tape any screws, hooks or small pieces to the dismantled furniture with clear tape so nothing goes missing.

Weight limit

The preferred box weight is 40 pounds or less

Note the weight

Mark boxes that exceed 40 pounds “HEAVY” so that movers can be careful.

Lighten the dresser

Remove drawers from desks and dressers to make them lighter to move.

Drawer wrap

Remove items from drawers to make lighter, or if you wish to keep the items inside, you can wrap the drawer with plastic or saran wrap to keep contents from spilling out.


Moving to a smaller place? Space is sometimes limited especially if you’re moving into a city apartment from a country home. Going from thousands of square feet to a thousand square foot space has been done numerous times. Your house will be no exception.

Give away piles

Locate the various people whom you can give your extra items to. You can choose your parents, sibling, friend etc. or donate to a thrift store (see tip 2).


designate a different spot for the items going to each place or person so you can stay organized.

Receiving piles

As you go through each room of your house, sort the items and place them by the chosen recipient’s pile.

Start big

go through all of the large furniture pieces and measure their size to insure they will fit in the new space. If they won’t fit, decide where to donate them or consider selling on craigslist.

Least First

The areas that receive the least amount of attention will be the easiest to organize. Start in the attic, basement, spare room etc.

Keep or not

Sort the “keepers” from the “get rid of” items.

Pile then Pack

Make piles of similar items and then pack them in appropriate size boxes.

Clear out immediately

Get your piles of donations out of your sight as soon as possible. The longer its around the more nuisance it becomes.

Ask yourself

decide what to keep with the following questions:


You don’t need to part with everything that doesn’t fit the above questions. If something is hard to toss into a donation pile, allow yourself to keep it. Keep this to no more than 3 exceptions.

Late night frenzy

Avoid packing late into the night when your mind might be easily overwhelmed or unclear.

New mind

Take consistent breaks and come back with a fresh perspective

Ask for help

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Take time to remember the meaningful things. Reminisce with loved ones throughout the process.

Celebrate the successes

Each room that you go through is a victory and deserves a small celebration.

Stay positive

Find the positives of moving on and beginning a new chapter. Getting rid of “stuff” is progress!

Moving Day

Here are a number of things to keep in mind on your big day. It will run smoothly if you are sufficiently prepared, well-rested, and focused on the right things.

Do not load pile

Some things are not to be loaded into the moving truck. Label them and let the movers know first thing what not to touch.

Take out the trash

You don’t want to have your week’s worth of trash kicking around the place on move day. Stay on top of the trash situation and take trash bags out of the house before move day and throughout the day as more accumulates.

Kids can pack too

before your move, have your kids prepare by packing their own bag of favorite toys, games, activities and a change of clothes, snacks or whatever they’d like for the drive.

Child action plan

if you think you will work better on move day without having your kids right there, consider getting a sitter for the day or sending them to a friend’s house until you are ready to leave.

Give it time

before you leave the old home, if it is bittersweet to be moving on, take the time as a family to reminisce. Go on a final walk together through the home or neighborhood. Don’t let the busyness of the day deter you from remembering the important things.

Make room for the truck

Sometimes packing is such a task that you forget to get ready for the big moving truck. Make sure that your vehicles are out of the way and there is plenty of room for the moving truck to get as close to the house as possible.

Clear the way

For safety and a smooth moving day, be sure that all the hallways and walkways are clear for the movers to enter and exit with loads. Look for the things that could cause someone to trip such as rugs, mats, plants, wind chimes, figurines etc.

Inform the movers

Have movers do a walk through with you upon arrival. Explain the box key if there is one. Tell them what to be careful of. Don’t be afraid to point out things they should or should not do during the move. If some items are special or fragile, explain that to them. They want your move to be a success as much as you do, so over-communication is the key.

Have fun

Joke around with the moving crew. Have drinks, snacks, pizza, bagels, coffee or whatever you think is best to keep your crew happy and make the day feel like a party. The benefit of taking care of everyone is that your gesture thanks them, keeps them happy & hopefully makes the entire atmosphere more pleasant.

Tip or no tip?

It’s your decision. Most moving companies don’t require tips. If you are pleased with the movers’ attitude and process, than it would be a great kindness for you to tip them at the end of a successful moving day. The price can be whatever you feel most comfortable with. Even providing drinks and food throughout the day is an act of tipping the crew. Learn more tipping tips here.

Don’t overlook the paperwork

Go over the terms of the move with the movers if you are confused or just want to clarify anything.

Exchange numbers

Before you drive off and the moving truck does as well, be sure you both have each other’s numbers and any shipping or tracking numbers related to your move.

Clarify things

Ask them their driving plan, routes, and estimated time frame. It might not be exact but the movers know to leave room for traffic and other circumstances that may arise. The driver will call you with any changes.

Do a final search

Sweep through the home again and check every room, closet and cupboard for anything left behind. If you have been known to store things in special hiding places, make sure you have retrieved your special items.

Kids activities

You may want to familiarize your kids with the new area you will be moving to. Talk about the new place. Discuss what room will be theirs, and what the action plan is upon arrival. Have them learn to write their new address. Children respond well to thorough communication. The more you prepare them for, the happier and more excited they’ll become. They might even be a big help as well.

Make it a journey

Don’t rush your drive unless you are on a time crunch. Take the prettiest route rather than the fastest. Make it meaningful and an opportunity to build memories and strengthen relationships.

Long distance moves can be great

They are stressful, but you can make it a positive experience. You’ve put in all of the proper preparation up to this point, so now you can relax and maybe even pamper yourself with good meals along the way or a stop for a massage or stay at a nice hotel.

Keep cash handy

Don’t forget to carry extra cash on move day. You never know what might arise that needs some cash.
And there you have it. You’re mini move will be over before you know it. Soon you will be nestled comfortably in your new space with only your favorite items around you. Moving is a great opportunity to de-clutter and re-organize your home as well as your lifestyle priorities. Maybe the trip will give you a new perspective on life and the value you place in certain places of things.
It’s always an adventure and always an experience to learn from. We hope this list assists you every step of your moving journey. Please let us know if you have additional moving tips or tricks we should add to our list!
Feel free to contact American Mini Movers professional, friendly crew by filling out a form here. We look forward to hearing from you and learning the ways we can assist your mini move.

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