My Tips And Tricks For Moving House

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Eva Amurri Martino wears jeans and an off the shoulder top, and stands in the living room of her connecticut home as she prepares to move house

We moved out of our home in Weston, CT a couple of weeks ago, making this the 5th time Kyle and I have moved house in seven years. I know in the grand scheme of things this isn’t as often as some families move, but it sure has felt like a lot! We are now in a rental for the next month with some of our things, while the vast majority are in storage, waiting for the interior renovations to be done on our new home. Stress aside, I have learned a lot from each move, and I think at least this time I’ve managed to make conscious choices that reduce a bit of individual and family stress. While I’m looking at the silver lining here, I figured I would take this opportunity to share some of my tips and tricks for moving house. If you’ve got it, share it!

Purge First

Take no prisoners, and really go through every single thing you own. I feel like it goes without saying, but don’t spend time, energy and/or money to move things you don’t use! Lots of people have been loving this book to help them get a handle on how to cut down on their belongings, but truth be told I have always been a savage when it comes to editing down. When Kyle and I moved in together, I presented him with about 8 boxes of junk he had paid to move from his apartment in NYC, told him to take a picture of anything inside that he liked, and then throw it away. LOL. He was whining about it at the time but now gives me props for keeping us so streamlined and organized! Here is a simple checklist of things I get rid of before a move:

  • Broken toys, toys missing a piece, puzzles missing a piece, stained or ripped dress ups, books with torn pages, dirty books
  • Half of whatever amount of stuffed animals are in the house (YES HALF)
  • Any kitchen utensil/tool/accessory that I haven’t used in the past two years.
  • Any piece of clothing I haven’t worn in the past two years
  • Clothing that is consistently too small for me.
  • Any article of clothing that I don’t feel GREAT in.
  • Expired skincare and cosmetics
  • Expired items in my medicine cabinet

I have a more detailed list of how I clean out my closet, specifically, HERE if you would like to read it!

Eva Amurri Martino stands in the hallways of her connecticut home and selects a black and white photograph from the wall as she decides what to pack and what to give away before her family's move

Think Critically About Pieces You Love

Now that you’ve done away with all the extra stuff just laying around, it’s time to go in to round two of deliberations: just because you loved it in THIS house doesn’t mean it should move to THAT house. You know what I mean? Spend a couple weeks (or better, months!) before your move coming up with a design concept for your new space. What do you want it to look like, feel like? Which elements from your old home do you want to continue in this new one, and which would you like to change? Remember that you can also reinvent old decor and furniture really easily with paint, new fabric, or even by using it differently in a room. We decided to reuse a lot of our furniture but it will definitely seem different because we are making subtle changes to it! Once you’ve decided what you want to do in your new space, go around in your old home and look critically at all the pieces. Even if you love something, is it time to let it go? Consider donating, selling, or consigning pieces that you love but know you won’t use. I even sold a lot of pieces on an Instagram account I created specifically for this purpose (@heatagsale).

Take Time To Label Boxes

This is something I have never regretted doing. Now with smart phones and computers it make this so much easier! Write a list on your tablet, phone, or computer as you’re packing up boxes. Include all the contents, print the list, and tape it to the outside of the box. Make sure to use a large font to put a header such as “KITCHEN” or “MASTER BEDROOM”. Save your lists in a document, and number them so that you can tell if any boxes are missing, and so you can determine and exact number of pieces moved.

Eva Amurri Martino stands in the hallways of her connecticut home and selects a black and white photograph from the wall as she decides what to pack and what to give away before her family's move

Get Help If You Can

To me, help with moving is like babysitters: get the max amount of help that you can afford in order to preserve your sanity. Moving is a problem I’m happy to throw money at when I can– the past two times we’ve moved, I have paid to have movers pack us up AND move us, and let me tell you it was SO worth the money. I still always pack up personal items, jewelry, and important documents myself. If you have friends and family help you, make sure to get them a nice gift card for around $30-$40 each just to say thank you!

