16 intentional moving tips for home & business



Though I’m a little late, I have a fresh new free wallpaper for August! You can download it here

Mr. Lively, Franklin, and I have been in our Austin rental home for just over a week now!

Though we still have things to complete on our checklist like hanging art, selecting a new living room rug, and organizing the pantry, the home is taking shape quite nicely.

Boxes have been broken down and recycled, walls have been repainted, and we are getting familiar with our adorable neighborhood (we love Hyde Park!).

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a handful of tweets and emails from people asking me to share the tips we’ve gleaned from this move.

So while the move is still fresh in my mind, I’d like to share 16 of the biggest tips I have to help you make your next move a little more intentional.

Not moving right away? Simply save or Pin this post for the next time you need to pack up and make a change. : )


16 Intentional Moving Tips For Home & Business


#1 – Create a Values-Based Intention

No surprise here, right? Before making any big decisions or taking action, I think it’s best to define your intention for your move.

For us, we decided our Values-based intention was:

“To have a Peaceful and Enjoyable move, given the current circumstances.”

You’ll want to select your own Values for your intention (here’s a quick Values checklist). Some common moving intentions could include:








Then, it’s up to you to find ways to embody your Values throughout the various aspects of your move.

In the tips to come, I’ll share what we did to align with our Values, but can also apply to many other moving Values as well.


Life Tips


#2 – Host an easy going away party


A quick snap with Kim and Scott (our friends that married us in Paris!) at our going away party | photo by Kim

We decided to have a super simple going away party by hosting a little afternoon open house at our favorite bar, Matilda (definitely hitting our peaceful and enjoyable Values!).

We picked a Sunday afternoon since we figured most of our friends with and without children would be able to stop by.

It involved no preparation (other than sending out a free evite), no mess to clean up, and no expense (other than our drinks).

Just a fun time with our friends at a place we loved.


#3 – Get your appointments scheduled

Before heading out of town, we scheduled a bunch of final appointments with the hairdresser, groomer, dentist, doctor, and mentor.

Getting caught up on our appointments before we left means we don’t have to rush out and find new doctors and stylists anytime soon.


#4 – Do your favorite things before you leave

Before leaving Chicago, we made a short list of the places we knew we wanted to enjoy one more time before the move.

Getting to eat one last order of Tarascas nachos was on my bucket list, and Mr. Lively made sure to re-visit Three Dots and a Dash with his guy friends one more time.


Home Tips


#5 – Select the moving method that aligns with your Values

This is perhaps where your Values may dictate a different course of action from our own.

If you Value ease, for example, you may spring to go with a deluxe moving company that does all the packing, moving, and transport from start to finish.

However, if your Value is frugality, you might decide to pack, load, and transport your stuff all on your own in a car or rented UHaul truck.

For our move, we wanted peace and enjoyment, but given the fact that Mr. Lively’s company was not paying for any moving expenses (he got remote status for a Chicago company, which is awesome, but didn’t include a moving package) it was important to use to save our hard earned savings, within reason.

So rather than go with an all-in-one company that offered to move us for $8,400 – with a two week delay between packing our stuff and delivering it – we did a mix of traditional movers and moving pods.

  1. First, we packed most of our stuff ourselves.
  2. Then, we hired movers in Chicago to pack up our apartment and load the boxes and furniture into UHaul UBoxes.
  3. UHaul transported our stuff to Austin.
  4. And finally, a local moving company (found through online reviews) unloaded our pods into our house.

This combination of movers and pods came in at just about half of what the traditional moving company quoted us – including boxes and packaging.

I’ll be honest: at first I was wary of the moving pod system. I was worried about our fragile vintage marble table tops getting damaged with all the different companies loading, transporting, and unloading our pods.

However, the transport worked out flawlessly! 

Everything – except a single cereal bowl – made it safe and sound.

I would definitely use the pods + movers system the next time around if we ever make a large move.

