Four Ways to Help a Friend Move (Other Than Carrying Boxes)

packing to move

Getty / Emilija Manevska

Moving—whether across town or across the country—is no joke, whether you’re riding solo or packing up three kids and two animals. If you have a friend who’s in the process of relocating, any support you can offer during this stressful yet exciting time is greatly appreciated. The good news? There are plenty of ways to support a pal who’s packing without spending a Saturday transporting boxes up and down a steep staircase. We’ve spoken with moving experts and outlined four major ways that you can support your busy friend without breaking a sweat. 

Corral Chaos

With your friend’s permission, lend a hand by tackling that pesky junk drawer, etiquette expert Diane Gottsman advised. “Help them sort through all of the rubber bands, paper clips, and papers,” she added, noting that this will make it easier for movers to grab boxes and go on the big day. And if you have extra cardboard boxes that you can spare, bring them, Gottsman said—your friend will appreciate having additional materials on hand. 

If your pal has piles of boxes filled with items to donate, why not tackle this task on your own? “Offering to do a Goodwill dropoff for them can be so helpful,” shared design blogger Carmel Phillips, who has moved her family many times. “It saves your friend time and knocks another item off their checklist.” 

Serve As Clean Up Crew 

Not able to help with packing? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities to pitch in down the line. Unfortunately, emptying all of the boxes out of one’s home doesn’t necessarily mean the move-out process is over. Many renters and homeowners still need extra time to mop floors, paint walls, spackle, and the like—and would greatly appreciate your assistance! “Sometimes, I have gone in after the movers and helped clean my friends’ home,” explains design blogger Jewel Marlowe, a military spouse who has experienced her fair share of moves. “That last minute cleaning can be so exhausting to do by yourself.” 

Provide Care and Nourishment—Literally!

Friends can assist by providing water and snacks for movers on the big day, designer Jill Shevlin suggested. “It’s good practice to offer lunch, and perhaps a friend would like to take on that task,” she added. There’s no need to set out anything fancy, but making a quick grocery store run and stocking up on some essentials for both your friend and her moving crew will take one to-do off of her plate. If for some reason you have access to a friend’s new space before she arrives, why not take the opportunity to perform a good deed? “I have had friends who have surprised us by stocking our refrigerator with the basics, and that was much appreciated,” Marlowe commented. Not local but feeling generous? Your friend will most definitely appreciate a housewarming gift that errs on the functional side. “I think the best gift you can give a friend who is moving is a gift certificate for home organizing services,” Phillips noted. “I fondly remember when we moved to Pittsburgh, with a newborn and a toddler, how much I appreciated the 10 hours of home organizing that was gifted to us.” 

If your pal has pets, keep an eye on her furry friends to ensure they stay safe and out of the way as movers come in and out of the house, Shevlin added. “It’s a busy scene with a lot of people and open doors—an opportunity for a pet to slip away unnoticed.” 

Don’t Come Over As A Guest 

Stopping by a friend’s house as they pack is fine if you’re willing to assist—but now is not the time to pay a social visit, Gottman urged. “Don’t be a burden; this is not a time to sit down to visit,” she explained. “Don’t think that you are a guest at their home, you’re helping.” 

Instead, why not let your friend and her family be guests in your own home for an evening? “Inviting them over for a home cooked meal is so nice,” Phillips said. “Especially if they’ve already packed up their kitchen and have cleaned out the refrigerator!”