An Expert’s Tips on Making a Smooth Move

by Leslie Harpole

Well it’s that time again. Time to pack everything up and move. My boyfriend Nick just got a wonderful promotion. He’s been working very hard and it’s paid off. He works for a great company that is good to their employees and promotes heavily from within. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is we are moving because of it. We’re relocating to Western New York. Nick is from the area and his family can’t be more excited to have him come home. But it means some stressful times ahead. Moving and relocating sets off a chain of inevitable events: changing utilities, finding a new place to live, telling one landlord you are leaving and starting a relationship with a new one, among so many other things.

The biggest task, of course, is the packing and moving of all your STUFF. It’s a daunting prospect and whether you’ve moved a lot or you’re a newbie, it can be overwhelming. The key for me is having a plan. I lay it out on paper, make sure I have all the tools and supplies I need. I create a staging area where boxes/tubs/packed items will collect and I give myself ample time for both the packing and slush time to cover any issues that come up. There are always issues that come up!

Here’s my plan of attack. Depending on the size of your space and the amount of ‘stuff’ you have, this should take a week to ten days if you keep on track. Here’s my list:

1. Remove all Art and accessories (hooks, mirrors, etc) from every wall in the house.

2. Remove all the tchotkies (decorations and accessories) from every surface; tables, desks, shelves, consoles, etc. EVERY SURFACE!

3. Books, DVD’s, magazines (board games)

4. Linens (This includes, sheets, bath towels, kitchen towels, pillows, etc. An extra tip: use the linens to help wrap and cushion your accessories. Two tasks in one and it saves on using those awful peanuts, which are bad for the environment, or newspaper which leaves that icky residue. Use old magazines and catalogs. Much cleaner!)

5. Dishes, pots, pans, food containers

6. Clothing, shoes, coats, bags, hats, boots

7. Small electronics i.e. DVD and/or Blu Ray player, Wii (or whatever your game console of choice is!), coffee pot, microwave, copy machine, etc. I try to keep the box an appliance came in for this very reason. Pack it right back into its box and no extra effort to protect it is needed, it’s all still there. Thank heaven we kept the flat screen TV box!!!

8. Lamps, draperies & hardware, and for me: puppy stuff like their crates and beds and blankets, toys, etc.

9. Random leftovers like papers, files, camping gear, office organizer totes, those kinds of things

In the past I’ve packed, like most people would, by room but that always seems so unorganized and there’s always the question of which rooms get done when and in what order. This way you are slowly clearing rooms of the extras and whittling each down to the bare essentials and at the end you are left with all those things that are unpackable, like furniture, and have set aside those things you need on a daily basis or the items you will be carrying with you personally.

Make sure you are labeling each box or tote with something that will help you quickly place each in the appropriate room when you move it in. You can label it by the room you want it put in or the items that are in it. This will eliminate the need for you to be running from person to person telling them where to put things and instead anyone can know where anything goes and the unloading will be a breeze.

I’ve moved across the street and across the country. It’s never a ‘snap, snap’ project (unless you just have the clothes on your back and a couple of books. But then you’d be a college student and that’s a whole other kettle of fish!), so don’t twist yourself in knots and make it worse. Having a game plan and writing it down will keep it out of your head and you’ll always have it at your fingertips when you need it.

This time I have the added luxury of a moving company, something I’ve never had before! At my age, not having to lug heavy things down stairs is the ultimate gift. They pick up one day and deliver the next. Come back here in a couple of weeks and I’ll have some great tips for UNpacking.

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