Moving is a daunting task, to say the least. Our family has moved way too many times if you ask me. Sometimes it went well and sometimes it did not. Successful moving strategies are plentiful. Though the number one key is to have plenty of time to pack in a methodical manner. Let me first go over a list of to- do’s and then good moving experiences and not so good, so you can see how we made it through when we had the time or not.
1. Get plenty of boxes & packing tape ahead of time.
a. See if your local grocery store will be on alert that you’re in need. Find out what days you’ll need to stop by to pick them up. I got a LOT of boxes this way.
b. Post on freecycle.org in your local area for a need for boxes.
c. Ask neighbors to drop off decent boxes or tell them to call and you’ll pick them up.
d. A final resort is to purchase them from a large box company in bulk. It’s much less expensive than buying them from a moving store.
Box companies: uline.com – landsberg.com There are many more so just do a search for moving boxes and compare prices. Most of these companies have tape in bulk too. I personally buy from uline.com .
2. Research moving companies. We had a 20’ x 10’ storage unit we filled on the last move and for about $700 the movers were able to empty about 2/3 of the storage unit and all of the heavy furniture in the house. It was invaluable because we could not physically move everything.
a. A few thick sharpies
b. A full-size pad of lined paper
c. Large Avery shipping labels or half sheet labels.
d. Lots of packing tape.
Good Moving Experience
When we moved the first time I had everything labeled and on a sheet of lined paper. Everyone was assigned a room number. (Those room numbers were put on each door or wall of a room such as the living room at the receiving end.) The room number plus everything in the box (within reason) was also written on the sheet and the label. If there were many similar items I put a category instead of a list of what was inside. Label at least two sides of the boxes, top and side. If you’re up to it, label 3 or 4 sides to make things a lot easier during the unpacking phase.
One room at a time was my motto. We each started with our own room. Anything that wasn’t needed for a month or longer was packed. The kids were wonderful about choosing a lot of games and toys they could live without for a few months. We agreed to have a sort of toy unpacking party when those items finally found homes in the new house.
It was wonderful to be able to take our time to pack. About 4 – 6 boxes were packed on average per day because I home schooled and the children were young enough that we had a great routine. This became part of our temporary routine. Some days we did VERY well and packed 8 – 10 boxes. Some days we only got 2 or 3 boxes packed. But for the most part, we were well equipped and finished on time.
Unfortunate Moving Experience
Our last move was interesting. From the time we put the house on the market to the acceptance of an offer was only two weeks. (Unheard of in the 2006 real estate market.) Then the buyers wanted a short escrow. That meant power packing. When you have to power pack, things don’t always go as planned. There really isn’t much time “to” plan. Not only were we power packing, but also – I was no longer a stay at home mom with hours during the day to do much of the work. This meant I had to leave some of the packing up to the teenagers. Over the phone, I did my best to carefully explain to my 16 yr. old the intricacies of packing dishes and glasses. One night I remember bringing home more boxes and packing material. We sat in front of a movie as I taught her about packing and then chatted a bit.
This move did not allow for much of a staging area or time to organize, as we would have otherwise. We quickly rented a large dumpster and listed anything we didn’t use in a long time or no longer wanted, on freecycle.org. We got rid of 2 large dumpsters full of junk and over 18 appliances. Many of them were almost new. It actually felt great to give things to others who could use it. After a week or so we realized we just weren’t going to make it if we didn’t come up with a strategy. That’s when we rented a storage unit. My son, husband, or I made runs to the unit every night with as many boxes as we could fit in our vehicles.
On the weekends we packed like crazy and filled the storage unit. I ended up calling a moving company to help with the heavy things on moving day. It was the most valuable money spent because they were quick, careful, and thorough. Unfortunately, because it was such a quick move, everyone just slammed boxes as fast as they could into the garage of the new place. It’s been months and we’re still digging things out.
Learning to purge before you’re faced with moving is my best suggestion. Keeping things because you might need them later means you have many things you’ll probably never use later but have stored for a long time. This is how we end up with so much clutter. If you need something you got rid of, buy it again later. Otherwise, ask a family member or post a want on freecyle.org in your local area. You’ll save so much time not having to move things you don’t use from home to home.
And I have to put a shameless plus for The Busy Woman’s Daily Planner® – I could NOT have done it without my planner. I set up a contact page for each utility I had to shut off and have turned on. Then I had specific note pages for new homes we were looking for. Everything was put behind my moving tab.
Copyright ©2007 Susie Glennan
All Rights Reserved.