Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Moving: A Do-It-Yourself Guide (Pt 2 - Trying Not To Get Overwhelmed)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remember how I found this great article written by Claire C, a real estate agent based out of Washington on May 13th. The article was entitled: Moving: A Do-It-Yourself Guide (Pt 1 - The Lead-Up).

Part 1 was a list of helpful tips to help prep for the month before the big move. The idea being that those little things you can do in less than five minutes will go a long way when it's crunch time.

This is Part 2, thought you might find it interesting. Please feel free to add your own tips on my blog!

Today, I'd like to discuss the month prior to your move. This is a stressful time for many because it's hard to determine what to pack and when, without needing it in the ginormous amount of time that you have before the Big Day.

Trying Not to Get Overwhelmed (1 Month Prior to the BIG DAY): You're looking down the road and have figured out that you're moving. The problem now is getting everything in order so that it all falls together by moving day. This month, I want you to start your FIRST NIGHT list. It's a list of things you'll need immediately when you get to your new home. We'll discuss it in more detail in my next installment (Panic Time: One week to go!). For now, just get out a piece of paper and jot things down as we go.

Here's what needs to happen in this month:

1. In the Kitchen:

a. Go through your fridge and freezer and do a COMPLETE inventory, by category (fruits, meats, dry goods), of what you have. You're going to want to spend this month eating down your stockpile of goods, and since you culled everything during the last installment, it should be no issue to do a quick inventory.

b. Consider planning a few meals to use up the heaviest or messy items in your pantry - ie. Canned goods, frozen meats and veggies, bottles of juice, etc. If you eat the heavy items first, you'll have less of a backache during the Big Day.

c. Decide whether you really want to move your linens or dinnerware. Do you love it still? Do you have the budget to replace it once you move? If not, make a note on your calendar for the week before your move to make a donation run with your dinnerware (to the soup kitchens if it's incomplete, to the thrift store if it's complete) and linens (to the shelter for the doggies).

d. In the dining room, think really hard about your needs. Is your family a kitchenette family or a board game family? Do your dining table and chairs suit your needs? This is mostly a mental note for you; you get to decide whether your kitchen table and chairs are really something you want to move or not. If you USE IT and LOVE IT, KEEP IT.

e. Let's not forget our furry friends. The next time you go shopping, pick up enough food for this month and then TWO WEEKS after your move. Yes, it's going to be heavy - sorry. But no one likes to go hungry. If you have a kitty, get a bucket of cat litter instead of a bag. Put your pet supplies on your FIRST NIGHT list.

f. Wipe down the insides and outsides of your fridge, freezer, and cabinets. Don't bother taking anything out at this point; don't waste your time. Just wipe around it. Wipe the fingerprints off the doors and windows.

2. In the Laundry Room:

a. This month, you really, really want to keep up on your laundry. Do it regularly.

b. Start packing away warm weather clothes (if it's winter) or cool weather clothes (if it's summer).

c. At this time, you should start a box for each member of your family, marked "Daisy - Winter Clothes" or "Bobby - Summer Clothes". A useful thing to do at this point is also note the current sizes on the clothing. Don't waste a lot of time on this; if Bobby's clothing are mostly sevens, then mark "7" on the box after Bobby's name. (Bobby 7 - Summer Clothes)

d. Start collecting hangers. If you have wire hangers, do yourself a favor and THROW THEM AWAY. Wire hangers ruin your clothes. Make a mental note to invest in better hangers after the move. If you already have nice hangers, start stowing them away as you find them empty in closets, in the laundry room, or in the basement.

e. This may sound stupid, but familiarize yourself with the hot/cold water shut-offs. When it's time to move, you'll want to shut them down, and you want it to be a no-brainer so that you don't waste two hours trying to figure out how to do it.

3. In the Bathroom:

a. USE IT UP. That's the rule this month. We are NOT moving eighth-inch-full shampoo bottles. We are NOT taking that mostly-gone eyeshadow compact with us. We are NOT DEFINITELY NOT going to take a quarter-full TP roll with us. Use it up!

b. Add the following items to your FIRST NIGHT list: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, TP, makeup, shampoo, soap, hairdryer, prescriptions.

c. Do a FULL scrub down of your bathroom. Get it as clean as you can possibly get it, somewhere around T-minus Two Weeks until the Big Day. Wipe the drips off the wall, clean up the fingerprints on the doorjamb, and definitely scrub out the bath and shower until it sparkles. Why? Because it's easier to do a quick clean than a deep clean when you're that close to moving and stressed out.

