I’m in the process of packing to move about 18 hours away. I actually enjoy moving. Let me repeat that…I LIKE moving! (echo, echo, echo)
I have to learned to love the feeling of cleaning out the corners of my mind which, if you’re obsessive compulsive like me, is really what you’re doing when you are packing and decide you don’t need that chipped glass anymore or those pants you are seriously never going to fit into again. These things that we keep around clutter both mind and home which eventually starts to weigh you down emotionally.
My favorite part of moving is getting to the new place and starting fresh. With boxes whose contents are well organized, you make setting up your new home a fun and exciting activity. No, really!
Okay, Okay…Well, these tips may not make it fun for you but they may, at least, make it easier and less stressful so if you’re moving or know someone who is, here are some things I have learned throughout the years that I find are very helpful and worth considering. I’m sure you know some of these already.
- Start early
It IS possible. The earlier you start, the more casual this chore can become. You say, “but what if I need my stuff?!” How much stuff do you need when you travel? Do you need more than half a dozen books? I don’t think so. Do you need your entire out of season wardrobe? I am knitting a sweater, 2 sets of socks, planning menus, and posting on my blog right now…I move in less than two weeks. I have time to do these things because I started early.
Starting early also helps cut down on the amount of things you will have to move as well as your costs because it gives you more time to make difficult “toss” or “keep” decisions. When you are pressed for time, you tend to keep everything in order to avoid going through it which makes you move more things which costs MORE MONEY.
- Keep trash
Hah! Okay, what I really mean is hang on to paper bags, plastic bags, pieces of cardboard, old boxes, and newspaper. These will all prove extremely useful. (We were receiving wedding presents so I started saving all the boxes and packing materials. Crate and Barrel use awesome, excessive amounts of padding paper which comes in VERY handy.)
- Keep a station
This is very important. Find a corner. This may seem like it will be an eyesore but it’s not as much of one as having moving supplies and paper and boxes strewn about your entire house. I’m using an old card table in the spot where all my art supplies were. You will need it free of things so that you can do all of your wrapping and taping and packing here. As soon as you are finished with a box, move it off of your table.
- Invest in materials
There are some things you are just going to need to buy. It’s worth it. 3 or 6 packs of packing tape, bubble wrap, blank newsprint (see last tip) and FRAGILE stickers. I know moving is expensive but I swear, the money you spend on these three things is worth it. Bubble wrap comes in huge rolls for 17 dollars. This roll goes far when used in conjunction with paper and they are usually perforated! When I discovered that, I was thrilled. The Fragile stickers are bright red so you can’t miss them. They aren’t that expensive either so you do not have to use them sparingly. You’re going to need a lot of tape. Suck it up and buy the value packs. You’ll save in the end.
- Recycle boxes
(Okay, I know you’re thinking you already know this, but just hear me out.)
Ideal places to hunt for boxes are in the dumpsters/cardboard only dumpsters behind shopping centers. We scored two giant boxes filled with earth friendly (water soluble) peanuts! We found ours behind an electronics store. If you think about it, there are some stores that sell fragile things. Well, they have to have these things shipped to them, right? These are the places you’ll have the best chance of finding free peanuts, bubble wrap, and stuffing paper!
- Check box bottoms
Always check the bottoms of your found boxes that haven’t been broken down before packing them. You may need to add some extra tape to insure the bottom doesn’t fall out once it’s packed.
- Make your own boxes
You’re going to eventually come across something that has very odd shape to it and won’t fit in any boxes you’ve found. Don’t go hunting down some perfect sized box. Make your own out of a larger box. (I’ll admit, I am no good at this but RPK is.) All you have to do is break the box down flat and the use it more like wrapping paper.
- Multiple boxes in view
Have many different boxes taped up and put together and have them in plain view in your area. This makes it much easier to just grab a box of appropriate size.
- At least two of everything
This is if you are the only one packing. If there’s 2 of you packing, have 3 of everything. This means, markers, tape holders, and areas. This will cut down on wasting time and getting frustrated searching for a misplaced roll of tape or a marker that rolled under a box. It may sound small but it’s the lack of these little “situations” that keep you and your loved ones…well, loving one another.
- Pack decor first
I have ALWAYS done this. This means all knick knacks, anything on the walls and anything that serves no purpose besides sitting there and looking pretty. You won’t believe how great this makes you feel. This is something you can do very early on, at a nice pace and it is helpful when stacking boxes against the walls as you will not have to worry about anything on the walls. This is also nice because when you open these boxes in your new home, it will feel easier to switch up where things are as opposed to hanging all the same things in the same rooms.
*Doing this will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and can get the ball rolling.
- Then books
This puts a serious dent in your packing!
- Color code rooms
This can be good for kids to help. Kids LOVE putting stickers on things. When all the boxes from their room are taped up, skip writing which room it’s for all over the box. Let your kiddo pick out his/her color and stick the appropriate stickers all over it. This saves YOU time and gets the wee ones out of your hair for a little while.
- Go Easy on yourself
Take plenty of breaks. If you start to feel stressed, go outside or away from the packing for a little while. Being surrounded by chaos can make you feel, well, chaotic. Lift as little as possible. If you need to see if something is going to fit in a box, put the box over the item upside down instead of lifting the item itself. Drink lots of water.
- Blank Newsprint
You can buy large boxes of blank, fresh wrapping newsprint. Often, you can also buy it directly from your local newspaper for very cheap.
Yes, printed newspaper is very cheap and easy to come by but keep in mind these major things: it gets your hands filthy and feels gross AND you will need to wash/rinse EVERY dish that is wrapped in it after you move. Blyuch, right?
Remember, this is a great opportunity for a fresh(er) start. Be nice to yourself so your start in your new home is a happy one.