(However, I will say that our personal UHaul experience with a location manager has been less than ideal. This will obviously vary location to location, but we have had a heck of a time trying to correct a mischarge. So while I do support the moving pod system, I have to admit that our experience hasn’t been completely headache free.)


#6 – Use a timeline that aligns with your Values

Moving cross country with a large company usually means not having your stuff for 7-18 days.

Since we knew that we wanted to have a peaceful transition into the new home and city, we opted to have the movers pack our stuff in Chicago a week before we left. This meant we only had what could fit in our small Prius for the last week in Chicago.

But it also meant that after our road trip to a friend’s wedding and driving down to Austin, our stuff would arrive within 48 hours.

Another bonus of this method was that we didn’t have to coordinate with other tenants moving out at the end of July for parking space while the truck loaded… and it just felt more peaceful overall to do it long before the road trip began.


#7 – Exfoliate before you pack


As I shared a few weeks ago, I did another Throw Out 100 Things Challenge (Donate, recycle, pass on, toss out) before the move. I also sold a decent amount of furniture that I knew wouldn’t work for our new home, like bar stools, our dining table, and our modern side chairs.

By exfoliating the clutter I didn’t want need/use/love meant that I had less packing to do and it helped us move in three pods instead of four, which saved quite a bit of money.

In addition, selling off unnecessary furniture through Craigslist allowed us to earn some cash we can now use towards the new rugs and items we’d like to use in this home.

PS – I also bought a few great pieces I found on Craigslist in Chicago for the new space, too. I knew that the price we got them for there was worth the cost to ship them.


#8 – Buy more packing materials thank you think you’ll need

This tip came from my sister-in-law, Camille, who has done several moves across the world. She told us to buy as many boxes as we could so that we wouldn’t run out of packing materials.

It was more peaceful having a few leftover boxes that we needed to return, rather than having to stop in the middle of packing to make an emergency run to UHaul or Lowes for more boxes.

Admittedly, we ended up needing to make a quick second trip anyways, which goes to show: get a lot more than you think you’ll need… because you may very likely need even more than that!


#9 – Use Smart Move packing tape


My favorite tip of all happens to be this Smart Move Packing Tape that Mr. Lively picked up.

You use it to label boxes for each room as you pack. This way you or your movers know exactly where to put each box in the new space, and you know what stuff is inside.


Another tip with the tape is to label each doorway with the tape as well in the new space so there is no confusion about which bedroom gets which box.



#10 – Pre-schedule as much as possible

Mr. Lively took care of this project and it paid off well: He called the utility companies and selected our internet provider (based on local recommendations) before we moved so that they could get our services up and running right when we arrived.

It wasn’t essential, but it made for a smooth transition, especially considering he started working from home within a few days of arriving.


#11 – Paint Early, if possible


If you are like me and start pre-decorating before you move, you may want to schedule your painters within the first week of arrival.

Since I’m crazy about the decorating stuff, I had the painters come the day after the movers arrived (if I could have made it work logistically, I would have had the painters come before the movers arrived). This way the stuff was still in boxes and it was easier for the painters to do their job.

It also helped the space to feel like our own right from the start.

However, this would not be ideal for those who don’t have a clear vision of what they’d like the space to look like right away. In which case waiting awhile and living in the space would be a better idea to help you get a feel for how you’d like to design the space over time.


Business Tips


A few readers also asked me to share about what it was like to move the business, too. So here are my tips that I’ve learned so far on that end as well!


#12 – Contact your Accountant for legal considerations

First and foremost, I think it’s important to talk to your accountant about any business structure and tax considerations.

I did just that and will be working with my accountant to move the business here in Austin. I’ll also be sorting out what needs to be done with my sales tax ID, etc.

Because all of these details can vary state to state, I find the peaceful thing for me to do is to leave this part up to the pros!


#13 – Have a going away party for clients and co-workers

If you have a small business that has local clients, or you have a staff, you may want to have a little going away party to celebrate your transition!

I personally did a little going away party for blog readers and it was an enjoyable way to close a special chapter of my career.


