Recently I posted about how we got our house staged and listed to sell on the real estate market. This post is Part 2: How to pack up a home which will cover additional details of our move including answers to FAQ’s I have received about our packing process and the logistics of the long distance move we made.
I will get right to it. :-)
How to Pack Up a Home When Moving
Since you DIY’ed the move, how did you keep track of everything that needed to get done?
I wrote everything down on one master list and then paper-clipped it to the cover of 3 folders I had. One for the house we were selling, one for the house we were buying, and then one to keep track of the day-to-day living stuff like mail and bills.
The list had everything on it that I needed to do: move, buy, clean, dates for when it needed to get done and more. This way if I was focused on the checklist for selling our house, I would not forget to look at the folder with everything for buying the lake house that I needed to do, like call the Realtor in South Carolina later in the day to give her requested information.
We started the list by asked ourselves some questions:
- When do we have to be officially out of the house?
- What can we live without and get rid of before we move?
- Where to buy boxes and moving supplies?
- What needed canceling at house selling and what needed to be set up at the house we were buying: Utilities, Internet, address change for all accounts, doctors, medical records, etc.
I sat down and went over everything, and when I thought of something days or weeks later, I immediately added it to the list.
It might seem daunting at first when you look at the long list, but having a master list will help keep you sane plus you see progress as each item is checked off the list.
How long did it take you to physically move to your new house?
Since we were using PODS Moving and Storage, we started packing up boxes and placing them in the first PODS to arrive in our driveway in September.
We slowly emptied the house of its contents over a 3 month period into 4 PODS. When one PODS was filled, it was taken to their local storage facility and a new empty PODS was brought back for us to fill up.
We placed the least used items in the first two PODS; the last PODS held the items we needed to live with up until the day we actually moved from the house on December 1st.
On the morning of December 1st, we drove in two separate cars eleven hours to South Carolina. We arrived late at night and stayed at a friend’s lake home there for one night.
Just to put a little extra complication into the move we had our oldest daughter’s dog and cat with us. Long story, short. She was in the process of going on literally twenty-five medical residency interviews all over the country in December.
Her roommates and boyfriend were all in the same process and no one could watch her pets. Time for Mom and Dad. :-) We love Kindii and Trax (you have seen them mentioned in my posts from time to time) and they came on our journey. We each drove our car packed with what we needed for one week and our house plants. I had Trax and his litter box in my car and Ed had Kindii in his.
Our closing dates for each house were one week apart so we had some time on our hands. We stayed in South Carolina that first night since it was pet friendly.
The next morning we left one car at our friend’s house and took off in the other car with the pets in tow and drove to Orlando, Florida.
We did this for two reasons. I was invited by Glidden to tour the HGTV Dream Home 2016 that was near Orlando and Ed’s best friend lives there and was happy to let us stay in his pet-friendly house. It is while I was staying here that I bumped my arm that caused me to get Shingles. :-(
The day before settlement on the lake house we were buying, we drove back to South Carolina and again stayed at our friend’s lake house. We made settlement late the next day. The following day, the first PODS arrived in our driveway to be unpacked.
Since I broke out with Shingles down my right arm and hand and was in horrible pain, I was out of commission. Luckily we hired our friend’s neighbor’s son who was on his semester break and looking for a way to earn some extra cash. He is a football player, strong and reliable.
He and Ed emptied a POD a day while I laid on the foyer floor with my spinning head from pain killers and my arm propped up on a pillow telling them where each item they brought into the house went.
Would you recommend PODS?
As DIY’ers and a couple who have moved quite a bit when we were first married and that have also moved our parents out of their homes, we were pretty seasoned in what we needed to do to get moved.
We went with PODS since we could do everything ourselves.They had storage and let us to pack up months in advance. Now that we have been through the whole process with them, I can’t say enough good things about the experience. I would highly recommend using them.
If you have the physical ability to pack boxes and load them into the PODS containers, you will be saving yourself a lot of money.
If you don’t want to DIY, PODS will give you names of packers and people in your area that you can hire to do the heavy lifting for you for an extra fee.
The farther away you move, the more it will cost and the more time every aspect of the relocation process is going to take. We moved from southeastern Pennsylvania to mid-central South Carolina. Eleven hours by car.
If you are traveling out of state or over 100 miles you will need to avoid local moving companies and services. Long distance movers are needed.
The cost of using PODS is determined by the amount of stuff you have, distance and the unavoidable cost of gas to simply transport the contents and weight of your stuff. PODS made it all doable for us. It certainly wasn’t cheap, but it was the least expensive option out there.
Moving supplies are expensive, how did you keep those costs down?
If you have moved recently, then you know just how expensive the supplies needed to get moved are. Early on, I searched online for “cheap moving boxes”, but didn’t find anything inexpensive about them.
