Organizing BEFORE You Move: Save Time and Your Sanity
So, you’re moving! How exciting and yet, utterly terrifying.
Moving doesn’t have to be your worst nightmare, though. It CAN have the potential to be only a mildly scary mini-dream. Below are a few tips to help you tame that moving beast while staying organized and at least partly sane.
Visualizing the New Place
Firstly, let’s start by visualizing your new place. Moving into a new home can also be the start of a new chapter in your life. Homes are often a marker in time when you think back and say, “it was when we were in the yellow house on Drury Street, or was it still when we lived at the condo?” Each home has a different feel and elicits different emotions. Looking forward, what kind of vibe are you wanting from this new place?
A few major factors that determine this are:
Each of those factors play into and off of each other. It’s not likely to feel like a quiet, relaxing oasis if you’re on the corner of two busy streets and you probably won’t get that authentic southwestern feel if all of your furniture and decor is mid-century modern. If you’re decreasing or increasing the square-footage, think about your current furniture and how that will physically fit in the new place.
Drive around and map out the new neighborhood. Think of some specific decor pieces that you can visualize beautifully placed in your new space. Taking measurements of the new rooms, your current furniture, and planning the furniture layouts beforehand can save you time and frustration when you realize mid-move that the new sectional doesn’t fit down the basement stairs.
Create Moving Notebook/Folder
Use whatever you have to keep all this moving-related info together. You don’t have to get super fancy with a hyper-organized, tabbed and color-coded binder, but having one place as your go-to can save you a lot of time when searching for your moving info.
Some good things to keep in here are:
- Research (moving companies, storage units, internet/cable providers, new utilities and trash companies, etc)
- To-do list:
- Utilities to Turn on/off
- School Paperwork to Transfer
- Change of Address, Notifying Relevant Parties of Address Change (banks/credit cards, magazines/subscriptions, HR at work, etc.)
- Moving Schedule, Appliance Drop-Offs, Carpet Cleaners, Etc.
- Donation Center for donate items
- Recycling Center for post-move boxes/packing paper
I also suggest creating individual folders for the following paperwork. Though most of these are moving-related, you will need to hang on to this info for much longer.
- Loan/Closing Documents/Lease
- Appliance Instruction Manuals
Lighten the Load
Now, onto the most important part of this whole shebang. Do not bring anything to the new house that you didn’t use or love in the old house. If it’s broken and you don’t have solid plans to fix in with-in a few weeks, it’s time to go.
Before you move is the perfect time to “trim the fat”. A couple great areas to focus on de-cluttering and pairing down are:
- Kitchen appliances and utensils
- Bathroom and bedroom linens
- Each family member’s wardrobe
- Books and Media
- Children’s toys
Now is also the time to go through those old boxes in storage that you’re not quite sure of the contents, yet have drug around to the last two or three houses with you. Odds are that they are full of items that don’t serve you anymore.
If you’re thinking that they are mostly keepsakes and memorabilia, it’s still a good idea to go through them and purge what you don’t absolutely love and want to still be holding onto 10 years from now. Chances are that the the last time you went through those old boxes, it was probably a lot more important to you to hold on to that high school graduation tassel than it would be to you now.
Now that you’ve gotten rid of things you don’t love or use anymore, it’s time to start packing up what’s left. It’s a good idea to start packing the items that are the least accessed/used and finishing by packing the every-day items. Starting this processes early will save you the most time and eliminates a lot of that last-minute scrambling and stress.
A couple tried-and-true packing tips:
- Mostly use small and medium boxes
- Put EVERYTHING in boxes
- Put related and like-items in the same box
- Label each box with:
- What room the box should be taken to
- What is mostly in the box
Selling Your Home
If you are listing your current home to sell, pack up as many of the household items as you can. While your home will be shown, it’s vital that there is no clutter anywhere.
- Remove any non-neutral decor, especially personal photos and knick-nacks
- Remove kitchen counter top appliances, store food out-of-sight
- Keep bathroom and laundry counter tops clear
- Give storage rooms a purpose, i.e. stage as a craft/sewing space etc.
- Create illusion of space by moving some furniture to storage
- Pack and store off-season clothing and shoes
- Pack and store majority of children’s toys – especially large bulky toys like play kitchens, riding toys, etc.
Compile a Moving Essentials Kit
Alright, now you’re ready to move! It’s also a good idea to create an essentials kit with some of the items you will need to access right away that will save you from having to rip open and dig through boxes just to find one or two items. Here are just a few things that are great to include in your moving day essentials kit:
- Toilet Paper
- Towels/Paper Towels
- Trash Bags
- Soap: hand, dish, multi-purpose spray
- 1 Dish Set/Disposables, Silverware, Cups
- Box Cutter
- Light Bulbs
- Shower Curtain
- Set of Bed Sheets for each bed
- Baby/Kid Items
Now it’s time to unpack and settle in! This part can be especially overwhelming. Below are some tips to help it stay a little less chaotic and a little more manageable.
- Start unpacking right away
- Only unpack one room (fully) at a time
- Put things where they should permanently live as you unpack
- Tear down boxes and move to recycling as you go
Check out this thorough Organized Moving Checklist from the Container Store to make sure you’re staying on point.