Best Moving Organization Idea Ever!

If we were really packing up and moving our entire family I needed to find a way to organize this move to make it as efficient and painless as possible. We had to pack up our entire house and move our family of four across the state. We had been living in our house for 10 years and we accumulated lots of stuff. As it turned out, we ended up moving TWICE in less than a year.

According to the DIY Channel TV shows, when you are moving or just need to reorganize your space, you need to organize your stuff into 3 categories: Keep, Donate, Throw Away. The four of us spent the summer sorting through every room in the house, with the focus on moving. What do we want to move? Sure, the kids focused more on their own rooms, with help from the grown-ups, but still, it was all hands on deck.

I searched the internet for ideas on how to have a successful move. I was afraid we would lose important things, not know which boxes had what in them, and not know which boxes to unpack first after moving.

I found some good ideas online about organized moving. Someone suggested color coding each room. If we make the kitchen green, for example, all the boxes with kitchen items in them would have a green piece of paper or sticker on them. I decided to try this. I tried to buy colored stickers but the only ones I could find would be too small to see. I got out colored paper and cut them into thick strips in order to tape them onto the boxes. I wrote a few words right on the paper about the contents of the moving box. But then I had to tape the paper onto the box. Pinterest folks said to use lots of different colored duct tape and write on the tape the contents of the moving box. Pinterest also had pictures of people using colored and patterned washi tape to designate moving boxes for each room or person.

Then the moving families would create a kind of “key” to the colors or patterns.

These seemed like GREAT ideas! But with over 10 rooms to pack, plus the basement and garage, this is going to get expensive.

I liked the idea the tape showing what is inside the moving box. So I developed a cool system. I used 3×5 note cards, which were really cheap! I thought about doing colored note cards but started with all white.

So here’s what I did. For each box we packed, we wrote the ENTIRE contents onto the 3×5 card and taped it to the box. Then we wrote out a duplicate 3×5 card to keep in the stack. We numbered the box and the two matching cards.

Contents of moving box written on card
Contents of box written on card, photo: Everyday Saratoga
Store all the moving box cards in one place
Store all the moving box cards in one place, photo: Everyday Saratoga

We also wrote the room in Sharpie on the tops and sides of the boxes so the movers could easily see which room to deliver the boxes. They didn’t need to know what was in the boxes, just where to put them. Every single box had the 3×5 card in the top right corner, easy to find.

Now I have a stack of cards telling me exactly what is in each box. I bought a little plastic card holder that I kept with me long before and long after the move.

Cards in numeric order of moving boxes contents
Cards in numeric order of moving boxes contents, photo: Everyday Saratoga

We soon found a problem with the awesome system. Finding something in the stack of cards was tough. Once we got to about 200 cards, flipping through them became a slow process. Child #1 decided to enter all the cards into Excel so we can do a find (ctrl f).

This system is GENIUS!!!  Numbers on boxes, cards on boxes, stack of cards in card wallet and Excel sheet of all the packed items! We used the find function in Excel so many times to find things in boxes before and after we moved!

I carried my little wallet of cards with me the entire moving day, it was like my security blanket.

As we moved in, I tried to remove the cards as we unpacked the boxes. I didn’t do very well (ya know, ’cause I was busy unpacking boxes). So there were cards in there that were unpacked.’s been like 6 months and I needed to find something so I consulted the cards still in the pouch that went into storage. I flipped through the cards, found the item, went to the box and viola! I found it! The GENIUS moving system still works!!!!

What kinds of ideas did you use for packing and moving? Please share what works and what doesn’t in the comments.

Thanks for reading! I hope it helps!  :o)