What is your best organization advice for the moving process....

fausta76May 8, 2008

I'm attempting to pack our house since we will be moving within the next two months (if all goes according to plan with our house remodel). I'm a bit overwhelmed by the packing/moving process and was hoping to get some advice on how to keep this project under control and organized.

Any and all tips are appreciate!

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well, of course, throw out as much stuff as you possibly can.

Pick a place you can put packed-already boxes.
It would be a real luxury if you would have room to put "boxes packed already for the DR/LR" in a separate place from "boxes packed already for the kids' room" and "boxes packed already for the closets & attic," etc. (or whatever groupings work for your life/home)

Will you have pro movers, or will you mostly pack (and maybe move?) yourself.

Don't try to pack-and-move, pack-and-move. Even if you do have rights to both places at once. This is tremendously inefficient.

Pack, pack, pack, pack, and then move once.

Unless you have a per-box limit, it might be better to have empty space in boxes than to jumble stuff together. (to that end, ask everyone you know to save you all those air-filled plastic pillows that are used in mail-order shipping nowadays)

I think that, given my personal tolerances, I'd spend the first month just tossing stuff and accumulating boxes, packing materials, etc. Trying to live half in and hour of boxes is annoying beyond words and will lead to some misplaced stuff, etc. Movers can pack an entire house in a day; if you've culled and aren't trying to do that WHILE you pack, you could probably get a lot done in a concentrated time, too. So I'd start actually putting stuff in boxes about week 3 or 4 of an 8-week stretch.

boxes: Get as many of the same size as you can. Esp. if you're moving yourself, don't get them too big (not only are they hard to carry, but it's harder to organize what goes in them; you'll probably end up jumbling stuff together).

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I strongly second Talley Sue's advice to give away everything you possibly can. If you don't use it, why keep it?

I have a system for making sure nothing gets lost in a box.

First, I make an Excel spreadsheet. You could use notebook paper, but I find it convenient to use Excel's search feature.

As each box is sealed, I list the box number and its contents with as much detail as I think I need. Depends on how good your memory is, I suppose. I also include the room where it should end up and its priority. More on that below.

Each box is numbered 1, 2, 3...

Each box is labeled with the room where I want it to end up. When we moved to this house, which has a full basement, I designated an area in the basement as "Basement E" for "exercise" and another as "Basement H" for "hobby." I simply taped a piece of paper to the wall to indicate each of these areas.

I mark each box "H," "M" and "L" which stand for "high," "medium" and "low" priority for unpacking. If I see an "H," I open the box as soon as possible, without even looking at the list to find out what was in it, since we'll need to use those items right away.

I use towels and sheets to pad fragile items. I list those on the spreadsheet, too, in case I wonder where they went.

I prominently label each box containing fragile items. This is important if friends will be helping you move.

If, as most people do, you end up with some boxes that you haven't opened even after a few years, and if one day your spouse says to you, "Honey, have you seen my ____?" you will be able to look it up on your list.

One other piece of advice. Never, never let your friends help you pack. I made that mistake, and my friend swept everything off my desk, including a very important check. It ended up in a box of random stuff from all over the room, and I had to do all sorts of bothersome things to have that check cashed once I did find it.

My other mistake was letting that friend stay the night, even though we'd be moving the next day. She was in town for a conference, and didn't want to have to pay for a hotel, and staying with me was free. And when I should have been at home packing, she had me walking all over downtown trying to find a restaurant she liked, at a price she could afford. Why didn't I put down my foot and insist that she eat something I cooked for her FOR FREE! Oh, and did I mention that my legs were still weak from the car accident? She didn't seem to worry about my ability to move boxes the next day. When she saw our new house the next day, she suggested we move out to California, because it's so great there. He-LLoooo! We just moved into this house!

After a few more similar episodes, I came to my senses, and wished her a wonderful life -- without me.

Don't let anyone that requires that much maintenance even think of helping you move. It's more trouble than it's worth. You need dependable friends at such a time.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Pack, pack, pack, pack, and then move once.

I agree with this. The temptation in a local move is to move things slowly, but it really is inefficient and wears you out more than you realize. And with gas prices now, it is truly a mistake.

