May 27 2008

Ideas for making a smooth(er) move

My pal Sally Ann and her husband are moving from Pittsburgh to Georgia in a few days. I want to wish them well as they head 12 hours south!

Their move reminded me of a few things I’ve done in the past to help make moving a little easier. I’ve moved a few times when I was little and still living with my parents, four times while in college, and then moving out here to Pittsburgh.

First, as anyone will tell you, as soon as you know you’re moving, start getting rid of your stuff! If you’re like me, you’ve accumulated more than you need. It really helps to sell, donate, or toss everything you possibly can. Books are especially heavy, and I like to sell or donate as many of those as I can before moving. I’m hoping to start getting rid of stuff now, even though we aren’t sure if/when we’re moving, since we just plain have too much junk.

Pack whatever you can in containers you already have. For example, I load up my bathroom storage bins with all my toiletries from in the cabinets and under the sink, so I won’t need any cardboard boxes for those. All clothes go in my plastic clothes drawers (still light enough to move) and in all of our suitcases and duffel bags. I load up all Rubbermaid bins and other storage things with whatever I can, while trying not to make any one box too heavy to handle.

Ask around to see if anyone you know has moving supplies they’d be willing to give you. Maybe they have some boxes, tape, work gloves, or a dolly they’d be willing to lend. Or maybe, a pickup truck. Ya won’t know unless you ask!

I like to save sturdy cardboard boxes from previous moves, online shipments, and the like. If I need more boxes, I’ll visit grocery and drugstores. Usually, a nice manager will let me have any of their unneeded boxes, which can work really well for moving. Or, if they don’t have boxes right at that moment, they might hold some for you to pick up in another day or two.

If I’m really organized, I like to have a special box to open as soon as we arrive in our new house. This might include toilet paper, hand soap, a shower curtain/rings, a set of bedsheets, and other things I’ll want that first day there.

That’s probably the fullest extent of my organization. Some people are really good about keeping inventory of their items and labeling each box precisely. I’m usually in a mad dash to get out the door.

What works well when you move?

9 Responses to “Ideas for making a smooth(er) move”

  1. Liquor boxes are great for this (from the grocery or convenience store, clearly). They are a good size and quite sturdy… though I think my new neighbors may think I’m an alcoholic…

  2. Kacie, I know the infamous “Pittsburgh Left Turn” as well. I pretty much put that under the red light offenders list because each time that I’ve been witness to it, its been when someone was turning left and their light had already turned red…yet they turn anyway because they know you’re going to stop. (how rude!) Anyway, I’m glad to know I’m/we aren’t the only others out there who are amazed by the way people in Pittsburgh drive.
    and thanks for the comment!

  3. Bag your silverware/nest plastic in bigger containers/etc. so you don’t have to wash it all again before putting it away. When packing plates, put them on end, not stacked like you would in a cupboard. Hardcover books move best standing on end. We like to have back-up computer files on an external hard drive. It’s a lot different when you pack yourself- the military pays for it to be done for us and despite the claims that inevitibly have to be made, I’d rather someone else do it while I monitor! Because it’s done for us, we are encouraged to keep a detailed inventory of all household items- it’s a good idea for everyone to have some sort of list- you can download spreadsheets for Excel- for insurance purposes. Moving is a good time to take inventory.

  4. Number every single box, keep a list of what is in every single box, and then guard that list with your life.

    Solomon’s last blog post..Half human, half sheep?

  5. I am moving in 2 days with our eight children. This is the first move I’ve done without my husband as he is already working in the new location.

    I don’t think you can overemphasize the “tossing” aspect of moving. Too much stuff is simply not worth packing. THis time I bought bubble wrap to wrap pictures and dishes in so that newsprint doesn’t get on everything and I have to rewash it all later.
    I’m also labeling all items that go in one room with the same construction paper label. So the Master bedroom has red “signs” on all the boxes and I will put a red sign on the door of the room they all go in. We are trying to hire a youth group at our new location to help us unload and then they’ll have an easier time finding the right room each box goes in.



  6. Amen to getting rid of as much as possible!

    Two more tips:
    1. Use the soft stuff (bedding, clothes) as packing material–for instance, to cushion mugs or other rigid but not especially fragile items. Reduces the need for bubble wrap and newspaper and also allows you to pack your stuff in fewer boxes.

    2. Do as much of the packing and moving yourself as possible. Movers are a wonderful luxury, but in my far-too-extensive experience damage and breakage are more likely when others are handling your stuff.

  7. i used to work at Best Buy, and when i moved, i got all my boxes from them. They had all different sizes, and i knew when the truck came in and when there would be a million different boxes.

    If you ask a manager at an electronics store nicely, i’m sure they’d be glad to tell you a good day/time for coming in and would have someone help you get as many boxes as you could want. Plus, they’d be boxes that have never stored food and are sturdy enough to carry large weights like tvs. (always a plus when moving.)

    jessica @pianomomsicle’s last blog post..It’s a….

  8. Dude, I have been known to hoard cardboard boxes under my bed for *years.* Large shopping bags are also good for clothes, and they’re something easy to carry when you need a break from heavy lifting. Ditto on using linens and tees to protect fragile items. I also make to label each box with the room all the stuff inside should go in. (Totally neccessary if others are helping!)

    Sara’s last blog post..Why We Don’t Buy: Use the Science of Shopping to Your Advantage

  9. Dont be afraid to ask family, friends, and even neighbors to help out. We are moving into an apartment right now, and Hubbys brothers have been true God sends for us.

    Stacy’s last blog post..Update!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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