I am by no means an experienced mover.
When I moved to Victoria from Langley – my first ever move – all I had was my car full of clothes and personal items. My parents came with a truck full of furniture a few months later (I was just subletting during those months), so packing was simple. I actually did it during the night before I left, after my sister and I got home from a Rascal Flatts concert.
When Tim and I moved from that first place to where we currently are, we upgraded in square feet and it was a 15 minute drive, so we didn’t have to think too much about packing everything perfectly and correctly.
This time, the move involves a small child and a multi-day drive. I can say that packing is quite important this time around. Everybody has different ways of organizing themselves. Some people don’t organize at all. Whatever works. I could have found ideas all over Pinterest, but I feel like I have enough common sense to figure something out on my own, and this is what evolved.
This is one of my favourite activities! I can’t stand having things in my house that I don’t want. After our wedding, there were a number of gifts I returned (Hint: if it didn’t come with a gift receipt, google what store the brand came from and return it for store credit. You’re welcome.), so there wasn’t a whole lot of purging to be done, but there are always items or clothing you thought you would get around to using or wearing but realized you never did. So I did end up with a few good sized boxes of stuff. Some I sold, but most of it ended up at the thrift store. Well, it is currently in the trunk of my car, but it will get to the thrift store at some point in the next day and a half.
My friends regularly have clothing swaps with the remaining clothing being donated, so that helped as well.
TIDY AND ORGANIZE
I kept from using the word “clean” in that title because I am not doing any cleaning until a room is completely clear. First I am concentrating on getting things where they belong. It doesn’t make sense to me to start packing when a room is messy because you end up packing a mess which probably is not fun to unpack on the other end. I made sure all the books were on the shelves, Calvin’s toys weren’t scattered around, and such. I don’t really have knick knacks and things like that that just sit around and look pretty, so when everything is in its place, there is hardly any clutter. I also go around the house and collect things like picture frames that are naturally scattered and put them in one place because maybe I don’t want it in the same room in our new place. Packing all the frames together enables me to do all that sort of decorating all at once at the new place, instead of here and there as they come out of random boxes.
Now I put things in boxes. The first things that get packed are things that don’t get used, like books, photo albums, and Calvin’s toys. Also, I use what I have. Dressers and cabinets get filled before boxes do. Space saver in the trailer! And this probably goes without saying, but the heavy items like books go in small boxes while light items like stuffed animals go in big boxes.
I am also finding that most rooms have items that won’t be packed until the day before we leave, for instance pillows from the couches in the living room, blankets and a couple toys in the nursery, our bedding and some clothes in our room. So what I have done is taken a box for each room and left it open there to place stuff as we no longer need them.
I have been labeling the boxes with a quarter sheet size of white paper. The top gets the name of a room below which I put a general description of what is inside. This will be helpful because I don’t expect to be able to unpack everything in one day, so I will know which boxes are more important to open first. If it contains fragile items, I write FRAGILE on the paper in red. I tape the label to the top left of each box so whoever is helping move will know where to look for the info.
MORE TIDYING AND ORGANIZING
Yes, more! I am not done! With shelves emptied, I didn’t want them just standing around taking up space being useless, so I moved them from the living room and office all together in the dining room with the table and chairs. This freed up space in the living room to store all the empty boxes and packing paper in one place instead of scattered around the house. And the space in the office was given to full boxes. In one corner are the fragile ones and another corner holds non-fragile ones. I can point this out to the helpers, so they know more easily which boxes need extra care.
This is where I am at right now. Everything that we won’t be using is ready to go, and everything that we need still is waiting for the move date, just like me. There are actually some kitchen items that can be boxed, but first I have to clean the kitchen. Everything else up until now had been done is spurts, but I feel like the kitchen needs to be done all at once so the mess doesn’t build up and stop me.
So that has been my life the past week. An organizer’s heaven! Lots of people grumble about moving and packing, but so far my experience is not so bad.
What are your moving strategies? Any tips for me on the other end?