I gave a ton of stuff away on craigslist before I moved and then asked on craigslist for dishpack boxes. Three people responded, and I ended up with some great boxes that were an enormous help.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 6:01PM
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Sell it and give it away. I moved from a larger house to a smaller one and I thought I got rid of enough stuff but I didn't. I also figured out too late that furniture that looked perfect in my last house didn't go well at all in my new house. Wrong size/dimension, etc.

So my advice, hard as it is to follow, is part with everything you possibly can right now, and just keep the stuff that's special and sentimental to you. Then enjoy decorating your new place to suit your new place, not with hand-me-downs from your old place.

Sell everything you can on CL or eB.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:09PM
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I'm with Maryliz on detailed labeling of boxes and I'm with everyone else with get rid of it before you pack.

My last suggestion is to take bedding with you. Clean sheets, pillows, pillowcases should accompany you when you go leave for the last time. If nothing else, you'll have a clean bed to sleep on the first night in your new place.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:44PM
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Buy a huge pack of markers at Office Max as you will misplace lots of them in the tumult of packing (hopefully while they're capped, not open). Ditto extra box sealing tape rolls.

UHaul used to sell nice boxes that require minimal set-up and they used to be willing to take back unused boxes.

Comparison check UHaul's prices on bubblewrap and packing materials with online sources and Office Max.

If you go with UHaul boxes use the smallest boxes (12" cube) and their small box 12 X 18 as the work horses. From my experience (and admittedly I have a lot of books - way more than usual) the ratio of my assortment would be 100 cube boxes, 50 small boxes, 20 medium and maybe 10 larger ones for pillows and lamp shades. Even without all my books and files it's still 50:1 for anything larger than a small box.

Now if you want to get very nice (and manageably-sized) boxes go to a big liquor store and get them for free. Sometimes it takes awhile to amass enough for big packing day, but I can get 35-45 at once on a good day. Don't be dismayed by the internal partitions of liquor boxes, they are useful and easy to remove if you need to.

Late in your packing affairs, make up several boxes with bedding for each bed, towels, TP, soap, plastic shower curtain, hand lotion, flashlight and extra batteries, and easy to eat snack and canned food and beverages and maybe a change of clothes. Mark these differently so you can easily identify them at the new place. Then you know you can work till you drop and still have some chow, get clean and then crash and wake up knowing where your fresh undies are. Add an extra blanket as new houses always seem cold to me until I get used to them. I'd throw in a pair of heavy socks to use as slippers, just in case. Once these last out/first unpacked boxes are set you can face anything.

If you're doing the moving yourself rent a truck with a low bed and a good ramp, or better yet, a lift ramp. Rent a furniture/box dolly for every adult who can use one. Rent twice as many moving blankets as you think you'll need and wrap all your furniture in the blankets.

Don't try to fit everything in on top of everything else like a giant 3-D jig-saw puzzle unless you're going long distance where extra trips would be prohibitive.

Buy extra rope and tie things to the racks on the side walls to keep your load squared away.

Get a pair of those rubber-palmed gardening gloves as they make your grip better when lifting. Remember to lift with your legs, not your back.

And resolve to bite your tongue in the hub-bub of the move. Some of the worst fights I've ever had with my DH have occurred while mid-way up a staircase carrying something like a boxspring that was getting wedged against the wall and slipping out of my grasp and threatening to pull us both down after it.

This, too, shall pass.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:59PM
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When i was younger and single, I moved form apartment to apartment frequently. Pack everything in cardboard coxes, be very picky what you pack, use this as an opportunity to de-junk and declutter. But don't pack your clothes. They can go in plastic leaf bags, leave them on hangers. If your friends/relatives offer to help you move, take up their offer. The last time we moved, FIl and MIL helped. As we emptied our old (rented) house, MIL cleaned the rooms for us, washing floors and baseboards, , saving us our security fee with the landlord. Be sure and reward your "workers" with sandwiches,and beer, coffee, softdrinks. That's the only tips I have. Good luck! As Molly said, this too shall pass.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:27AM
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Don't try to pack-and-move, pack-and-move. Even if you do have rights to both places at once. This is tremendously inefficient.
YES! We were asked to help some friends move into a new apartment 15 minutes from the old one, and when we arrived, we found that they were only MAYBE half packed. That was a MISERABLE two days; we ended up sending the two men to drop off a truckload, while the two ladies spent a frantic half-hour packing another truckload's worth. We should've been able to move them in under a day, but they didn't do any sorting or nearly enough pre-packing. Ugh.

resolve to bite your tongue in the hub-bub of the move....This, too, shall pass.
Yes, yes, yes! :)

Ok, some other advice, rather than just echoing what's been said already.