#14 – Delegate to keep systems running smoothly


Because the Intention Tattoos launched while I was on a quick business trip to New York, I was very grateful to have my lovely Right Hand Lady, Isabel, manning the tattoo ship right from the start!

She’s done a great job keeping orders running smoothly and answering any tattoo-related questions while I’ve been traveling or busy with the move.


#15 – Use an away message with a few buffer days to help you get settled in

Because I was basically in flux from July 28th – August 10th, I put up an autoresponder on my inboxes to alert people of my travels and to let them know when I would be back “to work.”

Knowing that people were aware of the limbo helped me focus on unpacking boxes and spending my first few days in the city, rather than hovering over my inbox.

I’ll also add: if you work for yourself, can make it work logistically, and want to… try taking a week off in the new space to settle in and attend to your to-do list.

I did that last week, and it was personally a very peaceful and enjoyable choice.

Initially I thought I only needed about 3-4 days, but the full seven days turned out to be exactly what I needed.


#16 – Add your own tip!

I’m by no means an “expert” when it comes to moving and I’d love to share your moving tips as well!

If you have a great suggestion for people going through a big (or little) move, please add it to this list below!


As you can see from the tips above, we did a fairly good job adapting our Values to each circumstance and decision.

Though it wasn’t completely peaceful or enjoyable, it went about as well as I ever could have hoped!

When making your next move, consider taking the time to set your Values. Then, let them act as a guide when you make the plethora of choices that are inherent in any move, big or small.


PSOurWeddingCeremonyTwo years ago today, Mr. Lively and I eloped to Paris! If you would like to check out how and why we did an non-traditional (but completely intentional) wedding, you can see the details here.



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  1. Laura @ Rather Square

    These are great tips, and I love the intention behind them. Moving is always so stressful, so keeping your values in mind with each step probably helped your move be as smooth as possible. Good luck in Austin and hope you’ll be back to visit Chicago often! But maybe not during the cold season (we’re in Oak Park – wasn’t last winter brutal?)…

    1. Thank you, Laura! Yes, last winter kinda made the heat of Austin suddenly not seem so bad. I kept reminding Mr. Lively, during the depths of the cold walking home at night, that there were people in the world who were warm at that moment!

      The 90’s and 100’s right now in Austin surprisingly haven’t seemed as bad as I expected them to feel (thankfully!). But I’ve heard they have had a “cool” summer here so far.

  2. jennie lopez

    Thanks for the tips. We settle on a new house in September and then embark on a big renovation! After listening to so many of your podcasts, I realized I need to set intentions for the finished space. So far, I know I want the new house to be a casual and inviting space when all is said and done. It’s amazing how many little decisions have been made easier since figuring that out. I love the idea of setting an intention for the move as well!

  3. Amazing tips. I wish I had them when I moved a year and a half ago. But I was 7/8 months pregnant my thoughts kept going back to the baby (and when would the birth occur) and not on the “moving thingy-wingy”. Big mistake… because my husband forgot a lot of things, tossed things that weren’t supposed to be tossed and made a big mess while packing. Humpfff. Maybe next time I’ll do it right and this will surely be my ‘how-to’ for moving!
    Again, spot on, lovely Jess!
    Big kiss from your number one on the fans list 🙂

    1. Oh man, you had a LOT on your plate! I can only imagine what it took to get everything together with a little one on the way.

      Hopefully these tips will help you the next time around, though!

  4. Anna Lindsey

    I wish we’d had some of these tips two years ago for our move to Austin. We also went the pod route, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back! I hope you enjoy Hyde Park. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in Austin, due largely to Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. which is pretty much heaven on earth for me.

    1. Pods really are awesome, aren’t they?! I was surprised at how well the worked out, too.

      Haven’t checked out the cheese shop yet, but I will definitely go after your glowing review. : )

  5. Jennifer Snyder

    Oh man… all of these tips are great, but that packing tape is GENIUS! Is it strange that this post actually gets me excited about moving—even when we have no plans to move any time soon? 🙂 Thanks for sharing what you learned along the way, Jess!

