BEFORE YOU MOVE
- Buy The Right Boxes. Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Staples carry several sizes. Although it’s tempting to get a ton of giant boxes, reserve those for pillows and comforters only. All of your other things will simply weigh too much and make moving the box through your home too awkward if you choose boxes that are too big. Bankers Boxes up to 18x16” are my favorites. Wardrobe boxes are nice if you’re traveling long-distance; but wrapping your clothes in a trash bag hangers and all is much easier. Go MEDIUM, or go home.
- Edit Before You Box. It’s easy to fall into the trap of great music, fellowship of friends, and packing ALL THE THINGS. I get it, you’re actually trying to make packing FUN, but if you want to make it EASY, you have to focus. As you look at each category, ask yourself, “What am I using 80% of the time?” Thanks to the 80:20 Rule, you’re probably only going to identify 20% of the items in that category. It’s okay to hold on to a FEW of the 80% you aren’t using, but make an effort to let it go. If you’ve been thinking about buying new glassware or dishes, now is the time to do it. Donate all the old items and buy your new set when you get to your new home. For the in-between time, use disposable plates or as few “old” ones as you can so that you can easily say goodbye when you shut the door for good.
- Pack By Category. Most clients want to pack by area from their old home without considering their new home. Instead of packing up all the cabinets on the right side of the kitchen sink into two boxes (area), pack up the cabinets by the type of contents they hold (category). Unless you’re moving into an identical home, packing by area just won’t work. Seriously, quit trying to tell me it will work. It won’t. Your move in will go much smoother when your belongings are grouped by category because you’ll have the freedom to decide what goes where instead of having to unpack ALL THE BOXES first.
- Label Well. This is the top mistake folks make when packing for their move. In their rush to prepack before listing or toward the end of packing when exhaustion sets in, boxes become covered in the four letter word I dread: Misc. Misc might make sense to you as you’re tossing the kitchen junk drawer into a box, but it won’t make a lick of sense when you get to your new home. I’d prefer you to save yourself the hassle and just dump the junk drawer in the trash; however, if you feel like it must make the move, box it up and label it “Kitchen – Junk Drawer.” If you want your unpacking to go smoothly, always write the room the items belong in and a description of what the items actually are. Avoid Misc at all costs.
AFTER YOU MOVE
- Take Boxes To Their Rooms. Hopefully you did this the day the movers were there to help unload. If not, do it now. Station these boxes to one side of the room so that you’ve got some space to work. There is nothing worse than being surrounded by mountains of boxes and not being to unpack because you lack elbow room.
- Categorize As You Unpack. Hopefully you had the chance to pack by type BEFORE the move. If not, don’t neglect this step. You need to know how many pots and pans you have before finding their permanent home.
- Unpack in Entirety. There is nothing worse than half-opened boxes littering a space. Instead, open one box and unpack the entire thing! Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. If you’re finding that you need more space for the different categories you’re unboxing, then just move some of the packed boxes out of the way.
- Break Down Boxes. If room allows, I just stack my empty boxes to the side. However, if I’m pressed for space, I break down each box as I finish it to give me more working room. As you break down the boxes, set them aside in a “box pile.” Do the same with packing materials. Most moves create more trash than your waste removal service will pick-up. You can save yourself the hassle, and possibly earn a few bucks, if you offer up the used packing materials on Facebook or Craigslist.
- Find Permanent Homes. I said permanent, not temporary, not “it kinda fits, so let’s just stick it here.” This is your new home and you’ve dreamed of all of the fun you’ll have here. Make those dreams come true by giving your storage solutions the utmost consideration. Any professional organizer would tell you that the best way to organize a home is to organize first in zones, and then by frequency of use. Let’s consider the kitchen. Every kitchen has at least these three zones: food storage, food prep, and cleaning. You can identify these zones by the fixtures in your kitchen. Food storage includes the refrigerator and the surrounding cabinets. Food prep includes the stove, oven, microwave, counter tops, and surrounding cabinets. Cleaning includes your sink, dishwasher, and surrounding cabinets. You’ll keep almost everything that goes through the dishwasher in the cleaning zone (plates, utensils, glassware, etc.). Don’t make the mistake of sticking your serving platters on a shelf that really should be holding the bread. Use your “not as convenient” cabinets for your “often not used” stuff, and protect the prime real estate of cabinets within easy reach. Your home will work more efficiently for you and you’ll be less stressed following your move if you make tough decisions now.