1. Figure out your Filing
2. Lighten your Load
3. Research your Route
4. Have a Packing System
5. Practice the Pack
Not counting moving before I left my parents house, or switching rooms in the dorms and barracks, I have moved 6 whopping times. And I am still in my 20's. I would like to thank the Army for every opportunity to PCS.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average American moves 11.3 times in their LIFETIME. If I counted the moves as a child I can only move 3 more times.
but what I am really getting to here is I have moved over half the as much as the average American where I am actually moving a house myself, not just my stuffed animals and the clothes in my closet (even though we all know these are super duper important). When I hit the 1 month mark and look around the chaos of each room of the house, I get a little overwhelmed....and by a little I mean I just shut the door and do something else. Two cups of coffee later though, I remember how I have handled each move and every lesson I learned, and how I promised myself to never move like that again. Bringing me to the
5 Things You can do to Overcome the Moving Prep Anxiety!
1. Figure out your Filing
We all know we have important documents. Some we carry on us everyday, some hang out in the car, others we have somewhere in the chaos of whatever is the "Home Office". To figure out what you need to bring with you, make an assessment of what you have:
Once your assessment is complete, time to figure out how to carry all this so you can actually get it done and off that list!
After you pick your filing device, grab those materials, along with the documents, and get to putting them away. Remember to label the binders, dividers, files. Take the originals (you do not need 10 copies of everything).
Now comes the part where everyone has a continually struggle. It is time to lighten your load. I am not saying get rid of everything, but it is definitely helpful to get rid of the things you do not need, want or use. On one of my moves there was an entire box of junk mail. I mean really, who wants to deal with that. When you move, you are charged by the amount of weight moved over the distance, the last thing you want is excess weight moved for no reason. If you have things you know are not going to be used again, then lets get on it and get those things out the door (this will also make the unpack a lot easier and stress free as you do not have to find new homes for these items).
Clothes, toys, duplicate kitchen items, DVDs, books, old school textbooks, old school work, VHS tapes, electronics and appliances which do not work or you do not use, additional furniture., junk mail, magazines, pillows, CDs, blankets, toiletries, bedding, anything hiding in the back of the closet, shoes, ALL OF IT.
As you go through each room, make an honest assessment: Do you use this now? Will I use this in the next year (seasonal items)? Does this item hold extreme meaning (family heirloom, not baby's first pacifier, we are talking great grandmother's hope chest)? Will there be room for this in my new house?
Finally, STOP buying things. I know when things are on sale, the saver in you is screaming to snag up the shampoo and conditioner, but you still have three bottles in the closet that you have to use, move or give away (that is money).
3. Research your Route
With destination in mind, pull out your handy-dandy map. Figure out the distance from start to end, and take a good look in your heart and think about how far you can get in a day. Also, who and what will be with you? Kids, pets, trailer, RV? all of these will take a toll on your timeline and require more frequent stops. Will you have to stop for food at real restaurants or can you get by with a cooler and gas station food? Will you entire trip be on land or is there air or boat involved?
The average mileage per day is around 350, so if you are unsure what you can handle, this is a good place to start. Look for hotels along your route if you need to stay overnight and require nice accommodations. Are they pet friendly? Is there a pool for the kids? Continental breakfast? Internet? Proximity to the highway for a quick get-away? Or you can sleep in the car at the rest stop like a trucker.
The big key here is to know how long you will be on the road, have an idea of what route you will be taking, look at the construction, and where you will be stopping.
If you have ever moved before you know the movers go room by room, labeling each box, packing like items with like items. These boxes are also sized and packed for the amount of weight which will prevent damage from what is inside. This is a packing system. Before the movers arrive, it is paramount you handle your own packing system.
This one day task will make packing day, and unpacking week, the least stressful you will ever experience. Unless of course, you have an entire staff to handle all of this for you.
While the movers will move room to room, you may not have everything where you want it for your new house. Separate items as you move through everything while you lighten your load. Holiday decorations, those can go together. Even better, you can store them in a container and mark them with what they are for quick reference (Halloween, Valentines, Fourth of July, etc). Items for formal living room vs. family room, place those in appropriate locations. Stickers of like colors from the dollar store are a great way to go and then you can give the movers a quick reference card. All blue stickers are Master bedroom, red are basement, green are garage, etc.
As you go through, make sure identify the items you will be taking with you as well. Plan for two weeks worth. Include all your medications, and look at what the movers will not pack. Each moving company will provide a list prior to their arrival or during their survey of items. Generally this includes (coins, alcohol, prescription medications, expired food items, live animals, hazardous materials, jewelry other than costume jewelry, batteries, halogen light bulbs, live plants, and other flammable items or those which will do poorly in storage). If you are unsure, contact your moving company.
Before the movers arrive, you want to make sure everything you plan to take on your route fits. If it does not, then you can have the movers can take it. Start with the most important things, like the two week bags you will be keeping with you. Then start loading up everything else. The items you do not need, but will be taking with you anyway can stay loaded. If you will not be traveling alone, make sure you leave room for others (pets, kids, significant others, Larry the house plant).
You have prepared yourself, and will have greatly reduced a lot of the stress of moving. You know what fits, what you need, where you are going, you have your important documents, and everything is marked for the movers. Great work.
So what other things do you do to prepare for your moves?