How do I start getting organized to move into new house?

lucky32October 31, 2005

We have SO much stuff and SO many clothes that I just hate the thought of starting. I'm not a great housekeeper so this adds to the procrastination I have holding me back.

We are almost done (maybe 2-3 weeks out) with our beautiful new home we built and I think I'm just so overwhelmed by the thought of moving, organizing, tossing, and finding a place for all of our stuff that I just don't know what I'm going to do! I really feel anxious and depressed when I think about it because I want it all to be perfect and neat and organized when we move but I don't know if it will be right away and it's stressing me out!

The main problem we have now in our mobile home is it's too small and has NO storage which I don't think will be a problem in the new house except I wanted to buy us all new BIG nice dressers not like the hand-me-downs we have now that hold very little but I don't know if we can swing the money for them right away and I just think if I don't have all the new, nicer, bigger stuff I want right when we move I might get discouraged with the whole thing and be miserable with the outcome.

We have a huge closet so if we don't have a new big dresser right away it won't be that big of a deal but the kids have to have them because their closets are smaller of course. I think that will be OK for us to wait and just get them the new ones.

What should I do now to get ready since I have procrastinated this long and now have to really get on the ball to get things half way sorted through and organized so I won't be running like crazy when we do move hopfully before thanksgiving! Which is another issue...I want to be ready for company! not have junk everywhere :( so we can have dinner at my new home... you see this house was supposed to be " done in June no later than August!!!" per the GC ...YAAA right! so that is another source of frustration and anxiety for me moving so late and close to the holidays and no time to get everythign like I wanted it BEFORE the holidays! It's just been a mess!!! I hate the whole process right now and can't wait for it to be over!!! I just don't know how I'm going to get it all done

ANY advice would be great! thanks in advance :)

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There is the 3 box rule that you can follow: 1 box of items to keep, 1 box of items to get rid of and 1 box of "I can't decide right now so I'll put it in this box and decide if I miss these items within 6 months".

Do you have any place to stage items? That is, putting like items together in one place. If you've read any of my posts, this is what I've been doing for the past while. It does take energy but the end results are worth it.

Make sure you mark the boxes correctly so you'll know which rooms they will go into. You can even mark the kitchen boxes in such a way that you will know what shelf in your new house the items will go. When I've moved, I divided up all the utensils in extra large ziploc bags and this made it easier to put them away. These bags are also really helpful when sorting into boxes.

How many are in your family? Can they go thru their own things?

I know how you want everything perfect when you move in. Of course, while this would be the ideal, remember that you can put things away at your own pace once you move in. If the kitchen and bathrooms are set up, life can go on reasonably well.

Just take a deep breath and start a to do list. I personally love crossing things off of a lis as this gives me a sense of accomplishment.

You might also want to do what I did with my thread. Check in here with a report of how you far along you are getting. This has also helped me because I have been forcing myself to finish my next project before I can get on the computer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 10:43PM
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Marie has given you some good pointers. The one I would like for you to start out with is change that music that's playing in your head. You are very fortunate to have the opportunity to move into a nice, new home. Let's get that attitude changed to positive so you can get this work done.

Skip the idea that you are going to get moved and be ready for a large dinner for Thanksgiving. Reality time, so please don't do this to yourself.

You have 21 days. Do you have 21 rooms? Probably not. Stop looking at the entire moving job and look at one room per day. Don't pack yet, just focus on one room per day. Start with your own room and let's get the crud you don't want to move gone. Repeat--don't pack yet.

I suggest using only two bags. One for trash and one for thrift store charity give away. Every evening, plan on taking the give away stuff by the thrift store. If you think you will have a mountain of trash, then rent a small dumpster. It's not all that expensive.

Master: time to get rid of those undies that look like they are ready for a bag lady. Those clothes that don't fit. What's under your bed? This is NOT the time to hyperfocus on what's in your jewelry box. Focus on the stuff that you have not been using which takes up space. This is also NOT the time to focus on all of those shirts that no longer fit your husband. You don't have time to worry about his excess and he'll just struggle with you anyway. Focus on your stuff and the rest of the house.