Have One Important Bag

If you’re moving with kids, it becomes a lot more important to preserve a sense of normalcy and home during such a tumultuous and emotional time. During our last move, I really learned this lesson with Marlowe! This time around, I had one suitcase that was filled with the kids’ favorite things, and most important (to them) belongings. It was especially helpful since we were heading to a rental for a while, but even if you’re not I think it’s smart to have a bag readily available that is full of emotional support. Now whenever we move, I make sure to have the kids’ sound machines, pillows, blankets, night lights, favorite stuffed animals, books, and an assortment of toys for them. I also pack them each a sweater of mine that they can sleep with in their new rooms to feel safe and cozy. Marlowe especially LOVES this sweater trick! I even use it sometimes when I go out of town and she’s feeling emotional.

Eva Amurri Martino sits atop a stack of decorative pillows as she prepares to pack up her connecticut home in the days before her family's move

Bring Your Pillows

If you’re going to be displaced for any amount of time during your move, I HIGHLY recommend bringing your own pillows, and a favorite blanket or duvet. This move, I remembered to bring blankets for the kids from home, and even a couple of our throw blankets for the rental’s couch– but Kyle and I forgot to pack our pillows from our bed and we are sooooooo sad about it. Other people’s pillows just aren’t the same…

Sage That SH*T

I am a BIG believer in energetic and emotional forces, and sometimes it’s important to clear out bad energy in a space. Whenever I move house, I always take a sage stick, light it, and walk through the home “Sage-ing” the house. I like to hold the lit sage stick in one hand while wafting the smoke in to the room with my other hand. I make sure to get all four corners of every room! The kids even help me with it now. We shout “Out Bad Energy!” in every room. Afterwards, we open all the windows to let the fresh air in. Then I light palo santo or a palo santo candle, and say a little prayer for the blessings to follow us to this new space. I always feel so great after I do this little ritual!

Eva Amurri Martino wears an off the shoulder ruffle top, and takes a starburst mirror off of the wall in her connecticut home

Lists Are Your Friend

Create lists galore to remind yourself about all the bits and bobs. you have to do during a dreaded move! From changing your address to stocking the new pantry, and even keeping track of moving charges or boxes, you can make a list for that! My best tip is to sit down over a bottle of wine with your partner, and make a list of every single place you need to change your address. Credit cards, banks, phone bill, utilities, Amazon shipping, the kids’ school, health insurance, work, colleagues, etc etc etc. Then split the list in two, and take an hour sitting together and tackling it. It’s much easier to take it on together, trust me!

Do you have any great tips and tricks while moving house? Please share in the comments below!

Photographs by Julia Dags

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  1. Rachel says:

    I really just came here to say that I also own that off-the-shoulder top and now I feel pretty cool 🙂

    02.18.19 Reply
  2. Lauren says:

    Just moved a couple of months ago and it seems so simple but the movers suggested using colored dots so they could easily group the boxes together (even though I had labeled them). Thank you to the movers that put some of our furniture together again (like the crib)!

    02.18.19 Reply
  3. Raven says:

    Love this, thank you! The whole process of moving is so overwhelming to me, I just shut down. And I also have to say I have never heard the term “moving house!” Is it because I’m from the south?! 🙂 We say we’re “moving houses” or just “moving.” But how have I never heard this?! LOL. Best of luck with your move!

    02.20.19 Reply
  4. Jo says:

    We are about to move locally too – any mover recommendations (Fairfield county)?

    02.25.19 Reply
    • We’ve been using Smooth Move and Delivery and I really like them so far! (our stuff is currently in storage so we haven’t officially completed second half of our move yet)

      02.25.19 Reply
  5. Thank you so much for your tips and tricks on moving houses. We’re thinking of moving to a different part of the state. We’d like to hire residential movers for help.

    09.30.19 Reply
  6. Thank you for sharing this informative article on moving house. I found the tips to be very helpful and I will definitely be using them when I move next. I especially appreciated the tip about using a home moving checklist to help keep track of everything that needs to be done. This is a great way to ensure that nothing gets forgotten in the move.

    01.04.23 Reply
  7. Debra says:

    You are brilliant seriously!! Love what you wrote here!

    02.13.23 Reply