STEPHEN THOMPSON: Stephen’s top tips to make moving less stressful



I‘ve moved 26 times and have professionally rearranged furniture in hundreds of homes. I’ve seen firsthand how easy it is to reduce moving chaos by following a few simple tips.

Make a list. Better still, search online for a ready made “moving checklist” to discover everything that needs to be done before and after a move.

Leave it behind. If you don’t use it now, you probably won’t use it later. Get rid of broken tools, old toys, old clothing. Give usable items to charity or have a garage sale. If you don’t love it, donate, sell or toss it.

Pack early. Ask local stores for their throwaway boxes or purchase new ones from your moving company. Pack two boxes a day and in a month you’ll have packed 60 boxes. Start in areas where things aren’t frequently used such, as the attic, garage and basement. Label the sides of the boxes, so you can identify them even when they’re stacked.

Make it visible. Pack a survival kit of the items you’ll need first in a clear plastic bin – a box cutter, paper towels, trash bags, some cookware, power strips, phone chargers, toilet paper, and tools. Include non-perishable food, a can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils, bottled water, a flashlight, a few towels, sheets, toiletries, a blanket, pen/paper, a few small games or magazines and a change of clothes for everyone.

Use the ABC system. Mark a box A if it needs to be unpacked the first day. If its contents are important, but not crucial, mark it B. If the box contains things you won’t need right away, it’s a C. Then, unpack in A, B, C order. Use color stickers/tape to code boxes. If possible, mark the doors of your new home with color sticker/tape, so your movers know where to put each box.

Pack smart. Make a hole in the bottom of a large garbage bag, stick the hangers through that, pull the bag down over your clothes, then twist tie or zip tie hangers together and tie off the bottom. Take pictures of electronics before you disconnect them to remember where all the wires go, put the wires and small parts in ziptop bags and tape them to the back of the electronics. Plates packed vertically, like records, are less likely to break. Used liquor boxes with dividers are excellent for glasses.

Get help. If you use a moving service, choose one with a reputation for good service and reliability. If you’re relying on friends to help move you, along with food and alcohol, give them first dibs on anything you originally planned to sell or donate. If you have young children or pets, hire a sitter.

Finish one room first. Set up one room in your new home as quickly as possible and you’ll have a quiet – box-free – retreat when you need a break from moving.

Make your first night memorable. Even if you’re eating take-out and sleeping on a mattress on the floor, sweeten the evening with flowers, candles and music. A few loving touches will make a huge difference toward making your new place to live your home.

Live in beauty!

Stephen Thompson has been creating tasteful interiors since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations text (662) 231-5519 or write Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or

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