Let’s face it…moving SUCKS!! I should know. I have done it about 13 times since I got married (2001). Less than half have been in town/across town moves. All the rest have been hopping back and forth across the country. This most recent move, I REALLY just got tired of “stuff”. I have been reading articles about minimalism and it really has struck a chord. The more we have, the more we have to maintain. All this “stuff” clutters up your home and your life and adds undue stress, especially when packing.
If you’re at all interested in learning more about the stress “stuff” causes, you should check out these documentaries on Netflix: “Becoming Minimalist” and “Happy”.
My solution was that I went through my house and started offloading anything that had not been touched since we had moved in (2 years) or within the last 6 months. This could’ve gone better, but I did it in a tornadic (is that even a word?) fashion. We wanted to have a yard sale and so I was grabbing everything that I wanted to get rid of and leaving the rest behind to pack later.
After this last move, I was thinking how it could’ve been better and ways to streamline. Because let’s be honest, I am sure there is another move in my future. I have heard stories about people who have an inventory list and they number their boxes. The only way that is likely to occur is if someone is packing and moving my stuff for me. My experiences in moving have never been that organized, unfortunately (and to be clear, it probably won’t ever be). I end up throwing randomness into laundry baskets at the end because I’m in a rush or too tired/stressed to care anymore.
So this blog post was created out of my blood, sweat and lots of tears, to hopefully help your moving experience go smoother.
Packing tape – Get LOTS of it and a tape gun (I have this one). You are going to need it and you will end up using more than you realize. If you manage to have a roll or two leftover, use it to wrap birthday and Christmas gifts. The entertainment produced watching people unwrap these gifts will be worth it.
Bubble wrap – Don’t EVER throw it away. That crap is freaking expensive!! And as long as your kids (or you) don’t get an OCD habit of popping it all, it can last through many moves. I put mine in garbage bags or a Rubbermaid tote and store it away. Uline or Lowes is a great place to purchase this in bulk.
Boxes – Save yourself money on packing materials and go to the produce department of your local grocery store. I have apple boxes that my in-laws gave us that have been with us for the last 11 moves! I also have about 10 produce boxes that I have had for the last 4 moves that are still going strong. If you do have to buy boxes, Uhaul was our go-to place.
THREE WORDS: Liquor boxes y’all! They are the BEST for books. I have a ton of books that didn’t make the weeding out process, because I LOVE them. I’m also toting all my childhood books around. I let my kids use them and am stashing for my (one-day) grandkids. So to spare my husband and any other blessed soul helping us lug boxes, I try to put all the books in liquor boxes. They are more compact and are made to withstand a good deal of weight. They are also great for heavy dishes.
Aaaand, it gives the new (and old) teetotaling neighbors something to gossip about! “Did you see all those liquor boxes they were toting in (out)!” I’m totally kidding, but you know it’s the truth.
I also have lots of Rubbermaid tubs and the black totes with yellow lids (Costco and Lowes carry them) for clothing, bedding, i.e. things you don’t want bugs or rodents getting ahold of (this is assuming it stays in storage for a time too).
Non-Essentials – I generally start here with packing, think décor and books. These are items that you will most likely not need on a daily basis, leading up to moving day. Then I move on to out of season clothes. As you are doing this, make sure to evaluate if you are really using these items and if it could possibly be something you could get rid of.
*Side note – As you are weeding items out to get rid of (assuming you don’t want or have time to sell them), try to find a local shelter or center that gives the items away for free. We had a place in our little town, similar to the Dream Center in Los Angeles. They don’t take junk, just gently used, still in good condition items. Then they allow people who don’t have the means to come in and “shop” at certain times each month for what they need. Don’t donate junk, people! It’s a waste of the donations centers time and resources.
Kid’s stuff – This move, the crew was a bit more capable of sifting their own stuff (or so I thought). I had them go through toys and clothes and decide what stayed and went. Then after they went off to their Mimi’s for a visit, I went through it all again. Thank goodness I did too! I’m not sure what “get rid of the clothes that don’t fit” means to my children, but something was definitely lost in translation.
Kitchen – I pack away my small appliances, serving trays (think entertaining and bday party items), bakeware, (minus one or two baking sheets), and all other non-essential daily items. Then I pack all dishes, cups, and flatware. I leave out a saucepan and sauté pan and pack the rest.
While I don’t love the idea of solo cups, paper plates, and plastic flatware, for us it has been a necessary packing evil. It allows you to get all your items packed up, while still being able to eat at home. An alternative to solo cups, keep one cup out for each person and keep a small box to store this in on the last day. FYI…Costco has started selling bamboo cutlery and plates! They are compostable and would be great for this use.
Bathroom – this got hit last on our most recent move. Generally, it is the kitchen for me that goes last. I left out some toilet paper and the items we would be traveling with and packed the rest. See next section for tips on how to make sure items don’t leak everywhere.
Cleaning Supplies – The amount of these items in my house shrunk considerably this last move, since I am a Norwex consultant. Any remaining cleaning items were packed in a Rubbermaid box. Make sure to close all containers tightly or switch the spray nozzle to “off”.
