My husband and I have some serious experience moving. In fact, we started our relationship helping each other move.
It was right before I moved in with my sister in 2012. I was packing my first apartment up. I was extremely nostalgic about the place and having a hard time getting started. I was dragging my feet. He brought over boxes, tape, and even though he didn’t know it, emotional support.
Less than a month later, I helped him pack up his stuff and ship it off to San Francisco. (Yep, we started our first year dating long distance. More on this someday). Then I flew out to San Fran to help him drive across the country, back for good.
As a classic 20-something I moved about 4-5 times in less than 5 years.
My husband had expressed stress about our next big move to our big house in the little river town. (To be honest, ‘small town’ is relative to me, it has a population of about 18K people.) I think he’s forgetting we’re pros at this. In fact, here are my top 4 Moving Tips:
Have the right materials
I learned this from him with both his cross country moves:
- Newspaper/paper wrap
- Good boxes (The crappy box that held your old toys your parents finally made you take with you isn’t going to cut it when packing pots and pans or loads of books)
- Bubble wrap
- Shoe boxes and other small containers
- Shrink wrap (Think Sarin wrap but large-scale)
$100-150 can get you a lot of great materials like the list above, including those ‘good’ boxes. It’s worth what your blood, sweat and tears will cost. Our favorite is UBOXES. If you are strapped for cash, head to Costco, Subway, or your work’s printing room and grab some free boxes. You may need to ask places like Subway ahead of time if they have extra boxes in the back, don’t be shy. Costco keeps them in a stack out in the open.
The idea is to pack everything tightly so there’s no shaking of items going on in each box. The Shrink wrap is great for things like wrapping table legs or lamp parts altogether. Newspaper and bubble obviously for all your breakables. If it clinks, rattles, or easily gets lost in a drawer, make sure you wrap it, secure it, or put it in a smaller container. You don’t want things or broken pieces floating in your boxes on ‘the other side’.
– Leave you linens for last, and slowly use them in boxes as needed
– If when you try to close the box, it sags in the middle, it’s not packed enough. You should be able to stack all your boxes up without sagging or Leaning Towers of Pisa.
Make Lists and Start Right Away
My sisters and I joke about our love of lists and Excel, but it’s a very real thing.
There are two lists that will help you organize your priorities, first a list of essentials you will need up until the day before you move. We’re talking basic kitchen stuff, 1-2 pans, 1 pot, utensils, then clothes and toiletries. These are the types of things you want to leave out to live a semi-normal life until moving day.
The second list you make will be a general list of items you haven’t use in the past week, this helps eliminate keeping things unpacked far too long. My list of superfluous things was:
- Board games
- Decor, candles, throw blankets
- Outdoor chairs, lawn games, and camping gear
Next, just start working your way through packing your list. ‘Start’ is the key word here. I’m the kind of person that when I get a big burst of energy and motivation I HAVE to get going otherwise I’ll default to finishing season 2 of Jane the Virgin instead of doing anything productive.
The other night I taped up a bunch of small boxes and went to town on all our bookcases. Now 90% of our books are already pack as well as all our board games. (How do we own so many board games?)
The key here is attacking the stuff you don’t ‘need’ and don’t access often. Next on my list are kitchen items that we don’t use very often, we’re looking at you spaghetti pot and Dutch oven! After that, garage stuff like unnecessary tools (here’s looking at you Belt Sander) and lawn games are next. (No time for fun, also, it’s late October in Minnesota, Halloween is the last day anyone will spend any amount of time outside.)
Get rid of things that do not bring you joy to look at and that don’t add to your life. Donate whenever possible.
– Remember, everything MUST go! Don’t fool yourself in thinking you’ll ‘need’ something till the very last day. If you haven’t used it in the last week, pack it.
– Make sure you leave out first aid kit and basic tools for breaking down furniture.
Look, I am all about saving money, believe me. On one of our first dates I asked my husband if he wanted to share an entree and he looked at me like I suggested the dumbest idea on earth. So paying for movers was a big step for me. There is a time when you have to ask yourself these few things when getting ready to move:
Are your friends over the free beer and pizza stage? What do they all do for a living? What do YOU do for a living? Are you moving into a fancy new luxury apartment building? Do you have furniture items you don’t want wrecked?
You might just be in the category where you need to hunker down and pay movers at least for the ‘big items’. There are lots of options as far as movers go. You can do anything from paying someone to pack everything for you ($$$), to only paying them for hauling your furniture out and into your own rented truck ($). It’s up to you. If you’ve relied on the help of others for years, they will probably be relieved if you at least pay for that beast of a couch and crazy heavy table to be professionally handled. If you’re self-employed or only on your second move, family & friends are probably more than happy to help.
Before getting married, I’ve always only had enough stuff to fill my Dad’s mini-van and could often load most by myself. Now that we’ve combined two households and graciously received many wedding gifts, we have a lot more furniture and kitchen items.
– Some moving companies offer insurance for your stuff while it’s on the truck. Some will include it in the quote rather than charging extra, so make sure you ask!
Don’t say no to good help
Yes, there’s a caveat to my previous point.
My husband and I go back and forth about accepting or asking for help. He’s the oldest in his family of 2 kids and there’s 5 years between him and his brother. So to say he’s independent is an understatement. However, I am the youngest of 5 and although I would consider myself an ‘independent’ person, I recognize when people have better talents than I and when I will benefit from them. I digress, I’m comfortable asking for and accepting help from family and friends. I’ve always been a part of a unit of people and enjoy working together on things.
I will always remember the one friend that came over to my first apartment and helped me pack up my kitchen. Her generosity and positive attitude blessed me. In summary, if your mother or your bestie or even co-worker offer to come over for some positive motivation, take them up on the offer and give them cookies and wine! It will make the hassle of moving more manageable, and dare I say fun. Just be sure to have a game plan when they arrive.
– Listen for phrases like “Do you need help? I’d love to come over” or “When do you need help?” to see if they really are interested and not just trying to ‘be nice’ (Which is a real problem in Minnesota).
What moving tips do you have? Do you have a nightmare-moving story?