Moving can be a pain or it can be a blessing. Some of you have actually never moved. I wonder what it is like to be in the same place of your birth and live an entire life within the same walls. I bet it is quite neat to have the peace of having roots in one place. You still know the feeling of accumulation over time and you want to move some of the excess out just the same. Others have moved a few times and then there are people like us that have been wanderers. We never seem to grow roots in any one place. It is adventurous to say the least. We have moved about 15 times in the 20 years of our marriage and have learned a thing or two along the journey that I aim to share today! It can be the most freeing feeling if you have things organized properly. It is a time to sort through, pack up, and figure out some time saving or space saving strategies.
Even if you have no need to move, this post is still for you. You might be inspired to sort through your closets, cupboards, basements, or even under your bed. It is ALWAYS a good feeling to know what you have and where to find it when you need it.
When I was young and inexperienced, I recall just putting everything in boxes with no sort of system. I even put trash in the boxes. Moving day was utter chaos and after the move I could not find anything. I had stacks of boxes for years that I would pilfer through daily looking for one thing or another. When you live through this frustration, you can either repeat this insanity or you can learn from it. After years of storing and constant searching, it was all trash and not worth saving anyhow. I used to save junk and trash as well. Not smart.
Over the years I learned when you have a system in place, it makes moving or organizing a snap.
Start with your storage rooms, basements, attics, and other areas of infrequent use. I say this because you will want to get started WAY ahead of the move if you can and packing things that you do not use on a daily basis will help greatly. If you are already an organized person, most of these things will already be in boxes ready for the move. If you are like me, you collect things along the way and oftentimes things need sorting. Give yourself enough time to do this job right.
I love sorting! It feels like a treasure hunt. You find things that you nearly forgot about or things you have been looking for. As you pull things out, piece by piece, it can cause you to take trips down memory lane. I find myself reading old diaries and letters, looking at old photos, which causes me to enjoy this process even more. When you allow time to sort, you can actually find a lot of entertainment along the way. You might laugh or even cry depending on what you find. I have found old papers I wrote in high school and college that I think I will always keep. It is so interesting to read your words from another season of life. It shows you how far you have come in your thinking, reasoning, and spiritual life.
Each box can be gone through to find out what is for keeps, what is for trash, and what for give away. Much to anyone’s surprise, there are many things that one has not used in ages. The rule of thumb is that if you have not used it in a year, you may not ever use it. Therefore, these items have to go into another pass of inspection. Is this item of value? Can it be sold? Is this item a keepsake? Does it belong to someone else? Maybe you borrowed something at some point and you may have forgot to return it. This is a good time to give things back to their rightful owners in that case. Maybe you find an item that is still nice but that you can’t use, so ask yourself if it can be given away to a friend or to a local thrift store. Is it in good repair or is it better to just toss it in the trash?
On the practical side, you will need to make a few piles.
- The first pile will be those things that you will need. Be ruthless. Only save what you ACTUALLY need, not stuff that will sit in that box another 10 years.
- The second pile will be the things to either sell or give away. Make sure you are not giving away broken things, moldy things, or a single sock. Who needs just one sock? You could set the sock aside and see if you find the other one at some point during the sorting process.
- The third pile is your trash pile. Put all the things that are not good enough to save or give away in there. You can put the one sock that has no mate in this pile.
As you have worked through the less used parts of the home, you can now move on to the main living areas.
Now for the supplies that are needed for packing.
- Cardboard boxes and Clear Packing Tape
Here is a great tip…you can go to a local Dollar General store, for instance, and ask for old cardboard boxes. They will give them to you of all sizes and shapes. The boxes will be flattened and usually need to be built again which would require the use of the clear packing tape. You can fill the boxes and use your clear packing tape to seal the box. If a box is flimsy, you can use the same clear packing tape to sturdy the box up. Just add more strips across both ways.
- Plastic Totes
You can buy totes and these are great for the things that you will move that will need to be stored properly, like keepsakes, photos, and seasonal items. I like to store things like warm blankets that I use during the winter months, winter coats, and boots when we do not need them.
- Garbage Bags
These are handy for the move because you can put pillows, blankets, sheets, and clothing in garbage bags which will be used right away. They also are nice for soft packing in the moving trucks or trailers for padding around furniture to buffer. Things can get terribly damaged from rubbing and knocking into each other on the ride to the destination. They can also be stuffed into empty wholes between things because they are more moldable.
- Masking tape and permanent markers
You will need to label all your boxes, totes, and garbage bags so that you know what you have. I always write the room first, like KITCHEN, then I list what is in the box as well. The more detailed you can be the better. If I put all my drinking glasses in one box, I write, K for Kitchen, and then I write glasses under the heading.
- Styrofoam Plates
These are cheap and they are excellent for packing fragile plates or bowls of all sizes. I even use them to pad in-between glass baking pans. It works amazingly well.
- Dish Towels and T-shirts
You can use dish towels and t-shirts to wrap around your fragile glasses or valuables. You have to pack the towels and shirts anyhow, so it is a useful way to hit two birds with one stone. You have the both packed and you are also helping to keep the things padded in the process.
- Disposable Plates, Cups, Bowls, and Utensils
Make your life easier the final week of packing. We buy convenience foods and disposable plates because you are packing and you want to focus on the packing. It is not normal life. You have to pick your battles. I pack all but a few cooking pots or appliances.
When you are moving, you want to keep things streamlined so you will not be lost when you get to where you are going. You will want to have some plastic totes that you will specifically pack with the immediate needs. I like to put what I will want first, like salt and pepper, a few cooking pots, utensils, silverware, a few mugs or cups, or anything I know we will want when we get there for the first morning if I need to cook a meal for my family.
Pack like you will be on a week vacation. Get your suitcases and pack clothings and toiletries like you are going on a week vacation. This way you will have all the clothing you need and can still brush your teeth, wash your hair, and are not scrambling around looking in a zillion boxes for these immediate items. It is so helpful.
If you are asking others to help, FEED THEM! Do not have people give up there entire day to help you and go hungry. If you can’t cook, go out to a place to pick up food for those that are nice enough to help. Make sure they can have a full belly. Don’t just buy snacks. Give them a proper meal. I generally make a ton of food because I want my precious friends to eat till their hearts content.
A rule of thumb is to make more than enough food. There is nothing more humiliating for a hostess of the move to have her helpers afraid to take food because they know there is not enough to go around. I like to have my pots overflowing so everyone can take without guilt.
Make sure to have beverages. A big pack of water bottles would be nice to share with your help.
You may have packed all your cooking things, so you might resort to getting some take out. For example, if you pick up pizza, make sure to think about the size of each pizza and what your family will eat and then multiply that by how many families you have there helping. If you have one grown man, he can put away a half of a pizza all on his own. We once helped a family move and there were about 25 people helping and they had 2 pizzas total. It was weird. I had to bring my family aside and say, there is not enough for us. I immediately told my children to NOT take anything to eat because there would not be enough to go around. How embarrassing to if your helpers have avoid eating because of your poor planning.
Treat your help with a high level of gratitude by giving them at the very least a good hearty meal.
I really appreciate your feedback. Maybe you have some stories to share or wisdom to impart. Can’t wait to hear from all of you!