Believe it will happen and smoothly, give it action and pay attention to the opportunities that arise.
Moving can be super stressful and with a little pre-move work, it can be an adventure too. After moving to different states multiple times and helping others move for over a decade, the following points are some of the best practices that are tried and true.
There was a time my husband and I had no idea where we were going to move, we believed that a move was coming and we were ready and wanted to move.
My husband’s work territory grew again and he now serviced more of the country. He was traveling a lot and typically flew out of the NY Metro area. Traffic was a beast and his flights were almost never on time. One time he came home from the airport mid-day with a certificate for a future flight. The airline paid him to go home!
We were overly ready for a real change. With a primary school child, we decided we wanted to live somewhere else in the country so we did what the movie THE SECRET said to do. We followed the Law of Attraction!
Our Law of Attraction action started with neighborhood community yard sale. Action helps desire so we started by putting some things we knew we would not want to take anywhere with us. Then, we giggled as almost all of it was sold! That felt like we were on the right path.
When you are just thinking about moving, it is time to start filtering through your things. This action helps the process. Start with the stuff you hardly touch, like the attic or garage. Then move inward in the home, leaving things that would be most difficult for later. The harder areas are easier after the “sort and filter muscle” has worked and strengthened. For me that area was the closet, for my husband it was the papers and for our child it was the playroom.
Touch each item. Make a decision at that moment. Try to touch things once in this process. It reduces the energy and time you need to get through a home. Yes, some things need the final “ok” from someone else in the family, try to keep this revisit category as small as possible.
Once things have been decided for sell, giveaway, trash or return to someone or somewhere, start relocating these items. Consider what goes to the local consign, what is for online sales apps and what going to charities. Choose a charity you love or one you like their mission—it is easier for those things you are on the fence about.
Block off or schedule time to take these things to the location or time to photograph and load onto online sites if you are doing it yourself. If the quantity of actual trash exceeds your pickup services you may consider a service or spread the trash out over a few pickups. We filled the car multiple times with donations before each move. I would swear the “D” on the steering column was for donation and the car would drive itself there. Take the neighbors chip bowl back, return your sister’s cookie platter and the shoes that were too small for your kiddo for a refund or store credit.
As you touch things in each area, pack the things you know you will not need for a while. Great examples of pack up early categories are holiday décor, summer clothes or winter coats and personal items like photos and educational degrees/awards with names on them. This does what I call “front loading” the move.
Once the home has been sorted, it is easier to decide if you want to pack or have someone else do it. Do you want private packers from a service or have the moving company pack? Do you want to load and drive the truck or have someone else do it?
This step of purging eliminates some of what is in the home so you do not pay to move things you don’t need or want any more AND save the stress of deciding that in a new home surrounded by boxes and often in a new community when you do not yet know where to take the items designated “let go”.
As you pack, create a LOFO box.
It is Last On (the truck) First Off (the truck).
This box has things you will need immediately upon moving in. This box has clean sheets so you can sleep in the bed that first night should you want to. Towels and a shower curtain to clean up. Paper towels, toilet paper, soap, basic cleaners, trash bags and scissors. A pen, paper, chargers for the phone and medications you may need. (I always have pain reliever, Band-Aids and baby wipes in my bag). Does your kiddo have a fave stuffed toy blanket? Be sure it is in this box for ease! Have a couple of meals for the dog or cat in there too.
Preparing makes the move so much easier. Removing what you absolutely know you will never use or have outgrown as a family or is broken eliminates deciding what to do with it on the other side. Once you are facing a mountain of boxes the last thing you want is a mountain of stuff you really do not want.
Best steps to take for a reduced stress move
What do I need for packing?
Boxes. Lots of boxes. Typically, 30-50 smalls and 20-40 medium with a few large for most homes gets a pack up started. A couple of boxes for art is good if you are packing it. Putting two pieces of wall art in an art box has worked well for me. Wardrobe boxes for hanging clothes and sometimes bedding and pillows. If you are making the move locally, an alternative is trash bags over the clothes to protect from rain, snow, car dirt and if it gets dropped. It happens.
