Let’s face it: moving sucks. Whether you are moving from a small apartment or a huge house, getting all of your stuff from point A to point B is a pain in the ass. I should know, I just packed all of my treasures up and hulled them from one city to another and yes, it was just about as much fun as I expected it to be.
I have moved many times since venturing out of the parental abode many years ago; sometimes multiple times in a single year. Granted, I had significantly less stuff to schlep around in those early moves when compared to the established household I’m lugging around with me now, but every move came with its own learning opportunities and I want to take a moment to share some of those nuggets of knowledge that I have gained through all the heavy lifting.
Tip #1: Start Early
Whether moving day is a few months away or right around the corner, it’s imperative that you start the process as soon as you know that the move is for sure happening. The more time you have, the more organized and the less stressful your move will be. Sure, it’s not ideal to have your garage stacked with boxes or to have half of your belongings packed away too far before you move but if given the choice of maneuvering around boxes for a few weeks or scrambling to get things packed as the moving truck is pulling in, I will take the first scenario every time!
Tip #2: Purge
This step is so critical! It can be the difference between a well organized, semi-easy move and a complete cluster! It’s time to really take stock of what you have, why you are holding on to it, and if it is really a critical item that must be packed, hauled with you, and unpacked at the other end.
When you start equating effort with each item, you start to see things differently. The “nice to haves” quickly get turned into “don’t really need to have” items when you have to find a box for it to fit in. If you don’t love it or it doesn’t hold some useful, practical, or sentimental value to you, then it’s time for it to go.
I suggest making three piles: one for things to keep and box, one for things to donate, and one for things to throw away. This helps keep your belongings from being misplaced and makes it easier to get the still useful items into the hands of people who can use them and keep as little as possible from ending up in the trash. A little care taken to sort can save a lot of useless things from getting packed and moved and a lot of things that might be useful to someone else from being pitched.
Tip #3: Tackle One Room at a Time
You have heard the cliché’ that you can’t eat an elephant in one bite? Well, you can’t move your whole house in one box or on one day. In addition to starting to pack as soon as you’re reasonably can before your move, focusing on one room at a time can help make an overwhelming task seem much more manageable. It also gives you a way to celebrate the small successes as you work your way towards moving day.
When facing an entire house that requires purging and packing, being able to say that one room is done can give you the momentum you need to tackle another one the next day. Heck, even getting the junk drawer tamed or the garage organized can give you a big boost and a sense of accomplishment!
Tip 4: Moving Day
Depending on the size and amount of household items that you have to get from one place to another and how much distance is involved, you may want to hire it done as opposed to moving it yourself or with the slave labor of friends and family. Both groups seem to become oddly busy around the time that their assistance would be handy.
By hiring a moving company, you can count on them to actually show up, handle the heavy lifting, and get things where they need to go at your new place. Sure, there’s a cost involved but sometimes you can’t put a price on piece of mind, and knowing that you won’t have to hear your dad complain about how he threw his back out lugging your king sized mattress up three flights of stairs for the next month. Plus, professional movers usually offer insurance options that can cover anything that might get damaged in the process whereas all your Uncle Ed can offer is a weak apology.
If you are moving locally or don’t have a huge amount of bulky things to get loaded and moved in, coordinating the move with a rented truck and friends with strong backs might not be a bad idea. Just know that in this situation, you are at the mercy of your friends actually showing up and you need to be pretty sure about the size of your moving truck/trailer, the skill level needed for things such as tearing down beds and moving appliances, and the ability of your help to get you moved in to your new place when you get to your destination with no major incidents, regardless of how many flights of stairs are involved!
Tip 5: Unpack at Your Own Pace and Enjoy Your New Digs!
You moved for a reason right? I don’t know anyone who moves because they enjoy the process. Once you get all of your stuff into your new place, pick the rooms that most make you feel at “home” and unpack those as priority.
Can’t sleep until your shoes are all lined up in your closet? Do that on day one! Couldn’t care less if the dishes get put away because it’s a great excuse to order carryout for a few days? Let those sit in the box for a while! It’s up to you.
The important thing is to make sure that your critical items like legal paperwork and valuables are accounted for and stowed safely away. Other than that, it’s about what makes you comfortable and what puts a smile on your face to walk into the room and see in its proper place.
It’s your home, now it’s time to enjoy it!