I just unpacked my house and while it’s fresh in my mind, it’s a great time to share what made the move so easy. Within one week of relocating we are unpacked and living as if we’ve been here for years. How? Mostly just organization, and I hate feeling unsettled. There’s something so stressful about tearing into cardboard boxes anytime you need to find some socks.
My goal was two weeks of slow packing in the old house, and two or three days of fast unpacking in the new house. I know that sounds like a lot; but the faster you can unpack, the sooner you can get your family (babies, or furkids, or both!) into a routine and everyone is always much happier that way. Or at least that’s how it works for us.
Konmari your home. This actually doesn’t need to wait until a move; I suggest you do it as soon as you have time. Now that the idea of spring cleaning is actually appealing, it would be a great time. I got the first book, The life changing magic of tidying up, from the library because I really don’t like to purchase books, and I wasn’t sure I was committed to this method of tidying.
At first, I thought the author sounded pretentious and I was weirded-out by the thought of thanking inanimate objects. But it was a short book and a fast read, so I pushed on. Underneath that level of strangeness, which I ignored/blocked out, there’s some really helpful organizational methods. I recycled/donated/trashed at least 10 full trash bags of things taking up space in our home.
Pro: I did feel so much lighter after this purge!
Con: be careful not to get too carried away. I was trying to discard so many items and I had to step back and examine some of them. Does laundry soap bring me joy? No, but we actually do need that.
Play Iron Chef. You know the “secret ingredient” version? Where the chefs are trying to utilize the most random foods in their meals? Do exactly that for about two weeks, depending on how full your pantry is. I was on Pinterest and Google searching “chicken thighs + canned pineapple” or “cream of mushroom soup + pork tenderloin” “pasta + fruit” okay, not that last one, but you get the point. It was fun to mix up the routine and make new dishes. Some of them we really liked and I plan to add to the rotation! I bought minimal grocery items, things we really needed, like milk. Otherwise, I was relying on our heavily stocked pantry and deep freezer. I hate wasting food, so this was an easy way to clear out some items and save a little money before we packed up. I also tossed out anything that was expired that was hidden in the back of the cabinets (this goes back to Konmari-ing). If you aren’t moving locally and can’t take food with you, I suggest you donate what you can to a local shelter (or a friend!). We gave all of our frozen meats and refrigerated items to our neighbor and the canned and dry goods went to a food pantry.
Pack by necessity. Pack up the garage, guest room(s), guest bathroom, decor pieces, etc. about two weeks before. This should be easy, because you can take your time and you don’t need these things on a daily basis. I did the living room 1 week prior (leaving the couches and TV, what else could we need?) and the kitchen 3 days before. The bedroom and bathroom basically waited until the day before/day of because I didn’t really pack our bedroom anyway and we needed all that bathroom stuff.
Don’t pack. This seems counterproductive for moving…but once you’ve got such nice clean Konmari’d drawers, you don’t need to pack those things into boxes! I try to utilize all of the space we have inside of furniture so we can pack less boxes and get a smaller truck. Win-win! In our bedroom, I left the clothing in the dresser, as well as put some picture frames and small breakables in there. The clothes act as padding, and you save the need for boxes and bubble wrap. This is especially helpful with unpacking, because bedroom items all stay in the bedrooms! I then took some painters tape or cling wrap and secured all items in the drawers. Anything hanging in closets can get left on the hangers and scooped up with a large garbage bag to protect them during transport. I would say for us, we used these “packing” methods for our office space, bedroom space, and living room space. Our kitchen and bathrooms we needed to pack into boxes because the storage wasn’t coming with us.
Utilities. Schedule your internet/tv at the new house to show up on the day when you move in. This was especially helpful. Nothing was in the way because it wasn't unpacked yet, making the cable guy’s life easier. Also we had internet up and running right away and having some music playing helped our unpacking process go smoother.
Free boxes. I thought this was the norm, but when we went to pickup the Uhaul I noticed people in the store actually paying for cardboard. Most clothing stores get weekly shipments in nice sized boxes. Go to the mall and ask when shipment day is for a few stores and if they would hold the boxes for you, or where their cardboard recycling is placed.
Tip for large picture frames: a disassembled box works really well for protecting these items. Simply leave the box flat, slide the picture frame in between and tape up the open sides!
Labels. My husband made fun of this, but the process was incredibly helpful to me, and the main reason we were able to unpack in two days. I assigned each room a number and wrote that number on the side of the boxes. Then on a notebook I wrote the key “1-Kitchen, 2-bathroom, 3-living room” etc. Within each room I labeled the smaller boxes with numbers as well, in the corner. On my notebook, I then wrote the contents of each box. So, all of the kitchen boxes would have a large number “1” on them. Then in the corner, a small “1” and my notebook would say “1-Kitchen, 1- utensils, measuring cups, everyday plates”. I thought this was great 10 different ways. First, it’s really easy to see if everything made it off the truck! “Kitchen should have 9 boxes, bathroom should have 2” etc. Whoever unloads the truck has the simple task of putting all the #1s into the kitchen. Though not applicable to us this time, if you’re using a moving company or people you don't know or trust, they have no idea what’s in each box, making it less likely for something to go missing. Also, when it’s time for you to unload, you know which order to unpack the boxes; making that process run smoothly.
Cleaning supplies bag. Most people suggest packing an overnight bag. I didn’t, because I knew my clothes would be unpacked (from their “packed” place of staying in the chest of drawers). But I did pack a cleaning supplies kit. I had glass cleaner, bleach wipes, vinegar, paper towels, wet floor pads, a handheld vacuum, and toilet bowl cleaner. I showed up in the car before the truck did, so that was a great kit to have!
Unpack ASAP. I know you’re tired. Believe me, I get it, but if you leave things in boxes, they might just live in those boxes. Forever.
When we arrived, I had my cleaning supplies kit in the car- I immediately cleaned the bathrooms to be used, and the bedroom floor. We moved in the bedroom stuff right away. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon making the bathrooms and bedrooms functional. Decor is something you can always work on later. Also, for me, that’s a never ending project. But I wanted to be able to feel calm going to bed and that meant feeling like a bedroom. The following day we did the kitchen and living room, and the day after that any odds and ends and the garage organization. 3 days!
It’s reasonable to expect 4-5 days if you have more than 2 bathrooms and more than 2 bedrooms. We have 2 of each, but I can understand having multiple babies' rooms might make this more daunting.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t try to cook a great meal or do all the laundry these days. Relax! Focus on unpacking your home and order some pizza. I think this mantra has been oozing out of this post, but the sooner you unpack: the sooner life returns to normal! No need to kick boxes out of the way while shuffling to the laundry machine. In the long run, focusing on unpacking first and everything else later will help you adjust.
That’s about it!! We moved last Friday and the house was completely livable by Monday. Now that we’re all settled, I’m in full decor-crazy mode. And loving it. Hopefully I can get a house tour posted soon!
As for this post, did I miss anything? What are your best moving tips and tricks?
PS- for other great ideas, Checkout where I link up