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Packing up and heading to a new place is both exciting and terrifying – here are some tips to help make your move go a little more smoothly.
1. Come up with a plan — and accept that it won’t work perfectly.
Start by planning a timeline with moving day and work backwards to list out everything that needs to be done by that date. You can also keep a running list of other odds and ends that need to happen — like calling on the utilities, getting our mail forwarded and when to return the Wi-Fi router box (this should be the last thing to go)!
Even though you have a plan, it doesn’t always work — unexpected obstacles will always come up, like needing to take the dog to the vet and/or just running out of energy. Advice: Try to stick to your plan, but go easy on yourself when things inevitably don't go as planned.
2. When in doubt, throw it out.
Moving is the perfect time to get rid of all that extra stuff you’re not using. That old crockpot you replaced years ago, but still kept? Donate it. The flannel bedding that looked cozy but got scratchy after two washes? That needs to go too.
Even if you’re being professionally moved, it’ll be so much better once you get to the new digs if you don’t have to unpack extra stuff you don’t use.
3. Pack up least-used rooms first.
Don't make the mistake of packing up my kitchen first because you were just anxious to get started. And then when it was dinnertime, you were out of luck. Whoops.
Start with the rooms or spaces you use the least first – like your linen closet, storage areas, dining room and basement. Save your most-used rooms for last. Common sense? Yes. But easy to forget in the midst of a chaotic move!
4. When friends offer to help, say, “Yes!”
It can be hard to accept help from others. And it’s doubly hard because you’re saying goodbye, too. But your friends want to help, and it’ll make packing up so much easier if you have a support network to rally around you. When they offer to help, say, “Yes, please.”
And then buy them pizza.
5. Have a moving soundtrack – or several.
Music makes moving go by faster. Create a few playlists to have ready depending on your mood.
6. Get color coded with your boxes.
Some professional movers have boxes with pre-printed options to select the room they were going into. Check this box for kitchen, this box for master bedroom, etc. When doing it yourself, here is a simple system that works no matter the box – colored dot stickers. Choose a different color depending on the room. As soon as the box was packed, add the corresponding colored dot, along with a quick description of the box contents.
Once you have arrived at your new place, you will knew exactly where to put the various boxes. While this low-tech approach works, there are also apps available for you to use to scan and track your boxes.
7. Designate a ‘Do Not Touch’ area.
Save your essentials in a corner of your house or apartment and block it off. As you start packing up and your friends and/or movers pitch in, it will be hard to keep track of everything. Keeping these items in a designated area will make sure no one accidentally packs away your deodorant (and after a sweaty day of moving, you’ll definitely need it). Remember to put all the things you’ll need here — a towel, toilet paper, extra clothes, brushes, toothpaste and toothbrush, etc.
8. Create a magic box.
Kept a plastic bin filled with moving essentials — decent scissors, a utility knife, packing tape, a box of permanent markers, measuring tape, a hammer, a screwdriver, paper, pencils and sticky notes. Whenever you use any of these items you returned them to the box so you know exactly where they were and didn’t have to spend time looking for them. Your magic box may include other items, but these are the basics (suggestion: have a stash of candy).
9. Outsource your headaches.
Some moving tasks are worth paying someone else to tackle. While you have friends help you with the first round of cleaning, for the deep clean hire a service that spent two hours doing something that would have taken you the whole day (or longer!). They even brought their own supplies and equipment so you don't need to worry about buying heavy-duty cleaning supplies that would sit in a box at the new home. Write out a list of what you need to be done and they ticked off each one.
10. Take breaks. Good ones.
Besides those occasional 15-minute breaks from packing, take time out for real breaks where you can get away from the ever-expanding moving list. Go out to dinner with a friend. Tick off a few items on your list of always-meant-to-go-there-but-haven’t-yet places in your area: The pop culture museum. The corner karaoke bar. The pro hockey game. Yes, it takes time away from your moving plans, but you’ll feel more energized to keep going.
11. Dream away stress.
I don’t mean through sleeping (although you should try to get plenty of rest). I mean make time for daydreaming. Start thinking about all the new opportunities that come with moving to a new place. Post about your move to friends on social media so you can start connecting with people you may know in your new area. Search online for what to expect in your new town — from the demographics to the sports teams to fun things to do.