Let’s face it. Even in the best circumstances, moving is a big job. I’ve never moved cross-country where all of my belongings were loaded onto a truck or pod, and I can’t begin to imagine the concerns and worry about one’s stuff reaching its destination in one piece. Most of my moves have been from one house to another not only in the same town, but in the same subdivision or very close.
This is the move I hope will be my last. Robert and I have built what we believe is our forever home, and since we couldn’t find a few acres away from everyone in our current subdivision, for the first time in my life I’m going to have a new zip code. I’m excited and a little sad at that – I don’t like change. But I do love our new home and am ready to start this phase of our lives.
We did this move in two parts, first moving to my dad’s vacated home while we built, and then moving into our new home. Knowing our lives would be in flux in these temporary living quarters, we packed up things we thought we wouldn’t need for a year. Things like books, dvd’s, pictures, photo albums, home décor, etc., were carefully wrapped and packed along with some kitchen items and a lot of my clothes. Those boxes were labeled with the contents and the predicted room the box needed to go to upon the final move.
It’s quite likely that a lot of these items may not find a place in the new home, but we didn’t want to get rid of anything we might need until we knew for sure. We did, however, divest of a lot of stuff we no longer needed or wanted, or wanted to move.
So Tip #1 is to pare down your belongings. A pending move is a great time to reassess your life and your belongings. When we moved into our former house, both Robert and I had been voracious readers and had accumulated quite a library. With the advent of e-books, however, we opted to donate many of our actual books, keeping only our favorites or collections. One of the deciding factors? Carrying box after box of heavy books up and down stairs to the shelves.
Tip #2 relates to boxes. You may think that bigger boxes mean less packing, but unless you’re talking bedding or linens, bigger boxes mean broken backs. Stick to smaller, uniform boxes, preferably all the same for easy stacking. In the past we’ve purchased boxes from a local dairy for $0.10 each that were great for moving, but for our past few moves we’ve used Chick-fil-A fry boxes thanks to our friends Steve and Ginger. This time knowing we were leaving stuff packed for a longer time, we also purchased some plastic tubs from Walmart for items like clothing or knitwear to protect them better from any potential threat like bugs or moisture.
Tip #3 is to have a plan. Pick a room and do everything you can in there before moving on to the next one. Make sure you label boxes and tubs appropriately with both contents and the name of the destination room.
Tip #4 is to have a staging area. When you’re overwhelmed by the stack of boxes in every room, creating one spot that contains the chaos helps keep you calmer. Have a staging area at the new house where all the boxes and tubs will be deposited prior to going to specific rooms.
Tip #5 relates to hiring movers. If you can afford it, then save yourselves the headache of moving heavy furniture and boxes, and save your friends. If you can’t afford to hire professionals, asking friends is fine, but make sure you give them clear direction and don’t work them to the point of exhaustion. Providing pizza and soft drinks is pretty much mandatory on moving day. It might be prudent to find a balance. Since all of your belongings are in manageable boxes, you could move those along with lightweight or light and awkward furniture, plus lamps, etc., and only hire movers for the big stuff. Since you’ll likely be paying by the hour, this can reduce your cost considerably. (That’s what we did for this move.
Tip #6 is to make sure you have cleaning supplies at your new home. Even if you had professional cleaners come in prior to your move, there’s still going to be some dust, a smudge on a window, or some crumbs on the floor left from your open house that you’ll want to clean up.
Tip #7 is to stop buying groceries, at least temporarily. Especially if you’re moving a long distance, you won’t be taking anything perishable with you. Buy smaller quantities, and as you pack your pantry, check those expiration dates and toss anything that’s questionable.
Tip #8 is about your four-legged family members. This move isn’t just stressful on you, but also on your pets. They’ll adapt quickly, but do your best to limit their trauma. Even though we will have a fenced in yard, we will take the dogs out on leashes to get them familiar with their surroundings and new home. And we won’t let them out unsupervised, at least at first. Keeping an eye on them is one of the ways we show them we love them. As far as our house cat, we’ll be extra careful to make sure all doors are completely closed and locked so he doesn’t escape and get lost. We’ve got polished concrete floors and hardwoods throughout, so we also purchased some additional pet beds for multiple rooms to ensure they’ve got a comfy place to call their own. And just like with kids, there may have been some new toys purchased to ease their transition.
Tip #9 is to create a home inventory as you unpack. Maybe you already had one at your old house, but as you purchase new items for the new home or divest of items you no longer need or want, this is the perfect time to create or update your inventory. In the event of a catastrophe, both you and your insurance agent will be glad you took the time to do this. Oh, and be sure to upload a copy to a private cloud drive like Evernote or Box so it doesn’t get lost.
Last tip – you don’t have to do it all at once. Enjoy your first night in your new house by having a picnic on the floor. Not every box has to be unpacked and every picture hung the first day. Take some time to get to know your new home and enjoy the ride.
Have you moved recently? What moving tips do you all have?