- Start a 3 ring binder (or expandable file) for the move. This gives you a place to keep a checklist, phone numbers for utility companies (turning off service at the old place/on at the new)/the local pizza places at both ends (let's be realistic about meals during the move, LOL)/emergency contacts, any inventories you create, etc. It also means that other family members know where to find this stuff if you're managing another process.

- Speaking of family members... Since you say "we", I assume you're not single. That means you shouldn't be packing like you were :) If you're the home manager, making this primarily your responsibility, that's great - one of the marks of a successful manager is delegation. Enlist any/all help you can, particularly of a spouse/partner and teenagers (though younger kids may be good help as runners, and active involvement may help ease any worries they have about the move).

- Consider color coding the boxes. This could be those colored dots people use for garage sales, or using colored index cards taped on (with the contents list), or writing in different markers, or... Anyway, you could color code for location (i.e. "living room is the red dot" makes it easy to eyeball a stack and make sure they're all in the right place) or for priority of unpacking, as maryliz suggested ("blue dot, oh that can wait"). Mark boxes on five sides so it doesn't matter how they end up stacked.

- Make yourself a "packing apron". Those half-aprons you see for gardening work really well. This will give you a couple of big pockets to hold the essentials (tape, utility knife, markers, rubber bands, labels). And since it's attached to your body, you're less likely to lose the contents (heh). You can easily put it on during your packing sessions and store it with your stash of empty boxes when you're done for the day.

- Similarly, make a tool box. Gather up anything you might need to assemble/disassemble furniture, take doors off hinges, etc. This may be: allen/hex wrenches, philips and flat head screwdrivers (2 sizes each), another knife, a hammer, pliers, a stash of ziptop bags (for holding screws/etc - LABEL THESE!! lol), more markers for labeling, etc. It should be the first thing into the new place and have a designated location where it lives between uses.

- Make a plan of attack. I would do it like this: count how many rooms/spaces you have in your current house, including storage spaces. (For me, that would be 12: kitchen, dining, living, den, 2 bathrooms, game room, 3 bedrooms, basement, garage.) Mutiply by 2. That gives you an idea of the number of days it may take to get your house packed without it consuming your life. Why 2? Plan on going through whole house, one room per day, doing the "sorting" process (charity donations, etc). Then go through the whole house a second time, one room per day, packing that room completely (except the bare essentials).

- Plan to have this main packing done a week before moving day, leaving out only a week's worth of essentials (clothes, toiletries, very basic kitchen utensils) that will be packed the day before the big move. This gives you leeway to wrap up loose ends, make any final arrangements, rest a little before the big push, etc.

- Pack a duffel bag/suitcase for each member of the family containing the same items you'd use for a long weekend trip - changes of clothes, toothbrush, toiletries, etc. Add one more bag/box that contains a towel for everybody, clean sets of sheets, etc. These should be the last thing out of the old house (traveling with you, if someone else is driving the moving truck) and the first thing into the new house.

- Use paper plates/napkins/cups at your current house for the last day or two, and plan to use them for the first day or two at the new place. Decide in advance if you want to move a lot of pantry-type food (canned goods, pasta), or if you want to use it up. Plan meals accordingly.

It's been almost five years since my last move (and before that it was 3 moves in as many years), and I almost miss the process. It's a lot of work, but is exciting at the same time! Congratulations!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:43AM
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We were moved by movers the last time, but I had packed up most of the stuff already so I could get my house in condition to sell. One thing they did was have me pick out five boxes that I wanted opened first when we got to the new house. It could be the coffee maker, toys or whatever was most important.

In packing, I packed away all towels except for one apiece and only enough clothes for one or two weeks. It doesn't hurt to do laundry more often. It's actually easier to deal with.

