Things I’ve learned about moving:

First off, I hate it.  Like, from the bottom of my soul.  I never want to do it again.  I can’t understand people who move every year or two by choice.  Back in the day when all of my stuff fit in one truck (read: college), it wasn’t so bad, but now that it’s my stuff and my husband’s stuff and my two kid’s stuff, and three dogs and their stuff and the cat and his stuff…..too much stuff.

Start Early

I actually cleaned out a bunch of stuff to donate/sell and packed about 15 boxes before we put the house on the market.  One thing “they” tell you is that when your house is on the market, it should be as de-personalized and de-cluttered as possible.  People want to envision themselves living in your home when the are looking to buy it and that is difficult for some people to do when there is too much stuff to look past.  I probably packed 2/3 of the kid’s toys (that went over like a fart in church), packed up a bunch of clothes, minimalized everything that was on dressers, tables, bookshelves, etc.  This was all before we put the house on the market.

Once the house was sold, I started packing about 3 weeks before we actually closed.  I did NOT want to be moving stuff that we didn’t use anymore nor did I want to be throwing stuff in boxes in a rush.  I made sure to give myself time to not only go through everything, but pack correctly.  I would pack a few boxes a day, making sure to be realistic about what to keep and what to toss.  I wrapped breakables in packing paper and/or bubble wrap and made sure to label every box.  Labeling not only included what room, but a general idea of what was IN the box.

Buy boxes

I started packing with boxes I bought at Home Depot.  It was easy to go buy a few and they weren’t too expensive, so the pre-house listing packing was done with purchased boxes.  Then, once we had sold the house and I knew I was going to have a lot more boxes to pack, I went to a friend’s work place and filled my car with free boxes.  (Thank you Kevin for digging around the cardboard dumpster that day to help me!)

Free boxes are great and they save you money, for sure.  However, since they are all odd sizes, they are very difficult to fit in the moving vehicle you choose (truck/trailer/semi) and the storage unit you may need to rent.  I would say the single most frustrating thing when moving our entire house into a storage unit was trying to fit odd sized boxes with like sized boxes.  After putting one trailer load into the storage unit, I switched back to store-bought boxes.

Who has the best boxes, you ask??  In the long standing feud between Lowe’s and Home Depot, I have to say Lowe’s beats the Depot in the box department.  Lowe’s boxes have handles, Home Depot’s do not.  Handles beat non-handles any day.  Also, Lowe’s boxes have a little connector on the top of the cardboard flaps that holds them open while you are packing.  Once the box is full, you tear/cut the connector to fold the flaps down.  Very nice to have the flaps held open for you!

I have heard of box recycling programs where you can buy used, clean boxes for your move that are all the same sizes and pack well together.  I couldn’t find one locally, but I have to admit I didn’t look too hard.  I know U Haul has boxes and you can buy box “kits” online, but I found that both the Depot and Lowe’s had cheaper prices than those options.  Also, when I was short by a couple boxes, I could run to the store and buy more.

To have help, or not to have help?

This is probably a personal question for everyone.  For me, I chose to not have much help with moving.  I am a bit of a “type A” personality and wanted to be sure that nothing was put in a box that I didn’t want moved and that I knew what was in each box, so when I was looking for something, I knew where to find it.

Also, I’m easily distracted and could have very quickly been talked into having a beer on the porch instead of packing boxes.

I did, however, accept help with cleaning the house after everything was moved out.  I hate cleaning almost as much as packing.  So, a big thanks to my Mom for coming over and helping with that task.  Wow, there were a lot of Miller moths underneath stuff in the basement.  Unbelievable!


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