Congratulations! You’ve made it through numerous open houses, both your own and others, and have managed to sell your old house and find your new perfect home. But now a task that may seem terrifyingly daunting lies ahead: moving.
Packing up and moving all your stuff doesn’t have to be stressful or scary. Just follow these simple rules and you’ll be boxed up in no time:
1. Use it or lose it
As you pack your items, yo’re sure to come across many belongings that bring back fond memories–but how old are those memories? Although it can be hard to let go of that favorite jean jacket you wore every day for a year 10 years ago, it’s probably best to move on…literally. The less you have to pack, the more time and money you’ll save.
Tip: If it hasn’t been touched or thought about in more than a year, add it to the donate or trash piles.
2. Label everything
When you’re packing, it’s essential to think ahead to the unpacking process. Label boxes so you know exactly what room they belong in and which items they hold. You can even create a tracking sheet, using colored labels or numbering them (or both) to get more detailed about the contents of the box. That way, when you’re looking for cups or shampoo on the first night, you’ll know to look in green box No. 4.
Tip: Label the boxes on the top and the sides. That way, if they’re stacked so that the sides are hidden, you can still read the label from any angle.
3. Prepare an “emergency bag”
Think about the items you couldn’t live without for a day or two: medication, a toothbrush, an extra sweater, etc. Pack those things in a travel bag away from all the boxes for safekeeping. The last thing you want to have to do is dig through boxes because you accidentally packed your daughter’s doll that she can’t bear to be separated from.
Tip: Make a list of these necessities before you start packing and keep an eye out for any items you might have missed.
4. Stay calm
Perhaps the most important rule for packing day is to remain calm. If you prepare and plan ahead, almost any problem can be avoided. However, moving is still a stressful and emotional time, so it’s normal to get caught up in the excitement. Whether you’re moving to a different neighborhood in the same city or across the country, it’s important to remember that this is only a transition and soon you’ll be settled into your new home–exactly where you’re supposed to be.
5. Get the help you need
When you moved out of your college apartment, using your friends or relatives was probably the most help you needed. But if you’re moving out of a four-bedroom home, it’s likely you’ll need more help than that. Judge whether you should hire helpers by how much time and how many heavy pieces of furniture you have. If the entire process of packing and unpacking the truck is on a tight schedule, hire a professional who can load and unload for you.
If you have a lot of heavy and awkwardly shaped furniture, it also might be a smart idea to hire help. They do this for a living and are trained to handle large objects that you and your gym partner might not be especially suited for. In the big picture, you want to make this move the least-expensive as possible, while still making sure it’s a manageable experience.
Tip: Consider hiring someone just for the loading or just for the unloading so you won’t have to do all the work yourself, but will still save some money.