I do not consider myself an expert mover. I did not grow up with a parent in the military, nor was I in the military myself. However, I’ve moved six times now since I was 21 under a variety of conditions — having a leisurely month to pack, finding out a house has been sold out from underneath us and we had to move immediately, combining a three person household into a six person household, having to move 8 months pregnant, finding the right house on a whim and having to move in two weeks, moving 500 miles, moving seven blocks….
I find these damned moving advice sites to be worse than useless. I have not once used professional movers, and have bought at the most six specialty boxes for odd items. I do not buy enough boxes to move. I cannot think of a more useless expense except under the most unique of circumstances.
While I do not color code boxes, yes, the advice on making it very clear what box goes where is only smart. However, that seems a little obvious to me. If you’ve enlisted some husky friends, and are feeding them beer as a bribe, ya need to make things short and obvious.
Another thing on the blisteringly obvious list — loading the truck so that things that need to be unpacked right away are the first things to leave the truck. Oh and that thing about not loading a box to weigh more than fifty pounds? Again this falls into the “no shit” category. A big, strong guy can lift fifty pounds and carry it (hell, so can I), but if you’ve got a copier paper box, don’t load it up heavier than the eight reams of copy paper that is supposed to go into it. The box is only designed to take that much weight. Filling a banana box full of textbooks is mean to the people helping with your moving, even if they can lift it.
The thing about having services switched on before you get there? Again, DUH! I don’t know about you, but I do not want to live out of a cooler for longer than I have to and battery powered lamps just ain’t gonna cut it for light when you’re unpacking after dinner. (If you’re moving a fridge, you might have to for a day or two. You do want to make sure the confounded thing is clean before you move it).
It’s the esoteric stuff that’s more useful. Things like —
- Dust the damned bookshelves and other display cases before you move ’em.
- If you’re moving an item with drawers, tape or tie the drawers shut or remove them entirely.
- For a short distance move, it is perfectly okay to move clothing in the drawers.
- If there’s something you haven’t touched since you moved moved to your new place and you’ve been there more than three years, just get rid of it. That goes double for anything still in a sealed moving box from the last move.
- Don’t move any clothing that doesn’t fit. It ain’t worth it.
- Those ugly afghans and ratty towels you’ve got stuffed into the back of your linen closet make great packing material for things like glass fronted picture frames.
- Paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery can be your friend. You can make perfectly healthy quick meals of subs and sandwiches loaded with veggies.
- If you clean your trashcans, you can use them as moving containers for things that are not easily breakable.
- Have your toolbox be one of the things you pack last and unload first, you’re going to need it.
- Hiring someone to move just your piano is probably a good idea
- Clean out deep storage, and cabinets first. It will give you a clearer idea of how much there is to move, and will ease making a packing timetable.
- Do make a packing timetable. If you don’t pace yourself, you’re going to make yourself sick.
- Take breaks. If you have to, use a timer. Work for 45 minutes, and then take a fifteen minute break. Drink a big glass of water. (Yes, FlyLady is right about this, and trust me, you’ll be able to get stuff done faster than if you drive yourself nuts with no break and working until one in the morning).
- Get as much sleep as you can. If you have down time where you’re gonna be waiting, a nap is not a bad thing. It doesn’t make you a slacker. It makes you more efficient. Power naps really do help.
- If you have any sort of reaction to dust, make sure you have a non-drowsy antihistamine on hand.
- Be meticulous about taking your vitamins. Same goes for your meds.
- Check expiration dates on boxed and canned food. Don’t move anything that’s expired.
- Spices don’t have a shelf life of more than a couple of years (less if you’re a foodie). Toss, toss, toss.
- Things that might leak can be contained in ziplock bags. Make doubly sure that they are sealed well.
- For your tupperware, no liddie, no movie. Toss ’em. Do the same with those fifty margarine and cool whip containers.
- FlyLady’s concept of an office inna bag is a good one when you’re moving and might lose needed paperwork. (I have a zippered notebook with some plastic folders inside and pockets for pens and stuff).
- When I am doing tedious, repetitive work, I like to listen to music or audiobooks. It makes the time go faster, and I am less likely to procrastinate on what needs to be done. (Harry Potter books have been my friend lately).
- Force yourself to have a time to stop work in the evening and do something that will relax you. You do need your sleep and if you go hammer and tongs at this, you’re going to be too spun up to sleep well. Did I mention you will need your sleep?
- Accept offers of help.
This is the kind of thing I find more useful than color coded boxes!