Moving is a big job, unfortunately dreaded by many, but there are steps anyone can take to make the move smoother, easier and more pleasant. Most of the stress that comes with moving can be avoided by not putting off the preparation until it’s too late. If approached pragmatically and with a healthy attitude, preparing to move can be cathartic, enjoyable and energizing.
There are two areas that require preparation in moving: one is packing your present home, and the other is preparing your new home. Let’s start with your present home. Most people know they are going to be moving well in advance. Preparation can start as soon as the decision is made to move and long before a new home is found. The longer you have, the more stress-free this step can be, and you will only have to devote a small amount of time each day.
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Step One: Get Rid of Ballast. Ballast is anything that is not being used or should be replaced. Also under this category is anything you simply don’t want anymore, but haven’t gotten around to throwing away. Limit yourself to taking on one room at a time, and give yourself a week or two to complete each room.
As you go through your rooms, you’ll likely discover items you have carried with you for years out of sheer habit or obligation – knickknacks you don’t even like, old dish sets you’ll never use, toys the kids have outgrown, and so on. Pack these items into boxes to take to the Salvation Army or your favorite charity. Getting rid of these items will make you feel lighter and leave less to move. It will also help keep your new home free of clutter.
Step Two: Pack As You Go. The great thing about going through rooms to remove ballast is that you can methodically pack things you won’t be using before moving. Photo albums, books, off-season clothing, the knickknacks you want, and so on. It’s easy to pack when you aren’t under the gun! Put on music or have your favorite television program or DVD movie playing. Enjoy the process and mark each box with the room it came from and its basic contents, or create a manifest if you prefer.
Over the next several weeks, the moving boxes will begin accumulating, so choose a spot from the beginning that will be convenient to store them. Don’t leave them all over the house, as this creates another chore. If you will be hiring movers, it is less important where the boxes accumulate, but if you’ll be carrying them outside yourself at moving time, try to make a space as near to the front door as possible. This shortens the walk to the moving van!
As the moving date approaches, you will be able to pack more and more things that won’t be required in the interim. Don’t forget the attic, basement and garage. Dishes and silverware can be packed a few days in advance, and you can use plasticware and paper, or leave only a few dishes and glasses and pack the rest. That will leave a relatively small amount of items at the end.
Packing in this way is cathartic and freeing rather than stressful. You’ll be surprised how much easier it makes moving! And there’s another benefit.
Once you find your new home, it might require some preparation. Not to worry! You’ll have more time to enjoy preparing your new home because you won’t be under the gun to pack your house!
Step Three: Prepare Your New Home. Take a walk through your new home and imagine moving your articles in. Now that you’ve been going through them for several weeks, you’ll have a great idea of just what you have.
If cupboards and drawers need to be wiped down and papered, now is the time to do it, when the house or apartment is still empty. Do walls need patching or painting? Is the rug clean? Are the floors in good shape? Any cleaning or repairs should be done after you have acquired your lease or escrow papers, but before moving in. It is much easier to prepare an empty home than a full one, and if workers need to come and go, you won’t have to worry about your possessions.
Check the electricity by turning on lights and switching on appliances. Run the water to check water pressure. Turn on the stove and burners. The Gas Company will send out a technician free of charge to check gas appliances and furnaces for leakages if you have any doubts.
If there is a refrigerator, are you going to keep it? Does it work? If you plan to sell it or any other furnishings, move them to the empty garage and run free ads in the Recycler. If you don’t have a garage, leave them in the home, but run the ads and sell the items right away, ideally before moving in. This will give you extra cash and make room for your things.
By the time your moving day has arrived, your new home should be clean and ready, and your present home should be packed! Moving in this manner is not only painless, but it can also be very enjoyable. The key is starting well ahead of time and breaking everything down into little steps!