How to Simplify A Move

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Guysssss we close on our house TOMORROW! I am giddy with excitement and also nervous/scared/sad to leave our current home. But, living in transition like this is super annoying, and it feels so strange to have one foot in and one foot out the door for both houses. We're ready to move forward and get going with this new adventure! For the last few weeks we've been living under mountains of boxes, which is only adding to our readiness to get this move over with.

I thought back on my moving experiences over the last decade of my life, and I realized I have moved in and out of homes seventeen times since 2008. Some of those are moving into and out of college dorms, but I'm counting them because they definitely required the work of moving. Moving so many times (and helping my clients move all the time) has helped me learn a few tricks to make the process a little more bearable! I thought some of you may find it helpful to hear the tips and tricks I've learned along the way. My husband calls me a "moving wizard," so I must be doing something right!

1. As soon as you know you're moving, start packing. Start with the stuff you know you won't need like out of season clothes, extra sheets, or random kitchen stuff you store out of sight. Most people don't move without at least a few weeks notice, so spreading out the monotony of packing over a few weeks or months makes it a lot more bearable than having to do it all at once. If you are selling your home to move, your Realtor will talk to you about staging anyway, which is a great way to get a head start on packing. Pack away family photos, books, things you don't *need* to live there.Yes, your house will look and feel empty, and yes it will be weird, but I promise that simplifying your space will help you sell faster, and make your move easier. You may end up realizing you don't even want some of those things anymore to begin with!

2. Move anything fragile or difficult to pack by yourself. This mostly applies to people moving locally, but I've learned that most movers charge an hourly rate. Packing up small, breakable items is super time consuming, and laborious. If you can safely, but casually pack up your wine glasses, lamp shades, picture frames, etc. and take them over to your new house in a few car loads, you will save time and money by eliminating mover's tasks and have more control over your stuff. I don't know how many times I wrote "FRAGILE" on a box and watched someone stack 5 boxes on top of it before I decided I wasn't doing that anymore.

This is our pile of "unpackables." These are the things I've found so far that either obnoxious to pack, or easy to transport and not worth the risk of being broken (like our collection of meaningful Christmas ornaments!). These will get loaded into my car on closing day and dropped in the house to be sorted later.

3. Buy some clear, plastic containers instead of all cardboard boxes. I have a set about 15 plastic bins of different sizes that I have used over the years for moves. When they're not being used for moving, they're just stored in our basement, and take up 2 feet of space since they stack. They've been an awesome investment and have helped me simplify moves in the past because I don't have to source eleventyseventhousand boxes to pack up. I recommend these from Target! They're easy to grip and stack nicely.

4. When you do need cardboard boxes, check your neighborhood list serv! I got a full car load of free moving boxes twice for this move. One load was from friends that had recently moved and saved their broken down boxes, and the other was from a posting on Facebook marketplace. A couple down the road had just moved in, and had a house load of paper and broken down boxes free to the first person who picked them up. We've spent zero dollars on boxes, which is awesome, because those can get really expensive, and we plan to pay it forward and offer them up on our listserv when we're done with them too! Recycling works, y'all!

5. Gather your boxes in one area. Since movers are hourly, one of the best ways to speed up and simplify a move is to coral your boxes in a central location (or a few on each floor) so they can grab a few boxes at a time and load them. I have had movers thank me for making their jobs easier by doing this, because it saves them trips back and forth, and thus saves me money! Remember with moving, time = money. I also group all of my "Fragile" labeled boxes in one location. That way I can say "everything in this corner is fragile" and they will load them last into the truck.

Notice how I'm not that organized here. I'm not stacking by size or anything, just grouping together completed boxes as I go. Don't over-complicate it :)

6. Color code your boxes by room/floor. One of the easiest ways to make a move go faster is to create a system. I purchased this tape set from Amazon, and have been using it to label all of our boxes. When the movers come, I'll give the foreman a "key" so he knows what color tape corresponds to which room. I will have also put a piece of the corresponding tape on the door frame of each room in the new house. This saves ALL of us time and mental exhaustion when they get to the new house. Instead of having to say "where does this go?" and I have to read the box contents, think, and decide, I've already given it thought when I packed the box. The foreman can read his key and tell the movers upstairs, downstairs, or garage, and then the rooms are labeled as well!

7. Be nice to your movers. These guys are doing hard work that I'm quite sure you don't want to do yourself. Offer them water, buy some canned sodas ahead of time, make sure they know you appreciate and respect what they're doing. Buy pizza or subs for them at the end of the day. Have cash for tips. I always give a $10-$20 tip per person depending of the difficulty of the move, and I think it's well worth it. If they know you're going to take care of them, they may take better care of your stuff.

The buyers of our current house generously gave us 3 weeks to move out after closing since we start re-doing our floors at the new house tomorrow (eeeee!! it's happening!!), so the movers don't come until the end of the month, but we've already begun the process of packing some breakable things and taking them over by hand. Here's hoping moving day is as smooth and easy as they have been in the past!

If you're local to Durham, I cannot recommend Trosa movers enough. They are organized, efficient, affordable, hard working, and do awesome things for our community here in Durham. I refer most of my clients to Trosa and am using them personally. I love what they do, so if you want to read more about the Trosa organization, you can find info on their site here!

Here's hoping these tips help you simplify your next move!

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