By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Let's face it--every house has at least one space that's a complete train wreck--could be a spare bedroom, the dining room, the basement or garage. It doesn't matter which one, because when you're planning to move, they've all got to be packed up. Every. Last. Thing. If it seems like it's too daunting a task, remember that you don't have to do it by yourself--you can hire a professional mover
to do your packing. On the other hand, do you really want to pay someone to sort through old shoes, toys, and great big old TVs that you've never gotten around to throwing away? Thought not.
The first thing you should do with that junk room is to go in with a lot of heavy-duty trash bags, some boxes, and a lot of resolve. Decluttering is the word that comes up the most on moving blogs, books, and in general conversation--because it's the single best thing you can do to ensure a smooth move, and a tidy transition to your new home.
If you've been wishy-washy before about getting rid of old stuff, let the prospect of paying to move what is essentially unwanted junk to your new house motivate you to get serious about sorting through old stuff. Make three piles--throw away, donate, and keep.
- Anything that's broken, worn out, missing pieces and parts, or just old should be thrown away.
- Gently worn clothing, shoes, linens, furniture, linens, and kitchen stuff can be donated. Box those things up, label the boxes, and take them to a charity for recycling.
- You don't need a reason to keep things, but all those items that made the cut should have a purpose. Making you happy is a purpose, hanging on to a vase you've never liked because it belonged to Great-Aunt Ethel is not. If your mother gives you a hard time, give her the vase.
One surprise benefit of decluttering? Once you get the bags of trash and donations out of the house, you'll have lots more room for the boxes you're packing, and the formerly messy space becomes command central for the packing project.
Organize Before You Pack
Keep a good thing going by organizing what goes into boxes. Even if you've hired a moving company to do the packing, their job is easier when your belongings are sorted into some semblance of order--either by category (shoes, linens, china) or by room. And in case you're wondering, yes, there are apps for your smartphone to help keep you on track. Sortly is an inventory management app that lets you snap a photo of all your stuff and sort it into virtual boxes before you tape up a real one and track it all with QR code label for the boxes--it makes unpacking a breeze. Snap 'N-Pack is another great inventory app, it works a lot like Sortly and is an Apple app.
Labels and Markers--The Old School Approach
The downside of a moving app is that--with any luck--family members will pitch in to pack and tracking who's doing what could well cause your phone to explode, if not your brain. When all hands are on deck, resort to tried and true color-coded labels, markers, and lists. Make a list of everything in the box--either on your phone or on paper. Tape a paper list to the box; number it if you're using a digital list. If you have notes on what's in which box, you can use crayons or lipstick--just keep a list.
Pack a Bag for Essentials
By the time you're packed up and ready for the professional movers, the entire house is a mess…. again. So, before you get carried away sorting, snapping pictures, and color coding everything, remember to pack an overnight bag with the essentials you'll need for a couple of days on either side of the move. You'll need toiletries, medications, shoes, clothes, and towels--that first shower you take after the trucks leave is the best one ever--towels are a definite essential on moving day.
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