Move on to the next room every day. I know you won't be "finished" in the room. Doesn't matter. Move on, since the goal here is to at least go through each room and do some decluttering. Set a timer for 15 minutes if you need help staying focused. There is plenty of time for everything except moaning and groaning. No time for that.

Next, on to:

Living area: weed out those videos and DVDs. Books. Throw away the magazines and catalogs. Just throw them out. Go through any toys in that area and see if there are ones no longer played with. Now's the time to get rid of those knick knacks that you hate to dust anyway. Go through any cabinets and tables and throw away the crud that has gathered there.

Bathroom and linen closet: Be ruthless. Those away those bottles, make-up,lotions, etc. All that medicine is how old? Baby blankets still in the closet and no babies in the house? Just look through it all and put back what you want to move.

Kitchen: give yourself two days here if needed. Start one drawer at a time. Look through and see if you have tools you haven't used. Under the sink. Throw away all of that stuff that got shoved to the back. Give the excess cleaning supplies to a neighbor or use to clean after you move. Look in each cabinet and give away those boxes of food you bought on sale that no one likes. Get rid of baking dishes you don't use. Pots and pans that are worn out or not the right size for your family.

Dining room: spend a day here if you have a buffet chock full of stuff or there are piles everywhere. Spend 30 minutes in a laundry room is you have one.

Kids rooms: do these last and cull out the outgrown clothing. Broken toys. Books. Don't go wild and expect them to get rid of everything, but if they can't walk in the room they have way too much stuff. I can tell you that my kids have enough clothing to last 10 days and that's all. All they each need is one small 4 drawer chest.

Any storage room or shed: Just do your best for a day and get things out of there and to the trash or thrift store.

Let's say you have used 9 days at the most. That leaves you 12 days! Even God only needed 7 days. LOL
Be sure and take the give away stuff to the thrift store every evening if at all possible. It needs to be gone or you will get overwhelmed. Do not move this stuff to the new house and plan on having a garage sale. You do not want your lovely new home to start it's family life as a dumping ground for a "some day" garage sale. Reward yourself with an ice cream cone on the way home.

Days 10 and 11: Start rotationg through the rooms again. One half hour per room. Go through the stuff again and see if you can give anything away. Don't get stuck that you have 10 years of pictures to organize. That's not your goal here. You are looking for items which do not need to go with you to your lovely new home. Get the laundry caught up and cull out those clothing while they are clean. If you haven't mended something by now, you most likely won't do it, so get those clothing items gone.

Day 12: Go get your packing supplies. Boxes, tape, color coding markers and stickers. Bubble wrap and paper if you need it. Spend some more time in any storage area or shed if you have one.

Days 13 and 14: go through the rooms again. I know I sound like a broken record, but you never can see it or get to it the first time through. NOW you can put a box in the rooms and start putting some items like books in the boxes. Close and label. Color code. Take stuff to the thrift store and try a different flavor at the ice cream shop.

Box all of the pictures together. Box all the craft stuff together. Box momentos together. These can be staging boxes set around the house while you are decluttering. Just put those type of items in them when you come across them in other rooms. Label well.

Now, you and God are on equal footing with only 7 days. If everyting with the house is on schedule then take a bit of time and do some necessary things. Do you have the utilities called, change of address sent, schools notified of new information? Don't forget newpaper, phone, trash, sewer, elec., gas, credit cards, doctor's offices, family. Take a morning and make those calls if everything is on schedule. Take the afternoon and get some groceries in the house for easy meals. Sandwich fixings, crockpot meals. Cereal, milk, lunches. Pick up some paper plates and bowls to make your life easier. Make sure you have plenty of trash bags. You don't want to have to stop for fast food for the next week. Create a floor plan of the new house and color code the rooms. Put this on a wall by the front door while moving stuff into the house.

If the house is not on schedule, then keep rotating through the rooms and getting rid of stuff and boxing up the unessentials.

Let's pretend your house in staying on schedule.

