Moving Made Simple — Kind of!

posted by Andrea | 11/15/2010

Moving is hard work!

Believe it or not, I’ve really NEVER moved before. I lived in the same house from birth until college; and even then, I was just 20 minutes away so I never really had to move.

Then we got married and hardly had anything to move :)

So, even though I would consider myself a very organized person, I still feel somewhat overwhelmed and disorganized at the thought of moving ALL our stuff to our new house in about 6 weeks.

And to make things even more complicated, we are moving on December 26!

Consequently, over the next 6 weeks I have

  • 10 Pies, desserts, and snacks to make {for the parties listed below}
  • 9 Rooms/areas to pack up
  • 8 {x5} gifts to buy
  • 7 Christmas parties
  • 6 Birthday parties
  • 5 Church/School/Community programs
  • 4 Basketball games to attend — my husband coaches
  • 3 Thanksgiving parties
  • 2 Blogs to maintain {I’ll tell you about the other one in a few weeks!}
  • AND everything else I do on a weekly basis!

Yup, I’ll be busy!

Normally, I would prefer to take 1 week to pack, move, unpack, and be done with it all. Unfortunately, due to my jam-packed schedule,  I won’t have that luxury.

So, I’m taking my own advice!

I’m simplifying the entire moving process, starting small, and doing a few things each week to get us just a little closer to our moving day!

Here are a few things I accomplished this weekend:

1. Washed all our winter gear — coats, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. — and tossed anything we don’t need.

2. Washed and boxed up extra bedding, towels, etc. {yes, I did A LOT of laundry this weekend}

3. Baked a bunch of goodies for all our holiday parties and put them in labeled freezer containers.

4. Went through all our files — I rekindled my friendship with our recycle bin and shredder!

5. Posted a bunch of stuff on Craigslist — and already sold most of it!! See my tips for selling on Craigslist.

6. Cleaned out the freezer and pantry– I think we’ll be eating a lot of canned and frozen food!

7. Donated another load of things to the local thrift store.

This picture is from my previous purge.

8. Packed up all our books — we won’t have time to read anyway!

9. Emptied out the bathroom cabinets — impressive, isn’t it??

10. Made about 52 phone calls to transfer our insurance, schedule a meeting with the title company, work out the last minute details with our Realtor, etc. etc. etc.

Not bad for one weekend.

And I didn’t even feel overwhelmed. In fact, the whole process was sort-of enjoyable.

I did these projects in short increments, between other activities, so I never felt bogged down or overwhelmed. When I started to feel restless, I stopped and came back later. {Hint, hint — this method works great for large organizing projects too!}

Are you a veteran mover?

If so, share your stress-free moving tips with me — pretty please!!

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25 comments

  1. Vicki

    11/15/2010

    Label EVERY box – Top and one side. Put a detailed list on the inside (top) of the box with the contents.

    For instance:
    Top and Side of box says:
    Summer Stuff (Can unpack later/put in storage room)

    List inside: Suits, towels, goggles, sunscreeen etc.

    In my first 14 years of marriage – moved 9 times. Last move has lasted 15 years a total RECORD! :O)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    9 times in only 14 years…I’m tired just thinking about that!

    I have been labeling every box on all sides and the top — but I like your detailed list idea too. I might have to implement that!

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  2. Stacey

    11/15/2010

    You are crazy…. I am already feeling overwhelmed with the thought of moving states in the next month. And I don’t have near as much stuff as you do. HELP!!!

    [Reply]

  3. Kim

    11/15/2010

    You are off to a great start! I echo the above response! Label all boxes by room! (I’m sure you already know this:) ). Also, have some of your most favorite decors / kitchen dishes “close by” for when you unpack! It will make it feel like home right away!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh, I like your decor ideas.

    I’m honestly not sure how much decorating I’ll do right away…since I’ll want to get some of the construction out of the way first. But I’m sure I can find a place for a few of my favorite items :)

    [Reply]

  4. Jill

    11/15/2010

    I am new to your site and love it. Although I am not moving I am in the process of decluttering and organzing my home. I have way to much stuff. I look at it as baby steps. I have already taken a few trips to Goodwill. I have a lot more to go. I especailly love your simple steps to staying organized. I printed it out and will be placing in my refrigerator. I also love the picture of your filing cabinet. I have a filing cabinet by my bills and papers sit around for a long time before they go in it. It will be nice to have an orgaized cabinet like yours. One of my goals for next year is to keep the house clean and organized. With a site like yours I think it is possible. Thanks!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jill — I’m so glad you can utilize some of the information here on my site!!!

