It happens. Life changes and with that, so do addresses. Moving day is inevitable across the timeline of your life. On average, Americans move about 12x in their lifetime (I just turned 40 and I have already moved 8x)! That’s a lot of packing and unpacking, right? For some, that is the worst part of it all, the packing and the unpacking. Moving day itself has its’ own stressors, but the heap of boxes and the things inside – that goes well beyond moving day. I like the process of moving. I see it as an opportunity for improvement, even if the place you are moving to isn’t your dream home, or your ideal zip code, you get a fresh start at making a home. Here are your “Moving Day How To’s.”
Purging before packing.
Yes, this isn’t fun for a lot of you, for a lot of you purging is the worst part. But, why? This is the IDEAL time to go through all of the things and let go of all of the things. It is the best time to find the items that matter and put them to work in your next home. Why are you moving something that does nothing for you, your spouse, your kids, your pet, your home? It is a big ole’ shoulder shrug for this girl.
But, how do you do it? How do you get rid of the things that you have been holding on to? How do you decide what stays and what goes?
Step 1: Ask yourself (&/or your family members) these questions.
- Do we use it: daily, weekly, monthly or seasonally? If so, keep it.
- Do we like it: a lot, a little, kind of? If you like it a lot, keep it. If you like it a little or kind of, pack it and reconsider it on moving day.
- Is it helpful to my/our life? If yes, keep it.
- Does it hold valuable or sentimental meaning? If yes, keep it.
- Marie Condo it, “Does it bring you joy?” Obviously if it doesn’t, you get rid of it.
Step 1a: Let’s clarify some things…
One thing that I run into at my clients’ homes are excessive kitchen items. Coffee cups, cookie sheets, spatulas, oven mitts, pots and pans… I get it with coffee cups, I am a Rae Dunn, the bigger the better, coffee cup kind of girl, so I sacrifice other things in order to keep those. I can also answer affirmatively to multiple questions above, which means keeping them makes sense, for me. But the oven mitt that is charred and stained beyond recognition, isn’t, even if it was my Dandi’s and he gave it to me because I liked it when I was five. And last time I checked, I can only use two oven mitts at a time, so that’s how many I should have, two, just the two.
Step 1b: Reconsidering…
When I offer the solution of “reconsidering,” items, what I mean to say is, check your emotions at the door. It can be hard to let go of certain things, things that don’t meet any of the above criteria. You are holding on to them for other reasons, emotional reasons all your own. How do you decide if you purge it, pack it and keep it, or trash it on moving day?
If you are moving to a home that has all the space for all the things, you can be generous with yourself and your things. Do you have the space to store it, or display it? Maybe you can prioritize in your new home differently than you did your current or past homes – in this case, it is yours, in this home, during this stay. Enjoy.
Packing the unpurged.
Yah! I am so proud of you, you purged the things!!! That is so great! Now pack what remains. The end!
Just kidding, it definitely isn’t that easy.
So… pay someone to pack you!!!
Just kidding, I think that’s the worst idea ever.
So, priority pack yourself. You can do it, you are an adult!!
Priority packing means that you take inventory and consider these things when putting an item in a box:
- What room is it going in at the new house? Label the box.
- Is it seasonal? Label the box.
- Clothes, pack them seasonally. Label the box.
- Kitchen, pack it by cabinet. Label the box.
- Is it valuable? Label the box
- Is it sentimental? Label the box
- Is it going straight to the attic? Label the box
- Is it going to the garage? Label the box
- Are we reconsidering it? Label the box
..sensing a trend? Labeling is important. For seasonal items, you will clearly know what items you need immediately and what items can be stored – I recommend packing the items you will store, as you would like them stored. Just because you are packing does not mean that you have to put everything in a cardboard box.
Unpacking, quickly and efficiently.
Quickly and efficiently, I say? Well, yes. If you have properly purged and priority packed, then unpacking should be quick, efficient and over before you know it! Your boxes should be out of your house lickity-split.
If this is overwhelming for you, you may suffer from “where do i start,” syndrome. It afflicts the best of us. But, the secret is simple, you just start. Pick a box, any box, open it and start. If you are looking around your new house and you don’t know where it goes yet, don’t let that stop you from getting it out of the box and put away. It may take you and your family some time to learn how you move around your new house. And the good news is that none of your stuff is glued down, that’s right… IT MOVES!.
There is another option though, one that I am quite fond of… hire a professional organizer (like me). This is the ideal time to get the help you need in setting up your house right from the start. This is the time to get it done and have confidence that your house is going to feel like home, sooner rather than later.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, knowing what they are and surrounding yourself with people who have your weakness as a strength is a skill. If you are a procrastinator, or a “where do I start,” person, or maybe you are the half of a couple that doesn’t seem to mind the chaos, but the other half does… these are the types of people that could benefit from hiring someone like me.
Someone like me, or me.
Organizing comes naturally to someone like me, or me. I am a Type A control freak with borderline OCD tendencies, I have strong opinions, I’m relatively detached and mostly impartial. But, mostly, I have a deep-seeded need to fix. Character flaw? Maybe. Certainly in some instances.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again and again. This isn’t a job plucked from thin air, it is a passion that I have for the place we call “home.” If we have learned nothing over the last year, I hope that one thing we did learn is that home really is where the heart is, home really is our safe haven. I had a client who told me, “This house is my safe haven, but it is also my jail.” I hated that for her. It shouldn’t be that way, for anyone. And I want to help.
Hiring someone like me, or me, to help you on moving day may be a luxury, but it might also be the best decision you make in the process of buying, selling and moving. As a professional organizer I can work with you during each step of the process. We can pack according to your future space, we can plan where items will go and consider the space we have at our new address. This way you aren’t paying to move things that you have no intention of keeping, using, or needing. That’s a huge cost savings right there, trust. I can work with your moving company on how to pack items and where to place items in the new home. And, of course, the unpacking and setting up of your new home, which we have discussed at nauseum.
Who says, “welcome house?” No one, because it is meant to feel like home, not like a house. “Home,” is a feeling that you have about your house when you look around and you see the people (first), the pets (second), and the things (last) that bring you happiness, that make you feel the warm, fuzzy feelings. It is drinking your cup of coffee in the morning while you enjoy the new view from your front porch. Home is not cardboard moving boxes of the things, chaos on the counters, clothes you don’t wear piled here, there and everywhere.
The priority on moving day is making your house a home. You might need help doing that, that is ok. We all need a little help sometimes, don’t we? I am here to help. I want to get you cozy on the couch in a living room free of clutter! It is possible!
No one ever said, “I regret organizing my house.”Alejandra