A Move Gone Right

A Move Gone Right

A move gone right  – one of our latest projects helping one of our clients move.

First, kudos to this client of ours for two main reasons: (1) She first called us to declutter and organize her whole house (she knew she was moving in the future), and (2) After we organized her place, she maintained the house and the order within in top shape.

Organizing Before Packing

These two things were of great importance, especially because she was moving. And as counterintuitive as it sounds, organizing the home before packing for moving is crucial. This is because:

  • It’s the only way to decide what to keep and what to let go confidently.
  • Organizing the home before the move allows packing by category, which leads to a smoother unpacking and new home set-up process.

Organizing the home is critical before packing for moving, especially if the homeowner shows the house while living there.

Living in the House to Sell Complicates Things

Showing the house to sell while living in it is a different animal altogether – from packing itineraries to staging parameters to navigating living in a home while tiptoeing around.

Trying to sell, stage, and show a house while living in it is far more complicated in every aspect. But our client navigated this process like a champ! And what’s more, packing her home for the move was simpler than expected because of the preemptive strategy and planning employed.

Preemptively Planning and Working Together

As mentioned, she had the home meticulously organized by us and then professionally cleaned by a company we recommended months before putting the house on the market.

Some months later, we worked together again when she was ready for a staging and home prep consultation. She followed our advice quickly and thoroughly.

When it was time to pre-pack the home as part of the staging phase (to show the house with fewer contents), she had us help her with that as well.

The final packing took place three days before closing.

The Timing Of It All

One of the critical aspects of planning a smooth move is considering the different levels of packing the person or family will need, according to what the process looks like for them.

Our client already had conducted a preliminary pack to stage the home. The moving company placed her belongings in a local storage facility.

Given the timing of the closing, we needed to pack her last belongings four days before closing to provide time for the movers to pick up the boxes and furniture, plus allow an extra day for the make-ready cleaning.

So, we had two days to finish packing her house, and that was it? No, not so fast.

This client would spend two days in her empty house and two more days in a hotel before finalizing the house sale.

Although she would hit the road immediately after closing, she’d need an extra night in a hotel somewhere along the route. Also, she was going to a rented house for 30 days until her new home was ready (new build).

The Many Packing Levels

So, each one of these details informed and directed our packing efforts. It was more complex than packing everything on sight and go. There were several packing levels to consider:

  1. Items packed in the preliminary stage – these were taken to a local storage by the moving company.
  2. Items packed in the last few days and picked up by the moving company to be added to her local storage for the time being (including her car).
  3. Items the client needed during a month-long stay at a rented house until her new is available. These things would be packed in more accessible bags/boxes and loaded into her van.
  4. What she needed for the last couple of days in her empty home, the local hotel until the closing, and the hotel on her way to her new state – to be packed using her suitcases and carry-on bags. She was supposed to operate exclusively with the stuff in her suitcases and carry-ons for 6-7 days.

We considered all these things in our master plan. Our client was able to follow the plan, and when everything was said and done, she happily went on her way to her new life adventure.

It’s Complex But Not A Nightmare

I wanted to share this experience and process to illustrate the things I usually discuss in a real-world scenario.

The moving process, in its many dimensions and details, is complicated. But with the right planning and execution, it does not need to be a nightmare.

The next time you plan to move, call an expert in moving management so you can get help navigating this cumbersome process from A to Z.


Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

One of the hardest things about moving is balancing getting a head-start on the packing, having what you still need to live and function in the house before you move, and keeping a home worth showing.

As a Professional Organizer, I deal with packing and moving quite frequently. Many people find the packing and moving processes abhorrent and excruciating, making this one of the most significant stressors in anyone’s life. Thus, they often rely on a Pro to deal with all that.

Here is some advice to ease the burden of the packing for the moving process. If there comes a time when you have to go through this, being better informed and armed with some strategies will ease your pain.

Home Areas & Item Categories

Pay attention to the order, the how, and the what of your packing. The best thing to do when moving is to organize the home before you pack your move. Why is this? There are three main reasons:

(1) in organizing the home, you realize there is a lot you can let go of before moving (less effort and money to move)

 (2) organizing the home before packing allows things that should be together to be together. Then, the packing happens logically, by categories. This makes the unpacking so much easier and the home setup faster

 (3) no one likes seeing (or showing) a cluttered home for sale. Shoving things in closets, cabinets, and drawers does not work. Visitors open these if they come with the house. If the contents in these spaces are disorganized, visitors immediately think the house lacks storage space. That is a big red flag in selling a home.

Note that if a moving company handles the move, they might have restrictions and limitations about how to pack and who does it. Due to insurance, they might need to do the packing instead of the client.

