Last week I spent one post crying about my sister moving and four days packing her up and helping her move. The average US family moves about once every five years. Dacia and Devin have been married ten years and this is their third move--they are slightly above average.
Dave and I have been married fifteen years and we have moved ten times (I always knew I was above average) Yep, ten times! Actually, if I get really technical we have moved more like 14 times but 4 of those moves were only partial moves. One was when we were in college and moved from a basement apartment to the main house. The other three were the three times we moved during the summer of 2006 while homeless (6 months) moving from California to brother-in-laws house to parents-in-laws house to my parents house to newly purchased house. That was the worst summer of my life!!!!
No, we are not, nor have we ever been military we just like to move. We get bored easily, like a change of scenery, aren't afraid to take the risk, are always looking for a better deal and apparently may be a little bit crazy, I guess, is there any other way to explain "liking" to move?
So I was thrilled when Dacia asked for some help packing up(actually I begged her to let me come over and help). And of course I was very happy to bend her ear and give her some advice I have accumulated over my many moves. Here are my five tips:
1. Start as early as you can. Dave and I have made moves on 2 weeks of notice; Dacia found out she was moving 2 months ago; I had a friend once who decided a year ahead of time that she was moving; it is never too early to start preparing for a move. The more time you have the more pre-organization you can do and presumably the smoother the move will go. Start bringing home boxes. Start researching moving trucks or companies. Start thinking about address changes and tax implications and school changes now. As soon as you know, or think, you are moving start your preparations.
2. If you are moving a great distance, like out of state, use all your freezer and pantry items. Don't waste your time shopping when you should be packing. Instead save your grocery budget in a separate account (to restock at the new place) and start eating your freezer and pantry items away. The more you use now the less you have to give away or throw away when you move.
3. Get rid of junk, clutter, things you don't like and even some of the things you do like. Remember everything you pack you will have to unpack; you will have to find a place for it in your new home. If you can't "see" it in the new place or don't know where it will be stored or used get rid of it. Not having more kids? Donate those baby clothes and toys. Never use the exercise bike, Nordic Track or freeweights? Sell them on Craigslist. Have your craft, fabric or book collections become overwhelming? Whittle them down and bless/curse a friend with half of it.
4. Start packing now. Start with seldom used books, games, stuffed animals, athletic equipment, collections and decor. Use towels, sheets, blankets and tablecloths and even clothes as packing material--you've gotta pack them anyways! Try to organize things as you pack keeping like items together. Don't pack bathroom or kitchen items that are less than half full--give them away. Think twice about packing any liquids because is it really worth damaging couches and scrapbooks and other items because you couldn't bear parting with that already opened $20 bottle of olive oil? Don't pack ammonia or bleach based cleaning supplies and if you must keep them very far away from each other. I could go on and on (I have learned these first hand remember!) but you get the idea: Pack carefully and start packing now!
5. No matter how well you have planned and prepared and de-junked and packed up you will forget something until the very last. You will suddenly realize that you forgot to pack the washer and dryer or the kids Little Tikes car is in the backyard still or your vacuum will be packed behind everything and you can't clean the house now that its empty or the buyer will refuse to sign the papers at the last minute!!! All these things have happened to me (or my sister). Expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster a move can be and remember that it will soon be over. In no time you will be sitting in your new place surrounded by hundreds of boxes with the kids running around your feet and screaming for dinner to which you will reply, "I've saved my grocery budget. Let's go get pizza. Isn't moving fun! "