Right now, I am in the midst of packing up my belongings and moving to a new home. We all know that moving is such a big stress, but it's not just because of the packing and uprooting. There is a lot to do when you move to a new address, and procrastinating won't help your stress levels! Need some motivation? I can help you there.
Alright, you're ready to kick ass at this moving thing now, right? Now that you're pumped and primed for action, I've put together a moving checklist that may help you organize your To Do list and motivate you to get your rear in gear. There is a lot to cover so I will be splitting this checklist into two posts.
The first thing you'd probably think about doing is packing, right? Not so fast. Packing is a huge pain in the butt, and the only thing that makes it less of a pain the next time around is if you avoid bringing items to your new home that you don't need or want anymore. Therefore, before you go nuts with packing box after box...
1. Go through your possessions and donate or sell unwanted items.
This is something I usually start as soon as I find out or decide that I am going to be moving. That way, I have a month or two to really dig into all of those boxes and drawers and get rid of stuff. And if you're like me, you have a lot of stuff. Ideally you could hold a garage sale, but sometimes weather or apartment complexes don't permit such events. Craigslist is a good option for those big items, like couches or bookshelves. My good friend Brynne shared some of her secrets from a Craigslist addict, and let me tell you, she is a champ at selling online, so I would listen to her wise advice if I were you. For my move this time around, I put up a list of for-sale items on my personal Facebook page and inquired around my friends to see if anyone would want to purchase some used furniture and other items. I was amazed at the overwhelming response! Most of my stuff sold, and I plan on donating anything left over.
There were items I just decided to donate in the first place, like old clothes and shoes. When donating to places like Goodwill, be sure to keep a record of your donations and tally how many of each item you are including in the bags (12 shirts, 3 pants, etc.). Why? So you can claim it on your taxes, of course! It is a bit of an annoyance now, but you won't be sorry when you're filing your taxes for the year. You may get a nice tax return from that donation. If you don't know where to start, don't worry--you can easily estimate the tax value of each item with this handy donation value guide from Goodwill.com!
2. Buy high quality packing supplies.
Do not, I repeat, do not skimp out on the purchase of clear packing tape. You will be sorry if you decide to save a dollar or two and buy the off-brand tape. Your this-is-relatively-annoying packing marathon will turn into a curse-you-and-your-firstborn-you-stupid-generic-packing-tape cryfest. I recommend using Scotch brand, or alternatively Duck brand clear tape. (No, they did not sponsor me for saying that.) Secondly, I highly encourage you to spend the $10 and buy a tape dispenser. This is the one that I bought. These things will save your teeth and fingernails from endless ripping and slicing of tape, over and over... You get the point. You're going to want one of these things.
Another supply I used for the first time this move was a roll of contractor paper to pack fragile items. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not a fan of bubble wrap. Yes, it works, but it is about $12 for a roll of wrap that, to the eye, looks like plenty to use. Well it's not, because something like 75% of the size of that roll of bubble wrap is, indeed, bubbles. Meaning, air. Much like the deceiving size of a potato chip bag, you're not getting as much as you think you are with this purchase. Contractor paper was only $10 in the painting aisle at Lowe's, and with it, I've been wrapping all of my breakables like cute little presents. It seems to work like a charm, and I haven't even made a dent in the inventory. That's a bargain in my book.
3. Use garbage bags instead of boxes for linens, pillows, and Tupperware.
Boxes are definitely crucial while moving, but it can get expensive to buy them, and pestering friends and/or convenience stores for their used boxes gets a little old. Save yourself a bit of trouble and pack lightweight, flexible items in high quality garbage bags.
Again, this is where I say to avoid using off-brand materials. The only exception to this rule is, for some reason, Target's brand Up & Up. I love their garbage bags, and they are a whole lot cheaper than some of the brand names.
Make sure you wash your Tupperware, curtains, shower curtain, sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and pet beds before you put them in the garbage bags to pack. This way when you get to your new home, all you have to do is take them out and put them in the new linen closet or cupboard! That's one less stress for Moving Day, and that means a few less gray hairs. Score.
4. Label boxes in some detail.
After a while it gets repetitive, I know. The photo above was from my last move, towards the end, where I just could not pack one more thing into one more box without exploding with rage. The box pictured was assembled on the Eve of Moving Day Eve. The stress was high. I felt like a hoarder. It happens.
But I have learned the errors of my ways, and I'm trying to really label stuff this time so I know where things are located. I like to put the destination room on the box as well, so I can direct my moving helpers as to where they should place the boxes around the house. Every little bit helps.
I hope these first few tips have helped you out so far! Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of my Moving Checklist. In the meantime, how about you take a break from all that packing and take a listen to my latest episode of (Re)invent Life? This talk is all about relocating, so it fits right into the topic of discussion. Then when you're in the mood, share your thoughts on relocating with #reinventlife on Twitter!