But whether you pack your move or they do, following a particular order in the process and grouping items in a certain way for later packing will make everything easier.

The main thing to remember is that packing logically and per item category (not by room) is the name of the game. Therefore, although this article is divided by house areas, you will notice the importance of item categories in the process.

Living Room/Media Room/Game Room

Most likely, your movers will take care of large electronics and furniture in that room. However, before moving day, you should empty the cabinets and drawers and allocate their contents in groups and boxes according to the item categories in the space. Examples of items in these areas are board games, DVDs, board games, CDs, smaller A/V equipment, toys, blankets, smaller electronics related to games, etc. So, you want to go throughout the house and gather all items that belong to any of these categories so these items stay together.

Pro Tip 1: Use small boxes for CDs and other living room items. The weight adds up fast — pack heavier items toward the bottom of the box and lighter items toward the top. Don’t exceed 50 pounds per box to make moving easier.

When a game room, living room, or media room includes crafts items, if you will have a dedicated crafts space in the new home, box crafts stuff separately and mark them as such. These boxes should land in your new crafts space when you move. If the new house does not have a dedicated crafts area, consider merging all crafts materials with office supplies. In this case, take all crafts items to the current home’s office area and pack these items with office things.


You might need many files and documents until the day before the move. Set aside all documents you will need, and you can transfer the contents of your filing cabinet to banker’s boxes. Label these boxes. You only need to add those files or documents to the boxes on moving day.

Packing your desktop computer last is best unless you have the same access to information using your laptop or iPhone. Laptops can go with you in the car, so there’s no need to pack them in anything but their case.

If you have diligently kept your paper files in order and have cleaned up your files every year, you are in the best shape possible in that area. If not, take care of that now. It’s in your best interest to avoid moving messy files that will need sorting later and would only make your move more expensive.

Linen & Coat Closets

Linen and coat closets usually contain lots of random things. Moving is the best time to see what we own, what we still want, and what won’t go with us. In the process, we must consider the function of those items we keep.

The purpose of each item determines where that item goes. Now is the time to take each item to its proper place rather than pack everything in these closets together.

At the same time, determine if other items in the home should be in any of those closets. In that case, gather and merge such things with the closet’s contents. Why? Because you want to pack together items serving the same purpose or belonging to a particular category. Packing this way leads to a faster and more logical unpacking process on the other end, as mentioned before.


The kitchen usually contains items that we accumulate for years and never use. Before packing, assess what you use, need, and want. Get rid of duplicates and other things you do not use or want.

Pro Tip 2: Pack dishes, trays, cutting boards, and other flat items in boxes vertically instead of flat. This way, they are less likely to crack. Use smaller boxes for dishes and utensils because these items are heavy. Place thin foam sheets between the plates. For dishes and fragile items, use bubble packaging material. Cloth napkins, dish towels, and tablecloths are also helpful for cushioning.

Pro Tip 3: Avoid newspapers, though. Newspaper leaves ink marks, and you want to avoid washing every dish in your new home when you move in.

boxes packed and labeled ready for the move


Most bedroom items can be packed well before the move, except for the sheets and blankets on the bed and outfits you wear regularly.

Many things in our bedrooms fall into the “miscellaneous” category. Examine those items. If anything belongs somewhere else, take that item or group of objects to where they belong so they can be with their logical groups before packing.

If you no longer need or want something, this is the time to let it go.


Go through every toiletry product in your cabinets and discard unwanted or expired ones. Identify all hygiene and beauty products you will need until moving day and put those in a box or bin so they remain available for your use but are easy to grab and go on moving day.

Pro Tip 4: After this process, pack the rest of your toiletries in small boxes lined with plastic garbage bags, as toiletries can easily leak.

Pack all towels and linens not used with other towels and linens found throughout the house in one category. Towels and linens can also be packed in advance.

Pro tip 5: Keep a laundry bag handy for the few dirty clothes and towels used until the last minute.

Bedroom Closets

Be sure to pack your closet before the last minute. Unfortunately, closets become storage spaces for all kinds of things, and we forget about them because these items hide behind clothes.

Start organizing your closet before your move so you can decide about those items that don’t belong in the space. Place those things with related stuff and where they should have been in the home. Then, once in the new house, find the logical, permanent place for those items (do not place them back in the closet!).

Wardrobe boxes make packing clothes easier — transferring the clothes from the closet to the box and hanging them on the bar. Removing hangers is unnecessary, which facilitates unpacking your wardrobe later.

Pro Tip 6: Protect folded clothes by placing them in a large plastic bag before boxing. Then, if the boxes get wet in transit, the plastic will protect your clothes.

garage organization and packing to move


Before you cringe, you can quickly and gracefully tackle the garage.

