The other day I mentioned that ‘Moving is Messy’ — anyone been there recently? I think I can actually hear you agreeing with me! We took a leap of faith and listed our house without a specific plan because the houses where we were moving were selling so fast, contingency wasn’t an option. To add to the craziness and uncertainty, the family who put a contract on our house was really really pregnant — like water about to break any second pregnant! Our heart took over and without thinking through the timing of our move, we gladly agreed to their date. Oops! Thankfully after two days of driving streets looking for by owners (there was nothing on MLS) a house came available. We put in an offer, they accepted, then a day later they tried to wiggle and shake us out of the deal because six other contracts were submitted the following day! We weren’t budging, homeless sounded no good! Everyone has a crazy moving story — in the long run, the reward is usually far better than the headache at the time! Here are Lots of Useful Moving Tips and a Packing Plan to help you get started!!!
ONE TO TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE.
1. Follow My Declutter Steps.
Do a quick decluttering of the entire house once more. If you know you won’t need it in the new house, pull it aside and toss, donate, or find a place for it. Less to move is always best! However, moving has its uncertainties –it can be hard to decide what you’ll need and what you definitely won’t need at the new house. No worries if you hold onto a bit too much, there will always be a time to purge as you begin settling!
THREE TO FOUR WEEKS IN ADVANCE.
2. Buy Labels and a Couple Sharpies.
The contrast of White and Black is easier to see than Brown and Black. Marking boxes with white labels and handwritten sharpie descriptions (written before attaching them to the boxes) totally simplifies moving — both the packing and unpacking!
3. Get Ready.
Throughout the process of moving, set out a large brown paper sack AND a fairly large bowl in a centrally located spot in your home. As you pack there will be lots of trash (purpose of paper sack) and random screws, nails, etc. (purpose of bowl). Having a station set for dumping garbage and collecting “I may need it later” items speeds up the packing process!
4. Start with the Garage.
When moving you can pack a box and leave it in the room or you can pack a box and designate an area to be the drop spot. I always designate the garage as my dumping grounds! It’s nice to feel as settled as possible inside home by keeping the chaos out of sight. Early on I learned that if the garage is your chosen box storage, it is totally important to pack up the garage before starting on your house. Packing up a garage after it’s full of boxes is next to impossible and packing up a garage after the house boxes are sitting pretty in your new house is totally deflating!
The other advantage to packing up the garage early is I have found that Stud is much more likely to help me if I enlist his help before it’s termed “my” project — it’s totally strategy to ask for his muscles in the beginning when it’s still “our” project!
5. Unload the Attic — Yuck, right!
This is sort of under the same category as garage. It’s an area of packing that I can’t do on my own, but with my sweet hubby we can knock it out without too much effort. And the relief knowing that area is cleared out makes you feel like a loads been lifted. (Side note: moving companies will do this for you, but it is much more economical to hire someone to move boxes that are all on the first floor). And, when it’s all on a level playing field, I do a little sorting and tossing of my attic stuff.
TWO TO THREE WEEKS IN ADVANCE.
6. Begin Packing Closets.
Start with your closets — bedroom closets, office closets, linen closets, hall closets. It’s always surprising how much you can stuff into an area that rarely is seen by others. By starting early in these areas you’ll be amazed how much faster the rest of your packing will come together. Remember when I helped my sister organize her hall closet gone wild?! The results still amaze me (if you haven’t seen the before, you totally should check it out) —
7. Pack up the Bathrooms.
I’m always amazed when I pack a bathroom — keeping a trash can nearby is a total necessity! I buy so many cosmetic and hygiene products that I don’t love and moving always makes me okay with letting go of them. After the extras are purged, I try to think through what the essentials are and place them into a separate pile that will be reloaded into the cabinets and packed in my suitcase when the move gets a little closer.
8. Books, Books and, More Books.
These are the easiest things to pack, just make sure to use small boxes so they don’t break your back when they’re lifted! You know I love books and have a ton — I’m good with hoarding books because it’s a scientific fact it makes for smarter kids. The key is having book storage solutions!
9. Frames, Decor and Tchotchkes.
It’s tempting to set up your new house exactly like the old house, but making the new its own is totally rewarding! I gather my decor throughout the house, turn on a good movie and start wrapping tchotchkes and stuffing boxes! I try to use small boxes again for the decor items.
10. Dining Room Pretties.
Along the same lines as number 8. Wrap well and stuff until they’re full — oh, and use small boxes! One day you’ll pull it all out of the boxes again and make another pretty tablescape like my Vintage Chic Christmas Table Setting!
11. Toys (I have a love – hate relationship with them).
It’s deflating when you’re making tons of progress in packing and then turn around and see unending piles of toys! As I’m packing up our house, I always hit a breaking point where I can’t handle toys scattered throughout the house for one more second. Usually I make it to the 2-3 week mark. At this point, I grab boxes and pack them full to the brim — leaving out the essentials, of course! I’m always amazed at how well my kids play without toys — lol. Packing toy boxes makes me smile because I know it’ll be like Christmas when it’s time to unpack!
ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE.
12. Kitchen Cabinets and Pantry.
I’ll be honest, this is my least favorite part of the house to pack. Misery loves company — it’s best to pack the kitchen with friends! Here’s a bunch of motherly advice: Label these boxes real well. Have an additional open box labeled ‘Don’t load onto moving van!’ — fill it with things you will want up to the last minute and things that you will want as soon as you move a saucepan, a spatula, snack food, etc. and leave a spot for your coffee maker, too. Buy a large quantity of paper plates, utensils, cups, and water bottles to use in the old house and as you transition into the new house. (Speaking of new house, I can’t believe we totally remodeled our kitchen and now we’re moving on — the new kitchen will need lots of updates, too).
13. Clean Out the Fridge.
If you need to leave milk and water bottles in the fridge, no big deal, but scrubbing a fridge and freezer while your moving truck is being loaded — kind of a big deal. So get it done — toss, box, give, and clean until your fridge is clean! I shared my favorite Refrigerator Cleaning & Organizing Tips, here.
14. Remove Nails and Screws.
Leave the house with a clean slate! Patch the holes with Spackle — using toothpicks to fill in larger holes that had molly-bolts. Yes, you can just leave the screws in place, but if you have the original paint color and have a free minute, it doesn’t take long to leave the buyers a home they’re excited to call their own. Chances are the new owners won’t be decorating identical to the way you had things setup — their wall hangings will most likely require new nails and screws!
15. Laundry Room.
Load up the laundry room, but be sure to leave the cleaning supplies out on the shelf so you can do a final clean up of the old house and a detailed cleaning at the new house!
16. All the Other Rooms.
Yep, you have a huge grasp on packing and a great headstart! Take a little time now to pack the rest of it up…you might want to pack suitcases for everyone so they have clothing and essentials on either side of the move!
ONE DAY IN ADVANCE.
17. Load all your suitcases, important kitchen box(es), computer, stereo speakers, etc. into your car. To speed up the moving time, use a bit of the day before your move to disassemble furniture (make sure to place the parts somewhere that will be easy to find).
A FEW EXTRA PACKING TIPS.
• Our Boxes came from Craigslist, Freecycle, Neighbors, Friends, and Home Depot!
• Buy MORE than you think you’ll need.
• Large Boxes — Comforters, Pillows, Tupperware, etc.
• Small Boxes — Books, Plates, Glasses, Appliances, Heavy Items.
• Label, Label, Label, Label, Label.
• When a large bulk of the boxes are unpacked — resell your boxes — MONEY MONEY MONEY!