    1. I know, right?! It was so much better than having to label them with marker and made sorting through boxes a snap on the other end.

      1. Jennifer Snyder

        I bet! So glad you’re settling in. Moving is hard work! I have yet to visit Austin, so I can’t wait to read about some of the great places you discover!

        1. For sure! We are really liking it, it’s a great size – small-ish when you are in a neighborhood, but big in that there is always new places to explore. : )

  6. Happy 2 year Anniversary Jess! And congrats again on the move.

    Having moved cross country TWICE (Sadly FROM Austin both times) I can relate but this blog post is amazing and you pretty much nailed it and then some.

    Yes, the packing tape idea is genius and agree with Anna that Antonelli’s cheese shop is amazing. You definitely are in the right area to experience central Austin and still have the neighborhood type of feel. Did you know there is a Taco Deli near you too? No shortage of tacos in town!

    I reflected back on my blog recently on my move to DC and settling in. It’s not the same as Austin, but learning to be present and be at peace with that! Hope it helps you and any other readers who are adjusting to a new place. http://blog.skc-marketing.com/2014/08/learning-to-love-dc.html

    And at least you are on the tail end of the “hotter” season – no way you’ll miss Chicago when you are sitting on a patio come December 🙂

    Enjoy Texas and good luck settling in Jess, thanks again for sharing these tips!

    1. Thanks, Sadie! We heard so much about Taco Deli that we went our second day. Still Mr. Lively’s fave taco place we’ve tried so far (Torchy’s coming in a close second).

      Thank you for sharing your post, too!

    1. Thanks, Kimberly!! I’ll fill you in at our next appt. We do have one set up, right?

      I’m glad you like the tape, too!

  7. JoAnne Henein

    Thanks for doing this! I have a similar list I want to make for volunteer workers transitioning back from overseas — it’s not an easy thing! 🙂 Lots of reverse culture-shock all woven in the mix too 🙂

    1. That is so wonderful to hear, I am sure your list will be really appreciated by the volunteers coming back. : )

  8. This is great! Especially since I am in mid-move (within the state) but still full of anxiety! I wish I would have actually had this last week since I forgot to put up my ‘vacation’ mode on gmail. One thing I would recommend is setting up a box full of the necessities if you have to go back and forth (wash rags, utensils, plates, couple bowls, dish soap, etc). I forgot to pack utensils and dish soap for our new place and ended up having to buy more! Happy Anniversary too!

    1. That is a great point, Angela! An “Open First” box, if you will! : )

      Thank you for sharing!

  9. Can’t wait to see your new place! When I designed wedding stationery, about 80% of my clients were from Austin. Something chic-like is going on in that place. It has always made me want to visit to see why so many people from the Austin area shops on Etsy. 🙂 I still get a few clients coming in now that I switched my business to stamps.

    Thanks for the tips! Very interesting to see how other people move.

    1. For sure! There is a strong design community here, I feel. It is so cool to see it firsthand. The entrepreneurial spirit is awesome. : )

  10. SEM

    i love how you always incorporate intention into EVERY aspect of your life! digg’n’ that label tape….and franklin….he kills me sitting on that bookshelf. we are waiting to hear back from our landlord if we can get a dog….my heart aches while i wait. 🙂

    1. Aw, I hope you get the approval, SEM!

      If for some reason it doesn’t happen, maybe you could embody that Value in a different way… like volunteering at a shelter or something? Or pet sitting for friends? : )

  11. Monica

    Congrats on your move and great tips! We just moved too… it can be stressful! Would you mind sharing the name of that mint-ish paint? I love it! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Monica! I think you are talking about the blue color the walls were before we painted. I’m actually not sure what color they are, they were that color before we moved.

  12. ecobox

    moving out can really be stressful but with a lot of help coming from friends, relatives and your tips I think everything will turn out just fine.

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