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25 Tips and Tricks for an Organized Move
By Maria Gracia
Worried because you're moving soon? This really doesn't have to be a stressful, chaotic time. Here are some tips to help you achieve a successful, organized move.
- USE A MOVING CHECKLIST. Make yourself a moving checklist outlining everything that needs to be done before, and after, your move. For assistance, you'll find a detailed moving checklist on Page 84 of my book, Finally Organized, Finally Free - along with tons of tips and ideas to ensure your new home is organized right from the start!
- LEAVE IT BEHIND. Avoid moving anything you don't really need. It is expensive, time-consuming, and physically unnecessary to move things you won't be using. If you don't use it now, you most likely won't use it later.
- GET RID OF CLUTTER. Dispose of broken tools, old toys, old clothing and other items that you no longer need, before you move. Give usable items to charity or hold a garage sale.
- DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR MOVING SERVICE. Choose an experienced moving firm with an established reputation for good service and reliability. Choosing someone that is unreliable or inexperienced will waste more time and money than you can imagine.
- ENLIST ANY HELP YOU CAN GET. You will get a lot more done, with some family members and friends helping you pack and/or unpack. If your children are old enough, they should be helping too.
- BOX IT. Get boxes in assorted sizes. Be sure they're clean, in good condition and have covers so they can be closed and sealed with tape. Start collecting them from your local merchants, or purchase them from your moving company. Liquor boxes are excellent. They are sturdy and contain dividers making them ideal for packing glasses, goblets, vases, etc.--but make sure these boxes have lids. By the way, an easy way to store boxes so they do not take up storage space is to open both ends and flatten them out. Cartons can be resealed with tape as you use them.
- USE THE A-B-C SYSTEM. Everything you pack does not have to be unpacked the first day in your new home. If it contains essential items, mark it PRIORITY A. If the contents are important, but not crucial, mark the box PRIORITY B. If the box contains out of season items, holiday items and other things you won't need right away, mark the box PRIORITY C. Then, unpack in A, B, C order.
- WRAP IT. You will need plenty of wrapping paper and heavy-duty tape. Anything wrapped in newsprint will most likely be soiled from the ink and will require cleaning after unpacking. Movers use unprinted newsprint. For items you prefer to keep clean, you can purchase this packing paper from your mover. Kraft paper, tissue paper and shock-resistant corrugated paper make excellent wrapping materials and may be purchased at most major department stores, craft stores or your mover. These papers also make excellent cushioning and lining material.
- MARK IT. Felt pens are ideal for marking boxes with information such as its contents, destination room, fragile or this side up.
- LABEL IT. As you're packing, place removable, colored, circle stickers on your boxes to easily distinguish kitchen items, from bedroom items, from bathroom items, etc. Use a different color for each room. If necessary, make a master list so you'll know what is in each box. If you can go to your new home ahead of time, you may wish to stick a corresponding colored sticker on the door, or door frame, of the room that the box will be delivered to.
- LIGHTEN UP. Cartons can be handled easier if they do not exceed 50 lbs., fully packed. Keep this in mind when you're packing.
- ROOM BY ROOM. Pack on a room-by-room basis, keeping the contents of each room in separate boxes. This will eliminate confusion and save time when you're unpacking.
- PACK EARLY. Even if you only pack two boxes a day, in thirty days you will have packed sixty boxes. Start in areas where the goods are not in frequent use such as the cellar, attic, garage, etc.
- ORDER ADDRESS LABELS. Order address labels before you move into your new home. They will be great to have on hand when you need to indicate a change of address on anything. Leave a few behind with the people who move into your old home or apartment so they can forward anything that gets delivered to them for you. Give them a few bucks to cover any postage costs.
- MAKE A SURVIVAL KIT. Make a survival kit for your first night in your new home. This should include items that will get you through the night if it's too late to unpack or the movers didn't show up. Helpful items to include might be: non-perishable food, can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils, bottled water, a flashlight, a few towels, sheets, toiletries, a blanket, toilet paper, pen/paper, a few small games or magazines and a change of clothes for everyone.
- HAVE SOMEONE WATCH THE KIDS. If you have children, especially young children, it might be a good idea to have someone babysit them while you are doing anything that involves your move, such as packing, unpacking, etc. Your kids won't be interrupting your progress and you'll accomplish more.
- USE THE ONE ROOM RULE. Set up ONE room in your new home as quickly as possible. This way, you'll have a quiet retreat, free of boxes. You and your family will then have a place to go when you need a break from all of the unpacking activities.
- MAKE IT PET SAFE. If you have pets, be sure you have a plan for when the movers arrive. Perhaps keep your cats in the bathroom with the litter box, or put your dogs in a fenced in yard. Also, take care to do what you can so your pets feel comfortable in your new home. Bring their favorite toys, give them attention, and don't leave them alone for long periods of time for the first few days.
- MAKE THE FIRST NIGHT SPECIAL. Make the first night in your new home as special as possible. It can be take-out Chinese food, or pizza, but you may sweeten the evening with flowers, candles and music. It will really make a big difference and will help you to unwind and de-stress.
- DEVISE A PLAN. Before you begin unpacking randomly, sit down with your family. Discuss a plan, including where things will go, who is responsible for what, etc. It will help things run smoothly.
- HAVE A TOOL KIT ON HAND. One of the most important things to have on hand when you're setting up your new home is a basic toolbox that includes basic tools and hardware, such as a hammer, screwdrivers, nails, hooks, etc.
- FUNCTION BEFORE FORM. It is best to first arrange your furniture, and then unpack accessories and personal items.
- GET READY FOR BED. As soon as the bedroom furniture is delivered, set it up and put the sheets on the bed. You'll be grateful that everything is ready for sleeping later on tonight when you're really tired.
- LET EVERYONE KNOW. Inform everyone that you've moved with simple postcards, or e-mail for those family members who can receive it.
- GET ACQUAINTED. Once you arrive at your new home, schedule some get acquainted days on your calendar. This is a great time to figure out where the supermarket, bank, post office, etc. are and will give you a chance to get familiar with your area. If there is a tourist bureau in town, stop by and see what events and opportunities your town will be offering.
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