Lets face it. Moving sucks. What person in their right mind enjoys spending hours upon hours of carefully packing up all of their belongings only to undo the whole thing a few hours later in a totally new and unfamiliar environment? Sure, you can come back at me with all the "fresh starts" and "better space" reasons you want, but when it really comes down to it, there are not too many redeeming aspects to the actual physical moving of your things.
In the hopes of preventing countless people from ripping their hair out during their next move I have put together some moving advice that I hope will make the process a bit easier.
I know, duh, right? But seriously, movers do this day in and day out. It is what they specialize in. They will pack up your home faster than you thought possible and they are insured if your stuff gets damaged or broken. It's not like your friend Steve is going to shell out $2K to replace your new TV that he just dropped because he had to check that text message. You are, after all, only paying him in pizza and beer. Hire movers.
Declutter Before You Pack
Why pay someone (or waste your own time) to move something you are going to get rid of anyway? In the weeks leading up to your move take the time to go through each room and assess its contents. It can be difficult to realize how much useless stuff we have accumulated over time until we actually have to go through it and pack it up. That tiny whisk that has a plastic egg instead of a handle, the inappropriately shaped ice cube trays you got as a gag gift, that shirt that just never fit you right. Say goodbye now. It doesn't need to come along for the ride to your new home.
Label Your Boxes
You would be surprised how many clients I have seen diligently label their first few boxes that they packed, and then, in a mad rush to finish packing, just throw random stuff into a box with no indication on the outside as to the contents, or worse yet, label it "miscellaneous" (guys, miscellaneous is NOT a category, it's a headache waiting to happen).
You want to clearly indicate what's inside the box as well as where it's going. Just writing "kitchen" isn't going to help when you are blearily looking for your coffee maker the next morning.
Label the TOP and the SIDES of the box with the destination and contents. The post-move you will thank the pre-move you.
Colour Code Your Move
OK, I know I just told you to label your boxes with the room they are going to, but let's face it, moving is a lot of work and if you don't feel like writing 'bedroom' on 25 boxes consider using different coloured tape. Painter's tape comes in multiple colours, and there are endless options when it comes to washi tape as well. Put tape on the boxes and it's matching colour on the doorway of it's destination room and you're good to go. You can step up your game by making a master list with the different colours and the corresponding rooms, and take a picture of it on your phone so it doesn't get lost.
Get yourself a bucket or bin and put together all of your packing and unpacking essentials in there. Packing tape, a few permanent markers, colored tape, and various sized zip-top bags to group small items together are essentials when packing. On the other end you'll need a box cutter, garbage/recycling bags, paper towels or cloths to wipe down the dusty items you didn't have time to clean first. Keeping all your essentials handy saves you time and frustration on both ends of your move.
I always tell my clients to pack like you're going away for a weekend. Have a small suitcase that stays with you and has all of your essentials. You'll need a couple changes of clothes, clean socks and underwear and whatever toiletries you use for your morning and evening routine (hopefully a toothbrush and toothpaste is included in this). It is also a good idea to keep any important paperwork with you as well. Your passport, the contract you signed with the movers, notes you made about when the Internet or cable guy is going to show up, and anything else that you wouldn't want to lose or is directly related to your move.
Open Me First
This one is really going to depend on your priorities. For me it would be (in no particular order) bed sheets, toilet paper, coffee maker, filters, coffee, mugs, a few towels, shower curtain and hand soap. Couple this with my overnight bag and I'm all set. This can be especially helpful if you are travelling a long distance for a move or moving/arriving late in the day. You may not start unpacking the minute you get there but chances are you will need to pee, wash up and go to sleep. Like I said, priorities.
Happy Moving and Good Luck!
What are your favourite moving tips? Get in touch here.
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According to Niccole Schreck of Rent.com, timing makes all the difference. “Although apartment selection in the winter months tends to be a little tighter,” she says, “property managers and landlords are often willing to come down in price during the slower period in order to help fill vacancies. Conversely, while there may be a wider selection of apartments available May through September, high demand often results in higher rental rates.” The same applies to movers’ fees. “Moving during the winter is cheaper, as is moving before the end of the month — demand skyrockets when leases end, so prices skyrocket, too,” says Mateo Prendergast of Brooklyn’s Rabbit Movers.
If you’re opting to transport your own goods, consider scheduling van or truck rentals for a weekday. “Save money on your rental equipment by avoiding the weekend rush,” says Sperry Hutchinson, a moving and product expert for U-Haul. “Typically, Sunday through Thursday offer greater equipment availability at a better cost. Plus, banks, government services, and utilities offices are open.” Hiring movers? Just remember: “Book with a company you trust — don’t just go with the cheapest quote," says Prendergast. "I can’t tell you how many calls we get at the end of the month when the cheaper movers have canceled on someone but we’re already booked to capacity. Struggling to find a mover at the last minute is stressful — and probably expensive, too.”
“This sounds obvious, but taking time to make sure that everything you pack is something that you actually want to take with you is my best advice," writer (and small-space expert) Erin Boyle says. "It stands to reason that moving less stuff means spending less money, whether you're moving yourself or hiring someone to help.” Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo agrees that purging with purpose can help pad a limited moving budget. “We’ve held a stoop sale every time we’ve moved,” she says. “We do a major cleanse of our place and try to pare down to only the things we love and need most. When my then-boyfriend, now-husband Alex moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan to live with me, his stoop-sale earnings covered the entire cost of the movers.”
The stress-reducing benefits of a head start are myriad. After all, says AptDeco founder Reham Fagiri: “There are a ton of moving parts to consider, no pun intended.” To begin, sort through your things — decide what’s coming with you and what you’ll leave behind. "Have your movers handle only the largest, heaviest items you can’t move on your own," says Prendergast. "And, if you can do assembly work — taking apart bed frames or wardrobes, for example — you’ll avoid having to pay movers to do it.” Trulia's Monica Ma cautions: “Make sure to label the content of your boxes, and to indicate what rooms you want them to end up in. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to open a few dozen boxes to get to your extra rolls of toilet paper.”
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