Organizing Your Household Move
In the history of household moves, very few of us have ever had a sane, intelligent move process. May is National Moving Month so I thought I’d wrap up the month with some advice on executing an organized household move in case you’re one of the many anticipating or going through this event.
It is important to remember that moving is about more than packing and the moving truck. Moving is a stressful life event for the majority of people. Few people report ever having a sensible, comfortable move process. Much of this is due to the fact that they have not planned ahead or understood the layers of the move process. It is possible to reduce stress and life impact if you take a proactive and organized approach to your move.
Here are some move strategies I’ve applied with my clients:
Preparing for Sale
Purpose your space
Gather like items together, like books, games, memorabilia, or gift wrap. Begin re-uniting items strung throughout your house. You’ll prepare for a smoother move, make the packing process easier, and buyers won’ be distracted by clutter.
List repairs and improvements needed
Consider both indoor and outdoor features that will attract or repel prospective buyers, and take measures to enhance or correct those features. Make a repairs-to-be-made list. Set dates on your calendar to execute the work, and begin making appointments with professionals to fix the things that require special skill or materials.
Prune your environment
Prune your belongings down to what you would save in a fire and what adds meaning, value, and utility to your life. Don’t forget to prune the stuff in your outbuildings like sheds, barns, or pool houses and even the dreaded mini-storage unit!
Donate the deadwood
Why pack and haul your neglected items that someone else could benefit from? From clothes you haven’t worn in years to the stuff crammed in your garage, it’s easier to pass along your treasures if you think about others who may enjoy them. Lightening up includes being charitable and saving yourself undue stress. See www.RestoringOrder.com for a great Donation Connection list that includes where to donate, recycle, or resell your items.
The Move Process
Sketch a simple floor plan of the destination home. Label each room with its intended purpose like “Family Room: Entertainment.” This way you will know that all games, music, and videos will end up in the family room. A floor plan will help you mentally move in before you are onsite. It will also help those assisting in your move get the appropriate boxes to the right rooms!
Set a timeline. From the date you learn you will be moving, you will need to calendar all important steps here, including the real estate transaction elements. Just getting each item onto your calendar will bring tremendous peace of mind. You still will have a lot to do, but you can visually see that if you stick to the schedule, it is possible to get everything done.
Set expectations. The goal of an intelligent move is plan purposefully in order to limit negative impact to your lifestyle. Remember that a move can be overwhelming. Talk to your family to explain how the move process will go for those involved. Understanding the timeline and expectations will reduce stress and get everyone on the same page.
Determine what goes first. By frequency of use, determine the items that can go to storage or into boxes (and eventually into the van) first. Those least frequently accessed items can be stowed during the sales and move process to make your home visually lighter for showing. This will also help you organize your current rooms for livability and accessibility while your home is on display. Lightening up will make your home appear more spacious.
Pack for the destination home. Most people make the mistake of going into their current rooms and boxing up the belongings in that room. Instead, pack according to your floor plan of the destination home. Therefore, even though crafts are currently located in the kid’s bonus room, you may have a guest room in the new home that you’ve identified as the craft area, so you can pack with a target destination in mind.
Assign labeling protocol for packing. If there is more than one level in the destination home, I like to assign a color to each floor (red for upstairs, yellow for downstairs, etc). This way, boxes can be covered with a large piece of red or yellow paper (instead of the tiny stickers that fall off and are hard to read.) Then, mark the paper with both the destination room and the basic contents like “Master Bedroom: Jean’s clothes” or “Guest Room: Craft supplies”. A labeling protocol assists your helpers in easily identifying and transporting boxes to the correct location AND it helps you have access to the things you need most.
About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. She is author of Restoring Order™ © 2006 by Vicki Norris (available now at www.RestoringOrder.com and in July 2007as Reclaim Your Life™ © 2007) and of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, © 2007, a room-by-room household organizing guide, both published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine.
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