I have pretty much become a pro at moving now. I hope to be in our current place for awhile, but I know another move is likely in our future. Hopefully several years from now.
Here are some tips for if you’re moving! I’ve learned things that are important for if you are moving now, have an impending move in the near future, or are pregnant.
If you’re moving NOW:
1) Label ALL THE THINGS
Seriously, moves are chaos. Even if you are moving across the street, at some point shit is just going to get thrown together in panic. The better you organize what goes into boxes and make it easy to find, the smoother things will go.
Label your boxes in detail. Include all the items in each box. Include where it came from if it is something you don’t use often. Be Martha Stewart and tape colour-coded construction paper to boxes based on room or category (however works best for your space). Have a separate colour for those things you will want to unpack immediately. Tape the code to as many visible places in your new space as possible for people lugging boxes.
2) Pack in the opposite order you think you should pack in.
The last 10% of your shit will take the same amount of time, if not longer, than the first 90% of your shit. Trust me, it is always this way. Everyone things they are in great shape because their kitchen and books are neatly packed and all that is left is their wall decor, their sports closet, and their clothes and shoes. You know, all the shit that doesn’t fit into neat, orderly little boxes.
If you do this, your brain will be so fried by the end of the move you will curl up in a little ball, cry, and then end up throwing this stuff in garbage bags that will explode all over your moving vehicle. Then you will cry when you have to unload. I speak from personal experience.
Pack your clothes, coats, and shoes first. Keep out only what you need for a few weeks, and keep it in a separate back pack or duffel bag. Pretend you’re going on a vacation. Pack your other clothes in tubs you can somewhat access, and group them by things you definitely won’t need soon (i.e. snowsuits in the middle of summer) and things you may need for unexpected things (i.e. a dress for an unexpected semi-formal event).
Closets and cupboards should be packed early because they hold the most shit. You will find boxes and boxes of shit you forgot you had at the back and top of your front closet. Properly disposing of it takes as much forethought as packing it. The kitchen and bookshelves are the most straightforward thing to pack. You also need a lot of it until right before you move. Save it till last because you can just wrap and zone out.
3) Pack small, pack light.
Remember, you will be lugging tons of these things around in a short period of time. Would you rather lift 1000 boxes of tissue paper or 100 boxes of encyclopedias? I know my answer. You will inevitably have some things that are light and some things that are heavy; mix them if possible.
Liquor store boxes are a good size for heavier things. Large plastic tubs should be reserved for light things like clothes, shoes, bathroom toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. When packing books, pack the box halfway then fill with pillows, linens, writing supplies, or other light items.
If you’re moving SOON:
Lose all the shit you don’t need. Be brutal. Clothes you don’t like anymore, hobbies you no longer practice, cords and old cell phones take up boxes you are going to open and go “WHY?!” later on. You want to open your boxes later and remember why you love all the shit you’ve collected. Get rid of it if you don’t love it or desperately need it.
2) Get your shit together
The best thing I did at my last place was only half-unpack my stuff. Anything that was in a permanent box, like a plastic tub or a decorative box, and was grouped well just got thrown on a shelf. When it came time to pack, It just needed a few more things to fill it up, a lid, and to be taped up and labeled. Easy peasy. Then, when you get to your new place, you can just open those boxes, remove the few things that need to come out, and put the box in its new location. Done, unpacked.
If you have time between now and your move to get things into bins, boxes, and baskets, DO IT. Not only is stuff easier to find, it is easier to pack. Cabinets under sinks, food stuffs, clothing accessories, and hobby supplies are big targets for this.
3) Make friends with landscapers, construction workers, bodybuilders, etc.
I wish I was kidding. Friends with upper body strength and stamina are the best when you move. We had to do an emergency move once out of a 4th floor walk-up (thanks fire!). Our friend that landscapes and rock climbs was INVALUABLE. Bribe these people to be your friends with beer and witty conversation skills.
If you’re moving PREGNANT
1) Sit DOWN
Seriously. Now’s the time to call in those bodybuilder/construction worker friends and let them do the work. Sit in a chair and point where you want things. Get yourself a director’s chair if it helps set the mood.
Unless you are having one of those earth-mother-birth-goddess perfect pregnancies with glowing skin and boundless energy, you will need to take eating, drinking, and napping breaks, even if you are just sitting and pointing. Build this time into things. Remember: you are living with a parasite that is leeching energy, fluid, and calories from your system. No one would expect someone with an intestinal fluke to keep up with a healthy person. Don’t expect to operate at normal capacity.
2) If you can’t sit down, rent a dolly
Sometimes you don’t have friends to call in. Sometimes you just gotta do.
Moving lists always say “hire a moving company” or “rent a truck”. Kudos if you have that extra few grand kicking around. It is a worthy thing to spend your money on. However, moving while pregnant usually means you have a big expense or two already on the horizon. The cheapest favour you can do yourself is to rent a dolly or hand truck. This may seem like a luxury or a frivolous rental. THIS IS NOT FRIVOLOUS. Get one of those hand trucks that you can load as much onto as possible and push.
If you do have a few hundred dollars kicking around, Frog Boxes are a good option. You pack them, and someone else does the heavy lifting. If you can’t call in friends, these are economical friends to purchase.
3) Case the joint
If possible, know ahead of time roughly where things will go in your new place. Add notes to closets for people moving things. Pregnancy brain is real, and you will get flustered and overwhelmed with the amount of stuff. Designate at least one room or corner as the “I Don’t Give A Fuck” space, where stuff can go for you to sort through later.
Case your new neighbourhood as well. Know where you can get food and drinks easily (this includes liquor for your helpers). Find one or two places near by that you can order somewhat healthy food from. I’ve been fine with just pizza and fast food during other moves. This one, with the heart burn and the carb-fatigue, I wanted light, healthy meals and felt like shit eating otherwise.
Know where your local hardware store, dollar store, Costco, etc are if you will need to go get specific things like hooks, nails, TP, soap, or other odds and ends. If you are moving far away, know where you local hospital/medical care facility is. God forbid you should need it, but if you plan for it, it won’t happen.