I don't know of anyone who loves the task of moving from one home to another. Whether it's within the same city or in a totally different country the drudgery that goes with moving can be daunting and can create a rather unsettled atmosphere for a short while. Moving an entire household without the aid of a Moving company can be an interesting lesson in frugality - and usually only a day or two into the auto-destruct sequence, with boxes, stuff, stuff and more stuff, surrounding you - you begin to wonder, "why are we doing this on our own!" No matter how much you hate moving though, there are ways to make the transition from one home to another a little bit more manageable.
We are now in the process of making our 11th move, not including some of the "in-between" moves we've made when waiting for our residence to be built, or vacated in the case of rentals. Although this sounds like we've been Nomads most of our lives, in reality most of these moves were before our children were born. This is only our third move involving all of our children. Of all our moves though, this one was the most unexpected. If anyone tells me they doubt "wishful thinking" has any credence? I will be happy to tell them of this particular move because it is proof that the saying, "be careful what you wish for" can materialize quickly and when you least expect it.
That aside, there is a methodical way to organize your move so that if you are doing it on your own without the assistance of a moving company, you will get through it without pulling too much hair from your head. The following are ten ways to make your next move a little smoother.
1. At least 3 weeks before your move (longer if you can do so) make a list of all the rooms in the home and the function of the room (who's it is, what it holds, i.e. bed, clothes, etc.) and in what place this room will be in the "first sweep" - i.e. 1st, 2nd, etc.
2. Beginning the 3rd week systematically go through at least one room per day starting with the quickest ( eg., powder room, bathroom) and moving on to the more complex. By doing this you are avoiding having mass chaos erupting. This first "sweep" is to toss, give away or keep everything in each room.
3. Tossing, giving away or keeping items can be a difficult decision sometimes, especially if you have experienced, as we have, the crazy phenomena known as "Woulden Ewe Knowititis". That strange situation where you finally decide to throw something out or give it away only to discover a week or so later that after dozens of years of carting it around, you finally have a need for it! The only sure-fire cure for this is to either give all the items you are tossing out to people whom you know you can always take things back from, or simply realize that yes, inevitably, there will be something that you throw or give away that will be needed by you later. Choose to buy new and not hold on to something for far too long - unless of course that item new will be far more expensive than you care to manage.
4. Often we will grab newspapers for an imminent move but the problem with newspapers is that when you get to your destination you have boxes of things that need washing! It's better to go the extra mile and get a large roll of brown paper or a number of brown paper sheets which can be obtained from packing firms, to wrap your breakables in. This way you don't have any residual oils or inks to worry about and your items stay cleaner, saving you time during unpacking.
5. If you have them on hand (or even if you don't, these are worth the purchase) use large white labels such as the Avery mailing labels, and write down on each one that you attach to the box in question, exactly what is in the box and which room it should go in to. This way you can unpack at the new place more quickly and everyone will know at a glance, what boxes should be put in which rooms in the new home.
6. During the time that you are packing up, prepare your meals accordingly. Don't plan to have large home cooked meals during the packing/moving time frame. Instead, have on hand things to make quick sandwiches, meals that are quickly microwaved or barbecued and in order that you can pack up your kitchen early - you can invest in some plastic cups, plates, bowls and forks/knives/spoons and just leave unpacked those pots and pans and cookware you absolutely need for the weeks before moving.
7. By the end of week one (if you are going by a three-week time-table) you should be able to easily have packed and ready to go to the GoodWill or another charitable organization, all or most of the things that you are giving away. Most charities have their own trucks which you can have come to your home and pick up everything that you are donating. By the end of this week you should also be able to have ready most of the items that you are going to throw out. These will either be picked up at the curb or if you have access to a local landfill site, can be transported there. Usually, landfills will charge so much for the weight you are discarding. In our area we can discard a fully loaded half ton for about $15-$20. Depending upon where you live, you might benefit from placing some of your "treasures" at your driveway. You might be surprised just how quickly everything disappears.
8. Week two begins the venture of packing up all the items that you are intending to keep and move to the new place. We have found that the investment in Rubber Maid boxes that come with lids, is some of the best money we have ever spent. Everything from dishware to books, nick knacks to clothing and bedding can be packed into these handy and easy to store and move plastic boxes. Again, packing these boxes by room and leaving the boxes in each room until moving day will make it easier to keep the home as organized as possible.
9. Week three is the home stretch and if you have stayed on your schedule, you will find that you have an entire week to do all the cleaning that is necessary to leave the home in near move in condition for the new owners/new family. Gathering all the necessary cleaning supplies and employing all members of the family to be responsible for their specific areas (if they are of an age to be able to help) will make this part of the move a much quicker experience.
10. Once the home you are moving from is packed up and clean it's time to move everything over to the new home. Now, usually we'll move everything from the old home before we do a last and very thorough cleaning but that's just my preference. By packing your boxes by load (if you have only trucks and cars at your disposal for moving) and assigning each vehicle to carry most if not everything for a certain area of the home..transferring of contents will be easier to complete. Once all rooms have the boxes/furnishings meant for them it's time to sit down and relax for a while!
Once we have transferred everything to the new home, we usually set up the bbq first and lay out our plastic dishware and begin preparing for a feast! Those who have helped us are treated to food and drinks as our way of saying, "thank you!" for their help. It usually ends up being a relaxing, fun and enjoyable ending to a busy day.
With all the rooms just waiting for things to be put away and organized, we then begin to unpack over the course of the next few days and in no time at all, we have organized the new home, stored away the plastic boxes neatly in a storage area and begin to enjoy our new surroundings knowing that we are more than ready to meet the next move that takes place which for us should be some time next year, but we're ready for it.