Oh the joys of moving house. You spend days and weeks finding the perfect home to buy or rent and get your heart-broken when things just doesn’t work out. After the stress and the tears you finally find the home that makes your heart flutter and you just know it’s meant to be. Then comes the wondrous moment when you can finally seal the deal with a flourish of a pen and a pristine new cheque. All the sudden this wave of relief floods over you and you tell yourself that the hardest part is over.
Well. It isn’t. Nice try.
I’m turning 21 in just under two weeks and I am getting ready for my 15th move; 6 of which have happened in the past 4 years. For this reason, I’d like to think that I have enough experience on the subject that my own moving routine is pretty solid. Obviously, every single move is different but I’d like to think that I’ve come up with a few tricks to keep my sanity during the stressful time.
These tips might help keep me from pulling my hair out from stress or breaking down from exhaustion, but they don’t take away from this important and unwavering fact: moving sucks.
Step One: Downsize… and then downsize some more.
There is nothing worse than getting to your new place and finding that half the boxes you spent hours unpacking are full of useless junk that you don’t need. I tend to lean towards a collected and almost cluttered design style, but my house itself is not cluttered. Does that make sense? I get rid of stuff all the time. A shirt that I love doesn’t fit? Donated. Old notes from a class I’ll never take again? Recycled. Furniture I love but know I can’t use anymore? Kijiji.
- Downsizing: Moving is the best time to go through your stuff and get rid of the things that don’t “spark joy”. If you need a little bit of help with this, head on over to my post about Marie Kondo and get yourself a copy of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.
- Donating: When it comes to donating clothes, try to only donate items that someone can actually reuse. If you have an old white shirt that is stained with ketchup and deodorant stains please don’t donate to Value Village. Cut it up for rags to use later or find a clothing recycling drive. H&M currently accepts old clothes in exchange for gift cards!
- Kijiji: Kijiji is your best friend. Seriously. I just made $300 through Kijiji this week! We sold a dining set, bookshelf, night stands and a bunch of other things that we didn’t need for our new place. $300 is a lot of money, and moving can be expensive. It only takes a few minutes to upload an ad in their app, and I had $300 in my pocket within 48 hours.
Step 2: How to Pack so you don’t break your back.
When I was living with my parents I used to have to pack all my boxes myself and always felt so proud of myself when I managed to fit all my books perfectly in a box like a game of tetris. That was until the big strong moving guy asked my Mom who packed the boxes from the ‘pink’ room explaining that they were so heavy and awkward to carry that he was worried about breaking the cardboard box. Oops…
- Books: I own a lot of books… I won’t have a strong moving guy to lift all my heavy boxes of books, so to save my back I have developed a weak girls packing tip. I like to mix books with clothes and linen so that the box is full, but it’s only half full of really heavy items. I will fill the bottom of a box with books, and then top it off with big sweaters, towels or sheets.
- Folded Clothing: I used to neatly fold all my clothes into boxes so that they would be easy to put away when I got to the new house, but have since abandoned this idea for garbage bags. This takes two minutes to accomplish because you just empty drawers of clothing into garbage bags.
- Hanging Clothing: I use garbage bags for clothes that I hang as well. Just cut a hole in the bottom of a bag and slide the clothes in so the hangers go through the hole. Fill the bag as much as possible, put an elastic around the hangers at the top to keep them together and knot the bag closed to that if anything slips of the hangers it won’t end up a the bottom of your Uhaul.
- Permanent markers: Permanent markers are also your new best friends. While it seems like common sense to label boxes “kitchen” or “bedroom” so that everything ends up in the right place, I also like to add a short list of the things inside the box. Having a bullet point list on the sides of the boxes means that when you are looking for your wooden spoons you don’t have to go through every box marked “kitchen” to find them.
Step 3: Maintaining sanity when your life is out of control
You’ve spent all day moving boxes and all you want to do is cuddle up in bed. But, you can’t find clean sheets, or a toothbrush or even clean underwear for the next day.
- Overnight Bag Essentials: Pack comfortable clothes and toiletries for a couple of days. Work out gear is perfect for moving because it is comfortable and won’t get in the way when you are moving heavy boxes around. Make sure to have all of your necessary toiletries so that you don’t scare away new neighbours with bad breath.
- Important documents: While packing make sure to grab all of your essential documents in one folder to bring in your overnight bag for the move. This may be your passport, health card, license, lease agreements etc. If you’re renting a van or need to call your landlord this information will be crucial. You don’t want to have to go digging through boxes. Plan ahead and keep everything in one place.
- Clean linens: This overnight bag is slowly filling up… I would highly recommend having a set of clean sheets and towels in your overnight bag because there is nothing better than climbing into sweet-smelling sheets after the end of a long day. After moving boxes all day you will be so grateful to have clean towels waiting for you. Keep your necessary linens with your overnight bag so that you can drop everything and get some rest without stress.
- Meal Planning: As heavenly as it may sound to eat pizza for dinner three days in a row in theory, it certainly won’t feel very good. Planning a few meals ahead of time and doing some meal prepping will be a blessing during a hectic move. I made chilli last week and froze a good portion of it for the first few days in our new house so that we have something quick, filling and nutritious to eat when all our cooking utensils are in boxes. Homemade pasta sauce, soups and casseroles are easy to make and reheat well if frozen.
That was a lot of words! I hope that these tips helped with your next move. I’ve also made a moving checklist that helps me keep organized to make sure that I don’t forget to do anything important in the days and weeks leading up to a move. If you want to see a move in-depth version of what I pack in my overnight bag, or the little things I do when handing over a rental apartment please download this free printable moving checklist!
What are your moving tips?