Ask Val: Tips to Make Moving Less Stressful

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We’re closing on our new home in 2 weeks and we’re very excited! The one thing we’re not looking forward to is the stress of the actual moving process. Do you have any tips to make it easier?

Answer: You just went through the house shopping experience in this crazy market, and now you have to pack and move! Moving is never exactly fun but it usually leads to a positive outcome. Almost everyone does end up moving at some point, (and I have yet to meet someone who actually enjoys it!) so I gathered some moving tips and tricks from clients, friends and colleagues to make the whole process a bit easier.

Before Moving Day

  • Schedule your utilities as soon as you know when you’re closing on your new home so they’re on by moving day. Sellers usually discontinue utilities on settlement date and if they haven’t been transferred by then, you may get charged for a reconnection fee. Also, some companies may take a few days to set up utilities and you don’t want to move into a house with no electricity or water.
  • Purge items to sell or donate. If you’re selling them, you can use OfferUp, Mercari, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or check for local Virtual Yard Sale groups on Facebook. If you’re donating, check the local COVID-19 safety protocols for the place you choose to give your donation to.
  • Take a picture of the back of your TV before you unplug the cable box, game consoles, surround speakers, HDMI cables, and amazon fire stick so you remember where everything goes.


  • Go green. U Haul has the Take a Box, Leave a Box program where you get free boxes. After your move is concluded you can drop your boxes off for someone else to reuse. Lend a Box delivers 100% recyclable plastic boxes to your door and picks them up after your move.
  • Free boxes from liquor stores or big box retailers are a great way to save some cash. Just make sure you only get sturdy, good quality boxes. Avoid grocery store boxes as they may contain pests.
  • Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box. It will make your packing quicker and your unpacking a lot easier, too.
  • Go for small or medium sized boxes instead of big ones. It’s best to pack heavier items in small/medium boxes, and use the large boxes for lighter items such as pillows and linens so one person should be able to carry it. If two people need to carry the box, especially upstairs, you will lose time.
  • Moving Labels are color coordinated and can easily be seen. Assign a color to each room and mark the boxes accordingly. Go the extra mile and label each box with its contents.
  • Use a dry clean bag or plastic garbage bag to hold hanging clothes together. Then, simply carry the bundle from your old closet to your new closet!
  • As you pack up your kitchen, put the sharp end of knives into an oven mitt or wrap them in a dish towel. Use some packing tape to secure them to prevent injuries when you unpack.
  • If you take apart any furniture, keep all of the little pieces in a Ziplock bag. Then, tape the bag to the furniture so you know where it belongs when you need to put it back together.

If You’re Hiring Movers

  • Hire movers as soon as you know your closing date. Good movers get booked months in advance.
  • If possible, try to schedule it during the week day. Weekends tend to be the busiest. Moving during the week will not only save you time and money, but has more services open in the event you run into unforeseen circumstances.
  • If the movers have to “squeeze you in”, find another company. If their schedule is too busy and they agree to “squeeze you in”, they may show up late, or exhausted from other moves before yours.
  • Book the earliest morning time slot available. The moving crew will be fresh so they’ll get the job done faster and typically do a better job.
  • Have plenty of hand sanitizer on hand for your movers and yourself and make sure to have soap in the bathroom of the house you’re moving from.

I hope you find at least some of these tips helpful! Moving takes a lot of work and I hope you use the excitement for your new home as a motivator to get everything done. If I missed any tips, please share them with me so I can add them to my list.

Val Sotillo is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite #10C Arlington, VA 22203, 703-390-9460.

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