Moving Checklist: 5 Tips for a Smooth Move

Scotch cardboard moving boxes and tape, seen overhead
A great move starts with a great plan. Make a moving checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a smooth move.

Moving from one home to another signals a new beginning, so it’s important to plan and pack well for a smooth, successful transition. Follow our moving checklist, brought you by 3M, for tips to do just that!

1. Declutter Your Home

When you are preparing to sell your house, or even move out of your rental, you need to clean and start organizing your things. 

Everyone has items that they no longer need that often end up in a junk drawer, attic or garage. If you haven’t used something for years, and have no plans to do so, now’s the time to get rid of it!

“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, pictured with a young couple, during a garage makeover on the set of Today's Homeowner
Your home has lots of things you no longer need. Before you pack, declutter!

In fact, moving is the perfect time to curate your house so the new place has only the items that will make it your home.

So, grab three boxes and mark them, ‘Keep,’ ‘Toss’ and ‘Donate.’ You can add a fourth box and mark it, ‘Sell,’ if you have time for a yard sale or want to sell some items online.

The goal is to declutter and get rid of everything you don’t need — that way, you’ll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unload at the new place.

Best of all, your donated and sold items can bring joy to someone else’s home!

Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Tape, seen on moving boxes
Everyone needs basic moving supplies: boxes, cushion wrap and tape. And it’s better to have more than you think you’ll need. (©3M)

2. Order Moving Supplies

Unless you’re an extreme minimalist and can pack everything in a suitcase, you’ll need some moving supplies. In fact, you’ll probably need more supplies than you could imagine!

Home Depot sells all the 3M brands that help make your move easier. But whether you’re a curator — someone who carefully manages their home’s contents and tends to live with less — or a collector — someone who adds more to their home as the days, months and years progress — everyone needs the basics. Boxes, cushion wrap (for delicate items) and tape are necessities for your moving checklist.

However, don’t take chances and make blind estimates! No one wants to discover, halfway through the process, that there aren’t enough boxes.

The Scotch Brand Moving Supply Calculator removes the guesswork. Just select your home size, bedroom count, living style, and add a few more details to learn which supplies — and how many — you’ll need.

Stacked items, ready for moving, including a gold clock, artwork and several filled moving boxes
Take it easy — pack up rooms little by little, one day at a time (©Pixel-Shot, Adobe Stock Photos)

3. Prepare to Box

Let’s face it, everyone wants to move to a new home, but no one enjoys packing boxes so they can leave their old home.

Here’s where a little prep work goes a long way.

If you’re too busy with work and other obligations, and need motivation to pack some boxes, here’s a trick. Place moving boxes in each room of your home as reminders to pack them, little by little, each day.  

But don’t place the boxes against a wall or in a closet — those would be easy to ignore. Place them directly on the floor, in front of bookshelves, cabinets and drawers.

Then you’ll be motivated to pack stuff just to move them out of the way!

While you’re packing things room by room, take this opportunity to patch up nail holes and fix any damage to the walls. That’s easy with 3M High Strength Small Hole Repair with an All-in-One Applicator Tool. The kit comes with a putty knife, primer-enhanced spackle, and a sanding pad. 

Lastly, touch up the paint.

Clean and disinfect everything before you pack it up to move. 

4. Clean everything

Moving is a long, exhausting process. To save yourself some stress, minimize the work you’ll have to do after arriving at the new location. To do that, add “clean everything” to your moving checklist.   

Before you start to box up books or pack your knick-knacks, first clean them. Run a feather duster over picture frames, miniatures and trophies. Wipe down each hardback — top to bottom — from your bookshelves. 

Use Scotch-Brite Reusable Wipes for more effective cleaning with less elbow grease. They’re more durable than paper towels and machine washable. Best of all, you can rinse and reuse these wipes up to 10 times, which stretches your household dollar. 

Do the same for lamps, devices and media, ensuring that computers, printers and peripherals are dust- and grime-free before they enter the moving truck.

If you’re not sure what to do about gunk around your phones’ and remote controls’ buttons, try dipping a toothpick in rubbing alcohol and gently scrubbing around those narrow spaces.      

Once you’ve cleaned the small stuff, turn your attention toward the big stuff, particularly upholstered furniture and mattresses. Run a vacuum brush attachment over them to suck up dust that could affect your new home’s indoor air quality.

Woman wraps cardboard moving box with Scotch Box Lock shipping tape.
Tape your moving boxes’ seams and then tape perpendicular to the seam for extra support. Then fill your boxes completely so they are stackable and won’t collapse.

5. Pack the Moving Boxes

There’s just one last thing to add to your moving checklist, and it’s the most important one of them all: pack!

Scotch Moving Boxes are easy to assemble and strong, when used correctly. Just follow the box’s directions and seal the seam on the bottom with Scotch Box Lock Packaging Tape. Then tape the box perpendicular to the seam for extra support.

Remember, moving is not the time to take chances. That’s why it’s important to use Scotch Box Lock Packaging Tape, which sticks instantly to any box, including harder-to-stick-to 100% recycled boxes.

In fact, it’s guaranteed to stay sealed with one strip of tape — you won’t need more layers. And it has the power of extreme grip to ensure boxes stay securely sealed, even during rough handling. 

Plan your boxing strategy wisely, considering each box’s contents and weight. For instance, hardback books are heavy, so place them in small boxes to prevent back strain. Reserve big boxes for smaller items (like stuffed toys) that fill up a lot of space but aren’t a pain to pick up.

Also, wrap valuables and delicate items, like dishes, with Scotch Cushion Wrap. It’s more secure than old newspapers and won’t leave imprints on your items. As for dishes? Stand them vertically, like vinyl records, not horizontally.

Boxes work best when they’re stackable, so fill them completely to prevent collapsing. And right after you fill and seal each box, grab a permanent marker and write the name of the room where items should go.

Finally, pack one last box — it will have everything you’ll need right after arriving at your new home. This includes coffee cups, snacks, toiletries and cleaning supplies. You won’t want to hunt for these things upon arrival.

Pack these essentials last and grab them as soon as you arrive at your destination.

Woman cleans a gas grill with her Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge
Scotch-Brite’s Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges get stuck-on messes off your new home’s appliances, so they sparkle.

Last, But Not Least…

When you finally move into your new place, there’s still a lot to do after unpacking. And you don’t want to miss a single step because tackling these home improvements now means you won’t have to think about them later. (Plus, your home will sparkle for the housewarming party!)

First, deep-clean your new home with Scotch-Brite’s Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges. Applying a mixture of soap and water with these powerful sponges removes stuck-on messes — and memories — left from the previous homeowners, 

Next, it’s time to personalize your new home. First, cover the trim with Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape with Edge Lock (on the blue roll) and give the walls a fresh coat of paint to reflect your personal style. Feeling creative? Block certain shapes and patterns with the painter’s tape for a designer look. 

Female college student hangs Sharpie art with 3M Command Strips in her well decorated dorm room.
Command Picture Hanging Strips have art display solutions for installations up to 16 pounds. (©3M)

After that, decorate your new home, damage-free, with Command Picture Hanging Strips. Regardless of the frame type, there is a hanging solution for it that won’t leave holes, marks, or sticky residue on your walls.

Finally, organize your home with clean storage solutions. It’s easy when you use Command’s Broom Gripper, a damage-free, self-adhesive storage solution to get brooms off the closet floor. 

Then you can get bottles of cleaning products off cabinet floors — and save that space for baskets and other items — with Command’s Spray Bottle Hanger

Command Wire Hooks with hanging cooking ingredients in a kitchen cabinet
Use Command Wire Hooks to free up shelf space in your cabinets

Need to free up more storage space in kitchen cabinets? Command Wire Hooks hold up to 2 pounds — perfect for plastic bags of ingredients and anything else you need to keep close by for cooking.

And you can corral tangled cords between computer desks, appliances and entertainment centers with Command Cord Bundlers. They stick to paint, wood and tile, among other surfaces, and also leave no holes, marks, sticky residue or stains! 

Now, thanks to the convenience of 3M products, your moving checklist is complete. So, all you have to do is get ready for a smooth move.

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