My family just moved into our fifth home in five years. My husband’s job took us from our home we loved in Phoenix to Tucson. While we were there, we moved from a small condo to a house after my second child was born. A year after that, my husband got a great job back home in Phoenix and we quickly moved in with family. Most recently, we finally found a home we love and will be at for a while…because mama isn’t moving again for a long time.
While I wouldn’t call my self a professional, I have picked up quite a few tricks along the way to make the process a little less of a hassle and more organized.
- Purge BEFORE you go. This one is hard, but the less you pack, the less you have to unpack. Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to let go of a lot and it feels really good to have less. Start with clothes, then go drawer by drawer or closet by closet. If you do one area at a time, it shouldn’t feel as overwhelming.
- Get a notebook just for moving. You will use this to make lists, take notes and keep all of the important information in one place. I start out the first page by writing our old address and new address, the miles between and move in and out dates. If you’re hiring movers, they’ll want that information and this is a great spot to put the moving company information if you’re using one. I like the traditional composition notebooks because they fit in my purse and are super cheap.
- Make a list. In your notebook, make a list of who you need to contact for change of address, utility accounts that need to be transferred, canceled or open. Think banks, USPS for mail forwarding, insurance companies, your employer, the DMV, grandma who still keeps a written address book. Also, note dates of when accounts will be transferred or turned on at the new place so you’re not left in the dark!
- Number. Your. Boxes. I can’t stress this enough. In your notebook, you can write exactly what’s in each box so when you are searching for the silverware, you just have to look in your notebook to see which number box it’s in and then find the box. Also, with this, label what room each box goes in and instruct those moving you to put the boxes in the corresponding rooms. This keeps the writing on each box down to just a number and a room, no mess of Sharpie all over. I think after all of my moves, this has been the most helpful tip. I get pretty detailed with what’s in each box and it has come in handy so many times.
- Invest in some plastic tubs. Pack bathroom essentials, cleaning supplies and other potentially messy items in plastic tubs. This way there are no leaks into surrounding boxes if something spills. Also, it makes these usually essential items easy to spot when you first move in.
- Have a handy plastic tub (or two) with the things you’ll need for the first day. I like to put some cleaning supplies, towels, paper towels, trash bags, scissors, paper plates and napkins and toilet paper in easily accessible bins. A bin with toys and things for each kid to do it also helpful if you’re going to be moving and entertaining little ones at the same time.
- If you’re moving yourself or not going very far, keep your clothes on the hangers! Get black trash bags, cut a hole in the seam at the bottom and put the hanger through the hole. Spread the bag over the clothes and use the drawstrings to close the clothes in the bottom and tie. I usually get a big box and layer my clothes like this or throw them in the back seat of a car. This makes unpacking SO much easier and you don’t have a tangled mess of hangers and giant pile of clothes to put away.
- Unpack your kitchen first. The kitchen is the heart of my home and it’s the last room I pack and first one I unpack. Once that big chore is done everything else seems falls into place. It’s also nice being able to cook (if you want) and not have to order takeout or fast food for so many nights.
- If you have kids, unpack their rooms next. I start with their beds, so at least that is done and we can *try* to have a normal bedtime. I’ve found giving them their own space, with their familiar item, helps them feel more at home and makes the transition in a new space that much easier for them.
- Don’t lose your notebook! I keep mine for about a year, or at least until every box is unpacked, all accounts are changed and I’ve started receiving mail/emails with the new bills. Also, keep it in a central location during all of the packing, moving and unpacking. Usually the kitchen counter is the best spot!