May is moving month so if you are one of the lucky ones making a fresh start in a new home, you might want to think about paring down what you have and only taking with you what you use, love and want in your new home. In fact, that is one of my absolutes about organizing.
Moving is one of those times that organizers love. It’s a great excuse to minimize, box up and label everything you have. While this exercise is daunting to many people, you really have to embrace it as an opportunity for a fresh start. Here are 10 tips about how to approach the overwhelming task of packing up your home, no matter how big it is.
- Make a House Plan book for your new home. Take a simple copybook with you as you walk around the new place. Write down each room and what you intend to use it for. For instance, a spare bedroom might be an office, a workout room or a craft room. Deciding now will help you with the set up later. Also make notes on any improvements you need to make in each room. These may include: repairs, painting, overhead lighting or ripping up rugs.
- Decide which furniture will go into each room in the new house. Anything that doesn’t fit should be donated or taken to consignment. In my area of Philadelphia I recommend www.Phillyjunk.com for donations or trash and Consign and Design in Broomall for furniture Consignment. These items can be picked up close to the move date.
- Pack up storage first. Look at areas like the basement, garage and attic where you store things that are not used frequently. If you’re lucky, these things are already boxed and labeled. If not, take a look through, box what you still want and label them accordingly. Also write on the label the name of the new room where they will go. Of course, anything you don’t want can go to trash, donations or consignment.
- Box up what is in closets. These are items that you might still need until the day of the move, but when that day comes it’s easier to put a bunch of small bins in a big shipping box than it is to box loose items. You might even continue to use the bins in your new home.
- Plan on packing one room a night during the last two weeks before your move date. Take down wall hangings, curtains and display items. Live with the bare minimum for a few days before the move. In your kitchen, keep the everyday basics out but pack up the rest. If you have children, you may want to leave their rooms until the end. Moves are tough enough on kids; you don’t want them to feel like all their stuff is going away.
- During the last week before your move take a walk through your current house again and make sure that what’s left in each room has a box it can go into, and that you’re able to clear this room in about an hour. Check with movers or anyone who is helping you with the move to make sure you have enough man power and vehicles. Confirm the timing.
- The day before the move, box up all remaining items into labeled boxes. Plan on take-out food for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day. If you have helpers the easiest thing to do is have pizza and bottled drinks for the food break.
- If you have children it’s best to let them go to school if you are staying in the same area. If not, have a close friend or family member take care of them and keep them out of the move area for most of the day. Bring them to the new home once their bed is set up and a few of their personal items are unpacked.
- In the new home, make sure each room is labeled with what you are calling it. “Tommy’s Room” or “Office” might make sense to you but not the movers. Make sure the room labels match what’s on the boxes.
- Unpacking is done in reverse. Unpack the everyday stuff first, and then eventually you can get to the storage boxes. One room at a time is the only way to take it – another one of my absolutes of organizing.
If you have a plan and you systematically pack up each room, taking with you only what you use, love and want, your move will be less stressful and you’ll be able to find what you need in your new home.