Over the last week, my wife and I took on the challenge of moving from a small apartment to a nice family home. It turned out that we made some good moves and some bad ones during the move, and came up with some great ideas along the way that we weren’t necessarily able to implement. If you are about to move, here are seven points of advice to make that move much smoother.
Visit book stores for free packing boxes. Go to the customer service counter on Tuesdays (in the United States, at least) and ask for any spare boxes. The boxes that book stores use for book shipping are fantastic. I’ve found locally that if you’ve made a purchase in a store, you’re likely to get several times more boxes than if you just charge in and head straight for the counter; my tactic was that I would stop at the customer service desk first and ask if they had any and if they did, I’d say that I had some shopping to do and would get some before I left. I’d get an item, buy it, then return to the desk to get boxes, holding my shopping bag so that the people could see it.
Visit convenience stores for free packing material. Newspapers are wonderful packing material for cheap things. We hit up convenience stores on Monday mornings and got many copies of the local Sunday paper. Some clerks will just let you have them; others will make you wait for the paper delivery truck to come around (they take the old newspapers). Almost always, if you’re there when the paper delivery truck is there, you can get a ton of old papers, as it is less for the company to deal with.
Label your boxes – the more detail, the better. We wrote a target room on the top, along with a few words summarizing what was inside. The few seconds it took to do this for each box we packed was well worth the time when we moved in – we just put stuff in the target room and was ready to go.
Unless you have tons of help or are highly organized, get a moving service. Even if you do all the packing yourself, their efficiency can be utterly incredible. We packed all of our own materials, so our moving service just carried the boxes to the new house. It still took seven hours, but I estimated it would have taken me twenty or so by myself (my wife is pregnant and can’t help) and somewhat less with friends, but still not anywhere near that efficient.
Keep a “vital stuff” box. Put items in it that you’ll need to find quickly at the house, like prescription medication and highly important personal materials, and keep track of it yourself. My wife accidentally packed some prescription medication into the bottom of an unexpected box that morning and we wound up burning two hours just searching for the medication.
Invite family and friends over a couple of days after you move. We actually found that an invasion of family and friends after the move helped us a ton. They moved furniture into appropriate places, cleared out tons of empty boxes, put stuff in appropriate rooms, assembled a desk, and so on. We went from feeling like there was a ton left to do to feeling moved in in just a few hours.
Follow that day with a party in the evening. We had a nice little party out on our deck where we drank some champagne and beer, sat around, and shot the breeze for hours. It was a great end to the move and helped two tired people break in their house a little with love and friendship.