Below I have listed a few hints that I offer my clients when they are downsizing and moving. They are in no particular order so read through and see what you might learn. You’ll find more through my past postings here on my blog.
At least six weeks ahead make a calendar of what to do and when. Be sure you take into account change of address info with your magazine subscriptions, banks, brokers, doctors etc. I like to have ordered return address stickers a couple of months before so I have those for the written changes I need to put in (non-online changes, in other words). You’ll also need to get strong cartons about five weeks ahead to begin your packing. Include tape (see below for guidance on that) and bubble wrap. Ask friends and neighbors for bubble wrap or packing materials they might have on hand that they would gladly pass along. If you don’t want to pay for moving boxes, ask your local liquor store to save their boxes, or visit Staples and Office Depot to request they save their paper boxes for you. Be sure to pick them up when promised so they don’t ditch them. Also, if you have a community wide website, request moving boxes from others that may have just moved in and still have good boxes to get rid of otherwise. If getting boxes with writing on them, but sure to go through and cross all that out with a good wide Sharpie. For other steps, go online and google moving calendar or moving checklist, or see my past postings here on my blog.
Be sure to pack a FIRST BOX, marked as such. This can either go in your car with you, or go LAST on the truck to be the first off. It should include:
- Sheets and towels for that first night
- Toilet paper for each bathroom
- Paper towels
- 409 or similar all purpose cleaner
- Charger for your cell phone
- Your landline phone, if you have service for such at the new place.
- The book you may read at night when getting into bed
- Snacks and pet food
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, plus other items that you normally take on an overnight trip.
Be sure this box is marked clearly!
Pack lightbulbs, in foam or original packing, into the dryer.
Color code boxes with colored Duct Tape available at Home Depot or Lowes. For example, everything for Master Bedroom, yellow tape; office, green tape; guest room, red, etc. It makes it easy for you and the movers. Put a piece of colored construction paper matching the tape color on the door of each room so the movers don’t need to ask. Use painters tape, marked with a Sharpie on the tape indicating a room for each piece of furniture.
Be sure to remember my rule of decluttering and organizing. Clutter is anything that does not bring you great joy or serve a purpose.
As you pack for the upcoming move, consider every item before it goes into that box. You don’t want to weigh yourself down with things you would just get rid of once you unpacked. If you have the Guide to the Pacific Northwest 1980
or the 10 Best Places to See in Paris
from 1993, it is time to ditch. That platter you bought because it was such a good sale last April but you have never used—time to donate. That high school prom dress your daughter wore once—send her a photo and tell her to get it or you are happy to donate it where someone else can get some real pleasure from it. See my past blog posts or go online for great places to donate nearly anything! Also, if you plan a yard sale before you go, follow my guidelines found on my blog and remember at the end, everything goes. Anything you were willing to sell that didn’t get bought doesn’t come back in! Have a staging area for the yard sale items. The garage may prove to be the best place for that.
Have water bottles chilled for the movers and each of you. The less time you have to stop for something, the faster the job is over.
It nearly goes without saying, but use your legs when lifting to protect your back. The last thing you need is to hurt yourself.
Mark every box as to the contents so it will be easy when you go to unpack. Books for instance, can be unpacked last.
For pictures on the wall, be sure to tape the hangers on the back as you are taking them down. Firmly tape them so they don’t fall off in the process.
I like all pictures and wall hangings together, as your choice for where they are to be hung may be different from your last home. You’ll know better once all the furniture is in place.
For very delicate fragile items, pack them yourself and put them in the trunk of your car. If you have a cup and saucer from your great Aunt Ethel, you don’t want to take a chance of anyone else handling that.
For very expensive items, such as jewelry, put that in your own car to transport, unless you have the amount my neighbors does (which nearly required a separate truck) in which case you would NOT mark it jewelry but designate it by a code word in some way. You don’t want the movers tempted to forget that box on the truck in the hopes of going to a WE BUY GOLD store on their way home from your move.
Once all boxes are packed they should be numbered. Count off the numbers with a checklist as they enter the truck and again as they are offloaded. This task can easily be done by a helper. People are many times eager to help during such a move, so this is one way they can do so.
If you are lucky enough to have extra helpers, plan the next day to change out your bulbs to compact florescent or LED bulbs, which you have purchased in advance after counting up the sizes you need on your walk thru. Keep any of the working incandescent bulbs to donate. We had friends do is choret for us, and it took a few hours since they were nice enough to wipe off the fixtures while up on a ladder!
Be sure to take a breath and stretch during a days that can be somewhat stressful. It will be less so if you follow these tips.