How to plan moving? – Expert guide

How To Plan Moving

Let me guess, like countless Coloradans, you have decided to move and are now trying to figure out how to plan moving from one house to another.

We all know that the housing market, especially in Colorado, is crazy! People are moving in and out of homes at levels never seen before. We see so many families who come to us and ask us to clean their homes before moving in or getting ready to list their homes for sale.

I don’t know anyone who enjoys the process of moving, but I do know many who detest it! I do too.

Personal experience with moving 

I have moved internationally twice and across the country close to 10 times, and I will say it doesn’t get any easier with experience!

Quite the opposite because as you get older, you accumulate more. We got to the point where we were transferring unopened and packed boxes from one move to another!

Some of these mystery boxes are still with us, and I have no idea what treasures are in there, waiting to be discovered. I am pretty sure there is not going to be a Picasso or van Gogh painting in any of those; I hope that whatever is in there is not perishable!

Our very last move was in 2013. We moved from our apartment in downtown Denver to our under construction (I am not kidding) home in Golden. Our house was being remodeled while we moved in. Our baby was six months old, and I remember packing the apartment wearing my baby, thanks to Baby Bjorne. My husband was dealing with the floor guys, the painters, the driveway guys, and what seemed to be the entire population of our town congregating in our new house. We also still had our house in Illinois that we still needed to pack and move to Golden. Oh, and don’t forget our two senior cats. Maybe that was our most complicated move.

With two moves across the globe and so many from town to town and state to state, I have learned a thing or two about moving. Does this guide make moving easier? I wouldn’t claim that, but I will say that these strategies will help your move not get any more complex.

Prerequisites for devising an efficient moving plan

As with most things in life, the key to a successful move is planning. Depending on the size of your family and your “stuff,” start your activity planning at least 60 days in advance, maybe even longer. Here are the things you need to get to start planning your move:

  1. A giant desktop monthly calendar. You can find those for a nominal amount of money at Amazon.
  2. 3×4 sticky notes, lots of them, 4 to 5 colors.
  3. Black and color sharpies.

Be sure to set aside at least two uninterrupted hours to do this. Invite your family to participate in this planning session, but with strict ground rules about participating in making this productive use of your time and everyone else’s.

Are you ready? But before this, check out the infographic on “how to plan moving” –

Infographic Of How To Plan Moving

Let’s get to work and learn how to plan moving in detail. 

Pro tip: We are going to work backward so be sure to read everything below otherwise you will have nothing but chaos to deal with.

1. Set up a planning station

Set Up A Planning Station - How To Plan Moving

Clear your kitchen table and place your monthly calendar on that table.

It would be best if you had lots of space.

2. Divide moving tasks

Divide Moving Tasks - How To Plan Moving

Assign different sticky colors to different move categories. These are your five most important categories:

  • Purging
  • Packing
  • Cleaning
  • Moving
  • Unpacking

3. Choose a day you want to be all settled in your new home

Choose A Day You Want To Be All Settled

Now, look at your calendar and the day you want to be all settled in at your new home. Let’s work backward from that day.

Pro-tip: Try to make this day a Friday.

You will know why as you read on. Be sure to use your most colorful sharpie and make a significant and bold mark on your calendar. Let’s call this T = 0 (I am a math nerd and quite proud of it, actually!)

4. Plan for cleaning up and getting rid of boxes a day earlier

Get Rid Of Boxes A Day Earlier

What precedes your big celebration day is cleaning.

Assign one day to cleaning, getting the boxes broken down and taken away, and getting your home beautiful and sparkling. Use your “cleaning” sticky for this. T = -1

5. Assign several days to unpacking

Assign Several Days To Unpacking - How To Plan Moving

Immediately before your cleaning is when you and your family are unpacking, I recommend assigning at least three days to unpack.

Use your Unpacking color stickies and place those on your calendar. T = -4

At this point, we are halfway done with the guide on how to plan moving.

6. Assign the moving day

Assign The Moving Day - How To Plan Moving

Now we are looking at your moving day.

We recommend that you try to get everything moved in one day. It will be a long day. Very long day, but you will be much more efficient if you can pull this off.

