Tip #1: Budget Your Time & Money Throughout the rest of these tips, evaluate the expense and time value of the work. Some things will be worth spending the time for you. Others will be worth spending the money on. Of course you should hire an organizer to help you, but sometimes you just need to make moves as cost effective as possible, rip the bandaid, and start sorting out your move on your own.
Tip #2: Decide What You're Taking
You might be tempted to just take it all and deal with it later, but you WANT to be organized (otherwise you'd not be reading this). By organizing BEFORE your move, you'll save money and time. Most importantly, it will help you to get an accurate estimate for moving quotes if you know what you're taking and what you're not going to take.
Do a quick loop around your home. Bring red sticky notes to tag anything you know you're not going to take. Then do another loop and write down what you're taking and what you're not (and if you'll sell or donate). Then do a 3rd loop and write down a declutter list.
I have a super nerdy spreadsheet for my clients so they can track the expense of the new items they want to purchase. Here's an example:
Tip #3: Declutter
From your declutter list, you'll go area by area over the course of your move prep. My advice is to start with an easy to tackle room first so you get some confidence in you. Maybe there's a hall closet that can be easily sorted or a pristinely organized office. Whichever is easiest, start there.
When you have 2-3 hours, find your luggage. If you'll be donating any of it, you can use that to toss your donate/toss items into. The rest will be used to pack up the clothes you are keeping. Dump your clothes onto your bed. If you're fairly organized already, do all tops first, then all bottoms, then all dresses, then all lingerie, etc. Sort by KEEP, TRY ON and DONATE/TOSS. Pack the keep pile into luggage. Put the Try On back into the closet. This will be your wardrobe until you move. You'll figure out quickly if you really want to keep it this way! Pack the donate/toss into any suitcases you're getting rid of or into bags. Keep that at the bottom of your closet to add any try on's that you decide to not keep.
As you get closer to the move, start going through other rooms whenever you're in there. Do 1 cabinet or drawer at a time. No need to do full hours on this stuff. Just keep checking it off your list. But going through each drawer in a room will help you realize that you might not need 5 spatulas when you never cook. And why do you have 3 blenders? How did that happen? The week of the move, toss out any expired pantry items and challenge yourself to make food from your fridge and pantry until it's gone. The less you have to move, the better...and hopefully the more delicious, too.
My checklist sample:
Tip #4: Hire movers & drink margaritas while watching them do the work for you.
Well, maybe you don't need the margaritas or sass of this tip, but budgeting out your move is an important aspect. Depending on how much and where you're moving, you could potentially save money by renting a U-Haul and having friends help you out. But, truly, moving is usually extremely hard and issues constantly creep up. Booking an insured moving company at the least to move your items safely will reduce issues. But when you can afford it, splurge and have them box and move everything!
Create or buy labels in advance of move day so you can print out and just slap them on as you (or hopefully the movers!) box things up! You may have decided some items will have a new home in your new home, so it's helpful to get the movers to move things into the right new spot. I like large ones and color coding them as well. Amazon sells moving labels that I think are probably cheaper and nicer looking than printing up your own.
Check out tips for hiring movers, red flags, submitting complaints & more at Moving.org.
Tip #5: To Yard Sale or Not To Yard Sale Put all of the donation items into 1 area and consider if it might be worth doing a yard sale of those items. You may have some very valuable pieces in there that will make it worth it. On the other hand, yard sales can be a pain and you end up making less than your time is worth. You can also consider selling select items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, Poshmark, Mercari and other platforms. I'll be posting more soon on selling strategies.
If you just want to get rid of things, search for your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. I swear, I'm keeping Facebook at this point mainly for my Buy Nothing group! Bags of sand that you don't know how to get rid of? Post on Buy Nothing and it's gone in minutes. A broken bed frame? Post it on Buy Nothing and someone may pick it up for scrap metal. I usually will put things out a couple of days before trash pick up in the neighborhood. That way, if it's not gone by morning, I can photograph it and request bulky item pick up from sanitation for the next day.