The first time I moved–from my home in Los Angeles to college in Berkeley–I wasn’t exactly a “pro.” I remember wrapping my arms around the clothes hanging in my closet, tossing the pile in the backseat of my car (much to my mom’s horror), and smiling at my own ingenuity as I considered that I wouldn’t have to unpack or re-hang anything! To say I’ve grown considerably since then would be an understatement. In particular, I’ve learned that there are much easier–and more organized–ways to successfully move your entire life from one place to another.
Of course, I’m not denying that moving is a massive undertaking. It can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and exhausting, and I don’t know many who relish the ordeal. But it doesn’t have to be the worst experience in the world. With a little forethought (and a lot of wine), I promise you can make the process fairly painless. I’ll show you how!
1. Plan ahead
You’re reading this article, so you’re already ahead of the game. (Nice planning, you!) This is the most important (and seemingly, the most obvious) moving tip I can share with you. Of course, most of us give some thought to a big move. We know intuitively that we need to get boxes and reserve a “Please help me move!” spot on our unwitting friends’ calendars and, of course, browse home tours for decorating inspiration. But a real plan–I’m talking checklists and schedules and mapped-out meals; one that’s written on paper and not just floating around in your head–will ensure that you stay organized, don’t forget any minor (or major) details, and maintain your sanity during what can be an incredibly hectic time.
These are a couple of things you might consider:
● Who can help you move and when? Ask your friends – with promises of pizza and beer, of course – and put them in shifts! As saintly as they may be, I doubt any of your friends want to sacrifice an entire weekend to help you move. (I barely want to help myself move.)
● Meal plan for the first few days (or weeks) after your move! Realistically, you’ll be spending every non-working, waking minute after you move trying to organize your life in a new space – so remember to fuel yourself and plan out what you’ll eat ahead of time. (It’s okay if your “plan” is to order Thai food three days in a row. I won’t judge.)
● What items will you need right away? Think phone charger, toothbrush, bottle of wine (just me?). You’ll want to pack all of those things together in a bag that won’t get lost in the shuffle during your move.
2. Make a list of who needs to be notified
Contrary to what you may be thinking, it’s not just the post office and your mom. Make a list ahead of time of anyone who may need your new address. Yes, of course this includes your best friend and the bank, but they’re not the only ones who need to keep tabs on your whereabouts! Don’t forget about your gym, your credit card company, the library, any magazines you subscribe to, and the human resource department at your company too! And another pro tip? Change your address with USPS and notify your utilities providers before you move! Give them at least two weeks to allow the change to go into effect (and ensure that you’re not being billed for services that you’re no longer using!).
Once you’ve settled into your new place, go through your list and send a quick note (or make a call) to let everyone know you’ve moved. Then sit back and await the housewarming gifts.
3. Sign up for a packing service
In the weeks before I moved from San Francisco back to Los Angeles a few years ago, I stalked the underground parking lot of my local BevMo, because I knew they left piles of old shipping boxes next to their delivery entrance. Because I was young (and fairly cheap…and I loved BevMo), I slowly stockpiled my own heap of used, misshapen, slightly dirty boxes for my big move. Luckily, there are much better (more sanitary) solutions now. With a service like Redi-Box, you can have as many boxes as you need delivered right to your door – and have them picked up from your new door once you’re done unpacking!
Every box is sturdy and the same size (which makes them easy to pack and easy to stack), you don’t have to break down cardboard and find a place to dispose of it, and – bonus! – they don’t stink of alcohol and underground parking lot, so your beloved belongings won’t either.
*Note that Redi-Box serves Chicago specifically, but you can find similar services in most major cities. It’s so much better (and cleaner and less work) than the pile of boxes behind your local beverage distributor. Trust me.
4. Do some spring cleaning
Moving to a new place is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all your “stuff”. You know what I’m talking about–all of those clothes and books and plates and really anything else you no longer use on a regular basis (or, let’s face it, never really used to begin with). Schedule time to go through each room of your home and set aside anything you no longer need. Then find a new home for it!
● Host a clothing swap party with your girlfriends
● Make some extra cash by selling your stuff at a local thrift store, on eBay or Craigslist, or at your own yard sale
● Or just give everything away to a local non-profit like the American Red Cross
Use this opportunity to take inventory of everything you own. How much of it do you still use on, at least, a monthly basis (if not, weekly or daily)? If you’re anything like me, you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years–more than you ever need or have the time to use – and there’s undoubtedly someone out there who will consider your “trash” to be the greatest treasure. You can make their day and clear some space in your new home all at the same tim! Win-win.
5. Scope out your new neighborhood
When my husband and I moved a few years ago, we drove around our new neighborhood a couple of weeks before we moved in. We noted the closest grocery store and movie theater and bookstore (for me!) and we wrote down the restaurants we wanted to try. We even stumbled upon the Mexican restaurant we’d eventually frequent, on average, once every three days. (Only slightly kidding.)
Take the time to tour your new neighborhood before you move! Make friends with the local barista. Go for a run at the nearest park. Find your very own margarita watering hole. If you make note of the places you’ll need to go to on a regular basis and write down the interesting places you’d like to explore, you’ll be perfectly well acquainted with your new neighborhood (and have a list of fun activities to try/margaritas to drink!) by the time you move in.
Here’s to being a tourist in your new city!
And, after all of that, it’s finally time to make the move! You’ve planned, you’ve cleaned, you’ve toured. You’re ready. Pull out that bottle of wine (you did pack it, right?) and raise a glass. Welcome to your new home! Do you have any smart tips for moving with ease? Share your best strategies in the comments below.
DISCLAIMER: We’ve partnered with Redi-Box, but all opinions expressed within are our own.