Monday, June 6, 2011

How to Move Without Forgetting to Pack Your Brain

Moving week is upon the Ramsey household.  Flattened boxes emerge from hiding places in the back of closets, tucked behind dressers, and in other boxes.  Husband & I transform 2D cardboard into 3D containers; we add packing tape to the grocery list.

Sherbet takes a break from jumping into every single box we assemble.
This is our sixth move as a couple--fifth without professional help.  To handle the vast amount of labor and details required, I rely on organization.  Here are some of my key survival tips to make sure you don't lose your mind while boxing up everything else.

  1. Designate an information/planning spot for important papers and lists.  We use a clipboard and leave it on the dining room table.  Lease information, rental truck contracts, calendars, floor plans, etc. find a temporary home here.
  2. Create a daily plan of attack.  Break your home into zones and begin boxing the non-everyday-use stuff first.  For us this means the storage closet and the bookshelves.  Counterintuitively, I leave decorations on the wall until the very end.  This way my messy, box-infested home is a little less warehouse-like during the moving process. Besides, decorations tend to be fragile, and fragile boxes should be on the top of the piles, right?
  3. Write a "Change of Address" chart.  Include bills, subscriptions, doctors, etc.  Call a few each day, noting "Date Contacted" and leaving a space to record "Date Verified" when you receive updated information from them at your new address.  When 90% of the address switches are made before your move date, you feel accomplished about something and have more energy to deal with the frustrating ones later (driver's licenses, anyone?).  Also, it's a nice excuse to take a break from filling boxes and prop your feet up while you make some phone calls or send some emails.
  4. Get rid of everything you don't use, don't like, and can easily live without.  Lighten your moving load, declutter your new home, and often get a tax-deductible receipt.
  5. Implement a strict labeling policy for boxes.  I prefer color coding.  Each room in the new location receives a color (ie: kitchen = green, living room = yellow).  Boxes are tagged with the color of which room they will move into.  On the colored label I list the specific contents.  Since I hang colored labels on walls during move-in anyone helping can easily determine where a box should be placed.  Bonus hint: I usually make one wall in the living room for the living room color and one for the kitchen color--this way I can maneuver in the kitchen when unpacking.
  6. Unless this move is permanent (like buying a house) or you're guaranteed professional assistance for your next relocation, save all reusable packing materials.  Standard size boxes expedite packing a truck; packing paper not only protects items, but fills in those odd "what-else-should-we-cram-in-here" spaces that lead to extreme disorganization on the unpacking end.

For even more moving tips.

What moving tips to have you discovered?

1 comment:

  1. The best, most successful moving tip I can think of is...marry well. My wife is an organizational wizardess (see above post for evidence) who makes just about everything flow better. She's also inspiringly good looking and makes appreciative noises when I pick up heavy boxes.