We ate the food we had in our house instead of moving it or throwing it away. There were some items like excess spaghetti sauce in jars that were given away to a friend or a food pantry so I didn't have to risk getting it broken. When I finally had to buy food, I bought microwave meals so the oven would stay clean and I only had one appliance let to clean.

I also started limiting usage in certain rooms of the house. For instance in the last two weeks, I cleaned and repainted the upstairs bedroom and bathroom. Those were off limits for the rest of the time.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 11:05AM
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get a tape gun.

This style ($4, get a couple of them, one for each apron) will go in that pocket apron (which I suggest as well--saves you chasing the marker, tape dispenser, etc., around the room.

Staples has one, too, but the link above is a little cheaper.

But of course, the classic one is OK too--

it's just that you'll chase it around the room.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:03PM
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I recently moved and one big mistake I made. I abbreviated on my labels. They made perfect sense when packing. As I was unpacking and I wanted to do this orderly, suddenly I found myself not knowing what some of the abbreviations were.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:04AM
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another thought: label both ends of the box. You can't count on people to spin the box around so the label faces out.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 2:57PM
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I did a similar thing as Maryliz, though I didn't do the detailed spreadsheet. I did label each box with the room I wanted it to end up in, and sometimes with an area within the room. Then, before we'd move, I'd label the rooms in the new house and label the parts of the room. (For example, "guest room - office area".)

If I were packing now, I'd consider using different colors of packing tape to indicate rooms.

I also used blue painters tape to put X's on the floor of the new house where I *didn't* want stuff to go. I've been through enough moves where everyone piled boxes right where the sofa was going to go. In recent moves (and it's been quite awhile now), I'd X out the areas for major furniture pieces.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:55PM
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Wow. You're getting really excellent advice. I would add that having all your boxes (or the bulk of them, anyway) the same size helps amazingly. They are easy to stack in a space as you prepare to move, and they are far easier, safer, and more space-saving than a bunch of assorted sizes. AND, instead of watching a stack of assorted liquor boxes piling up in a spare room, you'll have the satisfaction of watching a wall of tidy boxes grow and grow, rather like a warehouse.

You will be surprised how many boxes you need and how much they can cost as they add up. Rather than buy them, perhaps you can find a source. I had a friend in the printing business and he gave me all the boxes his bulk paper came in. Another time, I made repeated trips to the paint store and did all our packing in the boxes that hold four gallons. Smaller boxes weigh less once packed, and give you more flexibility.

Having a staging area for packing is a help. You don't want the frustration of hunting for labels, tape, marker, and other packing stuff. The apron idea is a good one. Work on a table that is comfortable working height.

Don't forget that toilet paper and shower curtain! Good luck with your move and in your new home.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Label boxes properly to indicate when to open them. High priority...low priority, etc. Don't just label by room.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 11:39PM
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I want to second the suggestion for those boxes that 4 gallons of paint come in.

They're small enough that, if the stuff isn't too heavy, a tallish person can carry 2 at once, but they give you tons of flexibility in packing the truck.

They are the PERFECT size for LPs (remember those?), and also for paperback books. Bcs they're sort of smallish, you can't put in so many that you can't pick the box up.

Of course, if you're having pros move you, they'll want fewer boxes, and huge ones.

Joann, that's a GREAT idea about Xing out the areas where boxes SHOULDN"T go.

