Sounds crazy, but look at moving yourself as a great opportunity to go through everything, decluttering and starting your NEW life organized as can be! Read through before starting! Moving is the ultimate organizing challenge! You’ve got two choices. You can be completely stressed and frazzled and your life can be chaotic or you can use this guideline to make your move as smooth as possible. It’s time to start packing as soon as you know you are going to move. You don’t want to be one of the people that pay movers (or yourself) to move the 15% of stuff that gets tossed or donated after the move, do you? That doesn’t even count the time and energy to pack and unpack the items.
Where to put the packed boxes?
Choose extra bedroom, garage, or a storage unit. Storing them in the room they got packed in will only slow the sell of your home as potential buyers don’t want to see packing boxes everywhere when viewing the home.
Moving yourself or use movers?
Reserve the truck and/or movers. If using professional movers, request a list of items that they are not allowed to move (like fur coats, expensive jewelry, anything flammable).
What You’ll Need
- 3-Ring Binder – with dividers and paper – label dividers To Do, Utilities, Fix-It, Blueprints, Receipts, and Donations
- Waist apron with pockets from the local hardware store
- Small notepad – to fit in pocket of apron along with pen and permanent markers
- Packing tape -at least 4 rolls of packing tape and definitely a good tape gun
- Colored duct tape – you’ll put a 2″ piece on each box using different colors for each room
- Packing paper – blank newsprint paper that can be bought from U-Haul or hardware store. Get two boxes for an average size four-bedroom home. (Regular newspaper will get ink on everything within 5 minutes.)
- Boxes – In a hurry? Purchase boxes from Sams, U-Haul, Craigslist, or local storage facility. Free box options include liquor stores, bookstores, grocery stores, but they won’t be the same size so they won’t stack well. An average four bedroom home will use 100-140 boxes. Remember to pack heavier items in smaller boxes.
- Black and white trash bags –black for trash and white for donations
- Stop buying freezer items and start using the ones you have.
- Start making a list in your ‘To Do’ binder section of the companies that need to be notified of the address change. Also do this when you check your mail each day.
- Once you’ve picked out the new house, get measurements of rooms and draw out a floor plan for each room. Measure your current furniture before putting it onto the floor plan. Put this info in the ‘Blueprints’ binder section. This is the fun part of moving!
- Remember, you only want to keep what you USE or LOVE! Example: keep only enough food storage containers for the most you’d ever use at one time!
- Start packing everything you can live without for 6 months. Write general contents of each box on the top. Use regular packing tape to close the box and just put a 2 inch swatch of the colored tape for that certain room on top.
- Write donations on list in binder as you go.
- While packing, note any items needing repair in the ‘Fix It’ binder section. Make an area for things you’ll fix (like replacing doorstopper) and an area for contractor work.
- Contact contractors to make any necessary repairs for old home.
- Pack each box full – use paper or a towel to fill in any open corner spots. Otherwise, one side of a box may collapse and drop the whole stack!
- Wash and pack curtains that can be taken down prior to moving.
- Make signs for the movers to be taped on each door letting them know which colored tape boxes go in which room. We also recommend placing a sign in the room in one of the corners letting the movers know where to stack the boxes. (This is very important because otherwise the movers will just spread that room’s boxes all over the place.) This way, when they start walking in with the furniture you can tell them exactly where to place it.
Items to go in personal car:
- Basic cleaning supplies
- Create “first night” boxes: toilet paper, soap, shampoo, towels, toothbrushes/toothpaste, hair dryer, make up, eye contact supplies, bedding, coffee and pot, paper plates, and snack foods
- Signs for the new home as described above – plus tape
- Jewelry, or anything of great value, and any items movers cannot haul
- Your vital papers and safety deposit box contents
New home prep:
- Take advantage of the fresh, empty space to create organizing systems and shelving in storage places such as pantries, closets, garages, and attic
- Closets: consider tie, scarf, hat, belt or purse holders for closets – utilize wall space!
- Pantry: consider “ready to pop up” extra shelving, 3 step tier shelves for cans and spices, plastic bag storage container, and on the door storage.
- Contact contractors and make any necessary appointments for new home
- Purchase plastic adhesive carpet cover at home improvement store – great to have down for move in day
It’s getting close!
- Schedule disconnection of all utilities for the day after you leave the old house
- Schedule connection of all utilities for the day before you arrive at the new house
- If moving in or out of an apartment, arrange for use of the elevator
- Cancel paper subscription
- Get doctor and vet records
- Refill any prescriptions that are almost empty
- Return any borrowed items, such as library books
- Withdraw children from schools
- Complete change of address for post office and go to 1stopmove.com for all other address changes
- Pick up any dry cleaning
- Close safety deposit box and bank accounts if necessary
- Drain power equipment of oil and gas and drain water hoses
- Defrost refrigerator and freezer if they’ll be moved
- Register children in new schools
At the new home:
- Put signs up that direct the movers to appropriate rooms
- Remind children to not unpack anything until the movers have left
- Take a hot shower and get some sleep
- Start the next day with your normal routine. Coffee, shower, breakfast, whatever the norm
- Get washer and dryer hooked up and begin unpacking
- Take time to rest and eat right each day
- Open new bank accounts and safety deposit box if necessary
**** Key to being organized right from the start! ****
- Unpack one box at a time putting away each item. Keep a list of any containers or free standing shelves you need to be more organized. Write down the measurements of the space along with which closet or area it’s for.
- Do not open another box until all items are in their new home, the box is broken down, and the paper is the recycle box.
After you’re moved in:
- Call vehicle insurance carrier
- Register vehicles
- Change drivers’ licenses