This past week has been kind of a rude awakening for me… My boyfriend and are moving into a new apartment. Over the past month, I’ve had myself convinced that I wasn’t going to end up packing one thing into an actual box. My plan was to just throw all of our belongings into canvas bags, suitcases, backpacks and to keep everything else in the containers that we store them in… and just go.
We’re only moving 5 blocks down after all… (more on that in another personal post). However, reality hit me like a brick wall and I realized that our belongings far exceeded what I was expecting.
SO. I quickly realized that my tote bag idea was just plain insane. My boyfriend brought some (15) boxes home from work the next day.
That night we started to go through all of our belongings.
That night we started to go through our belongings before we even attempted to pack them up.
The reason we chose to go through our stuff before we packed is because anything that we packed, would have to be unpacked. And honestly, the last thing anyone wants to worry about during a move is organizing and putting away items that you don’t even need/want.
Seriously, the thought of unpacking is causing some serious dread over here. Which is saying something!
Because I love organizing. But the thought of organizing an entire apartment from scratch doesn’t seem even the tiniest bit as good the thought of organizing my shoe collection.
On top of it all, since we’re moving into a bigger apartment I’ve found myself buying so many things that we need. We’re adding an extra bedroom, and extra bathroom, and a couple hundred square feet in comparison to what we have now. So it only makes sense that there are a few essentials we’re missing.
And along with buying the essentials… comes buying the fun stuff that I see (because who goes into Target with a list and DOESN’T walk through the entire store?).
Here’s some of my favorite products that go with the vibe I’m trying to accomplish in the new apartment:
I’m all about the vibe that a space gives off. For each room, I pick a vibe to go for and take that into consideration with each thing that goes into that room.
Our whole apartment gives off a pretty good boho vibe, I feel like.My boyfriend will probably disagree… but what does he know about boho? And you know I have to throw my white faux fur and gold accents in there! (but the amazing thing about white and gold accents… is that they can be mixed in to ANY type of vibe without looking out of place or overwhelming).
I had planned on continuing that boho vibe and adding in some tribal in certain places throughout the apartment. I’ve been really into the whole black and ivory simplistic, tribal patterns lately. Tassels, stripes, wall hangings – it’s an obsession.
But when we walked through the apartment, I realized that the whole tribal aspect was not going to mesh with the white/grey faux marble countertops in the bathrooms. So I’m going to have to switch up some plans here in there. I’m too much of a perfectionist to be mixing patterns and prints and colors.
Tribal flows more with a boho vibe, while the faux marble tops create a more glam vibe. Like I said, I’m all about it. But if a space gives off more than one vibe… it’s going to start a slow internal disaster for me.
Which is why I’m going to keep it super clean and simple in the bathrooms and kitchen… and just mix my tribal obsession into my living room accent pieces and into my dining room through small, detailed pieces.
I need cohesiveness.
Fun fact: it took me years and years to be able to convince myself that it was okay to wear a black top with brown sandals, or to wear silver stud earrings with a gold necklace.
But we’re getting off track. Let’s talk about how you can lessen your load during a move and make the packing/unpacking process a million times easier on yourself.
Here’s what is going down in this post:
- Tips for going through your belongings (I refer to my minimalism post here.)
- How to group/categorize your belongings before packing.
- A list of my favorite packing hacks.
- An easy guideline of what to pack first + what to pack at the last minute.
So don’t stress your move! Enjoy the excitement, follow my tips, and prepare yourself in no time.
Here are some tips for going through your belongings.
I’ve already discussed why this an absolute necessity. But let’s do a quick summary: anything that you pack, you have to unpack.
So go through your entire home before you even start packing. This will ensure that any items you do not need or want, won’t make it into the new apartment for you to deal with later on.
When I was going through my closet, I would hold stuff up, decide to get rid of it, start folding it up (or even place it in the bag!), and then decide I wanted to keep it…
Cue boyfriend: “No, put it back in the bag… you know you don’t need OR want it.” So Tony… thank you for the constant reality check.
Whether you need someone else to be present to bring you back down from your crazy inner hoarder, or whether you need to be that for yourself… step up and be ruthless.
Ask if you want it, then ask if you need it. If you don’t need it, get rid of it. No excuses or justifications.
Give (or sell) it to someone who can use + enjoy it.
Sometimes I think that I have a harder time parting with things if I know I have to throw them out. But, if I donate things then I feel much better about it because I know someone else will be enjoying it.
I have family friends with daughters that get all my secondhand clothes – which feels SO good. Like these girls actually ARGUE over who gets to keep what out of the bag of clothing that I send over… It makes them THAT happy and excited… which makes me super happy too.
I hate wasting. So it pains me when things get thrown out. So I highly encourage you to donate! Whether it be to family friends, an organization, wherever.
You can even sell your stuff! Consignment shops, numerous online options. Whether it be clothes, home items, etc. Anything (in good condition) can be donated or sold.
So don’t throw anything out unless it’s broken or worn out and not in good condidtion. Pass on anything in good condition and let it excite someone else the same way it excited you when you first got it.
There’s not much I can say about this here that I haven’t said in greater detail throughout this post. Check it out!
Here’s how to group your belongings by category before you even start packing.
Some people say that packing up your home by room, one room at a time, is the easiest. I kind of did that in some areas… but in other areas I packed our belongings by category.
For instance, I put all of our decor items (picture frames, wall hangings, candles, etc.) together in a pile. From there I packed up all of these items together.
