Moving is no fun. Whether you're moving across town or across the country, it's reckoning time--what to do with all the treasures (and trash) you've accumulated? Everything you own has to move (thus, moving) and somebody is going to have to sort it, box it, and put it on a truck. And then repeat the process in reverse once you're in the driveway of your new home. Is that going to be you, or will you hire professionals? And will you ask the pros for a turn key move, or pack yourself and have the movers come with a truck or two on moving day?
It's a lot to think about, and your budget is the primary factor in determining how much of your move you want to subcontract. But regardless of your budget--or your time frame, or anything else--you want to actually box and move as little as possible. As soon as you think you might be relocating, start thinking about the purge.
When you walk through your house and really look at all your stuff, the prospect of boxing it all up is overwhelming. That's why you should start clearing, de-cluttering, donating, and dumping as soon as you start looking at new houses. If you're selling your house, your realtor will read you the riot act regarding the de-cluttering and de-personalizing before it goes on the market, so you might as well get boxes and trash bags and dig in. Cleaning house is an emotional challenge, especially if you've been in the house awhile, so follow this Protocol for Purging for a stress-free clearing out.
The One-Year Rule
The rule of thumb is, if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it. This makes a lot of sense for children and fast fashion, but you don't need to toss that Hermes scarf if you didn't get around to wearing it last year. Practically speaking, why haven't you worn it? if it doesn't fit, is out of style, or your lifestyle has changed (if you're no longer in the corporate world and have a closet full of suits in various shades of navy blue), feel free to consign or donate. If you're on the fence, ask yourself is it worth the time and money to pack and move? Three weeks into packing, you'll be completely ruthless, whereas, in the beginning you'll have a sad box of things to donate with a sweater, two pairs of maternity jeans and ratty tennis shoes, so give yourself plenty of time to purge closets, dressers, and cabinets.
If you don't have a shredder, invest in a cross-cut one that will even shred CDs. As you are purging and shredding old paperwork, save the shredded mulch in big trash bags as you empty the shredder’s bin and then use it as packing material to fill boxes so the contents don't shift in transport.
Who's Doing the Heavy Lifting?
When you're taking breaks from purging is a good time to interview moving companies; you'll want to figure out how much help you need and get on their schedule as early as possible. If you're having the movers pack for you, you'll still need to weed through all your stuff for purging. The packers job is to pack, not judge. If you have a dirty ashtray on a table, count on seeing it again when you unpack. There are some things a moving company can't transport, and some things that they won't move. Anything flammable or toxic (gasoline, propane tanks, ammunition, nail polish and remover (seriously), and chemistry sets are a few of the things that can't be commercially moved. Click here for more information on items that cannot go on the moving truck.
Planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time to purge and pack are the keys to a successful move. Remember, everything you decide to take with you has to be packed and moved, so be sure you're taking only what you can't live without to your new home.