Preparing to Move

This is the 3rd installment of our House-a-versary series. If you’d like to catch up on how we staged our house to sell, you can catch that here, or take a look back at the listing photos for our current house, check that out here.

Moving has got to be one of the top 10 stressful events in life. It is really hard! Pinterest is chock full of cutesy checklists to help you prepare for a move, and cutesy visuals to go along with the lists. Some are great (styrofoam plates in between dishes!), others are less so (put your knives in an oven mitt…and allow them to damage each other and the mitt as well?). Here is what worked for us.

1.) Six months to one year before moving: read Marie Kondo’s book and do the biggest “tidying up” of your life! I have helped so many friends move only to hear them say “I just want to throw all my things away!” But the truth is, you simply do not have time to thoughtfully organize all of your things in the midst of moving! (Have you ever actually known anyone to check the expiration for their sunscreen the day of packing? No! It gets thrown in a box like everything else! Organize your house now!) It is so helpful to go through the purge well in advance of the move date. During packing mayhem, Pat said about a dozen times, “I’m so glad you did that big purge!” because when you put all of your worldly possessions in one room, you realize how much stuff you still have. Sure, you may still toss some things while packing, but it will occupy much less of your time. Get your life organized well before the move, and you will thank yourself later.

2.) Secure as much help as you possibly can. If you can afford to hire someone to do all your packing for you, DO IT. If you have room in the budget to hire someone to unpack and set up your kitchen, DO IT. If you have money to have professional cleaners tidy up one or both residences, DO IT. If your budget does not allow for such things (or maybe even if it does!), then ask as many friends and family as you can to help. Ask well in advance, ask nicely, be willing to return the favor, and always provide food for the entire day. A pregnant friend who can’t lift much might be willing to pick up doughnuts or pizza; an older relative may be willing to babysit or walk the dog; a really nice friend might even help you hang shower curtains and put sheets on the bed. There are times to be modest about asking for help, but this is not one of them! Even if you have hired movers, there are a million small tasks to take care of on moving day. Delegate, delegate, delegate!

We bought the Jumparoo for the sole purpose of occupying the baby for 20 minutes in order to pack.

As with hiring out anything, get quotes from at least 3 movers. If you have an awesome realtor like we did, they should be able to provide you with a few names from their list of recommended vendors. One of the quotes we got came in twice as expensive as the company we chose, and also said the move would take two days! But they did leave us with some nice packing boxes to market their company.

In this recent move, we decided we were too old to ask all of our friends to do the bulk of the lifting. Fortunately, our family was able to fly in and help. My mom came the week before the move. She helped us to wrap our crystal and stemware (among many other things), and to carry over that and the other most fragile items we did not want to be loaded onto the truck. Pat’s mom came for the actual move, and she was primarily on baby duty so we could “direct traffic.”

These pictures were taken about a week after moving day. Totally settled, right?

3) Start early and remember it always takes more time than you think it will. And more boxes. We read a tip about labeling boxes with a different color of duct tape for each room. That seemed to work out great, until the cat ripped them all off a few days later. (Not even kidding.) We had two friends who moved shortly before us, so we used their boxes, which were pretty heavily marked up already. That collection was completed with an assortment of liquor boxes from the ABC store. We like to keep it classy here. If you have the resources, buy proper moving boxes. It makes labeling and stacking so much easier. The movers can make anything fit into that van, but matching boxes are a really nice way to stay organized. You could probably sell some on Nextdoor or Craigslist to recoup a portion of the money.


Those are our 3 takeaways from this most recent move. What are your key moving tips? Or, better yet, what are your best moving stories? For one of our early moves, we had about a half dozen friends over to help load the moving truck. During the chaos of hauling boxes out of the apartment, we locked our cat in the bathroom and forgot about him. While pulling out of the parking lot, a friend stuck his head out of the car window and shouted, “You forgot Pacoooooooo!” 

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