    Yes, baby steps are the way to go in EVERYTHING, not just moving :)

    Keep up the great work!

    [Reply]

  5. Sharon

    11/15/2010

    Yes, I agree with everyone so far….

    1. Label your boxes
    2. Have a few decorations ready to go when you move in
    3. Take baby steps
    4. Have fun!

    Good luck…I can’t wait to see more pictures of your new house…and follow your new blog!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sharon…great advice.

    And we will definitely keep you posted as our new blog is launched!!

    [Reply]

  6. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    11/16/2010

    Your new home is SO gorgeous. I am truly jealous. 4 moves in 3 years. My advice — if you aren’t sure whether to keep or toss, toss. Label everything, the more detail the better. Have different colored labels for different rooms/areas (or a little circle sticker at least beside the label). Leave as little as humanly possible for the last day. Pack up your kitchen at least 2 days before moving.

    P.S. I hate eating down my food storage.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the great tips Becky!! You do sound like a “veteran mover”!

    Oh, and don’t worry about me — my motto is ALWAYS to toss!

    [Reply]

  7. oh amanda

    11/16/2010

    When you were listing all the things you had to do I thought you were going to end with “a partridge in a pear tree!!” :)

    I’m like you, I lived in the same house until I got married. But since I’ve been married–I’ve lived in 5 states and who knows how many houses. Sadly, I don’t have any tips except GET RID OF STUFF SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO PACK IT.

    :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Amanda,

    I ALMOST finished my list with “and a partridge in a pair tree”!!! I even had the words types…but then I deleted them!

    And yes, we are getting rid of LOTS!!

    [Reply]

  8. Tweets that mention Moving Made Simple — Kind of! « Simple Organized Living -- Topsy.com

    11/16/2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by oh amanda and Andrea Dekker, Andrea Dekker. Andrea Dekker said: Moving Made Simple — Kind of! http://ht.ly/3aj9V — Tips from "veteran movers" are welcome! [...]

  9. Terri

    11/19/2010

    New to your site as well. I have moved 12 times in 20 years and the best tip I have is to not only label your boxes but number every one of them. Then on a sheet of paper have your numbered items listed so you know exactly what boxes are missing, if any. Cross them off as you open. Make a couple of copies (kept in two different places) in case you lose them in the chaos of moving.

    You can make a spreadsheet with the number, contents and room it belongs in.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Terri, thanks for the great tips.

    I was already labeling my boxes but thanks to your tip, I have started numbering them too!! (I never thought of this!) I’m sure it will make our move less stressful!

    [Reply]

    Joslin Reply:

    Just found your blog recently…I learned to make a detailed numbered list a few moves ago from a super organized neighbor who had been through her share of moves too! On my list I put the box number, then the room, then general details of what’s inside. I kept this list in a notebook which included other important info for our move as well-that way everything was in one place. Then when you are unpacking and want something specific you can easily find the box without opening all of them before you are ready to. This is also helpful before the move if you have packed something that you end up needing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Joslin — these are great tips!

    I’m doing anything I can think of to keep things organized and easily accessible once we move into our new home!

    [Reply]

  10. Jessica

    11/20/2010

    I have a question. I am moving in a couple weeks. But unlike you, it is just across the lane. Literally. How much should I pack for that? I have never moved a household. My mom still lives where I was born and this is where we moved when we got married 4 years ago.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Jessica,
    Congrats on moving!! I know how stressful it can be…but hopefully it will be worth all your effort!

    Honestly, I would tell you to move everything you want, need, use, and love. As you go through your things to pack, simply toss out anything you don’t want to bring with you and pack up the rest.

    It will probably seem like a lot of “stuff” but if you’ll need it again after you move, there’s really no sense in getting rid of it…and then buying it new again after you move.

    Feel free to contact me with more questions…and I’ll try to be as helpful as I can. This is the first time I’m moving too so it’s kind of a “learn-as-I-go” process!!!