Start by trashing everything that you can discard. There is usually a lot of trash in garages. That will make the process easier. Then, take all paints and chemicals to a specialized recycling facility. If paint cans have lived in the garage for years, they are no longer in good shape. Also, paint is specific to the house- you won’t need it in your new place. One idea is to take pictures of each can lid so you keep a record of paint formulas and brands for the new homeowner.

Moving companies don’t transport chemicals and paints, but you’ll be better off buying new products, so you start with a clean, fresh garage area and supplies. Also, these items are heavy, and moving companies charge by weight. It is less expensive to buy new garage products.

For this same reason, you want to clean up your tool chest or toolbox to keep what you need and use. Repair and building equipment are bulky and heavy and will substantially increase moving costs. During this purging process, you will be amazed at the many things you can let go, sell, and donate to places like Habitat for Humanity.

Seasonal Décor

Now is the ideal time to take inventory of your seasonal and holiday decorations. We usually store these items in a garage or attic. So, see what works or not, what will fit your new place, and what can be donated or trashed.

Organize all items to keep in plastic, labeled bins with lids. Those bins will probably go inside moving boxes for the move, but the totes will protect their contents. Once at the new place, you will remove the packages and place the containers in your garage shelving system, attic, or storage unit.

Treat other things in your garage like the seasonal décor category (organized, relevant contents in well-labeled plastic bins). You will see how manageable the garage is when you tackle it methodically.


Some pet items, such as grooming supplies, extra toys, and additional dishes, can all be packed in advance. Ensure to leave out anything needed for your pets until moving day and during the moving process, such as kennel accessories, special toy(s), treats, etc.

Ensure your pets are safe during moving day, including keeping them locked away when movers are in and out of the house to prevent them from running away.

Important Things To Remember

In summary, here are some things to remember for packing each space of the home:

  • Before starting the packing process, it would make sense to organize the house. During the organization process, items find their logical space, and things of the same kind come together, making it easier to pack logically.
  • Purge as you go.
  • Get all items of the same category or use throughout the house and pack them together.
  • Pack item categories with your new home in mind – think about where the things will go.
  • Label each box with the name of the room where they will go in your new house (not where they came from).
  • Using a box number system, create a contents inventory for each box in a master file.
  • Creating a plan and starting the process beforehand makes packing less stressful for you and your family. The less stress you face in this phase means a more enjoyable transition to your new home.


Moving? Call A Professional Organizer Now.

Moving? Call A Professional Organizer Now.

If you are considering moving, this is the ideal time to call a Professional Organizer. The best time to contact an Organizer is six months before the relocation. Please do not wait until the week before the move (seriously, don’t!). Here is some background story on how and why the moving process is chaotic and feared by many. Then, you’ll see why you should call a Professional Organizer now if you are considering moving.

Is This You?

Do you still have unpacked boxes from your last move? Do you even know what is in them? You did unpack but put things away without thinking about where everything should go. Are you still living with the consequences of that moving day? 

The process of moving is stressful and messy. But it also has lingering consequences that you probably have not even considered!

What Lies Beneath

At a fundamental level, moving is a change we might resist. When we move, we need to make decisions about what we own. Frequently, facing our stuff stirs up memories or fears we have not dealt with or are not ready for. 

When people do not want to face these memories or fears, they drag everything they own from one home to the next without evaluating or discarding a thing. 

Some move stuff they no longer want from one house to the next because they don’t have the time to evaluate and organize what they own. Yet others do not know any method or strategy to prevent the chaotic moving day debacle.

By forgoing the critical steps of organizing their move and purging what is no longer wanted, they miss the chance to simplify their lives and start fresh in a new home.

As a result of the missed opportunity, their clutter, and disorganization will follow them to their new home. 

Meanwhile, At The New Place

After falling for the beautifully staged home they saw and bought, reality rushes in like a train wreck on moving day when all the boxes and bulky bags arrive at the new place. These boxes and bags come in total disarray and include things that should have been discarded. However, they are here now, and what is in and where is yet to be determined. 

The arrival of such mayhem on a moving day often results in frantic unpacking and placing stuff wherever it lands. But, unfortunately, that is precisely where all that stuff remains for months, even years, after the move. 

Some boxes never get opened. So instead, those boxes will go from the garage to the attic, then back to the garage, and maybe the spare room, all the way reminding us of the messy move poorly executed.

Do-Over: Organize Home Before Packing To Move

Organizing the home before packing your move has several distinctive benefits:

Faster Home Sale

Clutter in a home speaks of a lack of storage and makes the home look smaller. Conversely, a well-appointed house conveys larger spaces and proper storage. Potential buyers will always open cabinets, closets, and drawers when these come with the house. They need to see those spaces as ample and efficient. An organized home sells faster because people buy space.

