Preparing to Move: The First Steps

Re-locating. Chances are you've done this a few times. . .

Cardboard. Tape. Chaos.

What a pain. 

To the left, there, you see my to-do list. The middle two columns are all related to my upcoming move. Um. . .yeah. It's officially taking over my life.

It's still two months out, but it's not too early to get started.

Here are some tips . . .

I've learned from experience that you can focus on some things way ahead of time to simplify the process later on.

  1. Empty the pantry. Food is a bother to transport even if you're just moving a couple blocks. Try to eat as much of what's in your freezer, fridge, and cupboards as you can, and quit stocking up on extras!
  2. Declutter. You know that stack of magazines? Junk mail? Random stuff in your closet? Under the bathroom sink? If it's not important enough to justify the work of packing, hauling, and unpacking. . .Pitch it.
  3. Downsize. There's no time like the present! Break out your inner minimalist. Think about articles of furniture that you could sell on craigslist to off-set the cost of the move. . .Clothes you could donate to thrift stores. . .Books you could donate to your local used bookstore. . .
  4. Start collecting boxes and packing materials. If you subscribe to a newspaper, don't throw any of it away or cancel it until you have enough to wrap all your fragile items. If you get a package in the mail, save the box and bubble wrap!
  5. Pack what you can when you can. Chances are, there are things you can start packing ahead of time that you won't miss. Out of season clothes. . .The contents of bookshelves and closets. . .
  6. Make a list and tape it somewhere in-your-face. Your mind is probably swimming. (Sinking?) So much to do. Get it all on paper and add to it as things occur to you so you don't forget anything!
  7. Re-read your lease and inspection paperwork. If you rent, make sure you know how much advance notice of your intent to vacate your landlord requires. See who's responsible for shampooing the carpet.  And if your landlord went over the condition and cleanliness of your apartment with you when you moved in, find that paperwork again to help you leave things in the same or better condition.
  8. Those crazy drip-pans on your stove covered in burnt-on gunk? Buy new ones and install them the day you leave. Seriously. They never look decent again once stained.
  9. Make a list of all the places you'll need to change your address, and all the bills and utilities you'll need to cancel. I find this is easiest to do if you simply make a list of all your incoming mail for a month as it arrives. 
  10. Eat ice cream. Hey. You can't take it with you.

How do you prepare to move?