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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spring Cleaning Saturday: Packing!

Why all this packing, you ask? We're moving! I got a new job in Pennsylvania, so we'll be moving up there on July 27th. Though Virginia has been good to us, PA is where a good 85% of our family and friends are and with this new move, most of them will be within 2 hours instead of 6-8 hours.

Its a good thing...just ask my 3 year old car with 54,000 miles on it. Doesn't sound like too many miles? Keep in mind that I don't drive to work and Jeff's job is 10 miles away round trip. Now does it sound like a lot?

We were given 3 1/2 weeks to move our jam packed 800 square foot apartment. Seen as we spent the first 5 days standing around repeating, "How did we get so much stuff?!?!" we now have a little less than 3 weeks. We're no strangers to moving; between August 2002 to now, I have picked up all of my things and moved 17 times. Yes, that includes moving into and out of my residence halls for college, but that is still a lot of packing and moving. The packing-moving-unpacking part doesn't worry us. The packing-feed the baby-play with the baby-packing-moving-hold the baby-watch the baby-unpacking-hold the baby-feed the baby-unpacking-watch the baby thing does.

As for general moving tips, I've got quite a few. Firstly, don't label your boxes like this.  -------->

It is not as helpful as you may think.


1. Create "Open First" Boxes - As you're packing, designate one or two boxes as "Open First" boxes and mark them clearly as such. This will ensure you can find things like Advil, toilet paper, extra socks, a set of sheets, towels, pet food, whatever you think you'll need first.

2. Sort Your Stuff - Use packing as an opportunity to sort through your stuff. Make piles for a yard sale and Goodwill. If, while packing, you say, "Huh, I didn't know we had this" or "That's where that's been" chances are you won't miss it if its sold or donated. This is not the time to be a pack rat.

I made Jeff repack his 1,000 lb. box
3. Keep to a Weight Limit - Don't pack an entire bookcase into one large box, like someone in my house who shall remain nameless. He knows who he is. Keep boxes to a manageable weight, even if that means you have a billion small boxes. At least you'll be able to move them.

4. Don't Buy Moving Supplies - Bubble wrap just gets tossed once you move. Instead, use towels, sheets, and other soft stuff to pad fragile items and save space. Boxes can be acquired from your local liquor store or supermarket. The boxes that eggs cartons come in are seriously some of the best boxes for moving - they are a good size and have handles!

5. Set a Schedule - Easier said than done, but do the best you can to stick to some kind of schedule. Whether its a color coded, room by room break down on an Excel spreadsheet or trying to pack two boxes a day - do what works for you. Regardless, know that you're going to be up until 3am before the day of the move. Sorry. 

Moving Day

Can you tell Jeff works at Barnes and Nobel?
1. Use Your Head, Not Your Heart - If its going to give you a panic attack to have every single family member show up and man handle your stuff, then don't invite them. If the moving company your cousin recommended sounds more like a mob operation, don't feel bad not using them. Moving is stressful enough. Do whatever you can to keep your sanity. And drink coffee. Lots of coffee.

2. Number Boxes - If you're using a moving company or even if you're not, number your boxes (# out of #). Its easy to see what you're missing this way.

3. The Boy Scouts Have it Right - Being prepared, that is. I don't know about you, but it always seems to either rain or be a hundred degrees on the days I move. Have ice water for heat and tarps in case of rain.


1. Have a Plan - In order to prevent the wide eyed "where do we start?!" stare, have a plan of action. Unpack room by room, starting with your Open First boxes, and go from there. Oh, and know that you're not going to get it done in a day. Get some rest.

What's that serenity prayer again?
2. Clean as You Go - Take out boxes, paper, and other trash as it piles up. It may be a room of empty boxes, but it still looks overwhelming as you're trying to feel accomplished. 

3. Don't Unpack the Junk Drawer - There comes a point when you're packing when you just start throwing stuff into boxes. No? Just me? Anyway, don't unpack a box from the junk drawer back into the junk drawer. Throw things out, sort things, and put it away. You've got the next several years to reestablish that eclectic mess.

Now, here are my tips for moving with a baby...

5. Don't Forget the Baby

Oh wait...I don't know how to move with a baby. Crap. 

I guess we'll find out what works and what doesn't. I love parenting by trial and error. Lessons are so much more swift-kick-in-the-pants that way. Needless to say, Spring Cleaning Saturday is going to be dominated by our move for the next few weeks. Please send any extra moving karma my way. We're gonna need it.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine moving with a baby! And I can't imagine moving all the stuff that we have accumulated since living in our house. Good luck!