The Designers’ Guide to Moving: A Must Read Before Packing Your Stuff

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Morgan Goldberg

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Published on September 2, 2021

We’ll be honest with you: Moving homes is a monster project. There’s the packing and preparation stage, which may include some Marie Kondo-style introspection about which items spark enough joy to make the trek. Then you have the laborious physical transition, followed by the overwhelming experience of settling into a new place. We’re the first to admit, the process can be stressful — but even among the boxes and chaos, there are lots of things you can do to make your move seamless.

Sure, following any old moving checklist will get you from point A to point B without forgetting major tasks, but expert insight from our lead designers (with a substantial number of moves under their belt) will guarantee a smooth move and an easy adjustment to a well-decorated space when you get there. From months ahead to arrival day and beyond, here are 16 must-do tips from designers that will help you achieve a successful move.

measuring tape


Request detailed measurements of your new home in advance so you can think through layouts, determine what furniture you’re bringing with you, and order new pieces. If you have a plan when you get there, moving in will feel flawless.

Order new furniture in advance so it’s ready to enjoy right when you arrive. Large pieces like sofas and sectionals typically take 12-16 weeks from purchase to delivery. And if you’re designing a custom piece, expect it to take as long as 24 weeks. 

Send new furniture to a third-party delivery company so that it can accept your shipments, store them for you, and then move everything into your new home on the same day. You heard that right, no schlepping boxes from your old place to your new home.

Renovate before your move, if you can. We know this might not be logistically possible or budget-friendly, but painting, installing new flooring, and updating lighting ahead of time will make your life so much easier. We promise. The last thing you want to do is unpack and then vacate the space to get the real renovation work done.

Identify your movers’ service offerings so there are no surprises. Some movers will wrap artwork and TVs for you, while others simply transport the items. It’s important to know what you’re getting so you can pack properly.

furniture movers


Start packing infrequently-used items early. Decor and artwork can be packed and set aside a week or two prior to your move, while dishes and small appliances you use daily are better to pack a day or two before.

Color code your boxes by room with sticky notes or tape and explain the system to your movers. Then, they’ll be able to pack the truck accordingly and place the boxes in the right rooms when you arrive, creating a sense of order in the moving chaos.

Pack yourself a “carry-on.” It’s super helpful to have a weekend bag filled with two days-worth of necessities and clothings (think: essential toiletries and athleisure outfits for unpacking). This will help avoid frantic searches through boxes for your toothbrush at 11pm when you just want to shower and get to sleep, ASAP.

Pack your bedding separately on the morning of your move. When you arrive at your new home, you’ll be thrilled to sleep in familiar, comfortable sheets after a whirlwind day.

Roll up rugs last, so they can be first off the truck and placed on the floor before you start landing furniture on top of them. You’re welcome.

moving snacks

Moving Day

Provide a tray of water, iced coffee, and snacks for the movers. Whether it’s granola bars or cookies, they’ll appreciate the gesture and might take special care of your things. If your moving crew consists of family and friends, we suggest a pizza party complete with cold beers afterwards to celebrate a job well done.

Load the truck backwards, which is to say, whatever you need unloaded first should be loaded last (last on, first off). Consider the layout of your new space, with items for the front rooms loaded on the truck first, and pieces for the back rooms, or upstairs, loaded afterwards. That way, movers can swiftly unload from back to front, top to bottom, sparing multiple trips.

pillows on sofa

Settling In

Unpack throw pillows and blankets to add instant warmth and comfort to your space. You’ll start to feel at home the minute your decor is in place.

Hire a TaskRabbit or handyman for the day after the move so you can start hanging artwork, mirrors, and shelves right away. These tasks can be tedious and particular, so it’s worth the small investment in getting it done right, right away.

Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone. If you’re looking for more expert advice on how to furnish a new space, we know some folks who can help. Book your Havenly designer approximately two-four months before your move so there’s plenty of time to get ideas, see a photorealistic design of your new space, and order decor and furniture to coordinate with your move-in timing.

And finally, reward yourself! Light a candle, order takeout, put on your favorite tunes, and start enjoying your new digs.

Whether moving into a new space, or wanting to see your current one in a fresh light, our design pros are ready and waiting. Take our style quiz to find your perfect designer.

Words by Morgan Goldberg