Or, you could box off the area you want boxes IN. Last time I moved, I asked DH to pass on the word to the friends unloading at the other end that they shoudl STACK boxes up against the wall. When I got they, they were smeared around the floor in a single layer. If you boxed off the area where boxes shoudl go, maybe they'd be more likely to stack them? In order to stay between the lines?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 12:36AM
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I love the packing apron idea...I make up two baskets of packing tools, one for each floor or person, with markers, labels, tape, and zip-loc bags.
I also second the liquor store box idea. They are sturdy and manageable. (And it's always fun to give your new neighbors a foretaste of your hospitality!)
My best tip:
When you take anything apart, put all the hardware and small pieces and any reassembly instructions or special tools (like allen wrenches that came with it) into a zip-loc, label it, and tape or tie it to the dissasembled thing. You will feel like a genius when it's time to put it together again.
My other favorite trick is floor-plan labels for the boxes. I make a simple 4 by 6 magic marker drawing of the new floor-plan, one for each floor with the rooms identified (DR, LR, MBR, Front BR, KIT, etc..). I photocopy them (4 to a page) onto colored paper, one color for each floor and another for any other places like the garage, and cut them apart into labels. Then when I pack a box, I choose where I want it to go, color in the right room with a highlighter, and tape it onto the box. It never fails to crack the movers up, but they love it.
Good luck!!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Oh, and another thought...
I know everybody says don't pack-move-pack-move, but I find that for a local move with some overlap, I like to move my kitchen and master bath in myself in advance of the moving day and get them unpacked and organized. I also like to move all my hanging clothes from closet to closet...I just lift them off the rails in bunches, lay them on the back seat of the car, and reverse when I get there. This is where friends can really help...two or three friends, each with her own back seat, makes very short work of this phase. Both things make a world of difference when you are in and surrounded by the astonishing amount of stuff you have to deal with.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 9:03PM
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If you are looking for a source of free boxes, check with the meat department of your local supercenter. The boxes are sturdy and come in about three different sizes. They usally have a place to put your hands and are a nice size to carry.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 2:25AM
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When you take anything apart, put all the hardware and small pieces and any reassembly instructions or special tools (like allen wrenches that came with it) into a zip-loc, label it, and tape or tie it to the dissasembled thing. You will feel like a genius when it's time to put it together again.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:15AM
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Wow, I wish I'd found this site before we moved recently, so much great advice. One thing that really worked for us, but maybe not suitable for everyone was an ongoing garage sale.
As soon as we knew we'd be shifting, I cleaned out our downstairs garage, and set it up as a kind of shop, almost. We had one big garage sale on a weekend, and then kept up a kind of perpetual one. As we packed up and sorted, anything we didn't want to take was just put down into the garage.
We had signs out the front of the house, and then inside I had notices saying to check back as there would be more and more added through the following weeks.
I had a whole table with stuff to give away, as well as stuff to sell. People loved that, and I never took one load away to get rid of myself.
If I was away for the day or just too busy to deal with the garage sale, I just took the signs down.
It was a lot of fun, and really helped with the de-cluttering beforehand. Even the kids, as they came across stuff they didn't think they wanted, put it on a table in the garage, and as they made a bit of money from it, it really encouraged them to de-clutter more and more stuff.

This mightn't work for anyone, but we lived in a smallish town, and had an attached garage to do it in. I wore a money pocket on my waist so I didn't keep money in the garage. I had a bell there for "customers" to ring, if I happened to be somewhere else in the house, and it really didn't interrupt my day that much, because it was like a temporary "sorting" room anyway, as we packed up. And saved me packing it up and carting stuff to the Thrift shop etc.
I let my friends and relatives "shop" first, and just take anything they fancied.
But it was a huge motivator to get rid of a lot of stuff I wouldn't have otherwise. And on the very last day, when it was just odds and ends left, I just told people to help themselves for free to anything there. Some of it was just stuff I actually would have dumped! But people were even glad to take away old ratty rugs and containers for their dogs.
It was a lot of fun actually.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:22PM
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We are scheduled to move in 2 weeks. I started by getting rid of items that were no longer needed- I sold on craigslist and gave things away for free as well.

I also started a binder- it contains information for utilities, etc. It also houses important documents that will be needed for closing on our property. I used dividers within the binder and each room has its own space.

As I packed- I packed knowing what would be needed immediately and not until season changes. Instead of putting labels on the exterior of the boxes of the contents (the label could get torn or it may invite a less than honest mover/helper to steal items) I kept a list of the box number and the contents in each box in the designated area of the binder. I only use bright orange circle stickers- if a box had a sticker it needs to be put away from the others because it is a "need it now" box.

I am going to the new house this weekend to map out a layout and take measurements. We are going to try to pack the moving truck so the large pieces can be unloaded first and they can be put exactly where they need to be. Then we are loading the boxes according to the layout of the house- rooms in the back will get filled with their appropriate boxes first and we will make our way to the front of the home- hopefully this will eliminate people tripping over boxes.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:58PM
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I like those bright orange stickers to mark priority boxes.