Paper. You almost cannot have enough. Many kitchens alone have used as many as 10 to 15 rolls from Home Depot or Lowes. (It cracks me up when someone has two or three rolls for the kitchen with lots of dishes or glassware. I follow this grinning, asking “Am I going to get more supplies or are you?”)
Tape. Again, hard to have too much. Get a package of 6-8 rolls to start especially if you are packing yourself. Those tape guns are difficult for me personally to manage with the weight. Plain scissors work great. Be sure to fold the edge of the tape after cutting it so you don’t loose the end. The tape sticking to itself is such a pain in the neck AND stressful to have to try to find it again!
Bubble wrap. This comes in super handy for the fragile, odd shaped piece or piece with fragile edges. It is very difficult to use for the whole move.
Mattress bags. These save your mattresses from the dirt of the truck. A must have. Worth the small investment. We spend so much time on our mattresses, keep them clean!
Moving blankets. The best for large art, tv’s and wood furniture. I avoid these for upholstered pieces. If these are used, they can smell or have some dirt on them. Awesome for padding anything you want to keep from scratching.
Furniture wrap. It looks like a huge roll of Saran Wrap. This is for the upholstered pieces. Wrap it well. Also, great to keep things like nesting tables together and more friendly then using miles of tape.
A good marker. I love Sharpies. They hold up well, come in wide width and colors for labeling easily. Red for kitchen, green for office, blue for bedroom or for beach house vs full time house.
Painter’s tape. It comes in a variety of colors. I love painter’s tape as it does not leave marks and can be used, well, everywhere!! Label boxes for rooms, items for donation pick up, sales, kids picking up. I managed a move with the homeowner on the ski slopes. We labeled things with painter’s tape before he left so there were almost no questions day of the move. We outlined collections on the floor, tagged items and wrote on the tape for each vendor that was coming in for pick ups.
Once you have decided to move, call a mover early in the process. Get quotes. This can take some time to find the right mover for you. Ask your real estate agent, friends and look up reviews. Try a large company and a small company and compare to doing it yourself. This helps to decide if you are doing the move yourself or hiring someone. Also, it gets you building a relationship with the company representative and get on the books.
Arrange time off, consider using vacation days or work around a holiday for added time. It is super stressful to have to work during the move day.
Arrange for child care and pet care so you can focus on the move. Everyone will be happier.
Have cash on hand for tips, ordering food or whatever need arises because they do arise!
Keep a binder or folder close with your contracts for vendors, keys and documents you may need to access during the main moving days.
Start meal planning as soon as a move comes up in conversation. Eat from the pantry and freezer. Stop going to the store except for perishables. It’s a good time to clear out and use up the stored items.
For our first family move I had pounds of flour and sugar so I baked cookies and bread to use up what was in my cupboards and pantry. The ladies at the bank were so appreciative and that was such a great feeling!
Don’t like creamed corn and for some reason you have 5 cans of it? Create a box for the local food pantry or shelter, they will be grateful. One of my movers will even take the box to the Pantry if there is one! Check with your mover.
Make a list of utilities and services that need to be turned off and then again turned on. Change addresses of delivery services as well as monthly services (including Amazon. I ordered a gift right after a move, forgot to change the delivery address and had a heck of a time getting the gift in time.) Banks, credit cards, schools and annual bills like car registrations need to be switched too.
Last, get keys from neighbors and friends and leave them for the new residents. Those last visits are a great way to say goodbye, share some laughs and relive memories. This makes the move so much sweeter.
Remember to eat well, drink water and get sleep. Taking care of yourself reduces stress, allows you to process the stress easier and make the move more enjoyable!
Here’s to a stressless move—and congratulations on your new home!