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

  11. Kim

    11/24/2010

    I am so glad I found this site. I am on the same timeline as you. We are purchasing our first home and I am moving for essentially the first time (besides the move from my parent’s home). My husbands and our 4 teens have lived in this rental for 15 years! So we have a lot of junk. Fortunately it is only a few blocks away and not across country. However the holidays and it being a first purchase do add some stress. And I home educate, so that adds an extra element. We are also losing a garage, so we won’t have storage space, not sure yet how we’ll deal with that.

    I’m glad I found your site. I look forward to your posts and will view you as a partner in moving. I’ve only got one box packed. Move in date is 12/19! Yikes, I’ve got to get busy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Kim, it sounds like we will both be VERY busy this next month. Maybe we can keep each other on track and organized!!

    And congrats on purchasing your first home. How exciting!!!

    I would suggest reading all the other comments for this post (if you haven’t already)…they offer great advice from seasoned movers.

    Also, I am taking this opportunity to purge as much as I possibly can. Everything we don’t need, use, or love is GONE. I have made several trips to the thrift store, and it will be worth my efforts when I don’t have to waste more energy packing, moving, and unpacking

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    So glad I am already a purger! I also read somewhere to assign each room a color and buy those dots and put them on boxes so that you can automatically know which room to take a box too.

    And I also plan on buying another newspaper end. We get these for the kids for school and for wrapping gifts from the local newsprinter for $5. They last FOREVER. They are the ends that they can’t print on and will be perfect for packing. You don’t want to use printed newspaper because the ink can damage your items.

    I love all the other tips here. Especially about saving the cleaning supplies for last and the home decor!

    [Reply]

  12. Kim N

    11/24/2010

    Hi! I’m a first time reader and followed you from a link-up on moneysavingmom.com. I’ve enjoyed your site so far! Here’s my deal… I’ve moved 10 times in 10 years! My husband and I bought our first house about a year ago, and hopefully we’ll stay here awhile. (: Here’s my moving tips:

    I agree with the need to be very detailed in labeling boxes. In addition, try to pack everything you possibly can into boxes. I know it seems pointless to have a couple of huge boxes with just a few pillows or lamp shades, but it makes it so much easier to pack the moving van (or whatever vehicles you are using) when you have as few loose items as possible. It also minimizes the damage and dirtiness to your things.

    Rummage up as many old towels and blankets as you can. Borrow some from a family member or friend if need be. As a last resort, splurge on the pads they rent at the moving van store. Your furniture will thank you and you’ll be saving yourself money by keeping your furniture in good condition.

    Watch for holiday sales on paper goods and stock up on enough paper plates, plastic utensils, and cups to last a week or so. Then, you can pack up most kitchen items several days before the move, have time to shelf paper your new kitchen cabinets (if necessary), come up with a good organization plan for where everything should go, & finally get everything unpacked. The paper goods are a huge timesaver and convenience!

    Pack one or two boxes with last minute supplies including cleaners, rags, lightbulbs, packing tape, scissors or box cutter, first aid kit, permanent marker, trash bags, etc. Along with your vacuum, broom, and mop, this box(es) should be the last thing to leave your old place and the first to arrive at your new house. Take them with you in your vehicle instead of throwing them on the moving van.

    Lastly, if you have some family and friends who have volunteered to help you move (assuming you’re doing it yourself & not hiring a moving company), then do not actually help unload the boxes from the truck. Plan on standing just outside the truck or at the front door to your house and directing traffic. You can quickly read the box labels or take note of the furniture and send your helpers to the right room in your house. This will save you time and sanity later when everything arrived in the right room. It’s frustrating to finally find that “missing” box of kitchen essentials stacked in the corner of your bedroom!

    Good luck on moving day!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kim, thank you so much for your expert advice.

    I was thinking about how and when I would pack up our kitchen stuff — and I NEVER thought about paper plates. I will stock up on Thanksgiving plates the day after!

    And I appreciate your advice to pack everything in boxes. I was wondering if it is really worth it to have so many boxes…but you’re right. They stack better and will be easier to move, unpack, etc.

    I do already have a box of cleaning supplies that will be on the very back of the truck…along with the vacuum! And our family is helping us move so I’m planning to direct traffic during the “move-in” process!

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]