My husband and I recently made a big move from Oregon to California complete with the use of a storage unit and spending time with family before finding our own place. I’m not here to tell you that if you’re organized it’s going to be easy, because it’s never easy. But, if you stay organized through the process, it will make your move go much more smoothly.
Labeling Your Boxes
The first thing you should know when moving is to label your boxes well, especially if you’re going to have to store them for a while. You want to remember what is really in there, not just “kitchen.” I found that writing kitchen and then also writing specific things in the box really helped. Mind you, you don’t need to go crazy and write down every single thing in the box, just enough to give you a good idea of things you may need first or other things that were in the same drawer/cupboard.
And, not only did I write all this on one side, but on all four sides. When you’re loading your belongings into your storage unit, you don’t want to have to be aware of what side has the writing on it. Turning boxes all day to make sure the labels are facing forward is not efficient. And you surely don’t want to miss turning a box and having an unlabeled box in your unit. It takes a little extra time while packing, but saves a lot of time and headache down the road.
Specialty Moving Items
Two specialty items that you should definitely buy from your local storage facility are: wardrobe boxes and mattress bags. As far as I’m concerned wardrobe boxes are the only way to go for moving closet clothing. They are tall boxes with a metal rod that you simply hang your clothes on, tape the box closed and move. It’s great for if you will need to “live out of boxes” for a while. You don’t have to dig for your clothes, they’re all hanging right there, easy to find.
The other is a large plastic bag that you put your mattress in. If you are going to be storing your mattress you don’t want any living thing moving into it while it’s packed. It keeps it clean, too!
The “Open First” Box
This tip comes from my mother-in-law. Make an “open first” box with the essentials that you may need right away.
- toilet paper/toiletries
- last month’s bills
- checks & stamps
- coffee maker and mugs
- pet supplies
- scarves for a colder climate
- sunscreen for a warmer one
Anything you find yourself using on a day to day basis, things that you will need to wrap up last month’s bills, sign a lease on a new apartment or adjust to a new climate. Then, most importantly, don’t let this box get packed on the truck until last and be sure to always know where it is.
The Storage Unit
And lastly, the storage unit itself. When you’re loading your unit be mindful of where you are putting things, especially if you will be staying with family or in a hotel for a while until you get settled in. Put the items that you are least likely to use on the bottom and towards the back of the unit. Mattresses (in their plastic bags) can be leaned against the back wall as you’re probably not going to need them until you get your own place. Keep your files, the smaller kitchen items you may need and if you’re an artist or crafter, your hobby supply boxes close to the front of the unit. We were surprised by how many trips we took to our storage unit to grab an item we needed, or an item to make our stay with family a little more like home.