How to move often and not die trying

My family moves around quite literally. Today we live in the 8th address we´ve had in 9 years of marriage and are planning our move to Australia on July this year.  With so many moves under our belt we have come with a way of doing it with little to no stress and I thought of sharing it with you as the first time someone hears about our moving habit they usually remark on how stressful that would be for them. 

Step 1- declutter!

Moving gets easier the less you have. Without intending we became minimalists. With every move we have become more detached from objects, including many that had at some point great sentimental value.  Ideally you know some months in advance you’ll be moving, at that point you should start getting rid of anything that does not belong in the new home. The way we do it is by setting a box or basket near the entry for things to give away and do a room by week(more if your moving date is very close), and check drawers, closets, cabinets evrytime is filled we take it to charity.  For things that you don’t need until after the moving date you can even start packing when you do this. 

Tips

  • Start as soon as you can, is a lot less effort and stress to declutter if you do a teeny tiny bit at a time
  • let go of anything you find that no longer does its  intended purpose
  • Do it by categories, then by room(Marie Kondo’s method is great for this)
  • If you have little children take it easy on the toys. I put them away in a closet, if after a month or so he hasn’t asked for the toy then is safe to give it away. Moving is hard for kids, let them keep things they value within a limit.
Uncluttered apartment number 6, 2015
Uncluttered apartment number 6, 2015

Step 2- Packing

Packing can be a total pain, but just like with decluttering start as soon as you can to make it easy on you and your family.  You should get some boxes, there are some great online calculators you can use to estimate the boxes needed or get 10 at a time.  New boxes can be expensive, so check second hand websites and apps, often people will sell or give away boxes after a move. Get plenty of packing tape, a thick black marker and some bubble wrap, old newspaper or other material you can use to wrap delicate items. We start packing things like books, sentimentals, offseason clothes and shoes first and finish  with the ítems we use more often. 

Tips

  • Get uniforme size boxes, this will make it easier on your mover or the group of friends you get to help, and will make it tidier while you are unpacking. 
  • Tag your boxes, if they have kitchen ítems write “KITCHEN” big and dark on  the four lateral sides. If you are moving 2+ Storey home also write a number according to the Storey they are going. That way the boxes for the second floor can be separated from the ones that belong on the first one from the start. 
  • Try to keep the boxes under 10 kilos.If you have very heavy ítems use light miscellaneous ones like light blankets and toilet paper Rolls to fill the box. Mark with big writing “HEAVY” so whoever moves them knows to take extra caution while carrying them.
  • Don’t mix heavy items with delicate ones, eg. Don’t put your glasses and  stone mortar in the same box!
  • Stack the boxes in a place where you can see them but are out of the way, feel proud as you move forward in the process.
  • Try to eat as much as possible of your food, plan your meals around what you have so you can empty your fridge and freezer close to de date of moving.

Step 3- Transport

We´ve done both ways, moving on our own with a rental truck and with a professional mover, if you can afford it go with a mover. I´ve noticed moving rates vary a lot, so make sure to ask for several quotes.  If your packing is done properly a mover will take less than 1 hour for a medium 3 bedroom to load the truck. Movers have the right tools and sometimes have several Jobs on a day and need to get in and out as quickly as they can.  If you are moving to a ground floor unloading the truck will be fast. If you are moving to an apartment it can take longer depending on how the take the furniture in. If you are moving on your own with some friends also make sure to have all your belongings packed and ready to go, they are nice enough to be lending their time(and unsuspecting back) to your service. 

tips

  • Check for several quotes of movers
  • Have all packed and ready to go once the truck arrives(either mover on rental), specially if you are being charged by the hour
  • If renting a truck rent one big enough to fit your stuff in one trip
  • Put boxes in the room they belong right after unloading
  • If friends helped you make sure to by them pizza and beer or some other yumm good.
  • If you have young kids do the move when you can have them cared for,  we like to do it on a school morning.

Step 4- Unpacking

2 homes ago we had our home settled in one weekend, 2 and a half days, how brilliant is that!. Boxes given away I think on day 3 or 4, I was so proud. Having not much makes for quick unpacking sessions.  We like to move as early as possible on the day, so we can unpack lots on day one. We start with boxes in the room they belong to and start with the rooms that we use the most: kitchen and bathrooms. We also usually stuff the boxes with heavy pots and pans with toilet paper, so we are ready for toilet breaks while unpacking.  We usually start by giving the surface a quick wipe(you’ll mess while unpacking, leave deep cleaning for later) and then proceed to unpack 1 box at a time. After each box is empty get it flat and out of the way, same as with the packing get proud with each box out. 

Tips

  • Start with the rooms you use intensely. 
  • Check your fridge! some fridges can’t be plugged after been moved for a while
  • Try to get the beds ready for the first night, sleeping in your own bed will make the place start fo feel like home
  • Celebrate each room you finish unpacking! 
  • Once the last box is empty post and add with the sizes and number of boxes, sell them or give them away.

As we approach our next move we are giving away things that we won’t take with us, and are happy to see our home get emptier each day.  Other big part of the prep is getting our son ready, next move will be big and we talk to him often about the new exciting things that are to come, while acknowledging that we will miss some from where we are now. 

I hope the above help you, if you have any questions you can post them in the coments.

Cheers. Betty.

Us in front of the home that gave us almost 2 years of joy, October 2017. We were going to the realtor to deliver the keys.

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