This post brought to you by U-Pack. The content and opinions expressed below are those of Encouraging Moms at Home.
Get Rid of All That Stuff
I was talking over moving tips with my family tonight in preparation to write this post. My husband kept mentioning this over and over: “You gotta talk about getting rid of stuff.” I finally had to explain that I have written three posts on that very topic already, so I am not going to spend as much time on this topic as he would.
Let me just tell you this: Getting rid of stuff has been a ginormous benefit of moving so many times. We often talk about how freeing it has been to “purge” the junk every few years. I can never figure out why we keep so many broken, torn, or useless things! It bears repeating – get rid of stuff. Give it away or throw it away. Rinse and repeat.
Take the Most Important Stuff with You
If you are choosing to do a partial DITY move (now called a PPM), choose what’s going with you and what will be going on the regular truck. Take your valuables and electronics with you. Take your financial records with you. Take tools with you. Fill the rest with heavy stuff like books so that your cost is covered and the PPM / DITY move is worth your time.
Basically, if it’s super important, pack it yourself. Oh – and don’t forget those stuffed animals that don’t make the “must-go-in-the-car-with-me” list and instead make the must go with us and not go in storage list.
One great option is to use a DITY moving service called U-Pack where they bring you a ReloCube container or two (or maybe even a moving trailer depending on your needs), and place it in your driveway. You pack and fill the Cube or trailer with whatever made your list to go with you, and then U-Pack will pick them up and drive them to your new location. This is great — love this option because I can “pack.it.myself” and not worry about the things in the Cube getting lost in transit. But I don’t have to drive a big truck. And you don’t tear out the transmission on said big truck. (Not that I’m saying that ever happened. Ahem.) And you still save money with this DIY choice. Be sure to check out their free military moving checklist.
Use Consistently-Sized Boxes
Loading is so much easier when your boxes can be stacked neatly and safely on each other and you aren’t trying to hodge-podge a bunch of “free” grocery boxes together into a perfectly rectangular space. Free isn’t really free if it costs you in time and frustration. Consistently sized moving boxes are a necessity. If you cannot or will not buy boxes, look on free sites like Craigslist, local Facebook walls, or Freecycle because people are always posting when they unpack and stack all their boxes on the curb.
Don’t Overpack Any Single Box
If you are packing something heavy, you have to be careful because each box needs to be light enough that you and your help will be able to lift and carry the box even after you’ve lifted and carried 30 or 40 boxes. An extra big box of books is pretty heavy and very annoying at the end of a long day, no matter how strong you are. So pack the books in the smaller “book boxes” and use the bigger boxes for lighter weight items.
Put All the Little Stuff in Baggies
I know you might be thinking that this is really stupid, but keep reading. This one tip changed my world as a frequent mover. And a special thanks to my friend Jennifer for telling me about this. I didn’t even know about this trick until the last move – but let me tell you it is AWESOME.
A friend of mine explained this, and even after she explained it and I bought into it I had no idea how very much this was going to help us. Take everything loose and put it into zipper bags BEFORE you put it into a box. Every kitchen drawer gets its own zipper bag or two bags. Every bathroom drawer gets a bag or two.
In fact, I sorted my bathroom drawers and cabinets by type of item like combs in one bag, pedicure/manicure stuff in one bag, ponytail/hair ties in one bag, etc. Desk drawers get bagged up too. Everything little, including toys. Bagging everything up doesn’t take nearly as much time as you think, and gives you one more opportunity to find and discard random junk. I think we used a total of three boxes of zipper bags for a total of 120 bags.
The big dividends on this pay off when you unpack and can literally dump the contents of the bag into their final destination. You don’t have to worry about washing your silverware on the back end – they’ve been sealed in a bag. And you don’t have to stand there unwrapping the packing paper only to have all the tiny contents of a Polly Pockets set dump all over the floor.
Buy a Dolly
Speaking of heavy books, one of the best investments we ever made was when we purchased heavy-duty furniture dollies. So handy! We’ve used them countless times to help load our own boxes and move furniture and move refrigerators across a room, even when buying furniture on Craigslist and when helping friends move. If you plan on moving often, you will not regret this purchase. If this is your one and only move, you can rent them.
Label Everything by Room and Label the Rooms
When you are going to be unloading on your own and with friends, it is really nice to have boxes already labeled for the new house (not the old house) with the room names REALLY BIG. Then at the new house – put a REALLY BIG sign on each room with a matching name. This way everyone helping you can look at the box and go directly to the room it goes in based on the door signs. This makes moving in so much easier on the move “director” a.k.a. Mom.
Pack a Kitchen Box and Label it BIG
I don’t know about you, but by the time we arrive at our new home we are SICK of eating out. The first thing we want to do is cook something real. And unless we’ve planned ahead to pack a kitchen box and taken it with us, we can’t. So this is one of our absolutes. In this box we put our most used skillet and most used pot. We pack a cutting board and my husband’s chef knives. We pack our most used kitchen utensils. We pack a couple of mixing bowls and measuring cups and measuring spoons. We pack a handheld can opener. We pack our spices. (Spices are expensive to replace – so we never throw them out!) We pack a couple of potholders and something to bake in.
And you want to be able to find that box first thing – even if it is the only thing you carry in on the first night you arrive. So you will want to label it BIG. Put a great big star on the box, use fancy colors, let the kids decorate it. Put it in last so that it can come out first.
What are your best Do-It-Yourself Moving Tips?
I’m still learning and we are still moving, and I’d love to know the secret sauce that made your last move amazing. Share with us!