For my first two years of college I lived on campus so my moves to and from college were complete moves. Meaning everything I brought to college had to leave at the end of the school year. So I’d start out by bringing only what I needed until the first break and then I’d bring the rest. I also did this at the end of the school year. I would take to my parents what I wasn’t using over a few weekends and then bring the rest during move out at the end of the school year. From my college moves I learned how to pack suitcases and the trunk of a car.
One of my easiest moves was when I moved to my first apartment. Since I had been living with my parents I didn’t have any big furniture, just a desk and couple of bookcases. My next couple of moves were more intense because I was packing apartments full of furniture. From those moves I learned it’s best to start packing a few weeks, or months, ahead and pack one room at a time.
My most recent move was another easy one because I had movers pack up my apartment. Since this was a long distance move and the majority of my things would be in storage, I had to be more organized with this move than any other. It was important that I had determined before the mover arrived what I was taking with me and what would go into storage.
Related post: How I Decided I was Ready to Buy a House
Though I’ve moved several times I wouldn’t call myself a packing and moving expert, I do have a few tips and tricks that have worked for me and I’d like to share with you. I’ve also created a handy-dandy checklist that I find helpful for moving.
Start cleaning houseBefore I start packing I go room by room and sift through closets and drawers to determine what is going and what isn’t. By doing this I’ve thrown away several things I shouldn’t have been hanging onto because they were ready for the trash, were supposed be donated (but never made it out the door much less to Goodwill) or could be sold.
By going through these items before I start packing I can make a decision on whether I should keep the items or not that isn’t clouded by emotion or feels rushed because I’m pressed for time. I’ve found I’m more likely to get rid of items than hang onto them when it’s not a rushed decision.
Create listsWhen the move starts getting serious I create lists for the following:
- When I need to notify my landlord (if my lease is being broken)
- Scheduling the movers
- Utilities that need to be turned off/transferred
- Where I need to provide a change of address - post office, bank, family and friends, work
Start hoarding boxesOnce you know you’re planning to move, if you have the room start hoarding boxes because they aren’t cheap if you have to buy them. One way I’ve done this is by saving boxes from deliveries, asking family and friends and even asking if I can take empty boxes from my workplace.
Related post: How to Find the Best Realtor for You
Pack room by roomFor me packing room by room keeps me sane. Doing it by room allows me to keep items from each room together and not get mixed up with other rooms. I like to start with rooms that have items I don’t use regularly. In my two bedroom apartment it meant the spare room was the first room and my bedroom and bathroom were my last.
Label the boxesI totally slacked on this during a couple of my apartment moves and regretted it. When my boxes are labeled I can tell the movers to read the box and place it in the appropriate room. This results in less searching around for items and having to move heavy boxes by myself from room to room.
Unpack at your own speedAfter all my items are moved in I focus on my bedroom and bathroom. For me it’s really important that the bedroom and bathroom be put together for me to feel comfortable in a new place and to establish a routine. Once they are done I start working on the other rooms only unpacking what is necessary and then unpacking the rest bit by bit until I’m all done.
What are your packing and moving tips?