Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Blog

Improve Your Move

Hints and hacks to take the stress out of relocating.
Posted: March 23, 2016 by Honor Rudd

Hello Sea Coast readers! My name is Honor Tarpenning and I am Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage’s new Social Media Coordinator. I’ll be one of the faces behind our Facebook page and other social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram, as well as the writer of some of what you’ll come across here at

I am in the process of relocating from Little Washington, NC to beautiful Wilmington and am doing my best to make this my most organized, simple move yet. I thought it might be apropos to share with you some tips and tricks to make the moving process a little less daunting.

Feeling Home

So nobody has to go searching for anything in your first few days, pack each family member a bag with a few days-worth of clothes, as well as medications, toiletries, and some comfort objects. We all have little things that make us feel warm and cozy inside, for your kids it may be a teddy bear, for you maybe it’s your go-to coffee mug, or a favorite candle, anything that makes you feel like you’ve landed at Home.

My favorite advice regarding moving to a new town came to me years ago when I left home for college. A mentor told me to re-read a favorite book when I get where I’m going because a good book feels like home. I’ve been in Wilmington a week now, I really like it and I love my new job, but the homesickness pangs do come from time to time (especially since my fur babies will not be here for a few more weeks). Reading a book that I love has absolutely made me feel more settled.

Get organized

Do Future You, as well as whoever’s helping Present-day You, a big favor and get that packing started well in advance! It is going to take longer than you think, especially if you’re like me and you spend a big chunk of your “packing time” sitting in the middle of the floor staring blankly and hopelessly at piles of things, considering the possibility of just leaving it all behind and starting a new life with no possessions. Professionals recommend you start prepping for your move up to 8 weeks before zero hour. Going by that advice, we’re way, way behind!

You’re moving. It’s a new start! This is your chance to be one of those organized people who throw garden parties and actually do Pinterest projects. This is your chance to have an ever-tidy home right from the beginning! Everything should have a place—when you get where you’re going, unpacking will be so much easier if you already know where you’ll be putting things. If it doesn’t have a home, maybe you don’t need it.

Go through everything from your pantry to your junk drawer and especially your closet! If you haven’t used an item in a year, it’s probably safe to give it up. Every time you’re iffy on something, hold it in your hand and think, if this didn’t make it through the move, how much of a priority would it be to replace it? If the answer is not much, donate it or throw it away.

Speaking of things to throw away, make a note that your fridge should be cleaned-out and defrosted a day or two before you plan to move it, otherwise you’ll have a huge mess on your hands on moving day!


If it doesn’t fit, donate it! Sure, you might have a favorite pair of jeans that inspire you to slim into a size of days gone by, and it’s fine to keep a piece or two. But if you have lots of clothing hanging around that doesn’t fit anymore, it’s time to embrace your shape and only take the clothes you can wear.

Don’t worry about packing the clothes hanging in your closet, just gather them in bunches, zip-tie the hangers together, and cover with a garbage bag. All you have to do on the other end is cut the zip ties, pull off the bags, and you’re ready to roll. This works best with wooden or padded hangers as they help the clothes hold their shape.


Pack room-by-room, labeling each box with the room it goes in and what is in it. Write your labels on the side—you can’t see labels on the top when they’re stacked. For boxes with several different types of things in them, write down each item as you put it in the box and tape the list to the side of the box. Never put things from more than one room in the same box.

Pack a priority box for each room, label accordingly, and make sure they’re loaded last so they can be located and unpacked first. These boxes should contain the household items you expect to need in the first days in your new home. My kitchen priority box, for example, will contain my coffee maker, a nonstick frying pan, and the wee blender I use to make a protein shake every morning, among other things.

Free boxes can be found on craigslist, at your local ABC store, and at other retailers in your area. It might be worth purchasing dish packs if you’re particularly attached to your china—these double-walled boxes are made specifically for packing dishes, and they also make dividers to fit glasses.

Pad the bottom of any box that is to contain fragile items. Pack dishes vertically, like vinyl records, with Styrofoam plates in between. Wrap other fragile items in linens, blankets, towels, and clothes. Pack small items in layers with paper or t-shirts in between. Use what you have—who needs moving pads when you have afghans, who needs packing peanuts when you have socks?

Pack your heaviest items (for us it’s books) in rolling suitcases. I usually store smaller duffels and purses in my rolling suitcases but these items are reasonably light and can be tightly packed into boxes for moving. Save that suitcase space for heavyweight stuff that you’ll be glad to have on wheels.

Use small boxes for the rest of your heavy objects that don’t fit in your suitcases. Pack boxes tightly so that items don’t shift, but don’t over pack. Boxes shouldn’t weigh more than 40lbs. Stick to superlight things like blankets, pillows, and clothes for bigger boxes.

Any boxes that have lots of little stuff should be lined with a garbage bag, that way if the box breaks, you won’t be spending ages picking everything up. If you get through your move without even one box breaking, we would love to hear about how you acquired your super powers.

Most of the clothes and décor you pack now is intended to be unpacked in the very near future—not so for your seasonal items. Pack clothing and decorations for each season you’re not currently experiencing in plastic bins to be put away until they’re needed. Don’t forget to toss some lavender sachets in the bins to fend off moths and other creepy crawlers.

Plastic Wrap

You can purchase stretch wrap specifically for moving, or just grab several boxes of generic plastic wrap at the grocery store (you’ll have to use a little more if you get the cheap stuff).

Wrap everything you can! Your utensil tray, your earring tree, your jewelry box; unpacking is a breeze when all you have to do is cut the plastic off!

If you’re taking your dressers with you as-is, wrap each drawer in plastic wrap with everything in it. If you’re using a moving company with a brawny staff and industrial dollies, you might be able to wrap your whole dresser, drawers and all, but if you’re moving yourself, you’ll want to take those drawers out to make the furniture easier to carry. Of course the drawers will go back in the dresser in the truck, but you don’t want your clothes falling out of the drawers while you’re carrying them across the lawn.

Fragile items wrapped in padding can be further wrapped in plastic to keep the padding in place. You can also use plastic wrap to prevent messes with liquids such as cleaning and crafting products—place a square of plastic wrap over the mouth of the bottle before screwing the cap back on. Expect one of these bottles to break in transit—line the box with a garbage bag and only pack liquid items with other liquids, that way nothing gets ruined if a spill occurs.

When it comes to electronics, before unplugging anything, take a picture of the back of each device so you don’t pull your hair out later trying to remember which plug goes where. Use a piece of tape to label each power cord at the end where it plugs into the wall (pro tip: leave them on after your move and you’ll never play the what-am-I-unplugging game again).  Then, neatly coil all the cords for each device, wrap the coil in plastic so it stays neat and tidy, and label the outside with the device it belongs to.

Moving may not be easy, but at the very least these tips can make the process a little simpler, a little less stressful, and maybe even a little fun. Thanks for reading, good luck to you if you’re moving too, and I look forward to seeing you all in Facebook land! 

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