Before…Packing up and moving. Right up there with hitting your funny bone or stubbing your little toe. Not fun. But there are times it just has to be done. Here is a collection of hints to help ease some of the pain in moving.
Six Months Before The Move
Go through all the belongings you want to sell or give away. Why so in advance? There is enough that needs to happen during the actual moving time, so one less thing that needs to be organised, the better. And try to think outside the box (no pun intended:) when it comes to giving items away. For example, with toys and children’s clothes, consider donating those in good condition to a children’s home. Even if there is not one near you, they may have offices within driving distance that you can go to. We opted for this before moving to England and the staff were so incredibly grateful and happy to receive our donation.
How do you know what to sell or give away? You are probably familiar with the guideline: if you haven’t used it in a year (unless it’s seasonal), get rid of it. And then of course there is the great William Morris quote: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Also, if you just like something, but it’s not your favourite, perhaps it’s time to make it someone else’s favourite.
You know all those bits and pieces you’ve been meaning to organise but haven’t yet? Do it now. Seriously, it will be so amazing to unpack organised boxes instead of piles of messy stuff.
All those boxes and bubble wrap you or your friends receive from Amazon? Start setting them aside…which brings me to my next tip.
Three To Six Weeks Before The Move
So you need a gazillion boxes? Yup, there are the old standbys like asking supermarkets and large shops for their unwanted boxes, but there may be another way to get a whole heap in one go. And that is to check out Gumtree or, for folk in the US, Craigslist. Chances are, there are people near you who have just moved and are wanting to get rid of their boxes/packing materials.
If moving to an unfamiliar area, search on the web for all the closest shops etc. you will need right away: supermarkets, post office, health food store…
The Packing Up
Bubble wrap for your fragile items is great if you have loads, but there is something better and you already have it in your home: towels, sheets, clothes…you get the idea. All of these soft items can be used to wrap up your plates, cups and china. Also, to act as a shock absorber for your breakable things, line the bottom of the box with one layer of books. And, of course, put quite heavy things into small boxes.
If you have pictures hanging on your wall in a particular arrangement you quite like, take a picture of it so it will be easy to recreate in your new place.
The Important Box (es)
When you get to your destination, there will be items you’ll want immediately that first night to make it as comfortable as possible. Suggestions would be bed sheets, blankets, pillows, plates, cutlery, pans. And if travelling with children, anything that you know will give them comfort in their new environment…favourite stuffed animals, books…
To make these “open now” boxes easy to find on the other side, buy some colourful duct tape to wrap around it.
Yay! You’ve done it! Well done & welcome home! Phew. The hardest part is done. But I don’t belittle the fact that the unpacking can be tough as well.
Now is when you will appreciate your open now boxes. Just set those aside when you begin to unload so you can easily reach them on your first night.
And this for renters… upon the first day of your arrival, take a quick perusal around the home and take pictures of any stains, cracks, etc. That way you will know what marks were already there when you leave.Be kind to yourself. I know some folk who can be done and dusted in three days. If this is you, awesome. But I am still sorting things out 8 months later in our rental. Go at your own pace.
After The Boxes Are Unpacked
Now what to do with all those boxes? Here is something you can do where you won’t even have to leave the house to get rid of them. Simply list your boxes on Gumtree (or Craigslist). This is what we did after our transatlantic move, and were able to give away boxes and bubble wrap to 3 or 4 different families who were in the middle of packing. Sharin’ the love.
And if you are in the middle of packing up…take a break, have a cup of tea (providing you can find the tea;) and put your feet up for a wee while!
So these are just some of the main tips I have learned from the many moves I’ve made these last several years. Any hints you’ve learned to make moving easier? Would love to hear!