In the almost 10 years we've been married we've moved (this includes the move to our first apartment) 6 times; and we're about to up that number to 7. SEVEN. Some of the moves have been to different apartments/houses in the same city, and then others involved moving to a different province & even to a different country (and then two years later, back again). So, big & little moves. We've done them both.
The process of moving is exhausting. In many ways, it overwhelms me, and exhausts me, just thinking of having to pack up my house and knowing the chaos that will ensue. And then, there's the unpacking. At least that's a little more exciting than packing.
Since it's go-time, and this is our life right now, I thought I'd share my top moving tips & tricks. Take 'em or leave 'em, but these are things that help us out and things that we've learned along the way after (almost) seven moves.
Top Moving Tips & Tricks
1. Give yourself time Avoid running around the week of your move, trying to pack up your entire life. If you know you're going to be moving start packing as soon as possible. If your move is a month away, start with packing a few boxes a day (if possible); and then on weekends, get to work. It may look like you don't have much to pack, but it seriously adds up. It will more than likely take longer to pack up your stuff than you think it will.
Also, it's easy to be hesitant to pack early as you'll probably have the mindset of, I just might need this. But honestly, you'll find you can live with much less than you originally thought.
Books, decorative items, clothes & linens (that are out of season) are all great items to start with as your can easily live with out these things for a while.
2. Collect along the way As soon as you know you'll be moving start collecting newspapers, boxes, and other packing materials you're going to need. Ask family/friends to save boxes and newspapers for you. There's nothing worse than scrambling last minute trying to find boxes for packing.
I also don't believe in buying boxes (unless absolutely necessary for particular items). If you ask, many businesses will give you boxes from shipments and orders they receive that just usually end up in the dumpster/recycling. Ask around, start collecting, and don't spend money when you don't have to.
3. LABEL, LABEL, LABEL If I've learned one thing it's that you should label your boxes well. Mark down the room the box needs to go to, if it's fragile, and the basics of what the box contains. It doesn't have to be a super detailed list of everything in the box, because really, who has time to list every item in the box? But, highlight one or two things in the box that might be important. For instance, you may want to know where your can opener is, or the coffee maker. Whatever items you know you'll want to find in the early stages of unpacking, label those and then leave the rest more general.
I also draw arrows on the sides of the box pointing to the top of the box, just incase there's anything in there that I don't want turned upside down.
4. Use things you HAVE to help you pack Think blankets, towels, dish towels etc. Instead of packing a whole box of your bathroom towels consider using some to help with those fragile & breakable objects. Lots of times I'll use these things as padding in boxes for objects like mirrors, frames, and even certain dishes.
5. Remember, it gets worse before it gets better This is important to remember and I'm currently reminding myself of this very thing. You may very well be living in chaos for a few weeks...or more (we're living it right now). It's like when you decided to completely reorganize & clean the worst closet/room/space in your home. It always gets worse before it gets better. Come to terms with the fact that (no matter how organized you are) you'll be living in disorganization and chaos for a little while; but then remember, it won't always be like this. It's necessary, it's a season, it'll pass. Just breathe.
6. Purge while you pack This is one of the things I LOVE about moving. Moving generally results in a good and much needed purge. I always find myself going through things as I pack. Lots of times I'll find myself realizing that there are things I just don't want to take to the next place. This results in donating, selling, and sometimes the items have lived long enough and head to the trash. Either way, go though your things while you pack. It'll feel good to only be unpacking things you like/want in your new home. Side note: if you're under time constraint and don't have time to go through everything while you pack, consider doing this while you unpack - it works in reverse too!
7. If you have kids, pack a laundry basket of their toys/activities I did this with our last move. I made sure I had a basket of E's toys (along with some crayons & a colouring book) that wasn't boxed up. It travelled with me in the car to the new place and that way there was no confusion or losing it. It was so helpful in letting me get some of that essential first unpacking done without having to dig through boxes to find some of her things first. It'll definitely make your life a little easier.
8. Make a "new house" basket Pack a basket (again, a laundry basket works great here!) with essentials you're going to want/need right away when you get to your new place. Much like the kid's basket, have it travel in your car with you so it doesn't get misplaced & you know where it is. In this basket I like to include things like: cleaners/soaps, rags/towels for cleaning, a roll of toilet paper, paper towel, scissors (to get into all those boxes!), some bottled water & snacks. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later.
9. Realize that unpacking & setting up your new home may take some time Give yourself a break here. You just moved into a new home. You're not sure how it will function to it's fullest capacity for you and your family. You may set things up and then a couple weeks later realize that you need to try a different furniture set-up, system, or whatever, for you and your family. Maybe you thought your dishes would work best in a certain cupboard, but you've now realized it makes more sense for them to be located elsewhere. Just move them. Nothing's permanent. Move things around and enjoy the process of settling in.
Ok, so what did I miss? Tell me YOUR top moving tips & tricks!