Day 16: use the stuff from the linen closet for padding and pack away the living room/dining room. Close and tape each box, clearly mark what's in the box. Color code the box if it will have the movers or anyone helping you. Put colored stickers on the furniture too since you don't want to play traffic cop and direct everything while moving into the new house. Pile the boxes in the same room as they are packed. Just start filling up a corner. Assign DH to pack away the DVD player and stuff if you have trouble with all of those wires.

Day 16 and 17: Get started packing the kitchen. Start with those least used items. Again, give away something you realize you don't want. Try and keep the meals really simple so that you can pack most of the items away. Label, label, label what's in those boxes. Don't just say kitchen. Actually put what is in the box. Again color code the room. Pack the stuff in the order you have it in the mobile home. That way you will be able to remember how things are put together. You can change all of the afer you are in the new place.

Day 18, 19, 20: Have the family members pack a suitcase like they are going on a trip for a week. Toothbrush, comb, towel, toys, everything they might need. Now, you can just use the additional clothing from the closet and dressers to cushion the knick knacks in the bedrooms. Label those boxes clearly and give each child a different color. The bedrooms really won't take long. Zip into the bathroom and load it up. Everyone should already have what they need in their suitcases.

Have a separate box set up with clean linen for everyone's bed. Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, shampoo, light bulbs, night lights if the kids use them, put any "lovie" type blanket or toy in this box on moving day. You'll be able to find it that night. Any medications needed. Typcial stuff like tylenol, bandaides. Keep some scissors and tape in there. Paper plates and cups. I'm sure you'll think of some helpful stuff for your family. Have this box well labeled so you can find it.

Day 21: at last. That morning have everyone strip their beds and put the linens in a CLEAR trash bag. Any dirty clothing can go in there too. Have everyone put their pillows (leave the cases on) in a separate CLEAR trash bag. You will want those that night.

Have empty boxes for the items from the freezer and fridge that will need to be transported quickly.

Please don't confuse housekeeping with organizing. They go hand in hand, but they are separate functions. I'm hearing a lot of "perfectly organized" in your post. The biggest single factor you are taking to this new house is YOU. So, it will be up to you to learn new ways of keeping your home. I can tell you that it won't happen in just three weeks, but you have to start somewhere and nows as good a place as any.

You are going to have a lovely new house, which probably isn't going to be perfect. It will be filled with your imperfect family and old, comfortable imperfect furniture. Don't let any of that get in the way of your enjoyment of this place.

So my advice after that long winded spiel. Get up and get moving. Invite friends or family over if that will help you stay on task. But you must get up and get moving.

I've moved 22 times and only 2 of those times were decluttered moves. It made a world of difference.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 4:06AM
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Give up on the stress of "ready for company" and remember that they will not expect a "perfect" house when you've just moved in!

Then do EXACTLY what Gloria said. It's an excellent step-by-step plan!

My advice:
1. Don't fall into the trap that the new house has more storage space so you can take all your junk. Get rid of it NOW so it doesn't clutter up your beautiful new house. It will make future housecleaning MUCH easier.

2. The kids can live out of laundry baskets for a few months. If you really don't like their old dressers and they are not functional, don't take them. Nobody would expect someone moving from a mobile home to a big house to have furniture in all the rooms.

3. Remember that empty space is HAPPY space. Feel free to declutter mis-matched dishes, ratty towels, clothes nobody wears, 49 flower vases (we all seem to "collect" those LOL), butter bowls, etc. Don't save anything just because you might need it "some day". If you haven't needed it in the last year, you probably won't. (See #1 above)

Keep us posted on your progress! Like Marie said, it will help keep you focused.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 5:58AM
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Hi Lucky,

Marie & Julie have provided some great thots & Gloria has given you a foolproof plan. If you follow their fabulous advice your move should be easy peesy.

The two things I'll address are a huge need for a change of attitude - as Gloria so perfectly said - and the definite need to forget 'a perfect Thanksgiving in a perfect house'. It ain't gonna happen and you'll drive yourself into depression trying to accomplish that. Trade Thanksgiving for Xmas and that may be a feasible plan.

