How to Organize a New Home When You Move In
Posted on October 27, 2017

Written by: Janine Sarna-Jones

Moving is stressful. Period. Entering into any kind of transition causes stress, even if it promises a welcome change like moving into your dream home or an apartment with a extra bathroom and washer/dryer. The biggest help is being aware of the steps and decisions, large and small, which lay the groundwork for a smooth move.

Before you begin looking for boxes at liquor stores and calling movers for quotes, stop. Take a deep breath. Prepare yourself for the transition ahead. Your move is an event that requires thought and planning. The first step is to pull out a calendar and ask some key questions.
1. When is my moving day?
2. How much time do I have to prepare?
3. What is the budget for my move?
And this is just the start of the decisions you’ll be making during your move! Your moving experience will be far less costly, financially AND emotionally, if you think strategically and schedule time for decision-making, coordinating and completing the tasks associated with your move.
Ideally, your first action item is to take a walk through your current home and think about what you definitely DON’T want to put on the moving truck. There are several ways to divest yourself of the stuff you don’t want in your new home, starting with donation runs to your local thrift store.

Before I became a Moving and Relocation expert, I called three movers, got estimates and picked the cheapest of the three. After years of moving clients locally, nationally and internationally, I know that cheap does not equal best. Today I choose quality over quantity and I urge you to do the same. If it costs a bit more to work with a reputable, responsible and insured mover, make the choice that provides you with peace of mind. The mover I most often recommend offers a flat rate for labor and materials, his prices are fair and he makes every effort to turn his customers into repeat customers.

If you are packing yourself, check with your insurance agent to confirm your homeowners or renter’s insurance covers your belongings while they are being moved. Keep in mind that movers do not take responsibility for breakage in boxes that have been Packed By the Owner (PBO). There is an art to packing for a move and to do it right you need the appropriate supplies: boxes of various sizes (from book boxes to wardrobe boxes), tape, packing paper, markers, plastic baggies (for keeping smaller items together) and a box cutter. Packing tips:
• Books should be packed in boxes flat and horizontal rather than vertically.
• Pack plates and china by wrapping every other plate in paper and place in a well-cushioned box vertically rather than stacked horizontally.
• Pack shoes in bottoms of wardrobe boxes.
• When packing fragile items err on the side of caution and use more packing paper than you think you need.
• Pack heavy stuff in smaller boxes.

Some tasks to do before your moving day:
• Plan out furniture placement in your new home and note them on a floor plan.
• Put sticky notes on furniture that will be moving into rooms different than the rooms they are currently in.
• Schedule transfer and installation appointments for your utilities, e.g. gas & electric, cable, for the afternoon of your moving day.
• Get cash for tipping.

Arrive at your new home before the movers. Post room signs so they are clearly visible and put up copies of your floor plans in each room. When the movers arrive, walk-through each room with the foreman. As furniture is brought in, unwrapped and, if necessary, put back together be sure to direct the movers on proper placement.
Once you’ve confirmed that the moving truck is empty, it is time to tip the movers. I am frequently asked how much to tip and I can say, definitively: It depends. One rule of thumb is to tip movers like waiters, 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the move. Another is $50 to $100 per man. Ultimately, the amount to tip is up to you, but consider the level of service you received and reward the movers accordingly.

If you are unpacking the boxes yourself, start in the hardest place first: the kitchen. Unless you know exactly where you would like every kitchen gadget and appliance to live in your new kitchen, I recommend that you unpack every box before you start putting everything away. As you unpack think about the available space for the items you use most often. Put plates and glasses low down and in the areas you will be using them most. Holiday china and appliances you use once a year can live in the least accessible places in your kitchen.
The next stop is your bedroom. Unpack your bed linens and make your bed(s) so you can drop straight into your bed at the end of your first day in your new home. Once your bed it made, go ahead and unpack and organize your clothes and shoes.
Although, I urge you to unpack every single moving box, it is normal to have a few boxes left over after your move if you are unpacking yourself. If you can’t finish it within a day or two of moving in, try working on at least one box every day while you transition into a routine in your new home.

If you feel daunted or overwhelmed at the prospect of taking on all of the tasks and responsibilities of your move and would like help, go to and find a professional organizer that specializes in Moving projects.


Written by: Janine Sarna-Jones

Janine Sarna-Jones, CPO Janine Sarna-Jones is the founder and president of Organize Me Inc. and has been helping people get organized at work and at home since 1992. Today, Janine and her team help families and individuals move in and out of the New York Metro area. Need help for your upcoming move? Let Organize Me, organize your move!