I’ve moved four times within my hometown in the last six years. My first move was out of my parents into a studio apartment across the street. Two years later, I moved downstairs from my place into a 2-bedroom with a friend. Several months after that, I moved into a 2-bedroom across town and a friend moved in with me for a bit. Less than a year after that, I moved back to my old complex into a 1-bedroom where I have lived for the past 2+ years. In a couple of days, I will officially be a resident of Lodi, CA. I’m really excited about this move. The apartment is spacious and adorable, and happens to be in a happy medium place between my folks’ place and my 8-to-5.
I have to say, though, that moving has it’s wonderful up and epic downfalls. There are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned these last few moves that I think are very important to keep in mind when moving.
1. Keep in mind how much crap you have. The more you have, the earlier you should start packing. If you’re moving from one rental unit to another, chances are you won’t have a whole lot of time to get your shit from Point A to Point B. Start off with packing the things you can live with out the longest first, and end with a handful of things you’ll need to get by until you can start unpacking. I only really have the weekends to pack up my place, so I started packing during the first few days of my 30-day notice with my books, photos and winter shoes. The last few items I have left to pack will all be going into a reusable bag and hauled over first to the new place. Same with clothes; keep on hand what you can make do with. The less you have to worry at the last minute, the better.
Good items to keep on hand unpacked:
- Paper plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic cups
- One mug per person
- Frying pan
- Knife for cutting
2. Trash and Donation piles are very important, because you don’t need all of your crap. Think of moving as if it were Spring Cleaning Day. As you go through junk drawers and cabinets and your closet, think really hard if you need those pairs of jeans that haven’t fit in 3 years or that chopping mat that has seen better days. Are they easily replaceable? Have you already replaced and forgotten about them? Keep in mind that most things are recyclable and there are people out there who could use or want the items collecting dust in your home.
3. Clear out usable space(s) for your boxed up stuff. Your things will disappear fast, but your boxes will pile up faster than you will realize. The problem with small places also means limited space for boxes. When cabinets and closets start being empty, look into shoving boxes back in to save floor space. This is especially good if these items happen to be fragile and need to be kept out of harms way.
4. Label and organize the items in your box properly. Most people moving will end up with an odd variety of sizes and shapes for moving their things. Work with it rather than against it. Boxes that aren’t very deep can be perfect for plates, frames and documents. Exceptionally large boxes can be perfect for holding pillows or other light-weighted items (thinking about your back’s safety here, people). Keep items that are from the same room together in the same box so you’re not running from room to room when unpacking. May seem logical, but sometimes logic escapes us when we’re rushing around trying to make sure a hundred different plans all go accordingly. Many people have stated that color coding your boxes helps as well. Assign different colored tape or ink to specific rooms.
5. Lock down your help ahead of time. Don’t assume you’ll have vehicles or help; lock that shit down. Have backup plans for your backup plans. Seriously. I once had to move and had a few friends agree to help when I asked. All but one bailed and I was left scrambling to figure out how I was going to get all my stuff moved. If you have it available in your budget, I highly suggest using a moving van from Uhaul or equivilant. Moving vans help with cutting down the number of trips and the amount of time getting your stuff around. If you think it’ll be more, consider how much it’ll cost in gas to get multiple vehicles around versus one.
6. Personal safety is a thing: protect yo self. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t make your boxes heavier than you can carry or use larger boxes that will tempt you to over pack and weigh down even more. You will hurt yourself and being out of commission during a move with a tight schedule doesn’t help anyone. If you know you’re going to putting your body through more than it can handle, consider a back brace, schedule ahead of time a visit with a chiropractor or masseuse, and have the pain reliever on hand.