Everyone knows that moving is listed as one of the top three most stressful things one can go through in life, along with death and divorce. Yes, it is lumped with those. And for good reason — you’re essentially uprooting your entire life’s worth of accumulated stuff, and transporting it somehow to the new place, then facing the gargantuan task of unpacking and putting your life into its new order. This takes time, and some of us (Classic Structures) will struggle with having unopened (and opened) boxes sitting around. Packing is a process. Moving is a process. Unpacking is a process. That’s why we’re here, writing this article. There is hope. There are ways to make these 3 processes easier — it just depends on preference and personality type. So take heart, movers and shakers. You got this.
You’ve decided your house has become too small for your family. You’re moving from an apartment into a house. You’ve decided your house is too big for you (or you and your partner) and are downsizing to a condo. Whatever the sitch, the task of moving can be, at the very least, daunting. All those details! All those logistics! It might be a Classic Structure’s dream to begin this process, but when it comes to the unpacking part, and collaborating with family members or partners in that, not so much. Every type will excel at a certain part of this three-tiered process. We’ll help you with the rough spots with some universal suggestions, designed for every personality type.
- Make a step-by-step list of the move, from start to finish. Make this first list general, and don’t worry about the details just yet. Just write down what you have to get done and by when.
1. ‘Purge all I don’t want to bring with me by such-and-such date.’ 2. ‘Get boxes at Lowes (or nearest liquor store) by (date)’.
3. ‘Have boxes packed and ready for movers by (date)’.
4. ‘Hire movers by (date)’.
And so on. All of these things do not have to be done in any kind of strict order. If it helps you get motivated, hire the movers first. If you can’t afford movers, ask around your community for help, and offer pizza or some other bargaining chip to compensate them for their generous gifts of time and labor. Even if you don’t like writing out your to-do lists, this sort of list is simply too much to keep in your head — particularly when there are so many potential glitches, date changes, and unexpected things that are, let’s face it, bound to happen.
- Once you’ve made the list, it’s time to start purging. Go through this process room by room to break it down for yourself. Make piles: Keep/Toss/Unsure. Then toss what you don’t want. Do this first. Do this immediately. Donate to your nearest Goodwill if the items are in good condition, or simply throw away in big garbage bags and set them outside. You are clearing the space — both mentally and physically — to make this packing process a bit more bearable.
Note: When it comes to kiddos stuff, and depending on their ages, involve them to a degree. Give them parameters for how many toys they can bring with them and how many they might have to part with. Obviously their favorite teddy bear is coming on the journey. We aren’t cold-hearted. Just practical. The less extraneous (and we realize that this is a completely subjective word) stuff you have, the easier it will be to pack up (and unpack!).
- When packing, put books and heavier things in smaller boxes. Also, if you have any of those clear, labeled bins, go through them/purge them, and use as packing boxes. No need to fold clothing in neat piles unless you want to. Things will get jostled in transit, and so rolling each piece will help maximize packing space. For that lace dress that absolutely cannot be rolled into a burrito shape, get some garment bags to lay on top of the packed and labeled boxes of clothing. Which brings us to the next important tip: Labeling.
- Label your packing boxes (as long as they are cardboard and not the plastic bins) with a big Sharpie. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try and imagine where they might go room-wise, in your new abode, and write that down, too. For example: “Susie’s Summer clothes: Blue bedroom” or “Last Bedroom on the Left— 2nd Floor”.
This might be a pain to do in the moment, but it’ll save time and pressure when delivering the boxes into the new space.
- Wrap your dishes in old newspapers and try not to overload these boxes. Dishes are heavy.
- So you’ve got all the boxes and furniture into your new living space. CONGRATULATIONS! But beware, because this is often the worst part of any move, simply because it’s overwhelming visually. If you’re anything like an average Classic Structure or an Organic Structure, it’s going to drive you insane having everything out and nothing properly put away yet. Just breathe, and know it takes time. No shame, no blame, this is all part of the process.
If you can’t embrace the chaos, add another step to the initial list you made: ‘create unpacking schedule’. This will keep you focused and on track with the unpacking process. Remember: you can always move things around if they don’t quite work in certain spaces. Put the boxes in the appropriate rooms first. Then deal with the furniture. Just don’t expect to get it all unpacked in a day. Rome wasn’t built in a day…. And your new space can’t be, either.
- Depending on your personality type, you’ll want to put things away and organize them based on what works best for you. Our universal advice? Unpack to create one-step solutions for yourself. Instead of stacking those pans on top of one another, find a space to access each one easily — and store the tops of them separately so you don’t have to remove them if you don’t need them. (That would be another step, and we are trying to simplify, right?)
- If unpacking horrifies you and you have some extra cash, invest in professional organizational help. Make sure you go along for the ride so you know where everything is, but this way you’re not racking your brain, trying to think of the best way to store something. And THAT can feel better than a bubble bath to someone who has just uprooted their life.
Moving is Still the Worst
We won’t kid you. Moving is up there with those other two stressful aspects of life for a reason. But if you plan ahead, ask for help, and purge adequately (let’s not forget labeling everything to the ‘T’!), you’ll be way ahead of the game. And in this game, you deserve every bonus point you can get.