Before you move to a new home, it is imperative that you go through every single box you have in storage. After all these military moves we continue to be shocked by what we find stuffed randomly in the boxes we have stored for a couple years. When we arrive at our new home, we open every box but if on top it appears to be a box of stuff we had in storage before (i.e. Christmas decorations) we stick it right into storage and concentrate on unpacking boxes that will have a direct impact on our quality of life right now (i.e. silverware). Every time we celebrate Christmas for the first time in a new home and we pull out the decorations, we our blessed with little surprises. Missing toys, missing favorite books, missing silverware, let’s face it your stuff is going to get mixed up.
Unpack every box in storage
If you have quite a few boxes in storage as we do, you will want to unpack and evaluate every single box. Get rid of those books you are never going to read again, or the ones you don’t want your children reading. Take them to the used bookstore and trade them in for quality reading for the trip. Shred that financial information you’ve been saving for 17 years (you do not need your W-2 from 17 years ago!).
Shred Old Financial Documents
I am sure that every single time we have moved I have shredded financial documents and I still found a 17 year old W-2 and stack of bank statements in a box out of storage last week. Yikes! Even if you are not paying for the move yourself, do you really want your employer or the United States government paying to move trash? Do you really need the stuffed animal you sewed in your high school home economics class? Maybe, maybe not. I tried to get rid of one of ours, but one our kids saw it in the garbage and confiscated it so it’s still hanging around for another move.
We had so many financial documents in storage and in our desk drawers, we filled five large outdoor garbage bags for recycling and broke our shredder. And, we aren’t even finished yet. We still have half a box of current bills to look through and shred when we get home. You probably don’t think you have that much. Make sure you are very thorough in going through the old boxes though, you might be surprised!
You really do not want the movers to pack your financial data. Identity theft does happen often enough in this way that the moving companies all issue warnings about it (to protect themselves.) You probably aren’t going to want to drag along five boxes of financial documentation in your car as you drive through entire states to your new destination. So now is a good time to shred down.
Carefully evaluate those keepsakes from your childhood and only save those with meaningful memories. Almost every time we move, my husband finds something else he got from an old girlfriend. Those things go in the trash. However, we also have a tradition of going through those keepsake boxes with our children and letting them see into our childhood and hear our stories. This takes time, but it helps keep everyone grounded during a major transition in their young lives.
Sort What’s Left
For the boxes you have stored, go through the same process we’ve talked about for bedrooms, toy rooms, and other places in your home. Sort everything into 1) Keep. 2) Give Away. and 3.) Toss. And make sure you toss as much as you can! This especially for those of us who have a weight limit on our moving truck.
Unpack and discard old worn out boxes
When the packers come, they are not likely to repack all those old boxes into new boxes unless you require it. So this is also a good time to get rid of old beat up boxes so that they don’t get moved yet again. We have found boxes with no less than four move sticker colors! During our last move I made sure that none of the “old” boxes from previous companies was moved as is. Letting packers keep things in the boxes you already have absolves them from any responsibility in the packing process (they are marked “self-packed”) and makes it super difficult for any lost boxes to be found at the warehouse. They will be looking for boxes from the company that moved you. Also, old boxes have spent time decomposing in your storage space and are getting worse for the wear. Do yourself a favor and recycle those old boxes before your stuff is packed!