Packing and Unpacking…Takeaways from Moving Houses

I am just resurfacing after spending the last few weeks packing, moving and unpacking again. After this move, I never want to see packing paper, strapping tape or any sort of cardboard box for a very, very long time.  Anyone who tells you that they enjoy moving, that it's easy or that their family thinks it's an adventure is: a) lying b) on serious medication c) probably vacationing somewhere the entire time their house is being boxed up, moved and unpacked again. As much as I sound like a bitter woman, I did learn a lot throughout the moving process. It also helped that several of my friends all were (or are still going through) the same process too. Since all of you will move at some point in your life, I thought I'd share some of my moving takeaways with you that you may want to use for yourself down the road. PRE-MOVING DAY: 1) When you are ready to start packing up your home, go and raid the liquor store.  Granted, by the end of this process, you will be drinking something heavily, but the actual reason for this takeaway is that liquor store boxes are THE BEST for packing fragile items and books. I happen to have A LOT of both, so this was crucial. Not only will your movers (or your husband) thank you, but you will greatly reduce something getting broken. 2) Make an itemized list of all furniture in each of your old house's rooms.  Next to each piece of furniture, write where you want it to go in the new house. You will probably change your mind a few times once you get moved in, but it will help A LOT to have a plan, especially if you are having movers helping you. It made the process go a lot smoother for me (and our movers) to identify immediately at the front door of my new house where each item should go. 3) Before leaving your old home, pack a spend the night bag for each family member with 2-3 days of clothes and essentials. You are not going to be wanting to do laundry or searching for clothes right when you move in--this will allow you to tend to other issues! 4) On the heels of #3, also pack a small bag or basket of household cleaning items (windex, pledge, paper towels and detergent) as well as one for tools you might need immediately (screw driver, light bulbs, wrench, nails, etc).  I have two baskets in my kitchen as I am writing this that I have used non-stop since we moved in. Until your house is unpacked and fully functioning, it just helps to have these essentials close-by and available! 5) For the night before moving day, pack a small cooler with milk, bread, and a few other groceries. This will get you through the first night and following morning before you have a chance (or the energy) to go to the store. MOVING DAY: 1) Have a case of water ready to drink in your new house. You will not want to be looking for a glass somewhere to drink water from. Also, friends or movers helping with your move will thank you as well! 2) Number your rooms (literally with a piece of paper sticking outside the door) for your movers (or friends) helping you move! No one is going to want to wait and hear you describe where they are going to be taking that heavy piece of furniture they are carrying in.  Instead, just say - "Room #3"…and they'll look for the sign! Easy. 3) EAT. You will forget. My solution was to ask my mom to bring us some sandwiches. I am lucky. Not everyone has family members nearby. If this is the case, get (or make) some lunch the morning of or night before. You will be burning a lot of energy this day, and it's important you don't fizzle until all the boxes are in the house! 4) Wear workout clothes and tennis shoes. This will be the hardest workout you've ever had. This is not a fashion show. Do not don your Tory Burch sandals or newest J. Crew skirt. (That is, unless, you are the person I mentioned in my first paragraph.) No, you will be nasty, grubby, dirty, dusty and smelly by the end of this day. Dress for it. THE MORNING AFTER: 1) Do not schedule the cable guy to come at 8am. This might seem like a great idea prior to. But the morning after you move in, you will be DEAD TIRED. Your feet will be throbbing, you will have a headache and you will be in a zombie state for several hours. You might be muttering nonsense words, babbling moving instructions to yourself or unable to speak at all. And inevitably, the cable guy you get will be the new one - fresh out of the training school-completely oblivious on how to wire your house. And he will be there ALL DAY LONG.  So just wait. Give yourself a 24 hour break to recoup, recharge, and get back in the saddle. 2) If you are a coffee drinker (yes I am), make sure you set aside 2 coffee cups in your spend the night bag. I was the dummy who packed all my coffee cups in one of the 100 boxes labeled "kitchen". The morning after the move, I was so excited to make a huge pot of coffee in my new kitchen, only to discover I couldn't find a single coffee mug! After slicing open a dozen boxes to no avail (and with an ever-growing caffeine headache), I finally found 2 Christmas Spode China teacups. At this point, I was getting ready to use a sippy cup, so a teacup was a welcome sight. I did get a good laugh seeing my husband walking the dogs while sipping his coffee from his Christmas china teacup! Finally, just remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Your house will not be a sea of boxes forever. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Go at your own pace (not someone else's). And as you unpack, don't forget it's never too late to still PURGE. There will be boxes you have brought from your old house, simply because you didn't want to deal with it then. Well, before you stick it in the basement or attic (AGAIN), open it up. Do you need it? Will you ever use it? Will you be lost without it? If all of those are "No's", then let yourself be ok in getting rid of it! You're in a new house…don't fill it up with things you don't need. Good luck! And happy moving! Now, I'm off to flatten some boxes. Anna-Kristin