4. In the Bedroom:

a. Commit to one set of sheets and put them on your bed. You'll wash these and put them right back on again as many times as you like before the Big Day. Pack up all the rest of your sheets. If it's summer, consider also packing up your heavy blankets. Bundle your throw pillows up and set them with your packed linens.

b. Walk around the room and pick up all the dust-collectors. If you LOVE them, wrap them up as though they were the most precious piece of china you own and pack them safely in a sturdy box. c. Pair up your socks. It's silly, yes, I know, but make sure everyone's got a mate. If you have any stragglers, take them to the laundry room and set them on the dryer. From now on, only paired socks go in your drawers. At the end of the month, you'll use any extras to take care of stains in the carpet.

d. Pull EVERYTHING out of your closet (except hanging clothes). Closets are often a black hole of things you never knew you had. Make sure everything in there is something you LOVE and USE. Pile these items along ONE wall, preferably furthest from the door. Be safe! Don't put them against a baseboard heater.

e. Go through your hanging clothes and decide if they're all something you wear semi-regularly. I realize that a bunch of people love keeping their wedding dresses or their First Communion outfit, but I'm here to tell you that a picture of those gorgeous dresses will give you the same memories you get by seeing them in the closet. Plus, that extra $600 you get from selling them will help bring new memories to your household after you move.

4. In the Living Room:

a. Just like you did in the bedroom, bundle up your throw pillows and pack up the extras that you LOVE.

b. This is not just for the living room, but at this point, you should walk around the house and collect any pictures that were on the walls. Decide which pieces of art you want to keep; it's okay to let something go that's no longer your style. If you dislike a frame or matting of a certain picture, make a note, and pack them up. The safest way to store pictures is upright (as they would hang), putting two pictures back to back and two more front to front, being sure to put cardboard between the face to face parts to keep the frames from scratching and leaning the whole pile against a solid, sturdy wall. If you're moving a long distance, you may want to look into getting some framing boxes from your local frame supply store.

c. Go through your book collection again. I can't stress this enough: Books are heavy! Are you SURE you need all of the ones you decided to keep? Do you still have books you put on Swaptree three months ago? Take any extra to your local book exchange.

d. Do you have any furniture that didn't sell on Craigslist? Invite Goodwill in to take it for you; often, they'll send a truck. This is a good time to send your dishes from above or any art you decided not to keep.

e. As to that office in your living room, you've tackled the paper monster. This time, I want you to take a good, hard look at your cords. Does every peripheral have its proper cord? Do you have extras? For now, put the extras in a separate bin and set it on the top shelf. If they aren't used in the next month, it's probably okay to toss them.

f. Also in the office, decide whether your desk serves your needs. If not, get rid of it! You can get a new one on the other end or work on the dining room table for a while until you find the RIGHT one. You might find that you don't need a desk at all.

g. Finally, get a file box for the files you have to transfer. Before loading up the whole thing with all those files, take each file out individually, open it, and decide if it's still a necessary file. ONLY pack the ones that are necessary! Often, we forget that we have certain files or re-purpose others to include an additional item that already had its own folder. Don't be afraid to purge!

Again, this may look like a huge list of things to do, but I promise, none of these things take longer than fifteen minutes. If you do a little every day, you'll be okay!

Overall, follow these rules:

Rule #4: Does it serve your needs? If not, then out it goes!

Rule #5: If it has no other purpose than to remind you of something, take a picture! Out the item goes!

Rule #6: Make a 1st Night Box for your family, so that you don't have to go scrambling for toothpaste or TP on your first night at your new home.

Try not to get overwhelmed! You have plenty of time between now and the Big Day. Take your time and do things at your own pace. Enlist help if you need to. Don't be afraid to edit your collection of household goods and furniture. If you don't use it or love it, let it go!