Moving next Summer. What can I do NOW?

Toni_KYOctober 1, 2005

To save money to buy land and eventually build our own home, DH & I plan to sell our house and move into a much smaller space next year (We'll be going from 2500 sq ft to 1000 sq ft). This will mainly be a temporary situation (2-3 years). We know it will be a major adjustment, but feel that the positives far outweigh the negatives.

It's too early to pack anything, and I can't pack holiday decorations, etc. What should I be doing now to help things be easier later?

Note: We will be renting a storage unit to keep things that we want to keep but won't fit into the small home. We're also planning a yard sale next year to sell what we don't want to keep.

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions!

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Since I'm not well organized myself, please take this advice with a grain of salt. First, I would find out the enitre cost of the storage unit for two to three years. I'd plan on three, since building a home generally takes longer than most people anticipate at the onset of the project. Then, as I would go through my possessions, I would ask myself if the item was valuable enough to warrant the storage cost. I would acknowledge that I, and this is my opinion, would like new things for my new home, such as upholstered furniture that matches the decor and floor plan of the home, kitchen goods, dining table/chairs, etc. Since storage would cost at least several thousand dollars, I'd rather forgo the storage and set that money aside for furnishing the new house. Also, you can write off any in-kind donations, so that should motivate you and your husband to give stuff away. However, all of this depends on what your overall budget looks like and the quality of goods you have to store: if your house is full of gorgeous antiques that you love, selling them off is not a feasible option. Next, I'd read through the threads on this forum because there are some fabulous ideas for managing stuff.

Finally, congratulations! It sounds like you have so much to look forward to. Please keep us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 7:46AM
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I think Cup had some good suggestions. Around here, the least I've seen for a storage unit is $40-50/month. I don't know what size unit that is, but probably pretty small. This is a wonderful opportunity to really go thru things & declutter, especially as you begin to pack.

Have you put away summer clothes yet? If not, sort them before putting them away & give/throw away any you haven't worn or won't wear again. After Christmas, go thru your decorations as you put them away & declutter them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 11:07AM
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More of the same as in the previous two posts. Go through your clothing as you put it aside for the season. Don't save anything marginal.

When you've sorted through the holiday decorations, Halloween, Thanksgiving put them in tubs or boxes suitable to move so that you won't have to do it a second time.

Put boxes for discards in a spare room or garage. I like one for clothing, one for small items and one for bulky things. That way you can toss items in one at a time as you come across them. When full, you can donate the items or put the boxes aside till you have the big moving sale next year.

If you have anywhere to put boxes that you've packed, do start now. If your house is anything like mine, you could pack a box a week and the job wouldn't be done by moving day. Think of the many things that you own but don't necessarily *use*, books, keepsakes. They may be stored away or in cabinets but probably not wrapped in paper in moving boxes and labeled.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 11:04AM
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Start making lists. Here's an example.

Everyday dishes
Kitchen table & chairs
Red chair
Floral sofa
Bedroom furniture

China & crystal
Dining room set
Leather sofa and recliner

Brown chairs
Mis-matched dishes
Ping pong table

12 boxes of books
Patio furniture
Table saw

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 9:23AM
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All those sound like good suggestions, Toni. My first thought was DECLUTTER, then declutter some more! Did I say, "declutter"??? LOL

I like Julie's idea of listing what you HAVE to have in the new place. By doing that, then you can decide if everything else is a "store" or a "get rid of".

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 10:00AM
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But you listed the most important thing. Declutter.

I've been wanting to answer this thread since I saw it. I have a lot to say about this...

Last July I moved from CA to MO with 2 1/2 weeks notice. 8 years in a home, two kids and the only thing that was 'weeded' was my front yard. No joke, I had just finished redoing the flowerbeds, et al the day before this decision came down. DH got a new job offer that we could not turn down. This was completely unplanned for.

I had 2 1/2 weeks to declutter, get my house ready to sell, pack and put stuff into storage so that we could refinish the floors and save on moving costs, throw a birthday party for my three year old, and go to Disneyland for three days (prepaid). Then we could haul a small trailer across country over four days with the stuff we needed for temporary housing until we found a home to buy. The moving men would move the big stuff and the boxes that we put into storage. Even had to ship DH's car. I also happened to have a bad case of bronchitis at the time.

I still have PTSD from that experience.

As I went through my junk (Dh's junk, the kid's junk, the garage junk) that had not been touched, my Catholic upbringing reared it's head. I swear I was doing penance for every box I had not weeded. Every bag of toys that I had shoved in a closet. Every box received from my mother that I put straight into the attic and didn't 'deal' with.

The whole thing was a zoo. The worst part to deal with was the clutter. The rest, although insane, was actually doable. The clutter is what slowed everything down.

START NOW. Do not wait. You have far more junk and stuff than you realize. You are also going to find yourself having to negotiate with your DH on what will be kept and what won't be. He's attached to his 'stuff' too.

Buy a bunch of medium sized boxes, packing tape, packing paper, Sharpie pens and a tape gun. Tape guns are a necessity to me.

When you put something into a box to either move or store, ask yourself 'Do I REALLY need this?" Is it necessary or truly sentimental? Then keep it. If it's usable but you will not use it in those three years, and could possibly die in storage, sell it, donate it or ditch it. It does not have to be trash to get rid of it.

