This is not strictly travel related but since many people travel by moving or retiring to a new destination, I am going to write about it anyway. And they say to write about what you know – and I know moving. In fact, I have moved 18 times in my life. I’ve lived in 6 countries and 6 states (some more than once). And so, here are some tips from an expert.
Buy colored duct tape and label each box a different color and then put a piece of paper on the door/cabinet/closet where you want that color to go. This means that whoever is helping you move (professionals, friends, kids, spouse) have no questions about what goes where.
Know where stuff will go. Go through your new house and decide where stuff will go before you move it. Label cabinets, drawers and closets. Make a drawing of where furniture will go or also label it with tape.
Pack a separate starter kit. At a minimum this should cover your first day / night but think up to a week out. This should include: sheets, towels, toiletries, dog food, medicine, and clothes. Think through your first 1-4 weeks in the new house. Do you have any big events coming up that you need special items or clothes.
Meals. Have a meal plan for the 3-4 days of chaos. You don’t want to be rummaging through boxes (that’s how you get disorganized) and you don’t want to eat lots of junk adding to your stress.
Hand carry anything you can’t live without – wallet, keys, passports, computer, important papers, glasses, prescription medicine. Put it somewhere safe while packing – the car, work, a friend’s house are all good ideas.
Edit before you pack. Don’t move anything you don’t love or use. Don’t waste the time or money to move something that you don’t want or need. Get rid of it now, not later. Later never comes.
Start fresh. Don’t move any half-opened condiments, spices, food, or over the counter medicines. Don’t move your kitchen/bathroom trash can, shower liner, or bathmat. Chances are you should have replaced all of these items years ago anyway. Start fresh and clean. This also alleviates some stress because you can use them until the last minute in your old place and have a new set ready to go on day one at your new place.
Get stuff cleaned. Get items like rugs and curtains professionally cleaned before you put them in your new home.
Put stuff away quickly but not rushed. If you are rushed or tired you will put stuff anywhere in order to get it out of your sight. But if you live with boxes too long, you will become blind to them and they never get unpacked. Set aside one long block of time for the first day or two. And then set aside a few hours each night until you are done.
Plan for pets and kids. If you have pets or young kids have a plan for them on moving day(s). The chaos can be stressful, you want to be able to leave the door open and you don’t want them to get hurt.
Big furniture goes in the house first. This will give a room its shape and provides you flat space to get organized.
Bedroom(s) and one bathroom is your first priority. The kitchen is next. Pictures, knick knacks and books are all done last. Label these boxes all the same color. They can put in a corner (or spare room) until ready for them.
Don’t put boxes in a small room like the bathroom. Put them in an adjacent room but separately labeled. If you clutter up a small room you will just throw stuff anywhere in order to get it out of the way. This means it really takes much longer for the house to ever be completely unpacked because you will also have those cabinets and drawers that are a mess from day one.
Break down boxes as you go. Also if you have professional movers who will take boxes with them when they go, then unpack everything except books, pictures and knickknacks. The house will be a mess but it is easier in the long run. It will incentivize you to put things away faster and you won’t have to deal with the boxes later.
Everything goes in its permanent home. There should be no temporary places for stuff. It will drive you bonkers for weeks/months/years. Try to only touch something once. Unpack it and put it where it goes. If it can’t go in its permanent home right away, have a few staging areas for these items. A single box works. Consolidate items in this spot and then go through it at the very end.
Holiday decorations and items for storage should be in clear storage containers with a label that is facing outward. This also includes off season clothes if you don’t have a place for them.
I hope some of these tips, help make your next move easier!