But we’re just moving across town…


My husband and I finally had an offer accepted on a house. We had been renting the most adorable cottage in Woodside for the past couple of years, but obviously couldn’t afford to buy there. We found our family home in San Bruno. We planned to manage the move ourselves. It wasn’t far, just up the 280. No problem, we’d just rent a van, as we had done so many times before. After all, we only had a little one-bedroom place.

As moving day approached and our son started crawling, we panicked and called a moving company, just to see what the cost would be. Best decision ever!

Whether you decide to brave the move yourself, or call in some help from the professionals, here are some great tips from the Life in the Bay community to help your moving day go smoothly.

Clear out BEFORE you start packing.

Yes, I know Felicity mentioned this as a key step to an international move, but it’s just a relevant for a local one. Did you end up bringing 10 pairs of boots with you when you moved to the Bay Area from a cold country? It may be time to send them to goodwill. Are there kitchen items from back home, that you no longer need? Or electrical items that are outdated? Now is the time to find them a new home, so they don’t end up in the garage of your new house for the next 4 years. If you’ve hired movers, ask them if they could drop off some larger items at a donation center for you.

And – as you go through things – start by packing up seasonal clothes that you won’t need for a while. If you don’t happen to unpack all your boxes within a week or two of moving, these could be good ones to save until later.


Label, label, label!

By the time you’ve packed your 15th box, you can be sure to have totally forgotten what was in box #4…Whether you label by room, or make extensive lists of the contents, as I do for the kitchen, make sure you put some kind identifying mark on the box, so you can avoid opening them all in search for that one pair of shoes, or a kids school backpack.

Did you know that you can even buy multifunctional tape? Yep! Close up a box and label it all in one step! One of our readers only found out about this AFTER her recent move, so we thought we’d do you a favor and pass on this great find!

Color coding works great, and saves time too – assign each room a color, and just stick those little round labels on boxes as you go. Then, and here’s where the magic happens – put a poster at the entrance of your new home with the color key…


36-hour rule

Moving ‘day’ can often last for a few days. A good friend has a 36-hour rule. Have each family member pack a suitcase (then make sure to label it, or keep it in a safe place, so that the movers don’t pack it) with all the essentials that they will need for 3 days. Make sure to include all bathroom items, medications, clothing, shoes, bedding, bath towel etc. It serves double duty as well, saving space in the moving van, rather than taking valuable space with a bunch of empty luggage.


(photo credit: Heather Orgeron Fried)


Moving is stressful, moving with kids is not for the faint hearted. The consensus seems to be that if you have children under 12 years old, make sure to have a baby sitter (ideally not at your old or new place) watch the kids for the day. We were lucky, and grandma was able to take our little one for the whole weekend. This allowed us to paint a couple of rooms, and have the children’s room all set up by the time our son came home. It was so much less stressful, than worrying about a toddler scaling a pile of boxes, or having an explosive diaper situation, with no idea where the diapers and wipes ended up.


Special thanks to Heather, Elisa, Laine, Julianne, for sharing their what not to do stories with us!


Do you have any other magical tips for creating a stress-free moving day?


Content sponsored by Robb and Messer Moving

With over 25 years of combined experience, David Robb and Kyle Messer pride themselves on providing the best possible service to each customer. Our teams are skilled in performing full-service moves or simply assist you in your small project. Let Robb and Messer help you move anything, literally!

Contact David Robb for more information.


About Michelle Laker

A California native; I spent 10 years living, studying, working, (and falling in love) in the United Kingdom. I returned to the Bay Area in 2011, with my British husband in tow. I am re-adjusting to life in the bay, feeling more like an expat than a local. I have spent my career working with international student & families. I love learning about other cultures, languages, and traditions. My desire to welcome newcomers, and help you make the most of your new life in the Bay Area comes from the unforgettable memories (and mistakes) I made during my time in the United Kingdom. If you've just arrived, and don't know where to start, email me (michelle-at-lifeinthebay.org). I am happy to help!

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