1. Make a realistic timeline
I started packing about a week before the big move. I'd like to have started earlier, but other events (ahem, wedding!) got in the way of that. A week worked out well though. I could pack about 20 boxes a night before hating life, and it wasn't horribly overwhelming.
DO NOT PACK THE DAY BEFORE. YOU CANNOT FINISH AND YOUR BOXES WILL BE TOTALLY DISORGANIZED. (ok, stepping off the soapbox)
Also, plan to be out of your old place well before the lease is up. That way, you can get settled in to your new place, then go back and clean your old place, without being rushed and stressed.
2. Buy boxes that are uniform size
When I was in college, I would collect up liquor store boxes for a few weeks before my move. It was always a huge challenge to pack them in the truck efficiently, and stack them up later in storage.
This time, I had three sizes of boxes: small, medium, and heavy duty plastic crates. The truck got packed more efficiently, because we could make entire columns of like-size boxes. Same thing with our storage space. No teetering stacks of mismatched boxes! The uniform ones stack sturdier and save on space.
I bought 75 boxes at Home Depot ($0.78 for small, $1.12 for medium), and borrowed the plastic crates from Tommy's work. It was sooo worth it.
Also, pack like things together. There's nothing worse than opening a box labeled dishes and finding the TV remote! Don't forget to label really well. Having a list of ten things on the side of the box is far superior to saving 30 seconds by skipping this step.
3. Use proper packing material
I bought real packing paper. I suppose you could use newspaper, but the clean, fresh, sheets really seem to make a difference. Plus then you don't feel like you have to wash everything when you unwrap it. Five boxes at $3.50 each made all of our belongings safe and sound.
I also rented blankets from Uhaul for $10 for 12. I wrapped them around our nice wood furniture, and sealed it up with plastic wrap (also cheap). During the move, I wasn't at all concerned with my furniture getting bumped and scratched, and none of the drawers were falling out. Stress Saver!
Just do it. Spend the cash. You won't regret it, and it'll save you loads of money in the long run because you won't have to fix or replace furniture, plates, wine glasses, etc that were broken in the move.
|awesome helpers pictured with padded and wrapped furniture and uniform boxes|
4. Get a bigger truck than you think you need
I initially got some flack for renting the biggest truck imaginable. My counter argument was that it cost the same and we wouldn't have to be as careful about how we packed. Well, we packed it tight and it still didn't all quite fit.
Here's some quick math: It costs $0 - $10 to upgrade to the next size truck. Every mile you drive the truck costs $1. If you have to make an extra trip, it's probably already more than $10 just in mileage (unless you're moving like a block away). So suck it up and get the bigger truck. You won't regret it.
5. Ask for help (or hire it)
It sucks way less, and goes way faster, when you have helpers. It probably also forces you and your newlywed spouse to be nicer to each other since you have company. I was so thankful for all our helpers during the move!
|Have awesome helpers|
|keep your helpers happy ( = pizza and beer)|
6. Focus on key areas first
Yes, I wanted to set up my project space first. But it was causing a lot more stress to have a wreck of a kitchen and a bathroom where I couldn't find anything. We started by getting our most-used areas put together first, so our lives wouldn't continue to be so interrupted by the move.
Keeping priorities in mind helped us stayed focused. We'd keep seeing other projects (painting the front door, removing wallpaper) that were calling to us. But those wouldn't immediately boost our quality of life as much as, say, finding the socks, so we put them on hold for the time being. It's been hard, but in the long run, better.
7. Schedule a date (or three!)
We really wanted to work hard and just finish the move. However, we found some time for a few little dates, like a long bike ride, a dance class, and a stroll to a new restaurant. Those dates were so much more special because it felt like stolen time. They left us relaxed, rejuvenated, and remembering why we're doing this in the first place.
8. Discuss your ground rules
We've never lived together before. We have spent a LOT of time together over the past few years, but living together is different because for the first time both of you feel like it's your space. We took some time to talk about our expectations for our new home, so we can get started with a common vision.
We want our home to be welcoming, relaxing, and fun. As we transition into our new home, these goals may translate in a variety of ways. We'll choose comfortable furniture, and keep plenty of space for guests. We'll keep the house clean. We'll have a nice guest room. We'll create spaces for groups to gather.
We also discussed things like clutter on the kitchen counters (none, please), dog hair (kept at a reasonable minimum by Tommy), and laundry (my job, done when I feel like it). It was quick, easy, and painless to talk these things over early, and it'll save hours of expectations and arguments later.
9. Love each other!
In the midst of hard and dirty work, take a few seconds for a quick kiss or a nice strong hug (or an unexpected dance to your first song). Compliment each other on what a great job they're doing. You're both exhausted, dirty, tired of this chore, but you're in it together, and you're creating your home! Congratulations!