Moving is no doubt time-consuming, overwhelming and stressful, particularly when you’re on a time crunch. A few months ago, J and I moved out of our apartment in Center City (our first home, i’ll always love that place!) and I distinctly remember being up all night and crossing my fingers that we had enough tape and boxes to last us to the morning. With that being said, my biggest piece of advice is to buy a lot of tape to seal boxes. However many you bought, buy three more to avoid having to make a last minute trip to Home Depot.
The best thing you can do for yourself when moving is to do your research and read articles about moving (like this one)! Since you’re reading this post, you’re in a great place already. Create a board on Pinterest for moving day activities. There is so much information out there, some that I considered more helpful than others. One article that really stood out to me was one about color coded duct tape. I was immediately drawn to it because I love school supplies and color coding. It was tempting but overall I thought it was expensive and time consuming. Because our moving extravaganza was so last minute, we didn’t have much time to color coordinate all our boxes. That’s not to say it doesn’t work for some people but in our case, we decided to keep the process as quick as possible. Below are some tips we used for moving that looking back, really made a difference in the physicality of it all as well as my mental well-being.
It’s spring/winter/fall/summer cleaning time
Start removing clutter months in advance. Less clutter equals less boxes and that’s good for everyone. Plus, you’ll have less to unpack and fewer useless items in your brand new place. For your clothes, you may have been dreading a reorganization for a while but this is a great time to get rid of items you don’t wear anymore or let’s face it, never really wore in the first place. I like to do a major closet clean-up twice a year, once when the weather gets cold and once when it gets warm.
Start by designating three piles for items you want to sell, donate, or throw out. Everything else stays in your closet. Also, don’t forget about the shoes! That includes any pair you haven’t worn since middle school but you kept because your shoe size is the same and you’re secretly a hoarder who has trouble getting rid of things. Sounds familiar? Go room by room so you don’t feel overwhelmed and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and boxes once it’s time to start packing.
Your planner is your new best friend
Make plenty of lists! Your first list can be all the places you need to contact to update your address.
This includes Human Resources at work, which is especially important during tax season because it’s where your W2 form will be sent. Add on your credit cards, banks, magazine subscriptions, professional licenses, and insurance. Submit a change of address form at the post office so your mail can be forwarded to your new home while you’re waiting for your address to be updated everywhere. Bonus, you also get a ton of free coupons and that coveted 10% off coupon at Lowes, especially helpful for major appliance purchases. Make a note of anything that comes to your new home with a yellow forwarding sticker so you can easily keep track of what else needs to be updated. Consider sending change of address cards to your friends and family or a quick email/phone call so you don’t miss any wedding invites or birth announcements. My Erin Condren planner is a life saver and helps me stay on top of my to-do lists.
Speaking of lists, create an excel spreadsheet that contains the contents of all of your boxes and where everything needs to go. For example, column A is kitchen and includes boxes 1 (glasses and mugs), 2 (plates) and 3 (serving pieces) and the key contents in each one. Label the boxes with these corresponding numbers. Make sure to label the sides of the boxes and not the top so you can easily identify them when stacked. This spreadsheet is so helpful when it comes time to unpacking and you’re looking for your passport, which you KNOW was one of the first things you packed. Most importantly, if there is anything valuable, you won’t be broadcasting it to the world by labeling the contents directly on the box. Also, if any boxes get lost, you can quickly figure out what you’re missing.
Consider hiring movers
If you’re hiring a moving company, finish packing and sealing your boxes before the movers arrive. You’re paying them by the hour so you don’t want them to be standing around waiting for you to finish those last few boxes. Leave time for yourself to take pictures of any complicated wiring so you can save time later on when you’re reconnecting everything. Also, if you’re renting, take photos when you move in and out to increase the chances of getting your full security deposit back. Make sure you label boxes with the exact room they need to go to instead of the garage or basement. That way you can unpack each room on your own and will have a sense of where everything is. You don’t want to be going back and forth from the basement to the kitchen to unpack the dishes.
We used Mambo Movers based on a recommendation from a friend and they were excellent. They were so careful to not damage anything and worked really fast. We were in our new place by noon. Bonus tip, consider packing books in suitcases so you can roll them to your new location. Otherwise, boxes become extremely heavy and difficult to carry. I wish I thought of that sooner.
Use plastic bins for items you’ll need immediately
There are 2 main boxes you’ll need soon after arriving at your new home, a cleaning kit and bathroom products. One of the first things you’ll want to do at your new home is clean the bathrooms. Keep your cleaning sprays, paper towels and anything else you’ll need grouped together in a plastic bin so you can easily find it upon arrival.
Create a Day 1 kit, which will consist mostly of bathroom supplies. You will love the feeling of taking a hot shower at the end of the day so make sure you pack your shampoo, body wash and a clean set of clothes. Also, toilet paper! You do not want to be looking for this. Add your toothbrush, phone charger, and maybe a bottle or two of wine or champagne to reward yourself at the end of the day for a job well done.
Explore your new neighborhood
Meet your new neighbors! Our neighbors were so sweet the day we moved in. They came by to say hi and even gave us some temporary shades for the windows, which we didn’t even think about purchasing in advance but were so vital. Explore the area before you move in. Go for a run outside, discover your new favorite coffee shop (you may be there quite often), closest post office, and local restaurant that will quickly become your spot when cooking just isn’t an option. This is an exciting time and a brand new start!
Now that you’re moved in, you may be tempted to take an indefinite break but don’t do it to yourself. Unpack right away and your future de-cluttered, de-stressed self will thank you. After the hard part is over, it’s time to order some pizza and break out that bottle of champagne you (hopefully) packed. Cheers!