How to Prepare for a Move
Moving is simultaneously one of the most exciting and yet one of the most dreaded activities. It’s wonderful to look forward to nesting in a new space, and a move also serves as the perfect chance for a fresh start. It is easy to get overwhelmed as you think about packing every breakable wine glass, taking art off of the walls, and going through everything that you have accumulated in your current space, but if you prepare for a move properly, it is a great opportunity to evaluate what you own. It’s also much easier to review what you have and take the time to plan what you are taking with you before your move, versus having to sort everything out once you get in your new space. If you have a move coming up on your horizon, follow these tips to make it go smoothly, and to only end up with what you need and love in your new home.
Purge as much as Humanly Possible
Before you even think about packing, try to get rid of as much as you can. The more you can get rid of, the less you have to pack. This is especially crucial if you are downsizing to a smaller space. Purging is still essential even if you are moving somewhere that is the same size as or bigger than your current home, and can also save you money if you don’t have so much stuff for the movers to handle. I recommend purging room by room, before and while you are packing. If you know you have a move coming up, even if it is too early to pack things up since you are still living in your current space, keep a donation pile going in a box or bag at all times so as you come across items that you don’t need in your new space you can immediately set them aside to donate. Then as you start to pack, evaluate each item before it makes it in the box. Criteria for the things you pack are that the item is in good shape and is functional, that you are currently using it, and that it fits your current taste.
Envision yourself unpacking in your new home. Wouldn’t it be lovely to move with only the things that you can’t wait to unwrap and use in your life such as your go-to kitchen items, beautiful decorative pieces, and even favorite clothing. Anything that is not a favorite, this is your chance to shed it. You also might want to buy some new things for your new space, so any superfluous items that you don’t regularly use or that you don’t really love can be eliminated before you move, to make space for those new things. That way you will move with fewer items that have been carefully selected and are worthy to continue with you into your next chapter.
Measure Twice, Move Once
What a nuisance it would be if you were in the middle of your move, and the movers go to put that big couch in the basement and it won’t fit through the door! Or if you are going to place your dresser into the bedroom alcove you pictured it in, only to discover that it’s too wide for the space! If possible, have a plan of what will go where in your new home, and measure each space to make sure that each item will fit where you want it BEFORE the move. If the dresser you have isn’t going to fit in your new bedroom, you might not want to have it there at all. It’s better to donate or sell pieces of furniture beforehand, instead of paying for them to be moved and then needing to get rid of them, so follow the motto measure twice, move once.
Pack It Up
Probably the most daunting part of the move for most people is packing. Whether you are paying to have your house packed up by the movers, or you are having friends coming over with a bottle of wine and some extra tape, or you are doing it all on your own, there are three keys to packing success:
- Pack like with like: the worst-case scenario is opening a box in your new home that consists of a DVD, shampoo, 3 teacups, a screwdriver, a picture frame and an apron. Try as much as possible to pack all of your seasonal clothing together, all of your kitchen utensils together, all of your books together and so on and so forth to make unpacking faster and easier.
- Pack room by room: beyond just packing like with like in a box, group boxes together by room. For example all of your kitchen boxes together, all of your bedroom boxes together, etc.
- Label everything: each box should have a label that tells you which room it belongs in, and a general guide of the contents. Examples: “Kitchen: White Dishes,” “Master Closet: Marissa’s Scarves,” “Living Room: Board Games.”
Remember the Details
One of the challenges about a move is the logistical planning. Renting/selling your current place, finding a new place, packing, moving, and unpacking are all a lot to manage and take a lot of time to plan and to do. Probably the big things are obvious for what needs to be done, but don’t forget the other details that need attention for your move:
- Book movers in advance and read reviews or ask for recommendations
- If you’ve had bad movers, you know how stressful it can be to feel like they aren’t taking care of your stuff or aren’t charging you correctly. Ask around to friends and neighbors for movers they recommend, and make sure you book them in advance, especially if you are moving in a popular time like June-August.
- Save newspaper and boxes
- Moving can be really wasteful, so when you know you have a move on the horizon start to save any boxes, newspapers, shopping bags, etc. so you can put them to use and not have to buy so many. Ask for extra boxes from friends or at local stores that would just be recycled anyway. If you need to buy packing material, try to buy things you could recycle at the end of your move to eliminate excess waste.
- Change of address
- Make sure to fill out a change of address through the US Postal Service for your mail to be forwarded.
- Catalogues need to be forwarded separately through the subscription site, not just the post office change of address. Heaven forbid you would miss next month’s Martha Stewart Living magazine, so go online and update it once you know your new address.
- Send out an email or a Paperless Post with your new address to friends and family so they know where to send things going forward.
Start Your New Space Off on the Right Foot
Taking the time to purge before a move, plan out your new space, organize your packing, and button-up all the loose ends of moving will allow you to feel excited about the process instead of feeling overwhelmed. If it ever gets unmanageable or you need help making a plan of action, you can always hire a professional organizer who specializes in relocation. Sometimes it’s worth the money to have the job done right and the stress relieved. If you follow these steps for your move, then when you get to your new space you won’t be sorting random boxes of items, unpacking your kitchen boxes in the garage, or trying to find homes for things you don’t really love. You’ll be able to find the right spots for all of the things that bring joy to your life, and before you know it the space will feel like home.