If you are having professional packers pack and move your stuff, you are going to need to prepare ahead of time. If you have already completed the steps I recommend in parts one through six of this series, you are on your way.
Don’t pay to move trash! Search your whole house for any trash that might still be lurking.
In the kitchen for instance, we decided that many of our nearly empty spice jars should be discarded. Opened boxes of pasta, bags of flour, expired cake mixes and cans, all cluttered our cabinets and did not need to be moved. I start a couple months before our move trying to use up any food we have in the house, but we still end up with some to give away. In our case, we donate unopened food to our local food pantry or a friend in the last couple days before our packers arrive. Sometimes a thrifty friend will take all of our half-used condiments and unused frozen foods, but if not they go in the trash.
All liquids, batteries, candles and lightbulbs will need to be purged since the movers should not be packing these things. Go through your bathroom cabinets and get rid of any half-used toiletries that you don’t need in the car. Move all your cleaners to a box that will be set aside to clean one last time after the movers are gone and the house is empty. Then, you can pass whatever cleaners remain on to a thrifty friend. You can also probably dispose of new batteries and lightbulbs in this way as well. If you have really full containers of cleaners, you might pack those in a plastic container and take them with you in the car. Replacing cleaning supplies is expensive!
If you are moving in hot weather any significant distance, you should give away crayons, glue, paint, markers, putty, playdough, and any other craft supplies and children’s supplies that could make a huge mess. Bless a friend with a free and easy art day with her children. Here are some things we found to give away at the last minute.
Quarantine any supplies, clothing or electronics that you plan to take in your car. Put all of these items in your bathroom or a storage area and put a bit sign on the door that says DO NOT PACK. (Make sure you empty the room first –moving those things you do want packed to another area.) This will be where you charge your phone, access your suitcase and toiletries and keep your electronics. If you want to keep eating at home while the packers are present, pull out enough supplies, pots, and utensils to cook and serve with and plan to take these with you. You can even quarantine a pantry closet in your kitchen for snacks and drinks. (Make sure you empty the room first.)
Label your rooms with signs on each door. This helps your packers know what to write on each box, and instead of getting to the new house with boxes that say Bedroom 2, you will have boxes that say Boy’s Room. That’s a big help when you go to unpack.
Keep hand cleaner or soap, toilet paper and a roll of paper towels in each bathroom and make sure these are not packed. It might seem obvious, but it isn’t.
Empty your trash cans, a friend of mine finally had her household goods delivered in Alaska and discovered a very smelly bag of trash in one of the boxes. Empty the oil and gas out of your mower and weedeater. We once arrived at our destination and discovered that mower oil had gotten spread all over a couch during transport.
Empty the crumbs out of your toaster and the coffee grinds from your coffeemaker. Drain your iron. Throw out your propane lighter and give away the propane tank from your grill.
Take all hazardous waste to your local landfill or hazardous waste disposal location on the day they are open (this varies and may only be twice a week). This includes half empty paint cans, stains, car washing liquids, oil, used oil, anti-freeze and most of the other liquids you will find in your garage. Do not just put these things out with your trash! If you have half used containers of valuable liquids find out if a friend or relative wants that expensive car wash, fancy oil, or barely used paint. I even gave away a couple of unopened paint cans for this move.
Before our last move, I went through every single drawer in our home and put the contents in ziplock bags. Silverware, hair combs, all the little stuff went into ziplock. In my bathroom vanity for instance, I made bags according to groups of items. We spent a bit of money on ziplock bags – maybe three 50-count boxes of the gallon size. However, it made packing and unpacking so easy! The packers actually thanked me and said they had never seen anything so organized and simple. When I unpacked, I was thanking myself! And I got the idea from a friend so I can’t take credit but it was the most awesome moving tip I’ve ever gotten!
I believe it is courteous to provide cold drinks for our packers and truck loaders. We fill a cooler or our fridge with water bottles and soda or gatorade the night before they arrive and pack them in ice. I’ll have a bit more to say about how to treat your packers and truck loaders in my post about moving day but for now, know that this is an uncommon act of kindness.
I hope this list will help you prepare for the day the packers arrive.