Moving ain’t easy.
Even if you’re not going far – changing states or just houses – it’s a major life change. It’s overwhelming, stressful, and in our case – bittersweet. One thing that made our journey so much easier to get through was having professional movers on hand to get us from the mountains to the desert. Because we were fortunate enough to use a moving service, we were able to spend our last weeks in our sweet little hilltop town with friends and loved ones.
It really is so much easier than doing it all yourself, but there are still trade-offs. By giving the pros free reign over your home and everything inside it, you also give up the control over how it’s labeled, handled, and delivered. While there’s not much you can do about that once everything is in their care, there are steps you can take to make things easier to sort out on the other side of your move.
Sell or give away all your stuff.
Just kidding. But get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely love or need. If there are things you are packing yourself (I packed all my craft paints and brushes for example), use it as an opportunity to purge anything outdated or unneeded. There will be so many boxes even if you do this, so give yourself a fighting chance.
On that note, get busy eating all that food in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Buy only essential groceries once you find out that you’re moving! All that food will be the bane of your existence when your entire home is spotless and empty and you’re about to tearfully walk out the door… until someone remembers to clean out the refrigerator and finds it full.
Name your rooms and storage spaces
Movers write wonderfully helpful things like “bedroom 1”, “kitchen cabinet #6” and “pantry kit” on the boxes they pack. Unfortunately in our case, what was a “pantry kit” to mover man was actually what we called our appliance closet (it just happened to have some Advil and Rolaids inside)… and so on.
Another reason to name your own space is that the contents of one room in your old home may fit best in a completely different type room in your new home. “Small Bedroom” might have served as your office in Home 1, but Home 2 has a pretty sun room that you want to use as your office.
Give your things your own labels (and make sure your movers use them), and things will not only be easier to find, but you’ll know right where you want them on the other side of your move.
First things last
Designate which boxes will be most important in your first days in your new home, and make sure they’re loaded last. Our kitchen was packed and loaded first, so it was the last thing we dug out in our new home. We spent hours looking for our silverware! My suggestions for your exclamation point boxes for the back of the truck:
Kitchen: everyday dishes, silverware, everyday pots and pans
Bathrooms: towels, shower curtains, and extra toilet paper
Bedrooms: sheets, pillows, duvet/comforter
Everything else: cleaning supplies (in case you don’t have a chance to clean before the movers come to your new house)
Map it out
Once you get the layout of your new home, start mapping out where things will go. I was so excited/tortured by the wait to get in our new home that I couldn’t help myself, and it turned out to be something I accidentally got right! I sketched out the furniture placement so that the mister and I were on the same page when it was time to direct the movers. This doesn’t have to be fancy – a rectangle sofa and a circle table with some square chairs are plenty helpful.
I also spent some time mapping out my “zones” in the kitchens with post-its. It wasn’t exact and I did some shuffling (and label prettying up, stand by for more on that) as we settled in, but it was really helpful to have a starting point. It will also be helpful if you have anyone giving you a hand while you unpack.
First night kit
Have a first night survival kit ready: paper plates, plastic silverware, no-cook or oven-able meals (unless you have a mounted microwave in your new home, yours will probably be in a box), travel toiletries, and any comfort items that you can have available for your family. Blankies, pet pillows, a picture frame, anything that might make things feel a little more like home is so important, especially for kids and pets. We happened to have some simple artwork and crafts by my son around, and having them hanging (even just with painter’s tape) helped him feel more comfortable his first night in his new room.
Get things working well first, then make them pretty. Focus on the areas that affect your family’s day to day routine, and make them work. The sooner you find a rhythm in your new home, the sooner it will feel like home (especially if you have little people). Another tip about labeling…
I threw on some washi tape labels before the movers came in so I would have an easier time unpacking, but they proved to be so helpful while we learned our way around our new kitchen! Not just for the mister and me, but also for family and friends. This worked so well that I did the same with all our many light switches! It took a minute and minimal effort but was just another thing to help us settle in a little faster.
Oh the boxes…
Have a plan for the five thousand pounds of cardboard and paper that you will be left with in the aftermath of your move. The best option, of course, is to pass on what you can to someone who needs them. Advertise on Craigslist and Facebook and get rid of what you can that way. If that doesn’t work out or if you have any left over, scope out a recycling center too. It’s such an unbelievable volume of cardboard and paper, it just makes sense to let it do some good if you can.
Believe it or not, that’s just what ended up in the garage. That doesn’t even count all the boxes that were stacked inside the house!
I’m curious to hear your moving tips. What other boxes should be at that back of the truck? Anything you recommend transporting yourself? Any amusingly mis-labeled boxes? I want to know it all.
It’s good to be back! I have posts on our new hand-built dining table, kitchen plans, little projects, and a giant desk in the queue, so bear with me while I find my new writing routine! Good stuff is coming.