Whether you're helping a teenager move into a college dorm or packing up your entire house to switch locations, moving is stressful. There are so many different aspects to cataloging what you have, planning for your new space, and most predominantly, getting all of the old stuff to the new pad.
Although it's tempting to simply pay someone else to box up all your belongings and truck them to their new home, that choice can be mighty expensive and exasperating. Some of your property will probably end up damaged by movers who don't care about your stuff as much as you do, and you'll still have to do a ton of the work on your own even with their paid help.
So, how can you make a move easy without shelling out the big bucks? Well, there are a few things you can do in advance to make the whole transition run smoothly.
Label One Bin "Need ASAP"
Once you finally get all of your belongings to your new home, you're going to immediately reach for certain items. The last thing you'll want to do is dig through box after box in search of a few specific things. Make life easier on future you and pack the things you'll know you'll need right away in one box. For instance, when I moved into my most recent apartment, I was constantly reaching for rags and wipes to clean off dusty boxes. Other ideas include electronic chargers, a tape measure, and pen and paper for your ever-growing "to do" list.
Pack a Bag to Keep With You
Although you might plan on unpacking most of your stuff as soon as you arrive, chances are that you'll fall behind in some aspect of moving. Therefore, it's always handy to have an overnight bag packed with your essentials. That way, you won't be frantically hunting down your nightly medication in the huge bathroom box or trying to find a pair of clean underwear buried in all of those bags marked "CLOSET." Trust me, you'll be exhausted from a busy day of lifting and unpacking, and having easy access to clean clothes and your necessary bathroom supplies will make a world of difference.
Come Up With an Overarching Organizational System
Before you start tossing things in boxes, decide exactly how you want to tackle this move. Do you want to sort things by the rooms they're coming from in the old house, or would you rather do it by what room they'll go in at your new house? While some swear that labeling boxes by room is the best way to go, others say that packing by priority is more important. After all, you'll need clean sheets for the beds way sooner than you'll need those dusty Halloween decorations. The strategy isn't necessarily the important part: the important part is picking one method and sticking to it.
Handle the Address Change Paperwork Before You Leave
When you get to your new place, you'll have a million things on your mind and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. Do yourself a favor and take care of what you can in advance. One of the biggest chores will be changing your address for mailing subscriptions, driver's licenses, bills, etc. You can fill out a change of address form online, so why not knock it out before you're overwhelmed by the specifics of moving?
Take Note of How Your Electronics Are Set Up
You do not want to unpack a box full of electrical cords and wires with mysterious purposes. Believe it or not, getting your WiFi, television, computers, and other electronic gadgets will be one of your first priorities when you arrive at your new home, so pay close attention to them. How are they set up at your current address? Will you be setting them up the same way again, or do you not need some of the current cords buried behind the TV cabinet? Taking a picture of how everything hooks up can help later on, as can labeling various connections.
Opt for Garbage Bags Over Cardboard Boxes
Boxes may be more practical for packing many items, but clothing doesn't really require a structured bin. Instead, take a plastic bag and poke a hole at the top. Then cover your clothing with the bag without even removing the hangers. Not only will this process save space when it comes to cramming stuff in the car, but it will also make unpacking a breeze. Simply remove the bag and hang the clothes in your new closet. Voila!
These are just a few ideas that will help during the chaos of packing. Everyone has their own way of handling a big move, and some things work better for others. What are your top suggestions when it comes to preparing for a move?