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In the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I moved five times. In 2010, we moved to Utah, rented for a while, and then bought a house. We remained in the house we purchased since. With the booming housing market and low-interest rates, we see many of our friends moving out of state or considering buying a bigger home. I thought it appropriate to give some tips for moving without ruining your marriage… Since we are kind of experts in the matter.

A couple holding boxes while moving without ruining their marriage.


As with every other area of our marriage, communication is a crucial tip for moving without ruining your marriage. On our first few moves, I spent a considerable amount of time being frustrated with my husband. We pack VERY DIFFERENTLY, and we had no plan. I would meticulously wrap items and get rid of things that I hadn’t used in a while. I see packing as the perfect time to declutter.

My husband, on the other hand, is all about speed and Tetris. He wants to fit as much as possible in each box while doing this task as quickly as possible. He has no care for what room the items belong to. In his mind, it is fine to put something from the kitchen in with office stuff if there is a perfect space in a box for it. I have to appreciate his mad Tetris skills, but this drove me bonkers!

I had to communicate my frustrations with him… otherwise, he would keep proudly showing me how he fit things… and I might lose my mind. We came up with a plan to use his mad Tetris skills, but the boxes remained in the appropriate room and wouldn’t weigh 600 lbs. (I couldn’t lift most of his boxes)

Use the Right boxes and Label Everything

Boxes are important if you want your marriage to survive a move. Do not… I repeat… do not use gigantic boxes. If you do, give clear instructions that only lampshades are allowed. We made the mistake of using boxes that we found behind the grocery store. Free is good, but you need to know how to properly pack so that you don’t need a forklift to lift it and you can identify what is inside.

We prefer file boxes for most things. My kitchen drawers’ contents fit nicely in them, and you can fill a file box with books and still lift it. My husband has thousands of books. I’m not exaggerating. His office is the main reason I never want to move again. Keep your boxes to a manageable size, and be aware of how much a box weighs before you tape that sucker up!

Sell or give away stuff you don’t need

We have boxes that have been in our attic for 10 years. I have no idea what is in them, and I obviously haven’t missed them. This goes back to my “declutter as you go” technique. I would bet money that my husband packed those boxes in the attic because I always know what I put in mine.

Packing up to move is the perfect time to give away or even sell some of the items you haven’t used in a while. With Facebook, there are neighborhood groups, selling groups, or you can post “Hey, does anyone want this?” and you are sure to make someone’s day. As a couple, we love to be able to bless people. It makes us happy. We often give away things that we no longer need and get excited about it going to a new loving home.

If it is important to you, pack it yourself

I don’t ever want to micromanage my husband. We are different, and that is okay. He has his way of doing things, and as long as the boxes wind up in the correct room and I know what is in them, I’m okay with that. However, when it comes to the things that are of extra importance to me, I pack them myself.

If we take care of our own personal valuables, we only have ourselves to blame if something goes awry. This is key. I want it to be on me and not him. I take full responsibility for my things.

Have Fun

A couple with boxes on their heads. Silly faces are drawn on the boxes. They are having fun as a tip for moving without ruining their marriage.

We are chronic fun havers. Moving is not fun, so we are always trying to find ways to make light of the heavy lifting. Sometimes that means labeling the box in a funny way (as long as it is still clear what is in it and where it goes) or putting something silly in with other things, like putting a rubber ducky in with the silverware. I know, we’re hilarious. Bottom line, find a way to do something fun. Whether it’s speed packing a closet or taking odds on how much change you’ll find in the furniture, you’ve got to find some levity.

Hire a Professional

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your marriage is to hire someone to do the work for you.

For our first cross country move, we “hired” the Jr. High boys from our church’s youth group. They were lovely boys. However, their skills as movers lacked considerably. A vanity mirror broke because one of our “workers” decided to try to smash a Cicada bug with a tennis racquet and accidentally rammed it right into the mirror… “oops”! The husband in this situation could appreciate the fun being had; the wife was not as impressed. (In case you haven’t guessed, I am that wife… and I was not amused)

At this point in our marriage, we didn’t have many valuables to our name. But, I loved the things we had acquired in our first year of marriage. We paid the boys in pizza and I will tell you that you absolutely get what you pay for.

I am thankful for the extra hands, but I think a better idea for keeping your marriage strong while moving is to hire professionals. If you are in the Ogden, Utah area, try out Muscle Men Movers. Unlike the boys in our youth group, these are trained professionals.

This moving company offers other services as well, so even if you only need help to move a piano in the Ogden, Utah area, they’ve got your back. Literally… trying to move a piano on your own would do a number on your back. Their trained, professional staff understand how delicate, expensive, and sometimes sentimental these instruments can be. They are ready for the challenge so you can save your back and your marriage.

Muscle Man Movers moving a piano. A great tip for moving without ruining your marriage.

To Sum It Up

Moving can put stress on a marriage. To make it through and come out strong on the other side, follow these tips.

  1. Communicate
  2. Use the right boxes and remember to label them
  3. Give away or sell stuff you don’t need
  4. Have fun
  5. Hire a professional

Happy Moving!

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  1. I so agree! When we moved to and from Illinois, the company hired a moving company to pack and unpack. I watched their every move. So, when we moved from Arcadia to Dana Point, I did all the packing. (Larry was in charge of the garage.) Using the correct boxes is important. Books are HEAVY! Pack them in SMALL boxes! i had thirty days to pack up our 1400 sq.ft. house AND the 900+ sq. ft. condo. I was working fulltime. So, I packed at least four or five boxes every night. We arranged for a large dumpster for the trash and gave a lot away, like the extra refrigerator, dining table, etc.
    I also contrived a great system. i had a floorplan of the new house, so I took colored Avery dot labels and put a different one in each room on the floorplan. Then I color-coded the boxes to match. (I also did a complete inventory list of what was in each box–with a carbon copy.) Then each box was numbered–on the colored sticker. The copy of the inventory went inside before it was taped up, and the original went on a clipboard in numeric order. When we went to unpack, it was easy.i knew which box had the coffeemaker and silverware!
    When we moved to Japan, I used the same system. The movers in both places LOVED it!
    It took no longer than just packing, and it made unpacking SO much easier. Larry saw the value in it, so he followed the same process for his boxes.

  2. These are great tips! We recently moved across several states and it was super stressful. We ended up giving away so much stuff and I felt much better after having it gone!

  3. Alyssa Hixenbaugh Reply

    Excellent advice and tips! My husband and I moved from Michigan to Florida about a year ago, and it was definitely hard on our marriage. Communication is so important!

    • Moving is stressful… at least your guys wound up somewhere warm! We moved from California to Utah in the dead of winter! lol That added to the stress.

  4. This is such a good post, moving is one of the most stressful and difficult life transitions so it’s naturally going to cause tension. I think just having fun and having others come and help you makes the process a lot easier

  5. Moving can be stressful indeed. We are military and have moved at least five times so far as well. For us, the packing wasn’t stressful because the army pays the moving companies to do it for us, but the long drives , especially with young kids, is pretty stressful.

    • Thank you for your service! I know that moving around all the time and having your family separated often isn’t easy… military families are rock stars in my book!

  6. Sankhamala Reply

    Packing is so stressful! We are going to move to our hometown after few days and your tips would be very much helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I laughed so much at the comment about how your husband packs! My husband moved into our new townhome a couple weeks before we got married. I moved in after we were married and was working on unpacking things. His boxes had no rhyme or reason to any of them! I let him unpack his own boxes.

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