I’ve helped a few people move over the years and I learned plenty (mostly what not to do!). For the record, here are ten things that I did (or wish that I’d done) that helped things go smoothly:
1. I packed a suitcase: with a few changes of clothes, my toothbrush, a towel and a roll of toilet paper (the toilet paper is particularly important!). Things I needed for the first couple of days.
2. I rented boxes. I cannot say enough good things about renting boxes (I got mine from Frogbox). They were plastic, big enough for pots and such from the kitchen, and stackable when full or empty (seriously, this has saved SO much room as I unpacked). They dropped them off for me, and they’ll pick them up for me. A huge task off my plate.
3. I wish I had gotten more boxes than I thought I’d need. I had to pack a few cardboard boxes (one of which fell apart, scattering CDs all over the floor, just reinforcing my belief in my rented boxes).
4. I should have packed some snacks and easily cooked food in an accessible box so that you don’t have to subsist on pizza. When I started unpacking food, the first box had wild rice, cans of artichoke hearts and some chocolate, for example. The chocolate was useful, but I wan’t able to make a meal with the rest.
5. I accepted dinner invitations: Tell your friends to invite you over for dinner in the days before and after moving: it’s a relief to get away from all the boxes, and your kitchen isn’t unpacked anyway, and you still need to eat well.
6. I hired movers! Money well, well, spent. Mine were efficient, and knew what they were doing.
7. I got access to the new place early. I was able to go over and figure out where everything would go in the new place, so that when the movers were there, I knew exactly where the couch should go. I had also gone over early and set up bookshelves, so that I didn’t have to move boxes from the wall in order to start unpacking them (I have a lot of books).
8. I labeled your boxes with what room they’re going to. I didn’t have to move a single box and I was able to unpack each one in the appropriate room. This saved my back some aches and pains.
9. I purged LOTS of stuff before I moved, and I have a cardboard box in the new place into which I’m throwing more stuff to donate. I’m maintaining my momentum, getting rid of stuff before it finds a home.
10. I should have relaxed more. The move went just fine. On the other hand, the worrying and over-thinking about it all meant that I’d planned well: I had purged, packed wisely, and planned my furniture placement. I think the balance worked out well.
I don’t want to move again anytime soon, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!