As a military family, frequent moves are a way of life. Without fail, we are packing up and moving to a new place every 1-3 years. No matter if it’s just down the street or around the globe, moving is a tremendous logistical undertaking, requiring significant organization! After five moves in the past decade, I’ve learned a lot and have settled on a few tried and true methods that make the headache of moving a lot less painful.
My number one piece of advice is to plan and organize as much as you can ahead of time. The more you accomplish before the moving trucks arrive, the easier and more quickly you’ll settle into your new place. In the months before a move, sort, purge, and organize every space in your home. Donate, trash, or sell anything you no longer need or love. This will ensure that everything packed is something you truly want or need in the new place. Additionally, you won’t lose momentum while unpacking by having to stop or slow down to purge and make decisions on the other end.
In the weeks before your move, streamline your unpacking at the next place by creating zones around your home. As things come out of closets and cupboards, off walls and out of attics, try to place like items together and group things based on what rooms/spaces they will go to in your next home. Combining two kids’ bedrooms? Make sure those items are packed together and labeled the same. No room to display the china in the next house? Make sure it is packed together and labeled for storage. Try to anticipate how you will use the rooms in your future space, and group and label accordingly. This will ensure all the right items make it to the right spaces and will expedite the process of getting settled in!
Besides creating zones for “storage” or “garage” or “laundry room,” another favorite tip is to dedicate an entire room (perhaps even more than one) as a “no pack zone.” Not only is a “no pack” room a good landing zone for things you may still need to donate/sell before leaving town, it also serves as a place to put items that you don’t want accidentally or unintentionally packed up.
Here are some items to be sure are in your “no pack” zone:
· Suitcase and clothes for however many days you will be apart from your belongings
· Important papers and identification documents, including birth certificates and social security cards
· Fine jewelry
· A set of sheets, towels, and a shower curtain (so you can sleep and bathe without having to unpack boxes right away!)
· Cleaning supplies
· Tools (for disassembling and re-assembling furniture)
· Phones, computers, cameras, tablets and corresponding chargers
· Coolers for keeping food and drinks cool while in transit
· Anything you don’t want to risk being without, should your shipment be damaged or lost!
Even if you can’t dedicate an entire room, placing “no pack” signs on particular cabinets, closets or piles will ensure you have everything you need before, during, and after your move!
The Right Stuff
Whether you are packing on your own or using a moving company, it is essential that proper packing materials and techniques are used in order for your property to arrive at its new home safe and sound!
If you’re packing for yourself, here are a few things to consider:
Consider the distance of your move. Transporting laundry baskets full of items across town is different than loading a truck and driving across country. The further the distance, the more carefully things need to be packed!
Use packing paper, sturdy boxes, and strong tape meant for moving to keep items safe and contained.
Wrap breakables in several sheets of paper, and pack securely into boxes. Don’t allow breakable items to “wobble” around in containers.
Tape lids to tupperwares, and file boxes so contents don’t spill mid-move.
Pack dishes and frames into boxes specifically made for breakable goods and pictures/mirrors (“crates” or “dish packs”).
If you’re using a moving company, a few things to consider:
Make notes and take pictures of the condition of your items, specifically furniture and glass items, so you can prove if anything has been damaged.
Remain present, and watch packers load and label your things. Make sure boxes are labeled properly, as those labels will be relied upon when unpacking!
If you’re not comfortable with how something is packed, speak up! Be an advocate for your belongings.
If you don’t want something packed, put it in a “no pack zone.” Packers will box up anything in a pack area, including trashcans still full of trash!
Offer snacks, water, and bathroom access. Happy packers often lead to good and safe packing of your precious things!
Before Unpacking the Truck
If possible, review your floor plan and space measurements before moving in. Spend time figuring out what furniture will go where and how spaces will be used before you even start unloading the truck. This will (hopefully) reduce the amount of times you have to lug heavy furniture around your space! If you’re allowed to and are planning on painting, it’s quicker and easier to get paint on the walls before there are boxes and furniture to tarp over and maneuver around. Accordingly, try to schedule your move for a few days after you get the keys to allow yourself plenty of work time in the new house before your property arrives.
With proper planning and a good dose of organization, the hassle and disruption of a move can be minimized. A move will never be completely stress- or chaos-free, but taking time to plan and prep on the front end can make all the difference in getting settled into your new space and your new life quicker and easier. For more tips, tricks, ideas and real-life moving survival stories, check out ForRent.com!