You could similarly use the bright orange duct tape.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 10:25AM
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Take pictures of assembly before you take anything apart (or during) We are taking pictures of the crib, desk and storage cabinets. I never remember how to assemble a crib.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:14AM
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Amen to the labeling and keeping the small pieces together with whatever they came from.

Do you have charities in your area that pick up? If so, schedule yourself in for a few pickups. You could do every week, every two weeks... whatever interval suits you best.

Designate an area in your house or garage where the charity stuff does.

This is the key part: pack it neatly in boxes with lids and stack it. This stops it spilling all over and/or pets/kids getting into it. We use copy paper boxes.

Tape a piece of paper to the lid and as you put stuff in, write down what you put in. When the box is full, take the sheet and put it in your charity donations folder. Request receipts from the charities. Your lists and the receipts will save you a BUNDLE at tax time.

Alternately, if your charities don't pick up, list stuff on Freecycle or craigslist. Maybe you can get one of your kids to do this? You could give them a small cash bonus when the stuff goes.

We have always done this when we've moved and it's worked out really well. At the other end, we list the boxes on craigslist as we unpack them and the craigslisters disappear them within a day.

The one thing that hung us up on the last move was that we didn't measure our rooms and figure out whether our furniture would fit in the space. We moved a lot of furniture that didn't work in the new space and that we ended up selling. bhg.com has an online room planner that you could use.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 1:05PM
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I haven't read all the tips above, and apologize if this is redundant... my best advice is to buy LARGE coloured dots in a different colour for each room where boxes will go IN THE NEW HOUSE. Fill boxes with items that will all be unpacked and remain in a single room i.e., don't mix room contents in your packing boxes. So, for example, all your dining room boxes will be marked with a big ORANGE (or whatever colour you choose) dot on all four sides AND the top.

When you get to your new house in advance of the movers, put up a piece of construction paper in the colour of the dot in the room where you want those boxes to go. This is much easier when you are tired and not thinking, and it could be invaluable if you happen to get movers who cannot read. Yes, it happened to us two moves ago, and they put the boxes in any room because they (two of four) could not read the labels. They weren't just ignoring the labels, they really, truly, were illiterate, and this almost doubled our work unpacking.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Trying not to duplicate what's already been said if possible. The labeling was the biggest help for me. I printed a bunch of sheets with all the room names on them and would pack, tape a sheet onto the box and circle the room. That way I knew to look in boxes marked "Kitchen" if I wanted the coffeemaker or silverware. More detail is great and I'd make a comment on the bottom of the paper for things to help, but not go overboard. For instance, I'd note something like "desk drawers" "winter clothes" for the contents.

You probably have luggage. USE IT! Why transport empty luggage? Pack your clothes in it or pack other stuff. Who cares.

Make a grooming kit or kits. Pack the toothbrush, shampoo, soap, shaver, etc in there and you can work out of it at both places as need be. Put prescriptions in there and also things like aspirin, ibuprofen, aceteminaphin (sp?), antihisthemines, antacids etc. You'll probably be stiff and sore and stressed so even if you don't ever need Tums, you or someone else might.

A briefcase is handy to keep valuable papers, checkbook, etc. Print out a listing of addresses & phone numbers for your contacts.

Make a schedule and goal sheet. I like the 8 week countdown that you can find all over and adapt to your needs and if you have more or less time, adjust. But then you can see that if your goal was to have the bedrooms packed by Friday you may be ahead or behind schedule. Keep this in a binder with notes and stuff about the move. Could be a good place to keep bills, checkbook, pizza coupons, menus, envelopes, stamps and a pouch with paper clips a small stapler, and other office supplies. I call mine the "porta-office". You can also make notes on things to tell the next owners of the old place. Furnace filter sizes, things like how to use appliances, etc can be nice to know, along with a list of local numbers and such that they might need, even where to vote. But that's another thread!

A cooler of pop and water is always appreciated. Some easy snacks, sandwiches, even a pan of frozen lasagna or a crock pot of sloppy joes or hot dogs helps keep the troops going. Maybe a friend or neighbor could tend the food for you? Even if a person can't lift, clean or whatever else, they probably could warm up the food and keep the thermos of coffee stocked. Of course, use paper and have wastebaskets and liners around. (An emptied box makes a good temporary wastebasket/recycle bin too.) Oh and have chairs handy so people can rest. Lawn chairs or folding chairs are fine. A few extra pair of cheap gripper-palm gloves are considerate too.