I moved in April, thot I'd decluttered but much was moved (that has now left this house) and I PAID for all that stuff to be moved! I had planned a 65th birthday for my DH in August, expecting that I would, of course, have all the kitchen renos completed within 3 1/2 months & that most all my house would be 'perfect'. The new cooktop, oven, warming drawer still reside in my garage as we speak and the house is no where near perfect. :-)) MAYBE by Xmas I can actually use my new oven however I'm no longer depending on it.

For the first while I became more and more greatly depressed that all my mental imagery of this new (to us) house was going so terribly awry. I had to change my attitude and I did simply to save my sanity. As well, I had my DH constantly nagging about why all these things weren't getting done. . . as though I had any control over what 'others' were doing or not doing.

Thus I'd suggest you either change your picture of Thanksgiving to one of 'it will be a fun time regardless if we have KFC' or trade off TGiving for Xmas when its far more likely you can have this time more accurately match your picture.

If I was to do this again, my mental picture would be adjusted to "in a year from now, our home will be perfect". And who knows, even this may not result but at least it will keep me from immediate severe depression. LOL!!

Best of luck to you, love to hear from you how you are progressing!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 11:41AM
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Can you use the Thanksgiving gathering to get help unpacking and decorating? That sounds crazy, but I have invited people at times for just such a party - they get to pretend they are the decorators on one of those TV shows, and we all have a good time. Have one area that's relatively calm, and make them work! I provide food and drinks.

Can some of them bring parts of the dinner? I understand that you want to share your new home - but surely the people you are inviting won't expect you to be completely settled!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 12:46PM
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I agree you need to change the music in your head. A new home, one you built yourself? Wow, and how wonderful! Itll be great! Storage, and fresh space, etc!

You CAN do this, and you will.

IÂm also going to suggest that you STOP looking at you CURRENT space. What you have now, and where you live, donÂt matter.

My DH likes to quote this scene from a movie (It was either "gumball rally" or "itÂs a Mad, Mad World")ÂthereÂs a road race across the country, and one contestant has an Italian race-car driver for his partner. They get in the car,a nd the race-car driver reaches upa nd rips off the rear-view mirror. "One lesson," he says. "WhatÂs behind you doesnÂt matter." And he tosses the mirror in the backseat and starts the car.

WhatÂs behind you doesnÂt matter.

Focus ONLY on the NEW house.

What do you want it to have in it? What do you NEED, first of all, and where&how do you want to store it.

(it doesn't matter what cleaning supplies of tools do you have, it matters what you WANT in the NEW place.)

It doesn't matter what clothes your kids already own; it only matters what you think they really need to have.

Just because you own furniture, doesn't mean you need or want it in your new house.

Maybe that will help you think of your creating your "new" home from the ground up, instead of "lugging your old live into the new home."

Of course you'll "shop" first in your existing home, since money's tight, but you could have the picture of what you want eventually in your head. And maybe you'd be able to lay in a plan to get dressers the size you want.

About the "not have junk everywhere": do you have a garage? basement? spare bedroom? Move all the boxes in there first. Be sure to sort the stacks by the color-coding, so it's easier to find stuff from specific rooms. Then bring them into the rooms one at a time and unpack. No box can come in unless it must be unpacked.

