As most of you know, over the weekend I completed my 8th and final move into our new home.  8 times is a lot of times to move, whether it’s been via the DC Metro or through a professional moving company, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Whether you’ve moving soon or in a few years, here are some tips to keep in mind!

1.)  Maintain an organized packing system. Hands down, this is the #1 thing that kept me sane during these crazy 4 years.  Knowing what’s in each box saves precious time and effort, ensuring you’re not opening every single box to find that bottle opener.  😉

As I’m packing boxes, I maintain a list of what I’m putting into each one.  Each box then gets a number that matches my list of what’s in it.  For instance, the first box I pack is #1, and on my list, I have a list of everything in Box #1.  It’s ok to be vague and put “Kitchen” next to Box #1, but if you know you’re going to want certain items, the more detail the better.

This really came in handy this past weekend.  We had the movers put all the boxes in the living room so we wouldn’t have to clutter up other spaces with our 70+ boxes.  Obviously, this created quite the pile.  Once the movers were out, Jared, my sister and I went in, list in hand, and were able to move each box to it’s appropriate room, clearing up the living area and allowing us to assess what rooms needed the most work.

If you follow no other tip on this list, FOLLOW THIS ONE!  It’s seriously a life saver.

2.)  Be realistic about what should come with you. I’m not a very sentimental person.  Nor am I a pack rat.  In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much storage space you’ll have on the other end of your move-if you aren’t going to use something, it shouldn’t come with you.

My general rule of thumb has bee if I’ve moved a box from place to place and only taken it out when it was time to move again, it’s not coming again.  Take this time to weed through old documents, receipts, college memories, etc.  Donate what you’re not using, and move on!  I promise you won’t miss anything too much…I never have!

3.)  Don’t save everything for the last minute. There are definitely items that need to be saved for the last minute, such as things you use every day.  However, don’t wait too long to take care of these random items.  Doing so wastes a lot of time on moving day that could be spent loading up the truck.

Start in the rooms you spend the least time in.  For me, this was our office and guest bedroom.  Take the time to assess what you’re really going to use between now and your moving day.  Sure, it doesn’t look pretty, but it will save you some precious moments the day of your move.

Seaking of precious moments…

4.)  Don’t start packing at the last minute! Everyone’s busy, I get it.  In fact, our recent move came at the worst time professionally and personally for me.  The fact that I started packing even before we closed on the house saved me a lot of stress later.  If I had waited, things would have gotten ugly very quickly.  As I mentioned in #3, start as soon as you can!

5.)  Give yourself plenty of time. I know sometimes it’s hard to plan exactly when your move will take place.  Leases and other factors certainly can be inflexible at times.  However, if you know you’re not going to renew your lease, regardless of whether you have signed the dotted line for a new place, START PACKING.  I started packing up random things and clearing out crawl spaces long before our closing day.  Once again, it saves time and helps you chip away at the small stuff so you can focus on the big stuff.

As the day approaches, keep in mind it’s perfectly fine to give yourself some time to move in.  My preference has always been to start a lease mid-month, but not move in until the end of the month.  This gives you time to clean both places and start taking things over yourself.  Sure, there’s a reason why you’re hiring movers/getting a truck, but it doesn’t hurt to take little things over yourself, such as plants and other valuables.  For me, I wanted to take over all of our wedding things myself, just in case.  Saves valuable box space too!

6.)  Enlist help. This is something that I’m very bad at.  I like doing everything myself, but I’ve learned over the past 8 move times that help can be invaluable, whether its help with cleaning out your old place, or help the day of.  Enlist a close family member or two to be with you the day of to help you handle last minute things.  I say a family member or two, because there is such a thing as too  much help.  When you’re moving, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you need to be doing next, let alone what other people can be doing.  Limiting the amount of people around on the day of will create a stress-free environment and help you focus on what you actually need to be doing!

Coming up next….some helpful unpacking tips!  Happy Moving!