Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Moving Tips from a Reluctant Pro

Todd and I have moved more times than just about anyone I know—from Virginia to South Carolina to Massachusetts and back to Virginia. Since moving into our first place together, a little condo in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., we have moved no less than eight times.

Do we like moving? Not particularly, but I don't think we view it with the same dread as most people. It's a simple matter of putting things in boxes, putting the boxes in a truck, taking the boxes out of a truck, and taking things out of the boxes—it's not rocket science.

That's why we've never hired a moving service. Don't get me wrong—I think about it every single time. But then I think about how I could spend those thousands of dollars on new furniture for my house, or a trip. So we buck up and do it ourselves.

That said, it's not fun. I get stressed out just like everybody else. But over the years I've figured out a few ways to ease the process.

Start early. It's so much easier to start packing a month or two before your move than waiting until the week of. You don't want to go overboard, but start in the rooms you rarely use (basement, guest room), and pack a little bit each day. As you finish, stack the boxes in an out-of-the-way place so you don't trip over them. When moving week arrives, a lot of your stuff will already be packed.

Purge, purge, purge. This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of crap you don't need anymore. Be brutal, and you'll discover that cleaning out your wardrobe/drawers/closets is actually crazy addictive. Again, don't go overboard.

Leave your clothes in the dresser. I used to pack up all of my clothes in boxes. Then I realized that they're already in perfectly sized boxes—they're called dresser drawers. Just move the fully intact drawers into the dresser in the truck.

Start challenging yourself to skip the grocery store a few weeks before your move. No one likes to throw away good food. Instead, try to make as many meals using the food in your cabinets/freezer/refrigerator as you can. And when you run out of options, it's OK to order takeout. Doing dishes only adds to the stress-fest.

Make a cleaning checklist. I usually err on the side of too-clean when we move because I don't want to give the landlords any reason to keep my security deposit. To avoid a last-minute marathon cleaning sesh, I start cleaning long before move-out day, spacing out jobs like wiping down cabinet fronts and cleaning out the refrigerator over the course of a few weeks. By the time we head out, the house is mostly clean, save for a quick sweep.

Get to know your moving truck. If you've never driven a moving truck before, take some time to get to know it. Packing that sucker requires some finesse—if it's imbalanced, you could have a very tough drive. And be hyper-aware of height limitations on bridges and overpasses. We very nearly had a run-in with a historic bridge in Connecticut.

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