Let’s be honest, moving sucks. Not only does the experience wear on you physically, but it leaves you emotionally frazzled. You worry that you won’t be able to find anything, that the house won’t sell, and that starting over yet again is the biggest mistake you’ve made yet. I just moved, so I understand where you’re coming from. In fact, more than a few unpacked boxes will be calling my name this afternoon. Moving is hard enough, so why not try to make it a little easier on yourself?
Five Easy Hacks to Make Moving Easier
I admit, I am no expert mover. But in the course of the past six years, I have packed and unpacked a total of 3 times. As you might expect, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, these hacks can help make your moving process a little smoother.
1. Label boxes by Location and Content
Yes, it takes an extra few minutes to plaster the word “KITCHEN” or “BATHROOM” on the side of the box, but you won’t regret it. A while back, I visited my best friend Jackie shortly after she moved. I always looked up to her organization skills growing up. When I saw a bunch of unpacked boxes in the guest room, I couldn’t control my curiosity. Instead of labeling her boxes with “books” or “clothes,” she wrote the room each box went to in giant letters.
Pure unadulterated genius, if you ask me. When I asked her about it, she mentioned how much easier it was for the movers (and herself) to make sure everything was already in the room it would live in. It cut out time opening the boxes, checking their contents, and then moving them to the correct room upon arrival. In my recent move to Maryland, I adopted this tactic and was surprised by the results. I can’t even begin to tell you how easy it made unpacking my kitchen supplies (though consolidating them with what was already there is another story). We blew through my kitchen boxes quickly because it was already there. I picked which box to unpack next based on where I wanted to put things away next and it made all the difference.
2. Move Boxes Directly to Their Intended Location
I have to thank Jackie for this one, too. She inspired me to be intentional about not only how I was packing things, but the entire process. Since I labeled everything clearly, boxes traveled straight from my car (or Anthony’s) to their destined room. Jackie hired movers and moved everything in one shot, but I had over a year to start bringing things to my new home. As such, everything stayed in transition for a long time, but ultimately I know where everything is.
Moving everything directly also means that if you want to use that room, you have to unpack the boxes in your way first. I procrastinate when it comes to unpacking because it can be so overwhelming, but we unpacked the kitchen first because we wanted to be able to cook dinner. Sure, it would have been easy to go out to eat, but that would only buy us another night. What would we do for breakfast in the morning? The only way out was to unpack. What a concept, right?
3. Go Through Everything BEFORE You Pack
I cannot emphasize this enough. I purged plenty of things prior to my move and let me tell you, it was not enough. While Anthony and I tried to consolidate our things, we found SO MANY duplicates. Seriously, who needs 4 can openers?! We found so many duplicates of things while unpacking my kitchen stuff that we are actually planning an additional purge in that room of the house.
Additionally, our house in Maryland is just too small for all our stuff. Living alone spoiled both of us. We became comfortable with filling our spaces with only our stuff (such an easy thing to do!) and now we both have to make choices about what we need and what we don’t. We don’t need a bigger house. By that logic, we’d just keep accumulating stuff we don’t actually need. This house has four bedrooms, though some are on smaller size of the spectrum. There are places for friends and family to stay when they visit, since we live too far away for a day trip. We live in an adorable little town in a great community that we love. It’s clear we don’t need a bigger house. We need less things.
Every time I open a box now, I think to myself, Why do I have SO MUCH STUFF?! The boxes begin to feel like they are never going to be unpacked because there are just so many of them. Making the decision to rid out before you move not only saves on gas and costs for transporting your things, but also saves some headaches when trying to fit everything in your new home. I suggest donating items you no longer need, especially if you don’t have time to sell things yourself. It’s tax deductible!
4. Pack Important Documents Last
Since I moved across state lines this time around, I certainly learned this lesson the hard way. While I had the foresight to keep the documents for the condo I’m selling separate from everything else, that is where the foresight ended. Even having a good idea where all my files were, it took about 2 hours of sorting to find the title to my car in order to register it in my new state. Those two hours could have been avoided had I set everything aside. Should I ever have to move again, those will get packed last so I know exactly where they are when it’s time to go to the DMV.
5. Set a Schedule
This may seem like a no brainer, but still a big cause for struggle. Before you move, it’s easy to put off packing because you have so many other priorities splitting your focus –tying up loose ends, spending time with friends you won’t see for a while. After moving, it becomes difficult because you spend so much time trying to get all your ducks in a row that until you can’t find that one slip of paper or one box with your underwear, unpacking doesn’t rank high on the list of priorities.
I hope these tips have been helpful to you! I’d love for you to share your moving experiences and hacks in the comments below!
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