More Profitable Sale

An organized home looks and feels more spacious, leading to a more profitable sale. An organized home makes staging the property possible. Staged homes sell faster and for more money than unstaged homes.

Less Expensive Move

Why pay to pack and move things that will end up discarded anyway? Discarding what you don’t want first makes the process simpler and more economical.

Packing by Category

Organizing the home before packing for the move leads to everything having a single logical place in the house. When item categories are together in a single place, it is easier to assess our belongings and make decisions about them. Then, it is possible to pack the move by categories. Packing by categories leads to logical, streamlined unpacking. 

Streamlined Unpacking

Belongings packed logically and with the new home space in mind are easier to unpack. After moving in, the result is a faster new home setup and better organization system designs. The unpacking process is critical in determining how you’ll live in the new place. You can expect to live with order and grace if the process is fast, logical, and streamlined.

The Move – The Professional Organizer Way

Engaging a Professional Organizer to help with all your moving details can be crucial for a positive moving experience for once!

An Organizer can help your moving process in many ways. Here are some of them: 

Strategic Planning + Project Management = Streamlined, Stress-Free Moving Process

The Organizer knows the chaotic process of moving. Many organizers are excellent project managers. From managing the entire process to advising you on staged home living, the Organizer will spear no detail in the strategic plan. 

The Organizer will share additional services and resources you might need throughout the moving and home-selling process. Furthermore, they can coordinate and manage those services for you, removing stuff from your to-do list.

Whether it is staging services for your home, make-ready cleaning services, repairs for the new or current house, bulk trash removal, or designing services for the new place, your Organizer has you covered!

But the earlier you engage an Organizer in this process, the more opportunity they’ll have to help.

Organizing Home to Sell = Faster, More Profitable Sale

If you need to sell your current home before moving, an Organizer provides lots of value in the process. An organized home sells faster. Clutter in a home speaks of the lack of storage and makes the house look smaller. 

Conversely, a well-appointed house conveys the idea of larger spaces and good storage. Potential buyers will always open cabinets, closets, and drawers that come with the home. Hiding the clutter instead of managing it is not an alternative! 

Organizing the house before packing for moving makes sense if you need to be at your current home until you sell it.

Letting Go = Less Work & Fewer Costs in Moving

People often pay to move stuff they do not want or need anymore. Selecting what you need and use beforehand saves effort, packaging material, and money. Working with an Organizer helps you quickly purge unwanted items before packing. There’s no point in packing things that you will discard anyway. Instead, simplify the process and save money by discarding or donating what you no longer need or want before packing for the move.

Organized Belongings = Logical Packing + Easier Unpacking

It is easier to see what you own and make decisions about your possessions when related items are together, things are where they belong, and every category has a logical place. Thus, organizing your home before packing makes total sense. It facilitates packing by category, making unpacking much easier later on.

Packing with Care & Logic = Faster New Home Setup

I have seen far too many packing jobs where we find trashcans with actual trash inside, kitchen stuff, and even clothes. And when the packing does not include labeling or inventory, good luck finding what you might need from any of those boxes!

The scenario described above happens because moving companies usually pay their employees by time and volume. So, it makes no sense for them to separate item categories. Besides, packers are usually not Organizers and can’t make these decisions.

An Organizer packs by categories, carefully labeling everything and preparing comprehensive box inventories. Unpacking will be done with the same care and efficiency at your new place later.

New Home Prep = Feel “At Home” Sooner

The Organizer can fit your new place with systems to suit your lifestyle — modifying closets, creating built-in organizing solutions, translating systems previously used in your last home, or lining shelves and drawers. This professional prepares your new home to make you feel like you belong there from the very start.

Intentional & Thorough Unpacking = Faster Moving On with Life

Organizers find the perfect place for everything you own and put everything away so your new space remains organized and as functional as possible. 

With careful unpacking, everything finds a logical place, and everything is beautifully appointed.

In Summary

Moving is a process many people dread, but it can be amazingly beneficial when it is an organized, intentional exercise. Moving is the perfect opportunity to propel our lives where they should go. But when the process occurs without purging first, it leads to clutter and disorganization in the new place. And clutter is the opposite of the calm and stylish home we look forward to having.

So, declutter your home for a faster sale and an easier move and make space for new possibilities in your life. What is more exciting than moving to your new home? Moving to a new home where everything has a place, everything looks beautiful, and the space is functional. That is!

Do not hesitate to call a Professional Organizer to help with your move. Engaging an Organizer might be the best investment you make after purchasing your new home. With some planning and thought given to the logistics of the moving process, we’ve got this.

Welcome Home!


Further reading on moving: