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Make Moving During The Holidays The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Jaclyn Ermoyan September 8, 2023

The ultimate gift on your wish list came early this holiday season. You sold your home! Now you can move out and move on to the next stage of your life. But if you’re moving anytime between now and the new year, you’re doing so during one of the busiest, most stressful seasons. This year, our gift to you is a list of 10 tips for making your move during the holidays a little easier.

Tips for Moving During The Holidays

1. Focus On The Positives

When you’re stressed about moving and you’re stressed about the holidays and you’re beginning to question why on earth you made the decision to move during this time, it can be hard to stay positive. But don’t cross over to the dark side just yet. There are some real benefits of moving right now. When you feel overwhelmed, focus on these positives.

You’ll have an easier time selling your stuff. Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of the old and usher in the new – and you may as well make a profit off the old.Tis the season for shopping and gift-giving, so you may see more success selling old furniture, electronics and clothes online than any other season.

You can get a deal on moving and storage. The holiday season lands in the middle of winter, which is also the off-season for buying a home. Use this timing to your advantage.

“Winter is the best time for buyers looking to save money on moving or storage expenses,” says Matt Casady, Marketing Manager for STOR-N-LOCK Self Storage. “This is when interest in storage units hits its lowest point all year long. Fewer homes are sold during the winter months, and cold weather climates especially see drops in moving and storage. People don’t want to brave the weather and people in general just aren’t looking to move during the holidays.”

Your stuff may be better protected. According to Casady, your items may be better protected during this time, too. “It is easier and safer to transport and store belongings in the winter because there is less chance of items becoming warped or damaged in a hot truck,” he says. “Moving trucks and storage units generally stay plenty cool in the winter months versus in the summertime, when temperatures can reach 100 degrees or hotter.”

2. Decide On Decorating

Whether to decorate for the holiday or not is probably one of the biggest conundrums people who move during the holidays face. Decorations can help get you in the holiday spirit, could be a family tradition or could just be your favorite thing about this time of year. But moving in this season poses a few problems. Which home will you decorate – the one you’re moving into or the one you’re moving out of? Will you have time or money to decorate this year? With all of the other packing, unpacking and redecorating you’ll be doing, do you really want to add to it?

If you decide to decorate this year, here are a few ways to make it more manageable:

Go light on decorations. Display a string of lights in the window, hang a wreath on the door and weave some garland on the stairway banister. It’s just enough to get the holiday feels without the added stress. Avoid decorations that have a ton of pieces or take forever to put up and take down. Keep it as simple to put out and put away as possible. If you don’t want to search through boxes or unpack decorations, head over to the local dollar store and buy some inexpensive ones to last this season.

Put them up and pack them last. If you still have at least a couple weeks before you move, put up the decorations now so you can enjoy them in your current home one last time. Focus on packing everything else and save the decorations for last.

Decorate your moving boxes. They’re filling your home anyway, so why not turn them into your holiday decor? Wrap them up like presents and put a bow or ribbon on them. Draw snowmen, snowflakes, trees and other winter or holiday scenes on the cardboard. Have the kids decorate the boxes as they pack them. It will keep them busy while you focus on checking off other items on your moving to-do list.

3. Keep Presents Organized

The last thing you want to do is lose a few gift packages in the piles of moving boxes or damage any valuable presents transporting them from one home to the other. Here are a few ways to keep gifts organized and safe during the move.

Choose a specific place to store gifts. If you’ll be in your new home by the holidays, don’t even bother bringing gifts to your current home. You won’t have to worry about them getting damaged or lost in the move. If you plan on storing them in your new home, do your shopping in your new neighborhood, so you won’t have to make any extra trips. Buying online? Have your packages shipped to your new address. Just make sure to have them shipped on a day you’ll be there to bring them inside. If you store the presents at your current home, keep all of your gifts in one specific room or corner of the house and store them in specific boxes. Keep them away from all of the other boxes, so they don’t get lost, moved to the new home or accidentally donated.

Use labels and lists. This is helpful for anyone dealing with numerous gifts this holiday season. To stay organized during the packing and moving chaos, make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and what you plan on getting them. Include a check box for when you complete the gift. Then create corresponding labels to stick on the gifts until you wrap them.

Wait to wrap. If you’ll be transporting your gifts from one home to the other, wait to wrap until after the move. That way, the paper won’t rip, the package won’t get damaged and you won’t lose any nametags in transit.

4. Pack Like A Pro

The better your packing strategy and organization, the less time you’ll waste searching for specific items or wondering what room each box belongs to. And less time wasted means more time to enjoy the holidays.

Pack first-week essentials separately. Since you’ll also be busy with holiday events, you most likely won’t have everything unpacked the day or week you move into your home. Think of everything you’ll need the first week and pack it separately, so it’s easily accessible. Pack a week’s worth of clothes, petty cash, cleaning supplies, toiletries and anything you’ll need for any holiday festivities that week, including cocktail attire, decorations and gifts.

Group boxes and furniture by room. We recommend assigning each room of the home a color and labeling each box with the corresponding color. For example, assign the color green to all of the things going in the living room and red for all of the kitchen items. Create a color key so you don’t forget which color corresponds with which room.

Take the guessing away. Keep a list of every item you place in each box or take a photo of the box’s contents before you seal it. Then, tape the list or photo to the outside. That way, you’ll know what’s inside the box without even having to open it. This is especially useful when boxes are hard to reach or are stacked on top of one another.

Organize disassembled pieces. When disassembling furniture and electronics, place cords, screws and other hardware in a plastic bag and attach it to the main part. That way, you’ll have everything together when you need to reassemble.

Add a little holiday surprise. Hide small presents in your packed boxes to add a little holiday surprise and delight to the moving process. Even if you’re not unpacking until after the holidays, this will help keep the celebrations and holiday cheer going.

5. Figure Out Your Timing

When you’re moving during one of the busiest seasons of the year, it can be hard to find time on everyone’s schedule to get everything done. Plan ahead and follow these helpful tips.

Take advantage of days off. This time of year is filled with holidays, so chances are you’ll have some days off work. If you have school-aged children, they’ll also have holiday break – a perfect time to pack, clean and move without disrupting schedules. Take advantage of the days off by getting as much done as you can. Create a schedule to maximize your time and give each person in your family a job to do. Enlist the help of others. If you need to shop for the holidays, do that while a spouse, friend or family member packs up the living room. At the end of the day, treat yourself and your helpers with a nice dinner or other family outing.

Move during the week. People typically use the weekend to get everything done, including their holiday shopping, so the roads will be busier then. Instead, move during the week, when others are at work and the roads are clear. Movers will also be in lower demand during the week. Pick a date that is a few days out from the holiday, as many people take the day before and day after off to prepare for festivities or to travel.

Schedule in advance. Once you have your moving day set in stone, let it be known. The holidays are a busy time for everyone, so if you expect family and friends to help you move, let them know the date and time a month or so ahead of time, so they can put it on their calendars before they fill up. Remember that movers celebrate the holidays, too, so schedule your move as far in advance as you can.

Avoid the frenzy. Try to avoid moving on the busiest shopping days of the year, to avoid the craziness of the holiday. Two days to avoid are Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas.

Allow time to settle in. When planning your move, try to give yourself a few days before a major holiday to get settled into your new space. Just because you’re moving during the holidays doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to breathe, rest and enjoy them.

6. Don’t Let Weather Freeze Your Move

Snow and ice can be beautiful, but not when you’re trying to move heavy furniture and countless boxes from one place to another. If you’re moving to a place that experiences cold temps, snow, sleet or ice, you’ll need to be prepared for it ahead of time.

Prepare for winter weather. In the days leading up to your move, keep an eye on the weather and get the necessary supplies to handle anything that comes your way. You’ll be outside a lot during the day, so have hats, gloves and boots on hand to help you stay safe and warm in the cold. Have kitty litter or other materials available to help with traction if you come across any ice.

Protect the interior. If there is a chance of snow or sleet, lay down cardboard to protect the floors from water and salt dripping off boots. Better yet, have designated outdoor people who carry boxes and furniture to designated indoor people who carry it through the house. This helps keep traffic from the outdoors to a minimum and helps keep the new floors from getting dirty.

Ready your new home. Before you move in, get the utilities turned on, especially the heat. You won’t want a lag in the heating because, if the home isn’t winterized, the pipes could freeze.

7. Mind Your Money

Holidays are expensive. Adding moving expenses to your budget will only stretch it further. For starters, begin saving for the holidays and your move as soon as you can to help curb the costs.

Stick to a budget. When creating your budget for the month, add a few lines for holiday and moving expenses. Holiday expenses may include gifts, decorations, meals and travel. Moving costs may include movers, truck rental, storage and moving supplies. Determine how much you can spend for each of these line items and stick to your budget. If you overspend in one area, subtract from another area to balance it out.

Find ways to save. As you work through your budget, see where you can trim expenses. For example, since you’ll be busy moving and preparing for the holidays, you may be able to cut some funding from your entertainment budget. Brainstorm ways you can save on holiday and moving expenses, too. Create a handmade- or thrift-store-only gift policy this year. Set a spending limit or agree to no gifts. Or do a white elephant instead. Reuse gift and delivery packages instead of paying for moving boxes. Ask the moving company if they offer any off-season discounts. Purchase your moving materials during Black Friday or another holiday sale. There are plenty of ways to save; you might just have to get creative.

8. Update Your Address

Once you move, make sure everyone has your new address. People need to know where to send your presents, after all!

Update your contact information. Make a list of everywhere your address is needed – at work, with your bank and on your credit card accounts, online profiles and any memberships you have. Remember, stores and other businesses love to send holiday deals and bonuses to their loyal customers around this time. You won’t want to miss those. Email, text and call your contacts to get the word out quicker. Post to your social media that you’ve moved and ask people to message you for your new address.

Combine your correspondence. If you’re sending holiday cards this year, feed two birds with one scone by combining a holiday card with a “we’ve moved” card.

Forward your mail. Until the address change sticks, have your mail forwarded, so you receive your bills, holiday cards and any packages that weren’t delivered before your move.

9. Keep Family Traditions

Family traditions thrive during the holiday season. And while they often play an important role in the various festivities, they can feel like a burden when you already have a ton of other things to do. Instead of seeing a tradition as another thing to add to the to-do list, view it as an integral part of your moving experience.

Keep traditions alive. If you have certain family traditions for the holiday, don’t skip them this year. Moving is a big change for everyone. Having something that is familiar and constant can be comforting, especially for kids who have a big adjustment ahead of them.

Create new traditions. If you don’t have a family tradition, consider starting one in your new home. This can help ease the transition, make the move more special and feel like a fresh start. It will jumpstart the building of new memories in your new home.

10. Give Yourself A Break

Not only is moving physically exhausting, it can be emotionally exhausting, too. And if you don’t give yourself a break, you’ll quickly burn out.

Lighten your load. Take some things off your plate or do things with a more laissez-faire attitude. Relax on the extravagance and go for a more low-key vibe in all that you do during this time. Let go of the reins and let someone else organize the holiday party this year. Offer out-of-town relatives a place to stay – but only if they’re comfortable sleeping on air mattresses. Be a little selfish. People will be sympathetic to your situation and more understanding if you’re honest with them and let them know ahead of time that, this year, you’re taking a step back.

Set reasonable expectations. If you still want to host a holiday event, plan a gathering away from the home at a restaurant or other event space. If you want to host people in your new home, you can – just be realistic. You probably won’t have enough time to have everything set up and prepared to host people on your own, so enlist the help of others, including your guests. Hire a caterer, order pizza or make it a potluck and have everyone bring their favorite dish. If you don’t have time to shop for and wrap gifts, give gift cards instead or host a small gift exchange. That way, you’ll only need to buy and wrap one present and everyone will still receive a gift.

Remember to experience the magic of the holidays. The most important tip for moving during the holidays is to remember that the season is about enjoying time with loved ones. That’s something you can do in an empty house or one that’s filled to the brim with moving boxes. In between the packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking, make sure you’re spending time with friends and family, whether that’s in your current home, new home or somewhere else.