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Moving can be one of the most stressful things you’ll do. I needed days to recover after we finally got everything to our new house. With a whole household full of stuff, how can you possibly stay sane in the process?
Here are some helpful moving tips I’ve learned along the way. The most important thing is exhaustive labeling and list-keeping. Not the most fun way to spend your time, but you’ll thank yourself later
First thing’s first: Leave yourself enough time. Trust me, you don’t want to leave packing to the last minute, especially if you have a large house. Plan on two or three months of steady packing work to make sure you can do it deliberately and carefully. Set yourself a goal—say putting together 10 boxes a week—to bring a relaxed pace to the proceedings.
Next, get to weeding! It’s best to pare any extraneous items out of your life. There are surely quite a few things you really shouldn’t bother taking along. Ask yourself about the last time you used each one, and if it was over a year ago, give it the old heave-ho.
Take action: Move things into the boxes. The key is to be steady and relentless. Just get ’er done! Be thoughtful about how you pack—it’s best to put heavy things like books in small boxes and light things in larger boxes. As for materials, you can get tons of free small and medium boxes from liquor stores. But don’t forget to buy lots of packing tape and quite a few thick permanent markers.
Here’s where the labeling and list-keeping comes in. My most important advice is to keep things organized and clear. So not only should you label each box with what room it belongs to, but also note down what’s in the box. You can make this easier by giving each box a letter and number, which you record on a master list. The letter can represent the room—for instance, K=kitchen—and the number will allow you to identify the box on the list where you’ve recorded the contents.
So when you see the box labeled K-1, you know instantly it should go in the kitchen, and a quick glance at your list might reveal that K-1 contains spices and silverware. Write the letter-number codes on the sides as well as the tops of the boxes so you’ll always be able to find what you need.
Finally, one last hint: pack a make-yourself-at-home box. Create one box, clearly marked, that contains anything you’ll need to have on hand as soon as you arrive. This may include nighttime essentials like toothbrushes, pajamas, sheets, and pillows, as well as snacks, favorite toys, pet supplies, a couple of trash bags, and paper plates, utensils, and cups
Do you have any other tips to make moving a snap, or at least less of a trial? Do you have a moving horror story others could learn from?