Clutterninja Note: Throughout November and December, I’ll be sharing guest posts written by friends and organizing colleagues. Enjoy!
How to Have a Low-Stress Move
I recently moved, both internationally in 2014 and inside the state of Texas in 2015. Both moves had their unique set of stressors, remedies, and outcomes.
The international move demanded a purge like none that I have ever experienced in my life. Some things I was not ready to part with yet, but they had to go since we were paying for the move in weight. Yes, my four 3″ ring binders full of readings and notes had to go to the recycling bin.
My in-state move was less weight dependent, but needed to fit into our rental truck and able to move with just two people. I was also moving during the remnants of a massive hurricane that smashed into Mexico – so basically boat loads of rain. And let me tell you, if you’re going to rent a moving van, make sure it is waterproof. Soggy book boxes make everyone unhappy!
But after these two mega moves, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on how to have a less stressful move. A stress free move is pretty much like a unicorn – lovely, hoped for, but not real!
My handy tips for a lower stress move:
PREPARE yourself and family for the move by getting each member of your family to dream about what they want their new space to be like. Even collect pictures on Pinterest or a vision board. It helps get everyone excited and can give ownership of the process to each member of the family.
PURGE!!!!!!!! Please, for the love of all things from the Container Store, DO NOT MOVE WITHOUT PURGING. I beg of you. You will save yourself thousands (yes $$$$) if you purge before you move. I’ve unpacked trashcans full of trash, so please, purge first. If you don’t know where to start in purging, call a friend/family member/professional organizer and they will help you in this process. Sometimes it is as simple as opening one drawer and beginning.
THINK about what is in your current space and then where you want items in your new space. Then collect items that will go together in the new space, boxes them together, and label the box on where it needs to go. Then when it is moved, it goes in its new home and you can just unpack it in the room it will now live.
PURCHASE your supplies ahead of the big pack. Buy a little extra of boxes, tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap. Some moving companies will buy it back if not used. This will help you by having all your supplies ready, so you’re not digging through other people’s trash at 10pm. I’ve been there and done that and I don’t suggest it.
WORK in advance and in priority zones. If packing your house in one day isn’t doable, break down the project into priority zones. What is the least used items in your home and start packing there, well in advance of your move. This way, they are all boxed and ready and you can pack the most frequently used items closer to your move date.
FILL boxes purposefully. Arrange things so they fit well and will use the box space to its fullest. This also ties nicely with the THINK point above. Packing boxes diligently will save space in the moving vehicle and money since you won’t unnecessarily use boxes and tape.
NUMBER the boxes and keep an inventory of what is inside, then store the printed list in an opaque folder or ring binder. This way what is inside your boxes isn’t advertised on the outside of your box. This is particularly useful if you are moving internationally where you have to have an inventory list for customs. But it is also helpful once you have arrived to your new home and need to find something in a box and don’t want to open twenty to just find a spoon.
PACK a small suitcase for toiletries, linens, and clothes that you’ll need the day after your move. This will save you from franticly digging through boxes to find underwear or shampoo. Also, keep snacks and water out so you have sustenance for the move.
HIRE someone to help! Don’t be a hero and try to do it all yourself. If the very idea of packing a box stresses you out, then hire professional movers or professional organizers to help you purge, pack, and unpack. Professional movers won’t purge, they pack everything (hence the packed trash can full of trash mentioned earlier). Professionals are here to help. This is what we do. Let us help you, help yourself!
I hope these tips and ideas are helpful. As always, if you have questions, do let me know. I’m here to help in any way that I can!
About the Author: Suzanne Holsomback is a professional organizer based out of Houston, TX. She specializes in working with clients who are disorganized due to illness or chronic health issues or care-giving responsibilities. She is a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Check out Suzanne’s website at SuzanneHolsomback.com.