Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving Out and Moving In

Welcome to our brand new chaotic home!  Now that we're fully moved out of the old apartment and into the new house, this is approximately the state that we'll be living in for the next few months.  Moving into a fixer will be fun, challenging, and eventually rewarding, but for the moment it is just making things complicated.  We can't dive right into unpacking because we have a lot of fixing that still needs to be done.  Click to keep reading for some tips and tricks that have worked for us and that we have learned along the way for moving and keeping the chaos as manageable as possible:


Start Packing Early - You can never over-estimate how long packing will take.  Don't be attached to keeping things out as long as possible.  If you don't use it on a daily basis or can live without it for a few weeks, pack it.  Packing early will reduce the stress of last minute packing and having the time to be organized will make unpacking dramatically easier.

Deal with the little things first -  Clothes, books, furniture and other big and obvious belongings pack quickly and easily.  What you don't want is to be dumping your entire junk drawer in a box at 10pm the night you're supposed to be out of your old place.  Deal with things that need to be sorted, things you want to get rid of and things that need to be packed carefully early in the packing process.  Even if you end up behind schedule all you'll have left is the easy stuff and it will be much less stressful.

Throw things out - And be ruthless.  The less stuff you have the less you have to move.  Remember to think about your new home; we moved from a modern apartment with modern furniture to 101 year old house.  In addition to things like clothes and books we got rid of some modern pieces that just weren't going to fit in our new home.

Keep important things separate - No one wants to lose their calendar, checkbook, ipod, or other daily items while moving.  We dreaded setting up our computer and not being able to find the cables that go with it.  And don't forget that when you get to your new home you may just want to go to bed instead of spending an hour searching for sheets and pillows.  Designate a box or two for important things that you will want to be able to find and label it clearly.  When you get to your new home you will have everything you need right away.

Pack a bag - Your first morning in your new house you will want to be able to change your clothes, brush your teeth and take a shower.  Pack a moving bag with everything you will need during and immediately after the move.  Think of things your new home may not have.  You may want soap, a roll of toilet paper, towels, a water bottle, a change of clothes, a sweatshirt and your phone charger.  We didn't have to head back to work for a few days after moving, but we made sure we had a couple sets of work clothes separated so that we wouldn't have to worry about finding them over the weekend.


Enlist friends to help - Of course extra sets of hands move things along faster, but an extra set of eyes can be a huge help as well.  Friends can bring added moving experience, motivation and moral support.  We were overwhelmed and behind schedule when our good friends Danielle and Ryan brought muscle power and motivation pushing us to just get it done, helping us to move it all out and sticking with us well into the night until all our furniture and large items were moved.  When they stopped by we thought the help was just an added bonus but in retrospect we don't know what we would have done without them.

The bigger the better - We were only moving a few miles away and had about two weeks to get it all done so we weren't even sure that renting a truck was necessary.  We only one single piece of furniture that won't fit in our car and we figured that if we could just find a way to get it to the house we could save the money and move everything else in our car.  If we had been more on top of things and had move a lot more earlier this plan might have worked, but we weren't.  We ended up renting a truck for just enough time to take two trips from our apartment to our house.  This allowed us to get most of our furniture to the house along with a few boxes.  It was a lifesaver that we were able to do this, but just one more trip with the truck would have made our last day even easier.  If we had just rented the small van that we originally considered we would have been in far worse shape in the long-run.  The truck was well worth the money.

Leave one room free of boxes - You need a place to live while you are dealing with the chaos.  Designate at least one room for living.  When you move in, put your bed, couch, TV, computer or whatever else is important to your day to day life in this room.  This room will not only provide a place where you can relax and escape from the mess, but also a place where you can keep track of important things.  We use our room to stash our mail, school work, calendar, checkbook, lists of things to do and buy, work clothes, camera, etc; anything we need to be able to find at a moments notice.

Designate Zones - Putting things where they belong right away will make unpacking much less chaotic.  Put your boxes full of dishes in the kitchen, boxes of books in the library and suitcases full of clothes in the bedroom.  If you're moving into a fixer like us and cannot unpack everything right away, these zones will be vital to maintaining order.  When we're looking for food or a coffee mug we at least know that we can find it somewhere in the dining room because that is where we put all of our kitchen items when we moved in. 

Living in Chaos:

Use as little as possible and keep the rest packed - If you're moving into a move-in ready home, disregard this comment and unpack at will, although we would recommend unpacking the important stuff first and tackle the rest after you get organized.  We don't have the luxury of filling our kitchen cabinets and closets as everything still needs work.  For now, we're working on locating the dishes we use most, the minimum pots and pans that we can live with and the clothes that we wear the most.  Everything else will stay packed so that we will have less to move around as we clean out closets, repaint built-ins and start pulling wallpaper in various rooms.

Stay organized - Make a commitment to your sanity.  Keeping your living space clean, your zones in order and your dishes and laundry under control will make life much easier during this time of transition.  There is enough chaos without adding day to day messes on top of it all.  Good luck!

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