Take it from a real estate agent; no one knows more about moving from one house to the next. Not to mention that I myself am well qualified with some serious relocations under my belt. Watching people move from out of town, out of state or in some cases from a different country is just another day in the life of a realtor. We learn from moving mistakes and take note of good ideas that make the process more efficient.
Declutter. There is no better time than before a move to become a minimalist. When the thought of upgrading or downgrading your living situation is still fresh, before googling potential listings or meeting with a real estate broker to find out the current market value of your home, you can start the decluttering process. Even if your big moving plans fall through, you will thank yourself later for detoxing your life of your quickly growing jar collection or the old clothes in your closet that are now only suitable for a retro Halloween costume. I understand that it is so easy to keep those old throw pillows in the top shelf of your linen closet with the intentions of someday recovering them but now would be a good time to get rid of unnecessary things that you can easily live without. Moving a stack of old towels that even the dog groomer wouldn’t use on their clients just doesn’t make sense. I have seen people spend $10 grand on a moving truck to haul a washer and dryer that they couldn’t even sell on craigslist for $200 bucks. Think to yourself, how much space does this take up versus the replacement cost. Just get rid of it! You will find yourself feeling really good about not having to look at the bookshelf full of dusty magazines from the last five years, not to mention the self-satisfaction of your charitable contribution to your neighborhood thrift shop.
Box Search. Why pay for boxes when they are just as easily attainable for free? Bartenders have the best boxes. Beer and wine crates work great for packing up the kitchen. It’s almost as if those 12 pack slots are made for your fine china. Restaurants get their groceries delivered constantly and these same boxes are the perfect size for your big move. They should be more than happy to give them to you because that saves the employees time and energy from breaking them down and throwing them out. Plus, you can enjoy a nice cocktail at the bar before packing up your lifetime of belongings, you’ll need it.
The Art of Packing. This is common sense people, pack the heavy items (tools) into small boxes and the lighter stuff (blankets) into larger boxes. Be sure to have packing tape on hand, lots of it. Your heart rate will certainly spike when 30lbs of books falls through the bottom of the box and lands straight on your tootsie toes. Reinforce your boxes and reinforce them again, tape is cheap and a trip to the ER for a broken toe (or back) is not.
Organize. Along with packing tape, keep a thick black felt marker close by. Write the name of the room destination on the sides of the box. Not the top of the box as you will not be able to read the top when you have 5 boxes stacked on each other. Some of the fancy home sites will recommend you to color code your boxes with and organization chart. This is not necessary in the least and potentially confusing for the knuckleheads that you hire to do the heavy lifting. Just take an extra second to write “Pantry” on at least 2 sides of the box and save yourself the time it takes to otherwise figure out where this stuff goes. Easy Schmeasy.
Use what you have. Pack your linens last, they will come in handy while packing your breakables. On my last move, I used bath towels to fold in between my plates as a buffer. I wrapped my breakable ceramic collection in bed sheets. Winter sweaters work great for cushioning grandma’s snow globe collection. This kills two packing birds with one stone and saves searching the town high and low for bubble wrap.
Large and Heavy Items. Everyone has heard of a moving company horror story. It is all too common for the movers to break, steal, lose and ruin your favorite family heirlooms. This is why I prefer to DIY move it myself until it comes to the heavy and awkward furniture. First of all, take out all of the drawers (duh) before you attempt to lift the 6-cabinet armoire. Use these drawers as a mode for moving what would otherwise break or not fit in a standard cardboard box. Bad back or not it will be worth its weight in gold to hire a trustworthy neighbor kid and his friends to haul these big-ticket items in and out of the moving van. The sectional couch with the hide-a-bed insert will be in much better hands of an able and willing young body builder than you risking a dislocated shoulder.
Keep the irreplaceable close with you. I’m not saying that you should try to fit your whole filing cabinet in your gym bag to ride shot gun in your front seat but pull out passports, SSN cards, stock portfolio information, back paycheck stubs and vital medical records and put them in an envelope to travel with you. Not to mention your valuable jewelry and wedding picture albums should stay close to your side. I myself have lost some of these things when making a big move from a remote island back to the mainland. Silly me thought that shipping my important belongings would be safer than taking them on and airplane with me. Wrong. When I received my insured package from the post office, it had been riffled through and my sensitive information had been stolen. I guess someone at the post office went postal on my shipment.
Moving doesn’t have to be as stressful and painful as you may anticipate. Just be sure to stay organized, recruit help when needed and don’t let your valuables fall into the wrong hands. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if have any more tips or suggestions for a cohesive move in the local Sequim, WA area. I wish you the best of luck on your relocation.