one other question: do you have to be out of your current home, the trailer, immediately? Could you "shop" from it, and then see what else you need? Leaving stuff behind for a couple of weeks or a month may help you let go of it.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 3:57PM
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Thank you guys SO much for all the great advice and "THE PLAN" that is wonderful!
Quiltglo you were hilarious! So if God only had 7 days I surely can make some progress in 21 LOL!!!
I think I am going to start this week-end and really get rid of a ton of stuff and all the "garbage" we no longer need or use for that matter and I will feel alot more confident in what I can get done before we move in... one thing I should have mentioned is that our trailer and new house are next to each other on 1 acre of land so I won't have to pack excatly just sort out, toss and carry the good stuff over to the new house.If I had to move and actually pack I'd be going really nuts! :)
We got our girls new beds yesterday and as soon as the trim guy comes back and put their closet rods in I'm going to move all their stuff and they will have to just pick out clothes for school the night before and bring them back to the trailer.
I'm going to use " an empty space is a happy space" as my new motto .... that is one thing I hate in the trailer is that there is NO empty space!!! and I feel like it's just shirinking every day! you can't walk or touch something without moving something or knocking something else over...I really dispise that the most.
The new house really has tons of storage, I have a 6x12 master closet, a 6x12 laundry\mud room, 2 large linen closets in the master bath, 1 linen closet in the 1\2 bath, the kids have 3x4 closets with double rods on 2 walls and single on 1 wall, and a linen closet in their bathroom, and I have a big storage area under a 4' bench seat in my kitchen plus all the kitchen builder thought I was crazy because I was going on about wanting enough storage and he said don't worry you have more than most people, but I really wanted to be able for ONCE to have a place for everything and everything in its place...or as close as I can get!
We have a new leather sectional for the house and we will get our new bed on the 12th so I think things will come together as long as I toss a bunch of stuff and organize what is left. I really need a new entertainment center because we have tons of DVDs and CDs that need to be hid away maybe when we get our bed we can go ahead and get the entertainment center since we are getting it at a local "flea market" type thing that only happens once a month...the bed and EC are rustic mexican pine furniture with a Texas star theme to go with our rustic house. That's the bad part what I don't get on the 12th will have to wait atleast a month :(
any way...sorry I'm rambling and typing outloud sorta..hehe I think I am just really tired...
thanks again for all the great advice and I will keep you all posted on my progress in the next few, short, scary, crazy, wonderful, did I mention SHORT weeks ;)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 11:53PM
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Talley_Sue, the movie is Gumball Rally. I love that line, too. Last time I checked, the movie wasn't available on Netflix. :(

lucky32, where in Texas are you? I first thought you must be in Canton, but their flea market is the First Monday. I live in Austin.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 12:13PM
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Most people would love to be in your situation, having your new house next to your trailer and being able to put things away before you move in. Just do one trailer room at a time. If I were you, I would get one of those dumpsters for the next few weeks. This alone will not give you the excuse that you don't have enough room each week in your garbage pail to throw things out.

Have you made a list yet on what rooms/items need to be weeded out? The list might look as though there is too much work to do, but so many things on the list really don't require hours and hours of work, unless it's going through tons of papers. And if it is tons of papers, I would consider doing that last in my new house in front of the TV in the evenings. I am a list person but understand that not everybody is.

Have you looked into items and spaces that will make life easier once you move in? Such as shelves in the laundry room, where you'll put the kitchen garbage pail, etc.

I have faith in you that you will get it done. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 12:16PM
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I think moving right next door is worse than moving across the country. My folks built a house when I was 5. We were renting the house on the opposite corner. Good for keeping track of the contractor.

My mom said it was the worst move she ever did. Even I remember loading up that red wagon and hauling load after load. It seems not worth the effort to box stuff, yet we really ended up spending a bunch more energy hauling it over un-boxed.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 1:31PM
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I've moved 23 times, sometimes a couple of miles away and other times across country, using professional movers as well as a U-Haul. For the local moves, I found the best boxes were sold at the supermarket "Cub Foods". They have handles and are easy to carry and even with books in them, they aren't that heavy. Unfortunately, I think they might be the only grocery store to sell this sort of box. I think I might have also seen them at Staples.

Whenever I've moved across country, I'd be real good at weeding out stuff but always came to my meltdown point and decided to do the rest after the move. Theoretically, you can have everything put away before you move in. If there is a cabinet or cupboard in the new house, I would put the items you are keeping into those places on the day of bringing them over. I wouldn't just bring items over and put them away at a later date.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Marie, most of my moves have been local and I've hit the point I'm not carrying one dang box! I'll live on mac and cheese for a year if that's what it takes to pay the movers. The only thing I put in my van was lamps and the food from the fridge.

