A long time ago, I posted the “7 Stages of Moving,” a description of what happens when you change residences. It’s spot-on, I’m told, though I don’t know how helpful it is except for maybe raising awareness of what is going to happen to you as you pack. But having just moved again, I’d now like to offer you some advice. If you’re getting ready to move, listen up.
Start Packing Early. Way Early.
It is NEVER too early to start purging and packing. Even months ahead of time is fine. You’ve got plenty of stuff you’re not going to use between now and then (out-of-season clothes, extra linens, etc.) and plenty of decor you can do without for a bit. Go ahead and take down your curtains if you can. Pack up all those books you keep meaning to read but know you won’t before the move. It will make unpacking more fun because every time you open a box, you’ll be all, “Oh YAY! I’d totally forgotten about this!” It’s like getting new stuff.
When you open a box and are like, “What the eff is this?” you can just take the whole box straight to Goodwill. Bonus!
Get Three Times As Many Boxes As You Think You Need
Twice during my most recent packing, I thought I only needed maybe eight more boxes, and both times, I went to the ABC store and got 10-15, and BOTH times, I packed ALL of them. So do yourself a favor, and when you think you only need eight more boxes, get 25. If you don’t need them for packing, just leave them in your old place so that when you go back to finish cleaning up, you’ve got a couple of disposable trash cans there waiting for you.
Take the Week Off
W-Josh and I both happened to have the whole week off of work before we moved, and it was the best thing ever. You think you need time off after you move, but you are wrong. You’ll be tired, but you’ll make it. You’ll be less tired if you give yourself plenty of time before the move to be prepared for it. We did such a good job that all day Friday, we were just sitting around. We wanted to try and get a few loads of stuff in if we could, but we couldn’t because they were cleaning the carpet (which was fine because our lease didn’t start until Saturday anyway), so I literally sat around all day watching Friday Night Lights and waiting for 5:30 to roll around so we could get things started.
You may not need to take a whole week off. A day or two might suffice, but I’m telling you, if you can do it, do it. It will keep you sane.
This is the most important thing I learned from this move. People are not deceived by promises of pizza and/or beer. You can’t dress up a move as a party. Everybody knows it’s not fun. It’s sweaty and exhausting, and too many people are on gluten-free and/or Paleo diets these days for pizza to be much of an incentive. But if your friends and family love you (and of course they do), they just need to know that they are needed – desperately, desperately needed.
So beg. Beg a LOT. Beg often. Beg in emails. Beg in person. Beg over the phone. Beg on Facebook. Beg on Twitter. Beg with pain in your voice and tears in your eyes and a slight limp or some bandages. You don’t even have to fake it if you think hard enough about how heavy your crap is and how much of it you have. Or if you’ve sliced your thumb open with an industrial tape gun.
And no matter how many people you have committed to helping you, when someone asks if you still need help, the answer is YES. Always, every time, period. Even if 20 people have said they’ll help, you still need more help. You just never know what’s going to come up, and hey, if 35 people show up, boom! Easy work. That’s how we got a full truck unloaded in twelve minutes. TWELVE.
Set Up Teams
You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff out of the old place while an indoor team cleans up behind them. That way, when everything’s out, it’s also clean, and you don’t have to come back later.
You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff from the truck to the door and an indoor team set up to put things in place in your new digs. That way, when everything’s in, it’s also arranged, put-together and partially unpacked.
You can have a muscle team and a motivation team. The muscle team does the heavy lifting while the motivation team cheers and keeps Gatorade at the ready.
You can have a moving team and an unpacking team. The moving team comes on moving day to do its thing, and the unpacking team comes the next day to put all your books on shelves, clothes in drawers, spices on racks, dishes in cabinets, etc.
Help Other Movers Move
This is powerful stuff, man. The more people you’re willing to help, the more people you’ll have willing to help you. It’s like a co-op. Start building up your network now even if you’re not planning on moving any time soon.
That’s all I’ve got! What advice do you have to offer movers?