Start boxing. Label WELL. Detail the outside of the boxes. Don't just say "books" if you have a lot of them. Label them "college textbooks" or "reference books"or "cookbooks". That will help with unpacking. Books are heavy, put them only in book boxes. Moving men might have dollies, but once they're in your new place, you're the one that has to haul them around. Don't overpack a box.

Go through every area of your home and see what you can really get rid of. That utensil drawer in the kitchen. The bakeware, do you need all of it? I found that I had seven pie baking dishes. I never make seven pies. I kept three and got rid of four. Linen closet? How many sets of sheets do you need or use? What about those old blankets? There are a million decisions to be made here.

If you want to do this and not have it drive you insane, start now. Yes, the master lists are a good idea, but furniture is easy. It's the everything else that will stymie you and thus take longer.

Also do not wait to donate or have a garage sale. Once you have a pile of bags, do something with it. Go to Goodwill. And we leaned that a garage sale doesn't have to be a perfectly orchestrated affair. It can be throwing a comforter down on the lawn and dragging out four or five boxes of stuff. Have a handful of change and a sign in the neighborhood. We had a few basic prices. A quarter, a dollar, five dollars, 20 bucks and "oh just take it". We did three of those spontaneously during that time. One person in the house boxing things, the other outside witha fanny pack and a handful of change! LOL It actually worked!

Easy areas to attack first are the attic, basement and garage. The latter being a hotbed of garage sale items and a serious weeding place. I don't know if you're having professional movers, but you cannot move chemicals with them. Weed those that won't be used between now and the move. Give them to family, figure out how to dispose of them. Pass them on to neighbors. We put everything to 'save' or leave to the new owners (like paint) on one shelf. We boxed and stored the tools, while weeding them. And I passed massive boxes of stuff to my parents. Everything else? We opened the garage to the neighbors during the garage sale, pionted to the free area and said "have at it". Masonry cement, caulk, roofing tar you name it, they hauled it away. What little was leftover had to be taken to a hazardous waste site for disposal.

And don't forget that you have a lot of chemicals in the bathroom and the kitchen too.

Because we had such a short time period, we didn't have time for dump runs. So we rented a LARGE dumpster. In it wasn't just garbage and junk, we put all of our old wall to wall carpet while the guys refinished the floors. We had a professional group come in and prune our Japanese garden, all of the prunings went into there. We even threw in our old couch (and DANCED on that day! LOL).

If we had any advance notice, we could have done without that. I highly recommend it though if there will be any type of construction/yardwork debris in significant amounts at any point in your process.

So YES, dear Lord, please start now. The earlier than you get into the mindset of moving, the more relaxed that you can be about the process. Our move was miserable. Your's doesn't have to be that way.

One last thing...Storage costs add up. Only store the most valuable and precious things. It's worth it to store Grandma's china. It's not worth it to store that old entertainment center that you never really liked anyway. I once stored an old couch and deeply regret it. It was in great shape but I hated it. After three years in storage, when I got it out, I realized that I hated it even more. And the cost of storing it meant that I could've bought a new one that I actually liked! (What a concept.)

I also vowed that I would never find myself in this position ever again. Not like that. Not to that degree. So when I opened my first box here, I WEEDED AGAIN. Anything else to dump? Anything else to give away?

I hope in this that you find something that you can use to your advantage. You're already taking the first step, getting into moving 'mode'. Take this opportunity to do it in a way that serves you in the long run.

And this is totally JMO.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:02AM
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Tape guns are a necessity to me.

AMEN! And they're cheap--get a couple of them. (but don't get the kind w/ the retractable safety blade--ask me how I know)

And get decent-quality tape; save yourself the frustration of dealing w/ tape the folds over.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 12:09PM
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The story of smom40's move finally helped me set a real goal. I've been decluttering with no real end in sight, no goal but to get it done.

MY GOAL: In 2 more years (I'm being realistic here) I want to have the house decluttered to where I could just pick up the phone and say "Move Me" and know that everything was worthy of going to a new house.

(We have no intention of moving, but that's not the point. LOL)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 5:13PM
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You have gotten some great advice. I have moved too many times and we're not even in the military. One bit of advice I can give you is to put any items that you can't part with into storage. Notice which ones you actually miss having around. When you finally take the items out of storage, be ruthless and throw out, sell or give away any items you did not miss (or even forgot you owned). You are lucky to have the chance to store things away because this will force you to realize which material items are really important to you. Realistically, if you don't miss an item for 6 months, you will never miss it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 5:45PM
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Another warning about storage. Storage places get broken into a lot. My dad stored some tools and other things a few years ago. He lost some good stuff because someone got in there.

My decluttering tip - take pictures of all your rooms. Do your rooms look good in the pictures? I can clean up and declutter a room and think I've done a good job. Then I take pictures of the kids and see all kinds of stuff in the background that makes it look messy. That organized pile of papers and magazines, actually looks hap-hazard and messy. All of the do-dads and knick knacks can make the house seem smaller. Simplify your home decorating and work to make it look bigger and cleaner. Now might be the time to repaint your rooms in more nuetral, but clean looking colors.

Check out the Buying and Selling Houses forum. The people over there have a lot of tips on what you can do now to help your house sell better.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 7:46PM
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