As I prepare to sell my house, moving has been on my mind a lot. Moving for any reason can have a host of psychological issues riding right along side the practical things you need to do. So anything you can do to make the packing and moving experience easier is great.
Really think about what you have. It may be helpful to create a document listing all of the furniture and valuables you want to keep. Having a clear idea of what exactly you will be moving will help you start the organizing process in your mind.
- Sell, give away, or take to the dump anything you don’t want anymore. Again, if you have a few weeks to prepare, you may make some money and have less to pack. In addition, you’ll have a much better idea once you have sorted everything out, what you will need to actually move your belongings (such as appropriate sized boxes and packing materials). You can often find free packing materials on your local Freecycle.com (a Yahoo list serve). Freecycle.com is also an easy way to lighten your load – and people will even come to you to pick the items up.
- If you will be renting a moving truck, if at all possible, call to reserve two to four weeks in advance. Trust me when I say there is nothing worse than having to move and discovering last minute that there are no trucks available. You will need to have a credit card to rent a truck, so if you don’t have one, you may need to find someone to help you out, or you will need to put down a large cash deposit.
- Boxes, boxes, and more boxes. If you have saved boxes and packing materials from items such as computers, TV’s and audio equipment, that is the very best way to re-pack and protect these type of items. Make sure the boxes you use to pack are sturdy. Don’t cheap-out on strapping tape. Use good-quality packing materials, such as bubble wrap, earth-friendly peanuts, and plenty of paper (newspaper is great, but can make items dirty and may be hard to clean off). No one wants their possessions to be broken or damaged.
- Room by room. I have found it easiest to break down packing by room. Once the boxes are clearly labeled with the room’s name, or noting that the items are FRAGILE, then you can clean the room. That way, you have far less to go back and do once you have moved.
- Special boxes. You may want to keep important papers, passports, jewelry etc. set aside in specific boxes. It’s also a good idea to pack a suitcase or boxes as if you were going to stay at a motel for a few days with items you will need right way, such as clothing and toiletries.
- Call ahead. Try to call the cable, phone, gas, and or electric companies at least a week in advance. If you owe on any bills or Aunt Fanny has put something in your name with or without telling you, you’ll want to know ahead of time and make any necessary arrangements. If you have large bills due, you may need to negotiate with the company before you can have service turned on at your new home.
- Pack things you don’t use often first (such as books). Again I have done this room by room.
- When your friends and/or family arrive to help you move, try to have everything packed – they will thank you for it. You may want to break your help down into a “packing party” and a “moving party,” at two separate times just to make everything go more smoothly.
- Plan for your pets. Moving is very stressful for your pets too. Either board them, have them stay with a friend or family, or keep them with food and water in an empty room until you are ready to move them.
10. Feed and water the help, especially once everything has been moved (and by water, I mean beer) – they deserve it!