If you’re one of the 40 million Americans who’s moving house this year, then chances are you’re looking for all the help you can get. Moving can be a very stressful time but hopefully you’re excited about the new chapter you’re starting in your life.
That said, most people find the whole experience a difficult one – and reasonably so. Planning to relocate your family and everything you own, while maintaining some sense of calm and at the same time not forgetting any of the hundreds of details can be a tall order. Moving requires planning and a little organization – that’s where I come in!
On average, we move 11 times during our adult lives. I’ve helped lots of people get ready for a big move and seen what works and what doesn’t. In fact, my latest book Let It Go is all about helping people downsize to a smaller place.
I’ve teamed up with Sparefoot.com to put together some of my favorite tips I’ve learned along the way which can help take some of the stress out of your move and keep everyone safe in the process:
Before You Begin
A lot of success depends on planning and timing.
Keep your notes and paperwork about the move – mover, schedules, lists of items to be moved, timetable and so on – all in one place. A simple notebook or folder will ensure that you can quickly and easily find any piece of information you need at a moment’s notice.
I have discovered that it often costs more to move items than they’re actually worth. Take as much time as you can to cull items that you no longer need, use or want.
Commit to downsizing one box of items every night after work that you can donate to a worthy cause or charity. Each box donated is one less box that you need to move.
In terms of packing up your current place, here are some tips you should consider:
- Pack for the new location. When packing boxes, pack them for the NEW room those items are going into – not the room they’re coming out of. By packing for the new location you are ensuring that you’re not exceeding the amount of space you have in your new home for those items. If you’ve packed items for a specific room, I also guarantee that the unpacking will be much easier.
- Keep track of what you’re packing. I promise that the moment you’ve packed a box and sealed it, you’ll forget what’s in it. Keep a running list of what you’ve put in each box and then just put a number on the box (don’t worry about labeling them “Kitchen” or “Master Bedroom”). When you get to your new place, put the corresponding number in the doorway of the room that box belongs in. Anyone helping you move will thank you for the simple system.
- Declutter for good. Get in touch with your favorite charity about picking up piles of stuff. Make their trip worthwhile by making sure you’re getting rid of a good bit of your stuff before the move. Also, as you unpack, if items don’t fit in your new space or you’ve decided on second thoughts that you don’t want something, place it in your donation pile immediately. Others will benefit from your generosity.
- Photos help! Before you unplug any electronics in your current place, grab your phone and take a few pictures of the back of each of them. You’ll be grateful later when it comes time to remembering which connection the blue cord goes into!
And, here are some of my favorite tips to do the night before or day of the move:
- Food and water. Have a cooler on hand with water and healthy snacks. Don’t think about meal—you probably won’t feel up to eating big lunch—healthy filling snacks will do it. They should be easy to eat and not really require a fork or a knife. Simple is better.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t drink alcohol the night before; and do your best to get a good night’s sleep. Moving is exhausting work. Prepare for a long day and take care of yourself. Don’t overdo it.
- Pack personal items for the move. Pack an “essentials” suitcase to have with you in your car. A couple of changes of clothes, some towels, soap and toothbrush and toothpaste, medication, and deodorant should all be in there. Put any must-have items in the suitcase so you’re not scrambling at the end of the day for your contact lens case or other essential item that’s in a box somewhere.
- Have essential items on hand. Pack an “essentials” box to have with you at both the old and new place. Fill that with cleaning supplies, paper towels, rags, light bulbs and other good-to-have items that will likely come in handy. Also throw some disposable forks, knives, and plates in there as well as napkins for that moment when you break out the pizza at the end of the day.
- Put some dollars aside. Have a little extra cash on hand. You never know what may come up on that day – buying a last minute supply, sending someone on an errand or tipping a moving company worker. Those few extra dollars are good to have in your pocket.
- Prep your car. Clear out anything that’s in the trunk and backseat of your car. And, make sure you don’t need to fill it with gas. It will annoy you if you find some last minute things and don’t have space to move them.
- Celebration is essential! But speaking of alcohol, do plan to have a celebratory drink the evening after your move! A bottle of champagne – or your favorite beverage – waiting for you in the new refrigerator is a great idea. Don’t forget the glasses (or paper cups) though!
Planning, forethought and a little organization can remove a lot of the stress from moving. If you feel like you’re prepared and in control, you won’t feel overwhelmed on the day. Take some deep breaths and imagine the pleasure you’ll take in your new home.
Remember – you’ll survive the move.