raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Monday, September 2, 2013

taking the madness out of moving

Today's blessing:
Feeling somewhat relaxed throughout what could be an insane process

Well, friends, I'm feeling pretty good right now. We've been in our new home for exactly one week, and we're in good shape. Not everything is unpacked and put away, but we already have everything we need right away, and we're working on the rest at a pace that doesn't stress us out. I'm feeling pretty awesome about it, actually.

Some of you may know that this is our first move of three over the course of the next three years: we'll be here for a year while Husband does his internship, then we'll move back to on campus housing for his last year of school, then we move to wherever his first call will be. (He's going to be a pastor, so we're at the mercy of the bishops!) I don't enjoy moving (who does?) but I planned well for this one, and couldn't have hoped for a better outcome. I'm sure I'll streamline the process even more over the next two years, but for now, here's what I've got for you:

Start early
No joke - I packed the first boxes in April for our August move. Things like DVDs that we wouldn't be watching and books that we wouldn't be reading were the first things to go. Around June, we decided that we were going to start packing a box a day. We pretty much stuck with it for the most part, and it was great! Seasonal clothes, knick-knacks, extra linens...of course, given the "spring" we had in Minnesota this year, we really weren't able to pack up our winter clothes much before June!
This photo was taken on April 18th. The moving truck rolled out of our driveway on August 26th.

Label Everything
I mean everything. You will probably hit that point in your packing where you want to throw random stuff in a box and write "I don't know. Kitchen?" Resist this urge. Starting early will help, but you'll still probably be there at some point. Even if you are one person moving only your stuff and no one else is helping you, it will be so helpful for you to get to your new place and not have to think about where to set the box to start unloading it. Especially if you have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, label everything! Those miscellaneous boxes (and, no matter how much you plan ahead, you'll still have a few) can still be vaguely labelled...perhaps "Misc, including some toiletries, light bulbs, and random books." That's more helpful than "All the stuff that didn't fit anywhere else." In my kitchen, I had the box labelled that contained my spice jars, but had to open at least four more boxes in order to find the stand for them!

Pick the Right Size Truck
I am absolutely no help in this department. We used the tool provided on the rental company's website to figure out what size we would need, and it grossly underestimated. We got a 16 foot truck because it said that would be sufficient for a 1-2 bedroom home. We had a large one bedroom apartment, but we have a ridiculous amount of furniture. We definitely should have gone with the 22 foot truck. We ended up having Husband's sister come up a few days later with her truck hauling a trailer. We won't mess around on the way home: 22 footer it is!

Wear pockets
Even if your basketball shorts would be more comfortable, if they don't have pockets, you're probably going to want to ditch them when you load the truck. Now, I have a massive ponytail that I usually wear in a messy bun, so I have the ideal place to store a pen. However, pockets were essential for Sharpie markers, keys, and all the spare change you find on the floor that has fallen behind things.

Keep Painter's Tape Handy
If you haven't already discovered the many joys of painter's tape, moving is the perfect time to do so. We used it primarily to tape desk and dresser drawers shut and to label the big furniture. We have a ridiculous number of bookshelves (to house our absurd amount of books), so we used painter's tape to label them with their end destinations: office, basement, bedroom one, bedroom two, bedroom three, bedroom four...(Yes, that's right, four bedrooms! I can hardly believe it!)

Have a Hand Vac
Oh, my Buster B (by Oreck) has been such a blessing. My husband makes fun of me for wearing it over my shoulder (it has a strap like a purse), but he doesn't make fun of it for sucking the dead bug guts out of the window tracks! I'm a firm believer in the "You get what you pay for" philosophy, and our hand vac has sealed that deal. It was spendy, but it is amazing. Spend the money to get a quality hand vacuum that can get into the window tracks and corners of the ceiling. Even if you pack up some of the attachments before you're done with them (oops) it will still be an amazing help.

And a Furniture Dolly
This was $20 so well spent. My husband and I were able to move our dressers, still full of clothes (and they're not little!), all by ourselves with the help of our furniture dolly.
Even Paige was able to help with the furniture dolly!

Enlist Help and Reward Them
Having people to help load and unload the truck is crucial. No matter how strong you are, you will probably get tired before too long if you are one of two people loading all of the couches, mattresses, books, and dishes. If people offer to help, accept. However, remember that seven quality people will be much more useful than twenty people who aren't...well...as helpful. And muscle strength isn't the only useful skill that can be brought to the table! We had a team of people to help entertain our daughter, and they were immensely helpful! Whether it's lunch, beer, a heartfelt card, a promise to return the favor, or a shout out in a blog post, make sure your helpers know how much they have been appreciated!

Freezer Meals
Both my mom and husband were confused when I told them about my plans to make freezer meals two weeks before the move. Then, when we started packing up the kitchen and everything could go in boxes besides our crockpot, a cookie sheet, and a few random utensils, it all became clear. We have been able to eat out of the freezer rather than the drive thru, and it has been amazing for our (already too skinny) wallets, as well as our waistlines and my conscience!
Time consuming? A little bit...worth it? Definitely!

Know Your Limits
At one point when we were loading the truck, my husband asked me to stay on the truck keep things organized. You know, to be in charge of that massive game of tetris where you try to fit everything into a space that's not actually big enough for it. I am not good at this. I told him no. He was a little annoyed, but it was for the good of everyone involved. Things may have made it to the truck faster if someone stronger were able to make one trip out of my two, but we wouldn't have gotten the truck packed nearly as efficiently.

Don't Worry About the Environment for a Few Days
This one hurt, I'm not going to lie. Packing up my baby's cloth diapers was painful. You know how much I love them! Buying paper plates and plastic silverware? Ouch. Here's how I got around feeling like a complete environmental jerk: plastic ware can be washed. We also got cups, bowls, and plates that could be washed and reused. Maybe it was a little more inconvenient than just throwing them away, but I felt way better about it! There are also compostable options available. I didn't really find a way to feel better about using disposable diapers, but I'm trying to make up for it now by hanging them on the line to dry rather than using a dryer like I did at my old place.

Have a Launch Pad
This is a place in the last few days of packing and while you're loading the truck that you put things like Sharpies, painter's and packing tape, scissors, pens, etc. If you make sure to always put them back in one designated spot (like a window ledge, stair, or even corner of the room on the floor), you will save yourself a lot of time and stress when you need to label a last minute box.

Do a "Dry Run"
For us at least, there were a lot of things that we looked at and said, "We don't need to find a box for that; it should go in the car." Small appliances like our toaster, brooms and cleaning supplies, the last box of our daughter's toys, etc. Well...our car wasn't big enough. Would we have felt silly loading it and unloading it just for practice to see if it was actually big enough? Yes, definitely. But would it have saved us a lot of stress? Absolutely. And that's more important than the neighbors thinking you're crazy for "practice" loading your car. I promise.

Allow Yourself Time to Clean
You wouldn't want to arrive at your new home to find a full garbage can and cobwebs in the corners, so don't leave it for the tenants who will be taking your home once you leave. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to sweep, mop, clean the appliances, and leave the bathroom sparkly and shiny. Leaving behind an extra roll or two of toilet paper would probably be appreciated, as well!

This applies to your new home, as well. If you're not sure about the previous tenants, you may want to make sure that you wipe out each of the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen before you begin unpacking your eating utensils!

Do you have any more amazing tips and advice to offer? Please leave it in the comments! Check back this time next year, and I might have an updated version of this one for you!

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