Tomorrow is our official “moving” day, fifteen days after buying the house. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on moving, having packed up my stuff every year except for one during the last ten years. And I can confidently say this move is my worst move ever.
I’ve sitting here on my lunch break trying to figure out where we went wrong this time, exhausted from lack of sleep and sore and tired from both running and packing. I think I’ve picked out a few flaws, so allow me to give you a little lesson in what not to do.
Lesson 1: Give yourself plenty of time
You have two to three times more stuff than you think. Really. Waiting until the last minute to box it all up will result in disaster. If you can, start packing up stuff you don’t frequently use or need a month before the move, like holiday decorations, books, out of season clothes, and entertaining dishes. Getting all of this stuff our of the way early leaves you with more time to pack the things that you really do need up until the last minute, like dishes, toiletries, and those last few clothes. Having our house on the market really derailed this plan for us. We didn’t want to turn our house into a maze of boxes so we chose the oh-so-effective strategy of denial. And then when we did start packing, we immediately ran out of boxes. Which is just another advantage of spacing our your packing…you aren’t rushed to accumulate more boxes and running into the liquor store just before closing three or four days in a row. Not that I have personal experience with that or anything.
Lesson 2: purge before you pack.
There’s no worse idea than packing up boxes and boxes of stuff that you don’t even want or need. If you’re already following my first tip, you’ve got plenty of time to look at your belongings with a critical eye as you pack them. Sacrifice one (or if you are lucky, more) of your moving boxes to the cause and start filling it up for a trip to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You’ll have less to unpack once you get into your new place and you can get a tax write-off to boot. Since we didn’t follow my first lesson, we haven’t had time to sort through our stuff as we go, and are just pitching it willy-nilly into boxes with a “we’ll deal with it later” attitude.
Lesson 3: label label label
This one is pretty self explanatory – after you pack a box, label it so you know what’s in it, and what room it goes into at the new place. At the very least, come up with a marking scheme so you know whether the box should be unpacked immediately, within a few days, or within a few weeks. Of you could use our method of not even sealing up half the boxes, moving them immediately to the new house, and hoping you can guess what’s inside when it comes time to unpack.
Lesson 4: Just do it all in one (or two) days
We thought we were being smart by giving ourselves two weeks to slowly move some stuff over to the new place. But looking back, I would not recommend this strategy. We’re worn down from lack of sleep and spending every night this week packing up a carload of boxes, taking to the new house, and putting them where they belong. If you are doing a long distance move, this option will be off the table (lucky you!) But honestly, I wish we had just waited, boxed up/labeled everything, and moved it all in one fell swoop with the adrenaline of moving day (and a few strong friends) to help us.
Hopefully my advice can help some other poor soul about to embark on a move. Got any tips you would add?