Moving Stress-Free: the Ultimate Guide

As a wife of an expat I got used to moving a lot. But every time we do it, it’s still a mess.

My mom always says one move equals three fires.

And even if maybe it’s not completely true, I can see where it comes from. All these packing and unpacking takes so much time and so much energy, it’s insane!

If we were in US I would gladly hire a company that does all the packing for you. But unfortunately, in China they don’t have this kind of service so you still have to do everything by yourself.

So, after a couple times I became a self-proclaimed moving professional!

And to share my new super-power I decided to write this guide for you, so you can learn from my experience (and my mistakes)!

Hopefully, it will help you to move to your new place stress-free, or at least reduce it to a minimum.

What to Do Before Move:

Declutter and donate items that you don’t need

When you know you are going to move to a new place (and you can’t avoid it at any cost), go through all your things and leave only those that you actually use. What’s the point of taking all your stuff with you, if you don’t use half of it? It can be done a month or even two before the big day, so you could have plenty of time to think about what you actually need. You can use this decluttering guide to help you with that!

Schedule movers or hire a van

Whether you’re going to do everything by yourself or need some help from professionals, arrange everything as early as you can. Those moving companies get booked really quickly, so no one would be mad at you for calling too early!

The same goes for your days off work and your kids’ school – the earlier you make arrangements the better.

Inform your bank, post office, etc. about your new address

During the moving process you might get too stressed and forget about all those things, so it would be much more convenient for you to notify them in advance.

Plan when are you going to disconnect/reconnect your internet, landline and other utilities

While some of those things like water and electricity can be done within minutes after you moved, others, like your wi-fi, require a professional to come. So, plan ahead and make sure you will be at home when they come to disconnect your old place and connect the new one.

If you have pets, make a plan for them

Unfortunately, our pets don’t have a luxury of understanding what’s going on, why is there a huge truck and some strangers grab and put their favorite couch into it. That’s why they for sure will get stressed out. I mean you can mentally prepare yourself, make a plan and so on, and for them it just starts.

So, before the day comes, think how can you make it easier for them. Maybe someone can go ahead to your new home with your pet and their things. Or ask someone to babysit them, and when everything is done you can take your fur babies to your new home.

And if they travel with you, when you begin unpacking, start with their things first, so they can properly eat, drink and sleep in their beds.

Ask someone to look after your kids

Sometimes kids and moving days don’t go very well together, and it will be easier for all of you if someone would look after them. Which, of course, you also need to plan ahead. I mean, even your closest friends or relatives wouldn’t want to get a last-minute call when they planned to have a quiet day just by themselves.

Start collecting moving supplies

Like boxes, scissors, duct tape, so when it’s time to pack you can be sure you have everything on hand. And don’t just run and buy new boxes, ask your friends and nearby shops if they have boxes they don’t need, probably you will find more than enough.

Make a moving folder

Put all the documents you may need, like your contracts, quotes and receipts, in a separate folder and keep it in your bag to make sure it won’t get lost.

Clean your new home

If there is anything you need to clean in your new home – do it before you move. You don’t want to end up scrubbing toilets on the first night there.

Eat everything

Make a meal plan with all the things that you have in your fridge and freezer and try to finish them before you move. By doing so you prevent food from going bad, and nothing will leak on other boxes in the truck.

Free Printable Meal Planning Workbook

Some tips on packing:

Label your boxes with at least name of the room, or maybe even a general list of items inside. Or you can use color-coding system and mark your boxes with colored duct tape.

The heavier items are – the smaller the box should be. Things like books or dishes get heavy really fast, so don’t put them in huge boxes.

Get creative: instead of bubble wrap you can use your towels or clothes. I usually put those wine glasses in big fluffy winter socks (remember that socks should be clean though).

If you already have items organized in bins or trays just use plastic wrap to cover them before packing. It will make unpacking process so much easier: you just need to take off the wrapping and put them back into drawers.

Tape all the things that can spill, especially those cleaning detergents. And even if you taped everything really well, still try to keep that box away from boxes with clothes, baby’s or pet’s things.

What to Do the Day Before:

Defrost your fridge and freezer

And wipe everything dry. For most new fridges a day should be more than enough.

Pack your “first day essentials” and put them in your car

So you don’t have to go through all those boxes looking for clean underwear or your toothbrush. Think about what you might need during the first 24 hours: clean clothes, toiletries, a towel, your phone charger, a flashlight (just in case) and maybe some snacks and water.

Say goodbye to your neighbors

On the actual day of your move you probably would be too busy for a friendly chat.

Get some rest

Get some good night’s sleep and give your body some rest: you will burn plenty of calories tomorrow.

What to Do on the Day of Your Move:

Walk through your old house

Check if you forgot anything, if all the windows are closed and nothing is left behind.

Plan all immediate home improvements

When you come to your new place, schedule everything that needs to be fixed. Maybe something is leaking a little bit, or you need some painting to be done. The faster it will all be finished, the faster you would feel at home.

If you used movers, inspect all your items

Last time a few weeks after we moved I found out that movers broke out coat hanger and while I wasn’t looking fixed it with two sharp screws, ugh. So check everything and report any damage.

Stay hydrated, organized and lift with your legs!

Good luck and don’t worry: you will survive this!

Have you ever moved your household? What are your pro-tips for moving stress-free? Tell me in the comments below!

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Moving Stress-Free: the Ultimate Guide

Moving Stress-Free: the Ultimate Guide


  1. moumita

    December 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Donating items is just so necessary. We get emotional while giving away our stuffs but it seriously messes up our home with the things which we will never require.
    Your cover image itself made me stress free 🙂

    1. Jane Moskva

      January 2, 2018 at 9:55 am

      Hi Moumita! I totally agree with you here, and all those things give me is just a huge sense of guilt, like “I’ve spent so much money and now I don’t use it” every time I look at them

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