I look back on all of those moves and just sigh. So much work.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 2:33PM
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Have you looked into items and spaces that will make life easier once you move in? Such as shelves in the laundry room, where you'll put the kitchen garbage pail, etc.

I wanted to dwell on this point a little more, too. That you should focus on setting up the INFRASTRUCTURE you will need.

I love infrastructure--we often ignore it, esp. stuff like shelving, etc.

Be sure you have hooks for brooms, enough shelves int he closets (in any closet w/ shelves, seriously consider adding ONE MORE shelf)

Then, you can decide what you want to put there.

"Gumball Rally" is what I thought it was.And that's a great philosophy for lots of situations.

Gloria, we're contemplating a move down the block, and my DH was saying "no need to pay movers except for the piano and the couch; we can just carry it down."

Over my dead body! We've got 2 kids, and 4 people's worth of stuff. Last time we moved, I nearly killed one of his friends (who was helping us but wouldn't listen to me) out of frustration. I told DH then, we are never moving ourselves again. It is just TOO HARD.

And, that same friend moved, w/ DH helping, and he packed some, moved some, etc. It's VERY inefficient. MUCH more efficient to pack everything, truck it over in ONE trip (get as big a truck as you need), and then unpack. I suppose 4 doors away doesn't require a truck, but it'll use a handcart, and major packing. I've really learned mylesson from watching those friends. Pack everything before you move ANYthing.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:44PM
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I definatly have been planning where I want things to go and we have lots of shelves. We do have tons of papers to weed through which I was going to make DH do but I have a feeling it would take him many hours to do this and probably not toss as much as I will if I just do it myself.
I will start tomorrow evening and probably stay up late since I don't have anywhere to be Sat. until about 130pm. I will let ya'll know how it goes!
SusanJN I live near Beaumont but I want to go to Austin to Lake Travis next summer looks so fun and I have never beren there!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 11:38PM
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lucky32, people do love Lake Travis. We bought our car in Beaumont. There was a looooong waiting list in Austin for it, so my dh emailed every Toyota dealer in Texas to ask about availability. Dh and ds flew to Beaumont and drove the car home - a classic male bonding experience if you ask me. :)

I hope you didn't have much hurricane damage!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 12:54AM
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No shortage of car dealers around here I will tell ya that! LOL
and NO we didn't have any damage thank goodness! not so lucky for MANY people around here and the real shame is no one around here got near the attention of "katrina victims" and new orleans which was really all the levee's fault anyway not the actual hurricane ...I don't want to get started on the injustices of the media here...but thanks for asking :)
and BTW I did get alittle cleaning\organizing done today and will work more on it tomorrow and all week!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 3:01AM
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Lucky - You have received excellent advice; take it from one who has moved many times; local, x-country and overseas.

My contribution is that as soon as the beds are set up, make them. That way, when you collapse at the end of the day, that is one thing you won't have to do. Believe me, it is worth it.

Liquor boxes are great for many things. They are strong, small enough to handle and free. Find out what days they get deliveries and ask if they will hold them for you. Most are happy to as it saves them disposal cost.

Also, as to furniture, when you are settled in, check for estate sales and the like, moving sales, and divorce. They can be sources of good furniture at a fraction of cost. It just takes time and diligence but can be worth it.

Good luck in your new home; I'm envious ;-)


    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 5:56AM
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Thanks Carol! I will have my new bed by then so it will be made LOL I am getting it next week-end and I can't wait!
I really want to get a dumpster since we are moving from the trailer to right next door and we have lotsa junk plus a bunch of things in the yard we need to get rid of...DH doesn't think we need one but I think I will call tomorrow and see how much one will be. I think it will be much easier and quicker to just pile it in a dumpster than to burn it which is his idea or wait til trash day and HOPE they pick all the stuff up. I think I will have to over-rule DH this time LOL!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 11:50AM
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I've never done a dumpster but I think it sounds like a great idea! Gets everything out and gone at one time.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 6:33AM
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How goes the move?!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 5:29AM
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Wow, what a great thread!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:00PM
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