If these containers could leak easily, put it in a Ziploc bag first. This will prevent any surprises when arriving at your new home. You can also put a piece of packing tape over the openings of soap. This will help control any oozing if traveling through different elevations.
On one particular move years ago, we had to put our stuff in storage for a few months. A cleaning box was unloaded into entertainment center shelves, in order to eliminate a box and make space for other items. Let’s just say that didn’t end well. Think leakage that ate off the finish of the shelves. Moral of the story: leave any liquid items in a plastic box. Then if it leaks, it won’t ruin items around it.
Bookcases – make sure to wrap removable shelving in bubble wrap. I can’t tell you how many bookcases and shelves I have seen ruined. All because they weren’t wrapped up. This (along with the stress of moving again) may have triggered a round of bawling on our move to Oregon (they were wrapped btw). The movers had loaded them in way that had them banging against other wrapped shelves, which ended up eating through the wrap and denting them. Lastly, take the shelf support tabs out and store them in a Ziploc bag.
Mattresses – Go to Uhaul and get their mattress cover/bag. This is reusable and worth the extra money spent. You won’t have to worry about cleaning your mattress when you arrive at your new home, after movers (or whoever moved it) have dragged it along the floor, ground, moving truck, etc.
TV’s – Again go to Uhaul and get their TV box, if you don’t still have the one it came in. This will keep it padded and protected. It would be tragic to get to your new home and find that your 60-inch big screen is busted.
Washer/Dryer – I half-considered wrapping mine in this sticky cellophane stuff this last move, because it will inevitably end up getting scratched. This was one of those things that didn’t end up happening, because I forgot in the crazy. Whatever you do, make sure it gets covered in the moving truck and don’t set heavy items on top. If it’s there too long, it could dent or crack the tops.
Random Tips and Reminders
Clear plastic box – Go purchase one (or however many you need) of these and place items that you will need immediately, upon arriving to your new home. Think toilet paper, towels, bed linens, paper plates, plastic cups, etc. This will alleviate the stress of having to try and find the box that you packed the towels in, when you’re in desperate need of a shower, because you just unloaded a moving truck in 100*+ heat.
Cleaning materials – Whether you are leaving a home you sold or one you were renting, you are going to have to clean when you leave. Probably one of the most annoying jobs, because you are exhausted and sore and just over it already. Hopefully you don’t also need them when moving into the new house. Sadly, the last 5 moves, I have had to go in and clean the house before unpacking.
Whatever your circumstances, make sure you keep the supplies handy that you will need for this. I kept my Norwex mop system, Envirocloth, window cloth, cleaning paste, and bathroom scrub mitt handy on this last move. They were able to do all the last bits of cleaning that needed to be done. They also did a great job of cleaning up that dusty, wet mess that is left behind after the washer and dryer are moved out. I have got to start moving those buggers around every so often and clean under them!
Address Changes – Don’t forget to process your change of address forms through your local post office. You can do it the old-fashioned way, by filling out the paper forms or you can go online and do it. This cost $1/change of address. I feel like it’s worth it. Typing is waayyy faster. We generally have to do multiple forms, personally and for our many companies.
Go to your bank or go online and change your address with your bank, credit cards, loans, etc. Most magazine subscriptions are only forwarded for a few months. I like to look at our budget and use that as a checklist of items that need to be updated. Which leads to the next topic…
Utilities – Call your current utility companies ahead of time and let them know the date that service in your name needs to end. Also call the new utility companies and set your start date of services for your new residence. This way you don’t end up paying for resources that you aren’t consuming (i.e another person’s usage).
Insurance – Make sure to call and get it setup as soon as you get relocated. You could even do it beforehand, which may not be a bad idea, since rates vary from state. Ours quadrupled upon moving to Nevada. I am still reeling from that shock.
Fridge/Freezer – One piece of advice I read was to defrost your fridge and freezer the day before moving to clean it out. This way if you’re taking them, you don’t have to deal with the dirty mess when you get to your new home. We were selling our house and were leaving the fridge, so this didn’t apply to me this time. However, the Norwex enviro and window cloth did an EXCELLENT job of getting everything cleaned out while it was still running.
Misc. Screws and Parts Box – This was an idea that came on our second to last move. I had a USPS large priority mail box and any time a bed was taken apart, the screws/bolts were placed in a Ziploc bag, labeled and then put into this box. The little anchors that keep your bookcase shelves in place, put them in a Ziploc and then in this box. This went for pretty much every little item like this that would be needed to get the house put back together. This box was easily identifiable and got packed where it was easy to find upon arrival to our new residence.
Jewelry – I put this last bit of advice to use on our last move and it is AWESOME! Get the Glad Press n’ Seal wrap and lay out a sheet of it, sticky side up. Then lay your necklaces out on top of the wrap. When you’re done, lay another piece, sticky side down, on top. Gently, press the sides together, then roll it up. This little ingenious idea kept all my necklaces from getting tangled. It was super easy to unpack too. Just pull it apart and hang everything up.
Well, that about sums up my moving knowledge. Do you have any tips or tricks that make moving less stressful? If so, please share below! I would love more ways to make moving less stressful.
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