How-To: Have An Organized Move

In the less than four years we’ve been married, Nathan and I have moved five times.  We’re basically pros at it now.  The last time, all our stuff was moved out of the old places (house and apartment) and into the new within four hours (in a torrential six-inches-of-rain-in-four-hours downpour, complete with flooded and closed roads, mind you) and unpacked within three days.  Here’s our list of tips and tricks, which we learned the hard way, just so you could read our list and make your first move go smoothly.

happy movers

Oh look, if you follow my tips, you’ll be smiling fondly at your spouse, skinny, have really great hair, and a nice plant.

1) Get mostly small boxes.  1’x2′ is best for most items.  The first time we moved, we went to the UPS store and bought the biggest boxes they sold.  They were almost as tall as us, and it seemed fantastic because we only had to move eight boxes.  It was all great and wonderful until we actually had to MOVE those 985 pound boxes.

2) Be picky about what boxes you get.  We have found that produce departments and liquor stores typically have stiff, sturdy boxes meant for heavy items.  Have fun explaining to your friends that you didn’t really drink 28 cases of Jack Daniels.

3) Put everything in a box.  Everything.  Even that random lamp, or your stand mixer, or the basket that you think you could just pick up.  Everything’s easier to move if it’s in a box.  You’ll be able to stack things more easily in your moving truck, and it makes it easier for all those friends who are spending their Saturday handling every single thing you own.

4) Exception: don’t put your clothes in a box.  Trash bags are your friends when it comes to clothes.  Keep your clothes on the hangers, put them in trash bags with the tops of the hangers sticking out, and cinch the trash bag’s tie around the hangers.  When you take them out, your hangers should all be going the correct direction, instead of being tangled up.  It will only take a couple minutes to hang the clothes in the new closet.

On our first move, I took all the clothes off of the hangers, folded them and put them in boxes, and then put the hangers into boxes.  Not only did this take forever on the front side of the move, but I then spent hours untangling the hangers and hanging our clothes in the new closets.

5) Sort through your closets and cabinets before you start packing.  In the weeks before you move, go through everything you own.  Don’t wait until you start packing, as it will feel overwhelming.  I get pretty ruthless here.  If I haven’t used it recently, it’s likely that I’m not ever going to.  I start by bringing our excess stuff to a consignment store, and whatever they won’t take, I donate to Goodwill.  Some other stuff is just trash, especially from our office area.  I stay on top of the paper piles, but when we move, I always have a giant pile of old receipts, expired coupons, etc.

6) Don’t try to unpack during the actual move.  Instead of parking myself in the kitchen and starting to unpack (which is what I want to do), I’ve found that it’s most helpful if I stand in the doorway and just tell people where to bring boxes.  I usually have the boxes labeled with the room, but things seem to go way faster when I direct people.  We also tape a sign to the door of each room, identifying it as “Master Bedroom”, or “Hudson’s Room”, or “Office”, and so on.  We wait to actually unpack boxes until all of our helpers have gone home.  That way, we know where our stuff is, and it’s organized in a way that makes sense to us.

Hope this helps!  Do you have any tips or tricks to add to the list?

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