Oh, BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER(S)!! Carry the backups with you in your briefcase and find a secure spot at the new place for them or put them into your safe deposit box.

The bathroom will potentially become a mess. Live with it, it's a cost of the move. But have extra toilet paper out in plain sight and I'd maybe put a big wastebasket in there and use paper towels instead of the good towels.

Make an essential box. Paper towels, napkins, etc that you would need right away. Paper plates, plate holders, plastic flatware, etc. Extension cords, outlet strips, a phone or two. Get the answering machine set up right away if you can.

I've often thought about a "pre-move" move. To get the frig on and stocked with beverages, stock bath with supplies, set up phones and answering machine, etc. Have a stock of things you might need like prescriptions, painstuffs, etc. Small amounts but will cover you during the hectic worst.

I would pack and stack boxes against the wall when moving out, but wanted the stack away from the wall at the new place. That way you can have two layers deep and access it from two sides without making as big a mess.

Have some carpet runners laid out for keeping the mess down at the new place, especially if foul weather. Keeps the mess from 2-wheelers down too. Have garbage cans (or use boxes) for the trash that will accumulate. And a box for recycling the cans and bottles from the move. Don't skimp on these or you'll be picking up bottles and cans all over the place.

Did I say it? HAVE ENOUGH 2-WHEELERS! Save your back! Don't expect people to carry all the boxes - wheel them! Rent them if you have to, you can buy them for $10-$20. I started bringing mine with me when I'd help someone because nobody would ever have them. Pack everything in a box that you possibly can so it can go on a 2 or 4-wheeler. How many times did I see a little stack here and a little stack there that they thought we'll just take that with us and it's a truckload by itself!

MARK BOXES IF THEY AREN'T FULL! Otherwise people will stack on top of it and the whole pile will fall over and potentially a huge mess.

Either make a briefcase or use the grooming kit to store the cell phone chargers, remote controls and things like that. Keep a phone available at both locations, keep your cell phone charged. If you don't have a cell phone, buy a prepaid phone. $20 investment will keep your sanity! And any numbers you need can be entered in that phone, you will have it on you if you need to call the attorney, realtor, mover, cousin Maude, the pizza place or whatever.

I lived on frozen food and take out for several days. I also did some pack & move, although actually I had been packing for months so I would come home from work and load up a load of boxes and bring it to the new place. I basically moved myself the last time except for the biggest furniture.

Made a box with cleaning supplies to have there. One move the first thing needed was a toilet plunger! Sooooo, there's something to know where you have it. And a pre-move item potentially. Or buy new? Or buy one and the old one can go to a second bath or whatever.

Expect things to go wrong and then you'll appreciate what went right. Try not to overcomplicate things. If you're meticulously organized you'll need to inventory things more thoroughly. If you're less meticulous, put it in a box and mark the room.

Some like to get the beds set up right away but I just used a sleeping bag the first couple nights and it was fine and I was comfy. Nightlights in a new place are nice to have.

Keep some extra cash handy. Quick store trips or tips or whatever. You'll need it.

Boy, what else? Oh, don't forget food, water & vet records for pets if you have any. Probably a good idea to have a few gallons of water so they can avoid Montezuma's revenge for the first few days following the move. It'll be stressful on them too.

Just remember the most important moving tip: Life won't end if things don't go smoothly. So relax and bend with it. As long as everyone is safe and secure the other stuff is minimal so don't overstress. All will be well! Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 6:16PM
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This is less about organization, and more about sanity for you AND the small kiddos.

Give your little ones a box of washable markers or crayons and set them loose on the packed boxes from their rooms. Let them decorate their very own boxes! It's amazing how excited they are to see those boxes come off the truck at the new house! The littlest ones sometimes think those guys packed up their toys and took them away never to be seen again. They can immediately spot "their" boxes and all the worries melt away. Plus, it's a great way to keep them busy for a while on moving day!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:45PM
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