How to pack for a move

It’s always exciting (albeit stressful!), to move to a new space and start afresh. It is a great opportunity to reassess what you have and what you might need. Your goal should be to move your stuff, but leave behind clutter and ways of doing things that no longer serve you.

Give yourself some time in your new space and really imagine how you are going to use it

Due to a new layout, you may be doing things differently than before. For example, in your kitchen, mentally go through the steps of cooking a meal. Where will you do prep (hopefully you’ve gained some counter space!)? Where does it make sense to put the spices and cooking utensils, so they’ll be in reach when you need them? Taking a little time to think it through will help you know what to pack together, where it will go when you unpack, and prevent you from defaulting to the old way of storing things, which might not be ideal in the new space. Think of the activities you will do in each room, and plan the space accordingly. Maybe you want to foster more quality family time, so instead of keeping the board games in a hall closet, you decide to put them on a bookshelf in the living room, and you get a nice big coffee table to play on. Be intentional about what habits you want to promote, and organize your stuff to facilitate them!

Pare down BEFORE you move

It can be tempting to just throw everything in boxes and let your future self decide what to do with it all. But why spend all the time and effort lugging everything to a new house, just to get rid of a bunch of it? Plus, you will likely have less motivation to deal with it after all the effort of moving, and with the desire to just get settled in. Do yourself a favor and pare down first. As you pack your boxes, consider each item, and set aside (for donation or disposal) anything that is no longer useful, functional, or the right style. If you are downsizing to a smaller space, also take that into consideration and give yourself a % goal (ex: pare down mugs, plates, and bowls by 20%). Don’t worry about what to do with the set aside items until you have gone through the whole house (better to take one big trip to Goodwill, the dump, etc. than a million smaller ones each time you have a small pile of stuff).

Start with things you use the least frequently

You can start getting packed up for a move pretty early, as long as you are packing stuff that you won’t be needing until after you’ve moved. Go through your garage (or attic, or wherever you have long-term storage) and pack up the seasonal sports equipment, or other things you don’t need immediately, instead of deciding to pack up the entire garage the day before the move. If you can get some things out of the way ahead of time, you will have an easier process later.

Group like items together

Sometimes things that go together (either as a “set”, or items that are all used together, such as office supplies) get spread out to different areas of the house, making them hard to find and use. As you pack, this is your chance to bring some order back into the situation! If you have some scarves in your closet, and the hall closet, hanging in the entryway, and on a chair in your room...gather them all up and pack them together. In the new house, you can find a spot that makes the most sense to display or store them where you will use them.

Create a home inventory

Ok, maybe this only appeals to super organizing nerds like myself… but it can be handy to have an inventory of things you own, especially if anything ever happened and you need to make an insurance claim. What better time to start your inventory, than while you’re going through all your stuff! Here is a great list of apps to check out.

Label your boxes with where they will GO, not the room you packed them in

Maybe all those books you stored in your bedroom will be going in the living room now. You don’t want to lug that heavy box upstairs to your room, only to open it and realize you have to bring it back downstairs! Again, this is where planning your space ahead of time will save you time and effort.

Make peace with the (temporary) chaos

As I tell my organizing clients, it’s going to get much worse before it gets better! You’re going to be living with boxes, and piles, and may have trouble finding things… but stick with the process, because it will all be worth it, I promise! And if you feel overwhelmed and need some guidance, we’d be happy to help!