I’m taking a quick cooking break to share my moving expertise (gained the hard way: 8 moves in 9 years). Hope you find some tips to help ya!
1 month ahead:
Sort/declutter/donate, so that when it comes time to put things in boxes, you know that everything is going (which makes it easier for people to help you pack!) and you’re not overwhelmed by making lots of decisions during the actual packing process. Make a list of areas to tackle (your closet, that junk drawer, the shed) and do it bit by bit.
Get (free!) boxes. Our favorite source is Barnes and Noble, because the boxes are a great medium size, mostly the same size, and very sturdy. At our local store, you can call in the morning and they set aside boxes for you to pick up later. We’ve also gotten boxes from Craig’s List and friends who had recently moved.
Start using up things in your freezer and pantry. If you’re not moving far, you can transfer fridge/freezer stuff in a cooler, but otherwise, make sure it doesn’t go to waste! It’s a good chance to get rid of old/expired pantry items, discover that you have three open bags of rice, and at least not buy any more duplicates, for the love.
Use your local gift cards and coupons. And your free drink at the coffee shop and your free loaf of bread at the bakery (just me, hoarding them for some imaginary perfect time?).
Set a few toys aside if you have young kids. When the toys get packed (aside from special friends who don’t get boxed) it’s nice to have a couple things that feel novel (since they’ve been out of rotation) so everything else isn’t missed as much.
1 week ahead:
Make a list of utilities you need to turn off/on and call to arrange it. Water, electric, internet, mail…
Decide when to close your kitchen, and recruit friends to help you pack it. Wrapping all those breakables takes a long time, and it’s
less terrible more fun with help! (And closed means closed: no more toasting, no just-this-one-skillet-for-eggs. The things you leave out multiply somehow at the end and it can get ugly!)
Let people help you. If you have a mental list of things that others can do – watch your kids so you can pack, bring you a meal, help you box your books, take a load of things to a donation center for you – you’ll be ready to say “Yes, thank you!” when they offer to help.
Pack your First Day Box as you go.
Label all 4 sides of each box and the top with the destination room, and jot something about the contents on the top, too. That way, no matter how things are stacked, you have at least a little info about what’s in all those boxes!
Have plenty of “extra” boxes for the last minute random stuff. That’s the hardest part of packing – the Things That Are Left – the cleaning supplies, the wastebaskets, the house plants, and oh crap, we forgot that drawer. It’s less annoying when you can at least put it in a box instead of a trash bag or the trunk of your car!