Moving Without Losing Your Mind - Or Your Stuff
Can we just start by acknowledging the universal truth that moving isn't exactly fun? Like yes, it can be exciting. Getting to a new place and getting everything set up and placed how your mind imagined it can be really, really exciting. And fun. But you know what's not fun?
A lost box.
Or a broken glass.
Or not being able to find your pots and pans when you really need to stop ordering out and need to start making dinners in your new place.
We did our cross country move with an Allied Van Lines affiliate, and they were awesome. I've talked previously about some ways to may your move easier, but today I want to focus on tracking your stuff. It was a lot easier when I lived in a dorm and could fit all of my earthly possessions into six plastic tubs that were bright pink. There wasn't a chance of one getting forgotten - because they could all fit in the back of my mom's minivan.
As I've gotten older, acquired a few more kitchen appliances, merged households with my husband, and started living in places with more than one twin bed it's become a bit trickier to keep track of my stuff. So, here's how we made sure everything made it to our new place:
Inventory the Boxes
I'm not saying that you need to write down every single sweater that you pack into a box, but you do need to have a good idea about what's in a box without having to look in it. For example, I had a kitchen box that included: green serving platters (2), blue and white casserole dishes with stands, plastic cups (7), and pyrex lids. When I needed to know where my green serving platters were, I could tell you exactly where they where and what else was in there. Doing this will save you a ton of time when you start your unpacking process.
Number the Boxes
Another thing that will save you time is having a good numbering system. At the top of every box label, I had a four part number code.
Room Name: for this I used abbreviations such as O for Office, M for Main Bedroom and K for Kitchen.
Box Number: I just walked through my office at the end and numbered them starting with 1 and continuing onward.
Total Boxes in that Room: don't do this part until the very end or you'll end up missing one like I did. Once you've packed and numbered all the boxes for a room (example, I had 29 kitchen boxes), put that number after the first number.
Priority of opening: I rated each box 1-5. 1 was open right away and 5 was "you can wait until Christmas...or at least later."
So kitchen box 3 that had my most important kitchen items in it that needed to be opened right away had a code of "K-3-29-1" on it and then listed the things that were in the box.
Once all the boxes were packed, the inventories done, and the numbers finalized, I took pictures of all the labels. This way I could match the numbers with my possessions inside of them. Originally, my plan was to make a spreadsheet with all of the items for insurance purposes, but, our move got moved up by four months, so I didn't get around to it.
Use the Moving Company
Our moving company had stickers that they placed on every box and furniture item (each leg of the table had its own sticker). This was a great backup for my own numbering and held them accountable so it wasn't just my word against theirs. They gave us a sheet with all the numbers and what exactly those numbers were stuck to (box, coffee table, etc.). This was also how we made claims for broken items.
Have An Unpacking Plan
Unloading the truck took the movers just under three hours. Awesome. That means that before lunchtime I had boxes up to my eyeballs. Literally. I had a plan for where to start. The first thing you need to do is set up your bed and your wifi - that way when you're tired, you can go to bed. From there, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do first: the kitchen. I knew I'd be excited and this is when I'd actually feel like doing something as tedious as putting shelf liner on all the shelves in the kitchen.
After that, I knew I'd want to start getting my closet set up. This would get boxes (clothing) out of my other spaces and put away where it will live for the foreseeable future. By getting those boxes cleared out I could then move around in my room and get others unpacked. At the end of the day (I think it took me about four to get totally unpacked) I would tear down the boxes so they were stacked in one place. I'd also make sure that I checked off the boxes I unpacked on what I called my "bingo card." I had a piece of paper with each of the room codes on it (K-1, K-2, K-3, etc.). Checking these off gave me that second check (in addition to the tags from the movers) but also gave me the ability to see how much progress I was making.
Bonus tip - if you have a dog, have somewhere else for your sweet pup to be, especially if they get anxious like mine does. She spent the morning with a friend and then joined us for the unpacking party after the movers left.