We all know about turning on the utilities at the new place and filling out the change-of-address form for the postal service, but when you make a long-distance move, some other things come into play that can make getting from here to there a bit trickier. Here are eight tips pulled from my recent experience of moving from the East Coast to the West Coast — from packing the moving van to handling the inevitable meltdowns.
- Declutter before you pack. If you don’t love it or need it, there’s no sense in bringing it with you — that space in the truck is money!
- Leave dresser drawers filled. For the first time ever, rather than emptying the dresser drawers, I simply left the clothes and linens folded inside and wrapped up the furniture. Does this make them heavier? Yes. But as long as the drawers are filled with lightweight items (definitely not books), it should be fine. And if not, you (or your helpers) can carry the drawers out separately. The benefit is twofold: You need fewer boxes, and it will be easier to find stuff when you move in.
- Pack soft items in black trash bags. Glamorous? Not in the least. But this has to be the smartest packing idea we tried. Fill heavy-duty black garbage bags with soft items (duvets, pillows, stuffed animals), then use the bags as space fillers and cushioning inside the truck. To keep items clean and protected, we doubled the bags and tied, then taped, them shut. Use a permanent marker on sticky labels applied to the outside to note the contents.
2. Paint before you move in. If you plan to give your new space a fresh coat of paint, it makes a lot of sense to do this before moving all of your stuff in.
Aside from the obvious (it’s easier to paint an empty house than one full of furniture), you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment having “paint” ticked off your to-do list before the first box is even unpacked.
While you’re at it, if there are other messy, disruptive items on your list (anything to do with the floors definitely qualifies), getting to as many of them as possible before moving day will be a big help.
Even if the new place sounds great (and is great!) meltdowns and emotional moments are a totally natural reaction to such a big shakeup in life.
So when the moment comes (and it will) that someone (or more than one someone) in the house needs a good cry, roll with it. Then get yourselves up and find something fun to explore or do in your new town.
7. Expect to shed some more stuff after you move. No matter how much decluttering you do before moving, it seems to be a law of nature that there will be items that simply don’t fit in the new space.
Even if everything physically fits, there’s bound to be something that just doesn’t work like you thought it would. Try not to hold on to these things purely out of frustration.
Sell them, gift them to a dear friend or (if you truly love the items) keep them — but only if you have the storage space.