(originally written July 7, 2011)
While we’re waiting for our bank attourney to do his thing – we’ve had some time to focus on our upcoming wedding.
I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but yes – we’re buying a house a MONTH before our wedding. Crazy? You betcha. Consider us those kinds of folks that have to make things more difficult than need be.
So while we’re gathering boxes and deciding what is going to eventually go where - I’ve been making centerpieces and other artsy-craftsy things. The key here is to be organized. Regardless of your circumstances, I’ve learned (from the eight times I’ve moved in the last six-and-a-half years) that being organized with your move makes the process to a lot quicker and saves frustration down the line.
We’ve decided to tackle one room at a time. With all of our wedding artsy-craftsy stuff laying about the house it’s helping to keep everything separated so I don’t go crazy tearing the house apart trying to find what I need when I have a spare minute to work on something.
Here are the steps we’re taking to make sure everything goes smoothly:
1. Purge: Eventhough we haven’t lived in our current apartment for very long (about a year and a half) we’ve still managed to accumulate a lot of “stuff” that we don’t need. Before we start packing anything we’re going to go through everything and throw out, donate, or shred anything we won’t need or miss when we move. Yes our house is about 3x as large as our apartment, but that doesn’t mean we should bring anything we don’t need with us.
2. Sort: Once everything is purged we decide where everything is going to go. For instance – we’re starting with the office. Since our new house doesn’t have a whole room set aside for the office (that will come later as we finish the attic) we need to decide what is going to go where – some of it will probably be divided up into different rooms. From there we’ll put everything into piles depending on where it’s going to go.
3. Label: Everything will have a label saying which room it goes to – furniture and all. Sure we might change our mind once we’re in there, but having something basic in your head makes it easier to unpack. Also – you’re probably going to have people helping you (whether friends or hired) that don’t know where you’ll want everything. Yes, I’m even labeling the rooms and other non-obvious ”spaces” before we move boxes in so people don’t have to hunt for me to ask me which room is the master bedroom. Since we only have a month between closing and our wedding we need to unpack quickly so we’re not still living in boxes when we have people coming in from out of town.
4. Boxing: When you box up heavy things – like books and dvd’s – use smaller boxes. Sure it might mean MORE boxes, but they’ll be easier to lift. I made the mistake of filling one of those giant rubbermaid totes with books once and it was nearly impossible to carry up to my third-floor apartment. Make the boxes manageable for who is helping, the equipment available and the layout of the house. Anything you have to move up the stairs you’ll probably want to be lighter. Yeah, this all sounds like common-sense stuff, but once you get into the frenzy of packing everything up sometimes you just want to get it done and forget that your entire library is going to be put in the attic.
When considering what to pack everything in keep a few things in mind: You don’t have to pay for boxes. Go to your local grocery store or shopping mall and see if they have any boxes you can have. Check your office - boxes that paper comes in are great becuase they have lids and handles and are really sturdy! These are great for dvds and books becuase of their size. Save newspaper or collect scrap paper. This is good for your drinking glasses and any other breakables. If you know you’re going to store items (seasonal stuff), you might want to consider purchasing rubbermaid bins. They are relatively inexpensive and will protect your belongings from becoming damaged once they are stored in your new house. Put a label on it so you know exactly what is in there. Utilize what you’ve got. I never understood why people put their clothes in boxes when they are already in drawers. If you have a dresser you can pull the drawers out of (and you’re only moving across town and not across the country) just pull the drawers out and stack them in the vehicle. They will be fine. You can also use your laundry basket to move larger items like your bed linens. Consider wrapping some of your breakables in your clean light-weight clothes (t-shirts work best) too.
5. Help: If you’re hiring movers to help you make sure you get references. You don’t want someone who has a history of breaking irreplaceable family heirlooms or denting up your dining room set. We’ve always had our friends come and help us move which can be great if you have able-bodied friends who are willing to work a few hours for pizza and beer. You’ll want enough people to help you get everything out of your old place (of course knowing that everything is boxed up), into vehicles or a moving truck, and into your new place in a few hours. It is a tall order depending on how much stuff you own (this is why purging is so important – less stuff = less time it will take to move everything). Figure 4-5 very strong folks to move heavy furniture (considering you’ll need 2-3 per item – possibly more if it’s something really heavy) and another 4-5 to carry boxes. You’ll be going in and out and you’ll want to avoid as many “traffic jams” as possible – especially while moving the heavy stuff. Not to mention if you have enough people you won’t be as likely to hurt yourself. If you’re not renting a moving van or truck or are planning on spanning it out over a few days, my suggestion is to move all of the large furniture first so there’s more room to move it around. If you’re constantly having to step over boxes to get the bed to your bedroom it could cause some problems and result in something getting damaged.
Garry and I are planning on a ”moving party” the day of our big move. The plan is to have the truck packed the night before close and move as soon as we have those keys (ambitious, I know). Once we have everything moved in (which shouldn’t take too long with as many people as we’re planning on) we’ll have pizza, beer and whatever side-dishes people want to bring. Other than sheets on the bed, we won’t plan on unpacking anything that day if we can help it.
A few things you’ll want to buy/borrow/rent if you don’t already own them:
1. Tape measure – to make sure something will indeed fit through a doorway.
2. Tool kit – if something doesn’t fit, you’ll need some tools to get molding or a door jam down to get that extra bit of room.
3. Large vehicle - unless you’re cool with making multiple trips, you’ll want to borrow someone’s large van, truck or SUV or rent a moving truck. The process will go much quicker if you only have to make one trip.
4. Dolly – especially if you don’t have as many people helping you move or if you have a lot of stairs to deal with. This saves knees.
5. Furniture sliders – if you were in LOVE with the hardwood floors in your new home, don’t ruin them by scratching them – have each “team” of people moving large furniture equipped with 4 furniture sliders. That way they can put the furniture in place without scratching your floors. Later on you can use them yourself to move things around.
** Here is where I show my crazy organized self **
My plan is to have a diagram for each room. Typically the day before close you will do a walk-through. Bring your tape measure. Measure door openings, rooms and windows. Before then measure your furniture you’re taking with you. What works great is to take some graph paper and make a to-scale diagram of your room, and cut out t0-scale shapes for your furniture. Move them around on your room diagram and when you’ve decided on something you like, tape (or glue) it down. Post each diagram on the wall for each room so your movers know right where to put everything. It sounds like a lot of work, but it should make the after-math of moving a LOT less sweaty and frustrating since you’ll know where most everything is and if the furniture is at least close to where it should be, that’s less you need to do when you’re sweaty and tired. We’ll see if this actually works out or if we just throw caution to the wind and decide once we get in there. Oh, to be rebellious