Is there anything more stressful than moving? Well sure, there are some things, but when you are in the throes of packing and making arrangements to move, it can feel like you are lost in an abyss of cardboard and bubble wrap. All while trying to live your outside life full of other busy. Geez! I recently went through this so I wanted to share some tips that helped me. I promise, this turmoil doesn’t last forever!
- Before packing up to move, PURGE! Go through closets and get rid of clothes that don’t fit, games that don’t get played, and some of those 27 vases you never use. If you have time, have a garage sale (LINK). If not, a local charity would be happy to have the donations. It felt SO good to do this before I moved so that I knew whatever I brought into my new home were things I really needed and wanted.
- Color code your boxes! I used different colored duct tape because they sell a variety of colors at my dollar store. But stickers, colored markers, or colored paper could work too. Each room or area got a color; yellow for the kitchen, green for the living room, the kids got fun printed tape to claim their boxes. If you are extra organized jot down on each box below the tape a description of what is in the box. If you will be moving the box directly into storage, write STORAGE across the tape so it’s easy to see. This way it never comes into the new house to add to the clutter. Make a “key” of all the colors for yourself and a sign for each room of the new house (blue tape on the bedroom door, etc). Why are you going to this trouble? Well you may have many different people helping you on moving day and by labeling, the boxes won’t all get dumped in random rooms or left in the garage. Why write what is in them? So that when you are standing in the kitchen surrounded by boxes covered in yellow tape, you can decide which is most important to unpack first! I felt so organized when I got to our new place and it really helped cut down on being asked “where do you want this” every three minutes by good-meaning helpers. I know this dramatically cut down on my unpacking time.
- Do not use newspaper to pack up dishes! Who wants newsprint all over their dishes just to have to wash them before putting them away? Use paper or Styrofoam bowls and plates to separate your dishes. It is a minimal cost in the scheme of things and you can even reuse them when you are done. I bought inexpensive paper towels for wrapping other breakables. We used small brown “lunch bags” to pack all of our pub glasses. Worked like a dream and no newsprint!!
- Keep Ziploc bags handy for hardware when you take apart furniture and tape it to the furniture! Instead of unpacking dresser drawers, saran wrap the drawers so that nothing falls out (or in to dirty your clothes). Ziplocs and saran wrap are also great for securing silverware and utensils in their trays to pack them easier and great for keeping costume jewelry secure as well.
- Use free boxes! Do you know somebody who has recently moved? Ask if they have boxes they are willing to give you. Check with your grocery store or Costco- they ALWAYS have boxes that they will let you have. If you have a cardboard recycling station in your area that is a great place to get boxes as well. If you haven’t priced them out, boxes are $2-$5 a piece. And trust me, you will need more than you think!
- With all that money you saved on boxes you can use it to pay someone to help you move the big stuff! We aren’t getting any younger and moving large beds, refrigerators, and couches down stairs did not appeal to my husband (or the people who were going to help us). Not to mention that the furniture we have now is a lot nicer than the Ikea stuff we started out with. Dropping or scratching it meant a greater loss than I would want to live with. So to save our backs and to ensure a higher likelihood that everything would get moved safely, we hired movers to move the big stuff. Do a little research to be sure they are licensed, bonded, etc. But trust me, it’s worth it!
- Clear out your cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator as much as possible before moving day. Toss anything old. Then eat what you can so that there is less to pack. Remember you will need to store all of your freezer and refrigerator items somewhere while the fridge is in transport so you don’t want a lot of food to have to keep cold.
- Before you move, CLEAN the new house! Clean the bathrooms, have the carpets cleaned and be sure all the cabinet shelves are clean and empty. Don’t forget to put up your color coded signs for the movers!
- Pack a “First Day Essentials” bag or box. This includes toilet paper, paper towels, plastic forks, and paper plates. Scissors, pens, and tape may be necessary too. Have little ones? Their favorite lovey should be easy to reach. If you will be ordering pizza or sandwiches for your helpers, this is a good place to store coupons (Hint: helpers work better when fed!). Pack an ice chest of beverages since the fridge will be out of commission for a bit. Snacks for in between loads will be appreciated too.
- Be sure that EVERYTHING is packed before help arrives. I thought I just had a “few” things left to pack. 14 boxes later and thanks to a good friend, my last closet and dishes were brought to my house. But I really shouldn’t have procrastinated so much!
Any other tips? Please let me know!