As most of you know, I am in the middle of packing/moving. We will officially take possession of the new house on Oct. 1, but I think the seller is going to give us the keys late Sunday afternoon! YAY! Since I have done this thing a few times (in my 34 years, I have moved 16 times), I thought I would post some rules to move by.
1. If you are packing yourself, start early. This move I started packing about 6 weeks before we knew we would be moving, and I have been able to stay on schedule and not feel so overwhelmed. Each weekend, we had a set of tasks that needed to be performed and items that needed to be packed. Once they were done, we were able to get moving off of our minds and enjoy the rest of our weekend.
2. Wait until about 2 weeks before your move to schedule cut off of old utilities and turn on of the new ones. I tried to start this process about 6 weeks out, and found that many of the utilities simply wouldn't schedule these things more than 30 days out. Also, move dates can change some and then you are scrambling to call all the utility companies to change things.
3. Save money where you can. Have you priced moving boxes lately...Holy Smokes it can get expensive fast! We were able to save money by watching craigslist for moving boxes people were getting rid of. We came across a family less than a mile away that had been professionally moved and was getting rid of all their boxes, and were able to get them for pennies on the dollar, and bonus, they had quite a few boxes that were full of packing paper, so we didn't have to buy any of that. Another move we contacted a printing company and they gave us all their used paper boxes.
Side note: We were moved professionally our last move and had saved all those boxes knowing that we would be moving again when we bought a house. Unfortunately, our basement flooded and it ruined the majority of those boxes.
4. Buy good tape. Even if it costs you $50 to get the right kind of tape, in this case it is money well spent. There is nothing worse than getting ready to move a box in to the moving truck and having the bottom fall out because you used cheap tape not intended for moving/storage. Also, use plenty of tape. We have been professionally moved quite a few times, and there is a reason that the movers tape the seams 3 times. It keeps the contents in the box.
5. Let your children help pack. Marcus packed away all his stuffed animals and volunteered to do it. He has also been helping mark boxes. This helps both with his writing skills as well as his spelling, plus he gets to have some ownership in the moving process, which I think is going to help make the transition a little easier. If your children help you pack the boxes, it helps them with spacial relations, and builds analytic thinking skills. i.e. Where do you think this will fit best in the box?
6. Mark your boxes well. So often people just mark the room on the outside of a box and don't mark the contents. When you have 20 kitchen boxes that are unmarked, it makes it really difficult and time consuming to find your silverware or spatulas. By the time you are at your new place, you aren't going to remember if the silverware was packed at the bottom of the dishes, or in with the pots and pans.
7. The professional movers always make what they call a utility box. It usually has things like cords for the TV components (and sometimes the remotes), screws that were removed from table legs or other furniture, and any other spare parts as well as the tools you will need to put these things back together. This box can be a real life saver.
8. Another great box to pack is one with toilet paper, light bulbs, paper towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, and anything else you think that you might need right in the beginning. I have made it to a house just to find that the previous owners/tenants took every stitch of toilet paper and every single light bulb out of the house. Sometimes people leave the house a total mess when they leave. Even if I arrive and the house is clean enough to eat off the kitchen floor, I still feel the need to clean the toilets, counters, and inside the fridge and freezer, and I usually want to vacuum as well. If you know what size filter the HVAC system takes, you might want to pack one of those to replace the old one as well. It is just a good idea to get a fresh filter in the new house so that you aren't breathing in someone else's "stuff."
9. Forward your mail a little early. When you are moving 1,000 miles away, it is nice to have the mail start to forward a day or two before you actually leave. This way you won't be worried about if they actually are forwarding your mail. You will quickly see that you aren't receiving mail at your old house, and the mail should start arriving at your new house within a few days of you getting there. Sometimes there can be a significant lag in when your mail starts arriving at the new place.
10. Keep your stress in check. Many studies have now found that moving has replaced divorce as our most stressful life event. You read that right. Obviously there are more components to this than just the physical move itself. You can plan ahead, but there is always going to be something that pops up that you are not prepared for. Try to take time each day to meditate, or exercise, or do whatever it is that helps you de-stress. Make an effort to get back to normal or find a new normal as quickly as you can. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, I always feel like if we get it unpacked and settled, it goes a long way towards normalcy. We can eat home cooked meals again, it gets rid of a lot of the boxes littering the house, and it is a room that is central to everyone. It gives everyone just a little touch of something that they are familiar with.
These things have helped me tremendously, and I hope that they can help you if you are moving some time soon as well.