Moving? Here are 7 Essential Steps for a More Efficient Move
Spring represents a time for new beginnings. It is also a busy season for home purchases and sales. With a home purchase or sale typically comes…moving! Moving is an exciting yet stressful life experience requiring a significant portion of your personal time, energy and money. During this short and intense period, there are areas where you have control and areas that are totally out of your control! One thing you can control is how you use your time and energy as it relates to moving your belongings. As you begin preparing to box them up, consider these 7 essential steps for a more efficient move.
1. Review your new space
If possible, visit your new space and envision where you think you’ll place your belongings. Bring a camera, tape measure, paper and pencil so that you can measure and document. Envision where you’ll place the big items — like the beds, the couch and the dining table. Will they fit? Also envision and plan for where you’ll put your smaller items. For instance, in which drawer are you going to put your eating utensils? Take the time to sketch your layout, along with any notes, so you have a game plan when you transition your belongings into your new home.
2. Downsize (aka declutter) your stuff
Why pay to move things that you no longer use or are broken? And why take up space in your new home with them? Prior to moving is the perfect time to invest in purging and passing forward what you no longer need. For example:
• Purge clothing, including baby and children’s clothing, that your children no longer wear. If you’re saving kids’ clothing or toys for a friend or relative, now is the time to pass them on instead of having to move and store them at your new digs.
• Throw away old food items in your pantry and refrigerator. Check those expiration dates, and if expired — pitch them! If your kids no longer eat certain foods (perhaps you overbought when everyone loved dinosaur oatmeal?!), donate it along with any other sealed, non-expired food items to your local food pantry.
• Discard any broken, or obsolete accessories — like old charging wires from electronics.
• Recycle or shred old papers and mail. No need to take a filing cabinet worth of old papers with you!
• Pass forward or sell items that will no longer work in your new space, such as home decor and furniture. For household items you wish to donate, look for donation centers that accept household items such as Household Goods in Acton, which serves the Boston area. Some of these donation centers, including Household Goods, will even pick up your larger furniture items, like couches and dining tables.
3. Clean your things before moving them
They say moving offers a fresh start. With that sentiment, why not come into your new home with clean belongings as well? Prior to packing, take the time to send your down comforters to the dry cleaners or laundromat, hose down your patio furniture, and steam clean your area rugs. It may seem like an extra step during an already hectic time, but you’ll be so happy when you can move right in with clean and fresh things that “feel like new.”
4. Use sturdy boxes
Before running out to the liquor store to pick up your free boxes, think about what you’re moving, who’s moving you, and where the moved boxes will end up. While the contents of some boxes will make it directly into drawers, closets and rooms, other items in boxes will go into storage in warm, dark or wet places for temporary use. I am not knocking free (I love a bargain as well!) but I do recommend using sturdy boxes that are appropriate for the items being moved and where they are stored. For items you’re moving directly into your livable space, use heavy cardboard boxes with tops. Lowes or Home Depot offer reasonable prices on new boxes with tops; or get them for free via Freecyle or by posting your box need in online community Facebook forums or neighborhood groups. If you do have items you plan to store for occasional use, such as seasonal items, use durable clear storage boxes with lids. Clear storage boxes allow for you to see what’s inside, and plastic boxes with sealable lids reduces the exposure to moisture (cardboard boxes do not).
5. Label everything - with details
Now that you’ve got those sturdy boxes, label ‘em! To make your unpacking even more efficient, be sure to include details on your label, including in which room the box belongs, where you want to put it within the room, and what’s inside. By adding the extra detail, your movers, whether they are professional or your best friend, can help bring them to exactly where they need to be. For example, write on your boxes or labels, “Kitchen — Pantry, Bottom Shelf: Stand Mixer and Hand Mixer)” or “Finished Basement — Back Closet: Kids Board Games”. For items going into storage, do the same, and be sure to add the season and keep each set of seasonal items in separate boxes e.g., Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving. Your detailed label may read “Attic — Thanksgiving: Serving Platters, Tablecloth, Napkins”.
6. Pack and group boxes by room
Whether you’re moving with your own manpower, or paying professional movers, time is money! As you pack away your boxes, group the piles of boxes together per the room where they should ultimately go. By “staging” your boxes accordingly, it will make unloading and delivery even more efficient.
7. Order takeout
Seriously! You need to take it easy on yourself! All of the packing alone is exhausting, and as you get closer to your move date you will need to just get those dishes, pots and pans packed in a box so that you can move on. Aside from some disposable plates and napkins, go ahead and order that pad thai or burrito from your local takeout joint — you deserve it. And you’ll need the fuel for what’s next….unpacking!