I did the same thing throughout the rest of our apartment.
All of our throw blankets and extra comforters went together. Towels and extra sheets went together. All of our books, paperwork, notepads, etc. went together. All of our throw pillows went together, all of our outerwear and extra gear (that definitely isn’t needed during April in Florida) went together. I could go on.
Packing this way made me realize how many items I have in each category, how many boxes I needed to pack it up, and the best of all…. By grouping I was able to group up things that I knew I wouldn’t need during the final week at the apartment before the move. So I was able to pack up all of these things first.
This also makes unpacking easier because you know which boxes are what type of items. This way you can unpack what you need, and save decor and extra sheets (for example) for last.
Seriously, group your shit up and thank me later.
Here are some of my favorite tried and true packing hacks to make your life easier.
- Use a toothpick or paper clip to keep from losing the edge of the packing tape. If you’ve ever used rolls of packing tape…you know how horrible it is when that edge sticks completely down on accident. Using a toothpick or paper clip will save you a lot of time and sanity instead of fidgeting around for the edge of the tape.
- Keep sandwich bags and a sharpie handy for any screws that you take out of the wall or any furniture that you take apart. Label the bag with what furniture it came from or what it was hanging on the wall. This will make decorating and putting everything bag together much easier. No more digging around in your tool bag to find the right hardware.
- Use plastic wrap to place over any toiletry lids you think might leak. I also do this when I’m traveling. You take the lid off, place a square of plastic wrap over the opening of the bottle, and close the lid. Now it’s spill proof in case the lid decides to open in your bag or box.
- Use masking tape or regular tape to hold together and label any cords. This way you can categorize them and place them all in the same box or bag… without the confusion of unpacking them and having no idea where any of them go.
- On the same note, take photos of the back of your tv or desktops or any technology with a lot of plugins. It’ll make set up at the new place so much quicker.
- Pack your heaviest items in your suitcases so you can roll them out and then back in easily.
- Make use of any type of existing suitcases, backpacks, totes, and baskets that you have. This will lessen the amount of boxes you need and let’s be real… they’re just easier to carry than boxes are.
- Pack your hanging clothes by putting them in a trash bag while they are still hanging up. Leave the hangers of the bag sticking out so that when you get to the new place, you can take them straight to the closet. This avoids wrinkles and hassle.
- Pack all of your kitchen breakables vertically instead of stacking them up horizontally. It’ll reduce breakage.
- Pack all of your essentials (makeup, toiletries, change of clothes) in a tote bag. That way you know where your essentials are when you need them just in case you haven’t had to time to finish unpacking. This way you won’t have to search through the sea of brown boxes to find your shampoo.
There are 10 of my tried and true packing hacks to make like easier.
But I have ONE MORE hack (more like rule) that is the most important of all.
Ultimate hack: Provide anyone that’s willing to help you move with food and booze.
Be courteous. It could be beer, it could be champagne. It could be pizza, it could be sushi. Just feed your helpers and give them booze. The whole day will be much more enjoyable for everyone if you treat it like a little party.
Your friends will thank you. Trust me on this one.
Here is your guideline for what to pack first + what to justify waiting until the last minute to pack.
10 non-essential items that you can pack early on:
- Decorative elements are the first to go.
- Books, games, office supplies etc.
- Extra ANYTHING. Toiletries, supplies, sheets, towels, etc. If you have extras, pack them.
- Kitchen items that aren’t commonly put to use. I packed our food saver, mandolin, coffee maker, and sets of plates, bowls, and glasses.
- Clothes that aren’t in season or shoes that aren’t commonly worn.
- Anything that you keep in a storage closet or room (wrapping paper, holiday items, non-essential tools, craft supplies). All of this stuff pretty much stays in boxes or in containers. So we’re just moving all of this stuff in the existing containers.
- The liquor cabinet (we kept one bottle out and two koozies for any upcoming beer nights).
- The junk drawer (leave any essentials and put a small tote bag in there for packing it up later on).
- Any hobby related items (although I’m not allowed to pack up my boyfriend’s fishing supplies until moving day).
- Non-essential electronics (speakers, gaming consoles, etc.)
10 essential items to pack when your countdown hits t-minus 1 day (maybe a few days earlier for you but I’m only moving 5 blocks):
- Throw pillows (we make use of these often in our home so we can’t pack them up too early).
- Any big kitchen items that are still out (pots, pans, tea kettle, crockpot).
- All of your utensils (plates, bowls, cups, forks, etc.) but make sure to leave out a couple of cups for the big day.
- Dry foods and spices.
- The rest of your closet, shoes, and accessories.
- Your bed sheets and pillows.
- Television, laptop, and any other electronics that are still in use.
- The bathroom.
- All of the food in the refrigerator and freezer. Have a couple of cooler bags handy! And try to avoid grocery shopping that week!
Are you moving soon? Is the excitement sooo real? Don’t want to deal with the dreadful packing and unpacking? Then hopefully this content helped you out a ton. Moving is an exciting time. Don’t let the logistics of it drag you down!
Just follow all my tips. Go through your belongings, categorize them, pack them according to my 12 hacks + follow my timeline of when to pack what.
Don’t forget to pin this and follow me on Pinterest, too! I have a whole board dedicated to Hacks & Tips that you’ll love if you like this post.
Want more ideas?! Check out how to make a rental feel like home!
Part of this post contains affiliate links for some of my favorite home decor items. You can trust that I only ever recommend items that I actually love and trust. Check out my disclosure policy.