Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moving tips from a traveling nomad.


Our upcoming move will be the fifth time we've moved in six years of marriage!  Crazy?  Probably, but lucky for you I've gathered some expert moving tips along the way.  While not a complete list of moving to-dos, maybe there is something here that can help you.

Before you pack:

1. Purge like a maniac.  You probably don't need all the things you own and you will discover that as soon as you start trying to fit it into tiny boxes. Take a couple of weeks to toss and give away as much stuff as you can.  You'll thank yourself later.  Have a yard sale, or feel free to bring things over the family and friend's houses and pass them off as "gifts" (just kidding!).
2. Organize.   It may seem counter intuitive to organize a house you're about to vacate, but if you have the time, it will make packing a lot easier.
3. Collect boxes.  Everyone says to go to the liquor store, but I find their boxes to be small and oddly shaped.  Tell people you're moving and you'll be amazed at the boxes they bring over.  You can also ask your local grocery store when their shipments come in (usually at night) and they will generally offer to save the produce boxes for you at no cost.  Checking Craigslist for gently used boxes is another option.  I would suggest using your best boxes for kitchen plates/cups and other fragile items.

Packing it up:

1. Pack one room at a time. Not only will this help your boxes be categorized by room, it will stop you from feeling overwhelmed.
2. Group like items.  It's okay to have a couple of miscellaneous boxes, but too many will make unpacking a mess.  For items you use everyday, make a few "open first" boxes so you aren't searching for needed items the day you move in.
3. Label like a fool.  If you're organized this step should be a piece of cake! 
4. Pretend you're camping. Pack a bag for each family member a couple of days before you move with the essentials and then put the rest of your clothes in boxes. Don't put pressure on yourself to make regular nutritious meals for your family the week you're moving.  Eat on paper plates and bring out the frozen food (you need to use it up anyway!).

Moving Day:

1. Assemble a team.  Big or small, it's so nice to have people who can help you load the truck, watch your kiddos or help you clean the house.  Be sure to provide snacks and drinks to say thank you.
2. Surprise your kids. If you have a long drive, pack a few of your kids favorite toys/books (and maybe some new ones too) in a secret bag and bring it out in the car. My kids have done great with moving, but tend to get a little worried when I start putting all of their stuff in boxes.  Seeing familiar items helps. Check back on Thursday to see what I'm planning for my kids this week.

Some more detailed lists I've used in the past can be found at Real Simple and Martha Stewart.

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