We are now at T = -5, which means it took the entire week for you to move, unpack, and clean.

Assuming that your big day is on a Friday, your move day can be a Monday. Now you know why I said what I said in #3 above. Use your Move color sticky and place it on the calendar.

7. Take a break

Take A Break

Now we are looking at the weekend. At this point in the guide on how to plan a move to a new house, your home is probably packed up, and you and your family are eating off paper plates and sleeping on air mattresses.

Awesome! Take the weekend off and do something fun and low-key. Go on a hike or a movie or even have a picnic at a local park. You need to be in a good mood and have lots of energy for next week. T = -7

8. Cleaning up before packing

Cleaning Up Before Packing

Here is where some parallel processing begins.

It would be best if you packed your home while cleaners are cleaning your new home. Yes, we know that they will clean the home after unpacking but trust me, you want that home to be cleaned thoroughly BEFORE furniture and people go in.

This decision will give you peace of mind when you start moving your stuff in. Plan your cleaning to take place on Friday before your Monday move. T = -8

9. Start packing

Start Packing - How To Plan Moving

When it comes to learning how to plan moving houses, packing your stuff is arguably the hardest part of your move.

Use your color stickies that you assigned to packing and mark your calendar anywhere from 5 days to 30 days. Your packing period depends on how much stuff you have (more on this coming up) and how many hours per day you are going to dedicate to packing.

We recommend that you plan on dedicating 3-4 hours per day max. We also recommend that you pack the easiest rooms first and the kitchen last. The easiest rooms are usually those that are least used, such as your guest room.

On your calendar, name the rooms you are going to pack each day. You might have to assign more than one day to a particular room, and that is okay. T = -38

10. Purge the unwanted stuff

Okay, I lied when I said packing your stuff is the hardest step. Purging your stuff is the hardest part of your job.

Look, don’t make the mistake that I made. Don’t take crap from 20 years ago from one house to another only because you feel that someday you might need that thing. I will tell you with 100% certainty that you will not be able to find it when you need that thing.

That is just the way the universe works, so you might as well bite the bullet and say bye-bye to your antique Altoids metal box now.

Depending on the size of your house and the amount of your stuff, you will need anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks for this phase.

Unlike the last step (packing), where we recommend taking your time, we recommend that you do it quickly for purging. Otherwise, and if it drags for too long, the chances are that you will continue to hold on to your precious Altoids box.

For that reason, we highly recommend that you hire a professional to come in and help you with purging. As you know, we work with companies that we have vetted and endorsed to provide this service to you. When you work with a professional team, they will help you part from your stuff so much more effectively and efficiently.

Check out our blog by the one and only, Beth Blacker, the founder of It’s Just Stuff. T = -52


All done!

Look! We are 52 days before your big day. And this is just on paper! Surprised? Hopefully, you now know how to plan moving house.

But remember, it does take this long, so you need to get busy.

Besides a professional organizer who will help you purge and get rid of stuff, we recommend that you hire cleaners for both of your cleanings, plus helpers to help you unpack and put things away. Luckily, Call Emmy provides all of those services. You can use our app and book cleaners as well as chore helpers. You won’t regret it.

Since you now know your big move day, this is what you want to do during the period of T = -60 to T = -52. 

  1. Take care of your cable and utility transfer and new setups.
  2. Fill out a change of address form to get your mail to go to your new address when you move.
  3. Sign up with your neighborhood Nextdoor community and start meeting your neighbors online
  4. Start estimating how many boxes you need to buy and purchase those.
  5. Look for movers. Nextdoor would be a great source of referrals for movers who your neighbors have worked with and recommend. If you are asking your friends and family to help you, be sure to share your timeline with them so they can have your moving day dedicated to you.
  6. Book your other services (cleaning, unpacking help, professional organizer) with Call Emmy as soon as possible because service providers, including ours, are getting booked very quickly

As said before, this guide on how to plan moving from one house or apartment to another is intended to help you avoid disasters and not make the mistake of scrambling at the last minute. Moves are stressful just by being moves, but you can do things to lessen the unpredictability and, minimize the associated stress.

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