It is officially "moving season" and if I'm being frank, moving SUCKS. Aside from perhaps locating to a better or newer home, there's really nothing great about it. And before you can curl up on your new sofa in your new living room, there's a lot that stands in between you and that long awaited moment...there's household items, clothing, furniture, art, contents of closets and dressers, movers, boxes, packing tape, really I could go on forever here.
So, with moving season upon us I thought a post chattin' about "getting organized for a move" would be so very appreciated. And even if you're not moving, you might have a neighbor, friend, family member or even coworker that will be experiencing a move and these tips might be just what they needed to hear. Besides, drowning yourself in wine and then throwing everything you own into random boxes is NOT the answer...trust me!
purge + declutter
By far the most overlooked step. However, it is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. You wouldn't believe the amount of belongings that accumulate over time or actually you might...you might have a whole attack or basement full of 20+ years of stuff. This is reality and trust me I understand how difficult it is to find the time to sift through it all and deal with it but if there's ever a good time to do it, it's prior to moving. Think about how good you'll feel when you move into your new home with so much less stuff?! So much less stuff that you didn't even know you had. Decluttering takes time but honestly, it's the most efficient use of time prior to moving. Send the kids to grandma's and block off a few weeknights or weekends to just GET IT DONE.
Another great reason to declutter prior to moving is, think about all of the money you'll save on packing materials and time spent by movers or perhaps even yourself? If you were to have a moving company come over to complete a quote based on a non-decluttered home and then you decluttered and decreased your belongings by say 25% then you're looking at a nice savings.
Again, I realize it takes time and it could be time that you "don't have" but when you move into your new home and find unopened boxes buried in closets, basements, hell even spare bedrooms months or even a year later, think of how silly it was to not declutter before your move. You're welcome. : )
There are many variations of labeling and they're all amazing. If you're packing then be sure to label the boxes in a detailed way (read more about that below!). If you're not yet packing but are prepping for the packing, then making piles of belongings on the floor with labeled sticky notes in front of each pile is a great way to get organized. Perhaps you're sifting through the contents of your bedroom and you're trying to figure out what to keep, toss and donate then making piles on the floor and putting a labeled sticky in front of each is a great approach. Just promise that you don't leave the piles there overnight. Once the piles are created and you know what's what then put all of the "keep" items back into your drawers/closet, move any "donate" items into bags or boxes (that are also labeled!!) and any "toss" items into trash bags and then put with the rest of your trash.
hire professional movers
Unless you're a younger individual who doesn't have a lot of belongings and/or has some really incredible friends and family, then hiring movers is quite honestly the best money you could spend. Yes, depending on the size and scale of the move it could run you hundreds or even thousands of dollars but it is money well spent, period.
Movers will be able to provide you with an estimate ahead of time so that you can plan for the expense and review your belongings with them so that if there are any special pieces that need to be packed more intricately, those can be noted.
Speaking of packing, movers will be able to supply you with the appropriate tools needed for the move. I've had some clients use movers on more of a "full-service" level - think both packing and completing the actual move. But I've also had clients just hire the movers to complete the move while my clients have opted for packing on their own. The great advantage with packing on your own but hiring movers to conduct the move is that typically the movers can drop off all of the packing supplies to your home prior to the move so that you don't have to go shopping for packing supplies on your own. Not having to guess how many boxes or rolls of tape needed to pack up your home is a huge saving grace. Not having to lug 20, 30, 40, 50+ boxes from the store to your home is an even bigger saving grace.
Movers are also willing and able to work with you. Say you want to have them package up some items like bigger pieces of artwork or light fixtures, but you're fine packing up smaller items like the contents of your kitchen, then that is totally cool too! Movers will be able to appropriately wrap and package up your artwork with moving blankets and boxes that are meant for doing just that. Throwing an expensive piece of art in the backseat of your car and hoping for the best is not a good approach. Trust me.
hire other professionals
A step that most people don't even think of but can be worth its weight in gold - hiring an organizer or a staging company are two other types of professionals that could be complete lifesavers when it comes to moving and/or selling your home.
The advantages of hiring an organizer, like myself, are ENDLESS. I've worked with many clients who are moving and honestly every one of them has been unique in their own way. People have different needs and different budgets so being able to cater to any type of moving scenario makes my job so great.
Now, not all organizers are the same and what one might be totally game for doing might not be what another fits into his/her job description. Here are some moving scenarios that I've personally worked on -
- Packing and unpacking - I've learned that a lot of people would rather have an organizer pack their belongings versus hiring the moving company to do this step. Don't get me wrong, movers are great but if you're looking for a detailed and organized packing situation then hiring an organizer to do this step, is smart. When ever I'm packing for a client, I always label the outside of the boxes. Now, I'm not talking writing "dishes" and moving on to the next box. I think it's extremely helpful to label in a more detailed way - "serving platters", "coffee cups and saucers", "everyday dishes", etc. And then of course there's the unpacking that is a whole different task. If you're hiring an organizer to unpack then the end result will be as if the heavens opened and angels are flying out every time you open your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity drawers. When there's an organizer completing this step, he/she should be able to unpack the space(s) in a way that makes sense for how the space(s) is being used. Your previous kitchen is not going to operate the same as your new kitchen so what ever system you used before, may not be the right system for your new space. An organizer will be able to unpack in a manner where organization and function are at the forefront of their plan. He/she should be able to make suggestions on any organization products (think really awesome goodies from The Container Store!) that will help streamline that cabinet, shelf or drawer so that using the contents of those spaces is always simple and the storing of those contents is neat and tidy.
- Purging and decluttering - One would think that doing this step on their own is completely doable but honestly more people than not need help with this. Many folks struggle with knowing what to do with certain items that they may not use anymore. And a lot of folks need that extra and unbiased push to toss, donate, or keep.
- Organization - Coming in once the move and unpacking have both taken place to organize a client's belongings. Like I mentioned above, your new closets, cabinets and rooms in general are not going to function the same way that you're used to. Assuming you've already purged and decluttered, an organizer will be able to create a system that is functional for the space at hand.
A stager and even some organizers, will be able to help sell your existing home by suggesting ways to rearrange furniture that offer a more functional layout for the masses. Stagers will also be able to loan you staging furniture to use if you have an empty room or even a whole house! When prospective buyers are house shopping and they see empty room after empty room, often times it's hard for them to visualize what each room would look like if it were furnished. It sounds a little silly but it's really not. Most people have a hard time visualizing what a dining room table and 6-8 chairs would look like in a smaller formal dining room or maybe the master bedroom is uniquely shaped - not seeing what a queen or king size bed will look like in the bedroom could deter people away from the possibilities of the space.
There are many other organization tips that can be found helpful for a move but these are definitely the most general that I think anybody could benefit from. But if you're looking for specific tips on how to downsize, my friends over at After55 have some really great ideas here! I hope these tips come in handy for you or someone you know!
Questions and/or comments are encouraged to be left below!
Thanks for reading!