Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
A reader is facing a major move in her life, from a small attached house to a free-standing house, this time with a young child in tow. She asked me to write an article on how to simplify moving. So here it is!
Bear in mind, I haven’t moved in 8 years, but the last time I moved, my husband and I did it with the help of three other adults, and I had a 10 month old baby and 2 cats running around underfoot. The move was successful: everything ended up in the right place, and I had the kitchen in such order that by the second day after the move I made brownies. From scratch. (Yes, it can be done)
Plan Where Things Will Go
You know where things are now, and you know what the new layout of the house will be. Make a list of rooms in the new house, and decide where things will go from the old house.
When we moved from the condo to the house, items from various rooms were dispersed. We used to store extra blankets in the master bedroom; these were delegated to the new guest room. One and a half baths were put into two and a half; the extra storage for pantry items was moved from a closed bookshelf into the kitchen.
With a little thinking about where things will go, you will spend less time unpacking.
Have Materials On Hand
It is almost impossible to pack if you don’t have the right materials to do so. Make sure you have plenty of boxes, bubble wrap, paper (preferably the non-printed leftover newsprint paper), and lots of strong tape, in a dispenser.
We bought boxes for our last move: many packages of bankers boxes for heavy objects like books, wardrobe boxes to hold our hanging clothes without having to fold, compartment boxes for glasses and dishes, and bigger moving boxes for lighter items.
It is well worth it to pay for these boxes. You will have clean, strong boxes to work with, and suited to what you are packing. Uniformly sized boxes can help with packing a moving truck as well. If you absolutely have to go for free boxes, check with your local Freecycle to see if anyone has moving boxes they can give you. When you are done, Freecycle any boxes you don’t need.
Bubble wrap is essential to cushion breakable items. You can use things like towels, but towels don’t give the protection of bubble wrap.
Buy or borrow a packing tape dispenser that will not have you swearing. Nothing is worse than being ready to seal a box, and having to pick the ends of the tape off the roll.
With proper supplies on hand, the actual act of packing will go much quicker.
Label Each Box
After you are done packing and sealing each box, label on the top and one side the general contents of the box, and where it will go in the new house. This will allow the movers to put the boxes in the correct locations as they unload, and will allow you to find what box you may need to look in, as well as what order you may need to unpack things.
For example, we had books in our office that were going in two places: our new office upstairs and the built-in shelves in the living room. The books were split into boxes accordingly, and each box labeled with “books” and the location they needed to end up in. This also applied to my kitchen: I put all of the items I needed for feeding my daughter (bottles, spoons, bowls, baby food) in a box and labeled it “kitchen” and “baby food”. That way I found the box right away after we moved and unpacked it before littler used items like the blender.
Purge As You Go
As much as possible, get rid of anything you don’t need as you are packing. Old magazines, unused books, outgrown clothing should all be gotten rid of appropriately. Some charities will even send trucks to pick up discarded items, and the more you get rid of, the less you have to pack, move and unpack.
Cycle Through The House Multiple Times
Although it might feel like a great idea to fully pack each room at a time, you will still be living in the house as the packing is going on. Pack the least used items in each room, then cycle back through the various rooms as the moving gets closer to pack other items.
For instance, the first round of packing included the holiday decorations, the winter clothes, the clothes my daughter had yet to grow into, books not in use, and rarely used kitchen appliances. This went on, until the last week all that was left to pack was a skeleton kitchen setup (we were using paper plates at that point), my daughter’s necessities, a week of clothes for all of us, the cat food and the litter box.
Organize for the New House
As much as possibly, plan for where things will go specifically in the new house. This is really great if you can do this in the kitchen. Figure out where the silverware, glasses and plates will go. Decide what will be stored in the kitchen, and what will be stored elsewhere. Plan your pantry.
This may seem like a lot of effort, but it will make unpacking the kitchen a snap (and it was how I was able to bake the day after moving!)
Resist the Urge to Dump
At some point you will have the urge to run your arm over horizontal surfaces and dump everything in a box. Try to resist this as much as possible. It will only create chaos and confusion as you are unpacking.
Leave Other People’s Messes Until the End
If you live with another able-bodied adult who has packrat tendencies, leave his or her own mess alone. The urge to declutter will be great, and will not be well-received. This also applies to things that the person may value but for which you see no worth (such as a beer can collection or a large chunk of metal from an engine used as a
You may end up packing some of these things in the end, but I recommend leaving other people’s messes for their own packing.
With just a bit of effort, you can streamline your packing and make your move go smoothly.
Do you have any tips for the reader? Share below.
Photo by haydnseek