Moving. It’s a part of life. Arguably, one of the worst parts. I haven’t met a single person that actually LIKES to move (and I don’t think I ever will). The truth is, whether it’s a room or a house, moving sucks. Whether guy or girl, we simply have way too much STUFF! And no matter the time you take, the steps you go through, the “great advice” you follow, or how many friends you invite over for a “moving party,” it never seems to be a pleasurable experience.
Since we’ve recently moved into our new home, I will share with you some of my biggest blunders while moving, in the sincere hopes that it will help some of you avoid the pain I had to endure.
1. Don’t pack after getting home from work. Seriously. What were we thinking?! In an effort to get as much done during the week as we could, we thought it would be a great idea to pack a few boxes of non-essentials throughout the week. Sure, it sounded like a great idea at the time. Only, what’s the first thing you want to do when you get home from work? I’ll give you a hint: NOT packing. Take a day, take a weekend, take a whole week! Just don’t ever think that you’ll get out of work with enough motivation to get some packing done in the few hours you finally have to yourself.
2. Don’t enlist friends who don’t want to put in work. Ok. I know these are your friends, your besties, the people that tell you all the time that if you ever need something, they got you. But honestly, it’s not their move. Plus, they probably hate packing just as much as the next person, and you probably only offered pizza and beer. The truth is, we all have plenty of friends that say they’ll help, but in reality they’re just trying to be nice and secretly hoping deep down inside that you never ask them for it – because, let’s be honest, we’ve done it to some of our friends ourselves. You probably have one, maybe two friends who you can really (and I mean REALLY) count on for the heavy shit – both literally and figuratively – and those are the friends you can call on for ACTUAL help. These are the ones that will follow your system, take initiative, and kick you in the ass when you need a boost to keep moving. These are the ones that will make sure things get done because it’s for you, and that’s the only reason they’re there to help.
3. Don’t pack crap. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but let’s recap anyway. I THOUGHT I was being really good about getting rid of stuff we didn’t need in our new home. The truth of the matter is, after a couple weeks of “trying” to sort and pack everything, I got fed up and just boxed up whatever was around. If I wasn’t sure I was going to need/use/want it, I packed it up and brought it with me anyway. What was the result? I ended up packing crap. It has since turned into “garage crap” or “extra room crap”. Do yourself a favor, get rid of everything. If you know you’re looking for a new house, start getting rid of stuff you don’t use the MINUTE you start to look at listings. Don’t wait until two weeks before your lease is up. Start now.
4. Don’t assume one label is enough. Have you ever seen a “Fragile” box that was only marked on one side? Neither have I. So why did we assume labeling our boxes on the top was enough? I have no idea. Even now, we still have boxes that just say “Kitchen” in the garage with no idea what it ACTUALLY is. Is it food? Is it cookware? Cups? Plates? No one knows! Label your boxes on ALL sides. Be specific. This way, no matter which way the box is facing, everyone knows what’s in it. This also makes unpacking easier because you’ll know what boxes to put away first. (Related tip: If your penmanship is more suitable for writing prescriptions, try pre-printed labels. You could also try color coded labels to see things at-a-glance.)
5. Don’t pack your closet. Wait. What? Yes, don’t do it. At least, not the conventional way. This is actually something I did right and I saved a ton of time and space doing it this way. Now, when I say “closet”, I mean your clothes only. What we did was get heavy duty trash bags and we bagged the clothes like they do at the dry cleaners (with more than just one piece per bag, of course) and tie them at the bottom. We would grab them by the hangers and stack them in the truck to transport to the new house. Benefits: your clothes are still on their hangers and protected from dust during the move, there are fewer boxes taking up space in your truck, and it’s easier to put all your clothes away once you get to your new closet! Setbacks: you have a ton of trash bags with holes in them. (Related tip: I also don’t pack drawers that have clothes. Take the drawers out and load them in your car while the moving truck takes the furniture piece.)
6. Reserve a truck ahead of time. It might sound like a “duh” thing to do, but guess what…. yeah, that happened. Did you know that the most popular time to rent a moving truck is the last weekend of the month? Do you want to know why? Because there are hundreds of people all over the city with leases ending that are using the last weekend to move to their new place. Can you guess when we decided to move? Yep, that’s right. The last weekend. So please, reserve your truck ahead of time. If you want to avoid the weekend hassle altogether, then move right smack in the middle of the week, when people are busy working.
7. Hire movers! If you don’t want to have to worry about any of the steps above, then hire movers. I had priced a couple of places and considered it more “cost effective” to do it ourselves. It was going to cost a fortune! Yea… well… thinking back, I would have paid that and then some to be rid of the never-ending headache it was to move into our new house. There are companies out there that literally do it all. They’ll pack it, load it, take it to your new place, and unload it for you! If you know you’re going to move soon, start a fund for your movers immediately. It will take a lot of the pain out of moving.
8. Don’t forget, you’re not just moving your things. It doesn’t hit you until your boxes and furniture are cluttered all about the house. You’re tired from all of the heavy lifting, the long drive, the back and forth of it all. All you want is a shower and to cozy up to some take-out and a rerun of your favorite show when you realize… you forgot to transfer the cable service! In our case, we had to cancel our original provider and schedule an installation. (We assume the previous owner of the house never watched TV a day in her life because there hadn’t been cable here for over 20 years.) Services like power and water are usually the first ones you think of when you move, but don’t forget the services that make your life easier. This is especially important if you have small children – we went through movies like water before we were able to get our cable connected. Make sure to schedule the cancellation/activation or transfer of these services at least two weeks ahead of your moving date to allow for appointment scheduling. This way, you can have your new house and enjoy it too.