I called local moving companies to see if they sold “used moving boxes” but none did. I searched on Craigslist and did find a few listings, but again, they wanted so much $$$ even for used boxes. Furniture blankets were needed and very expensive, too.
To get the packing process started, we bought our first batch of boxes, packing paper and furniture blankets through PODS, but then I found a much cheaper option for all of it….Walmart.
They sell moving boxes in the office supply area. They were the least expensive I found.
They carry 3 sizes and 2 different weights. Regular and heavy-duty. I bought both, but found the regular weight boxes did the job fine and were about 50 cents a box cheaper than the heavy duty ones.
I bought lots of packing tape and a tape gun, and two big black markers.
For packing paper, we had our initial purchase through PODS, but most of the packing paper we got was by asking our friends and neighbors to save their newspapers and send them our way.
I separated all of the newspaper into two piles, single page and double page. I used the single page to wrap up small items and the full double page for larger items.
Stacking the paper makes the packing process go super quick especially when wrapping up dishes and glassware. For smaller plates, lay a plate on the center of the double paper stack, bring one corner of the paper up and lay it over the plate, place a second plate on top and then bring up the second corner of the paper to cover the second plate, continue adding plates until all four corners of the paper are used.
Place the wrapped item in the moving box and then repeat the process. For larger plates, you many have to use one piece of paper per plate.
For furniture blankets, I bought inexpensive twin and full size blankets that were on clearance at Walmart.
They were really ugly, but for $1 – $4 a blanket I didn’t care since they were just being used to pad furniture. When we unpacked, I folded all the blankets neatly and donated them to the thrift store. WIN/WIN all around.
Do you have any packing tips?
I kept the packing process simple, no color coding boxes for me…too complicated.
I used paper, our bedding, blankets and sheets to wrap up stuff. I found tall boxes and blankets worked great to pack lamps.
All the lamp shades were placed into each other biggest to smallest and placed in a big garbage bag. I then sealed and labeled each box…
…with what was in the box and the room it would go to in our new house.
To pack our hanging clothes we used plastic garbage bags. It is a two person job to do it, but is the easiest way to move the hanging contents of your clothes closet.
- Have one person grab a section of hanging clothes still on the hangers, the second person then puts a plastic garbage bag over the bottom of the clothes and brings the bag’s opening up to the hangers. Use the ties on the bag to tie around the hangers to secure them together. In each of the PODS there were 2 rods that we used to hang each bagged group of clothes.
- If your bags don’t have ties long enough to tie around the hangers you can still use this method, but in reverse. Cut a hole in the center bottom of the bag and place the group of hangers through the hole. Bunch up the clothes to fit into the bag and then use the short ties on the bag to close the bag and secure your clothes. The hangers won’t be secured together when doing it this way, but we found it worked just as well when we ran out of long tie trash bags.
- The hardest room to pack up was my studioffice... so many supplies. I used painter’s tape and newspaper to secure the many storage drawer units I had.
There are a million moving tips on Pinterest…especially for packing ideas. If you need moving inspiration, type into the search bar “moving and relocation ideas” and a ton of posts will show up, all with good advice and do-able ideas to help make your moving process go as smoothly as it can.
How did you find your new house since it was a long distance away?
When we started out to find and buy a lake house, we put the word out to all our friends and family to suggest places for us to look. Good friends of ours who used to live in PA and now Greenville, SC told us we should look at Lake Murray in SC. We had never been, but they assured us we would really like it. We added it to our list of places to check out. We took two – week long trips in the fall. On our first trip we looked at houses on bodies of water in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and western Georgia. We stayed in budget hotels and at friend’s homes along the way.
We found many wonderful homes and towns that we could afford and then we came home to think more about where we wanted to live, pros and cons etc. After about a week we knew that Lake Murray, SC had everything we wanted. We then set out on a second week long trip to Lake Murray to concentrate our home search there. To keep costs down, we stayed at the summer home of a friend. On this second trip we found our house.
We had looked at many houses on Lake Murray on our first trip, but the realtor we worked with had many others for us to see. The house we bought had only been on the market for a few days. As soon as we walked into the house, we knew it was the one.
One of you commented that you know when you find the right house that you get anxious and want to get a bid in pronto since you don’t want to lose the chance to get it. That is what happened to us.
After viewing the house, the agent drew up the paper and presented them to the seller. It was a Friday and we had to wait over a weekend, but we learned late on a Sunday night that our bid was accepted. After this we were super excited which gave us new energy to get everything that needed to get done to move easier.
I hope this answers all the questions, if I forgot something about how to pack up a home when moving, please just leave it in the comments section of this post.
I have one more moving post to share with you and a giveaway that all of use, even if we are not moving could benefit from.
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