At this point in my life I think it's safe for me to consider myself a packing professional. My hubby and I kind of have this understanding that he is responsible for getting boxes, I will pack everything and toss as I go, he loads into the truck/unloads into the house and I get the pleasure of unpacking everything. You know, for the first few moves that we did I thought it was pretty unfair for the moving jobs to be so heavy on me. Those were the days where we were both working, me in school full time and although there wasn't a little one running around, we still ended up just tossing things into random boxes as our friends are helping to load up the boxes already packed. Talk about losing your freaking mind. Just when you get to take a break yourself, everyone is finished loading and now you've got an entire house to clean, probably by yourself, with a friend's help if you're lucky. Then when you finally get into your new house and start unpacking a few boxes you realize nothing is organized and you can almost guarantee there's a particular item you're also needing right now. OH MY GOODNESS, SHOOT ME NOW!
Don't worry, moving is as easy as you make it to be. We're going to be moving at the end of this month, or sooner, and you can bet I want this to be as easy as possible with a toddler's short patience. I've actually figured out that the system my hubby and I have set up works beautifully. Why? Well, I'm a stay at home mom which means you can count on me being home probably 93% of the time. even though my hubby is blessed enough to be home about 75% of the time, I'm the one that takes care of things overall. So, why shouldn't I have things where I want them? I've mentioned before that I do a much better job sticking with something if I make it convenient for me. So, if you know your kitchen like the back of your hand, you're probably going to enjoy cooking in it more. Especially if you're able to decorate as you'd like, organize, etc. So, here's how we make it work...
Keep It Organized
My secret weapon is a master box list. I know this may sound crazy to some of you but hear me out. When I pack a box, the only thing I write on the outside is the room I want it to end up in and a number. I used to write a quick list of the general items in each box, until I realized that boxes were all just getting piled up wherever my hubby or our friends found it was easiest to put them. I'm assuming you've had a chance to see your new place prior to moving in so it makes it much easier if the only thing people have to read on the box is the room to put it in. No questions to answer. I keep a notebook that has the box numbers listed on the page with a short reference as to what is in that box. Now it's packed and organized to keep my OCD happy yet easy for the great friends that are so amazing to help us out.
Don't Take Everything
Moving is a great excuse to declutter your house and your life. As I was packing up all my little girl's old clothing, I went through and decided what to keep for a future child and what to let go of. Okay, so this was probably the 3rd time I've gone through her smaller clothes and I was amazed how I still managed to let go of 3 more boxes of her old clothes and I haven't even gone through her current size range hanging in her closet. I always like to pretend I'll be living in a tiny house with no storage because it makes me really think about what is worth keeping and will actually get used and what has just been taking up space. (It also helps immensely if you have some impulse control and don't buy everything under the sun because it's a "good deal", besides, it's a better deal if you never spend money on it at all. ;) )
Give Yourself Time
It's insane for you to think that you're going to have a pleasant move if you wait until the last week to do your packing. When it comes time for us to move, I like to do so with the least amount of stuff as possible so I give myself plenty of time to go through a few specific areas. I go though Natalia's clothing and toys, my own clothing, and the kitchen. We aren't fans of knick knacks or items that are purely decorative so these are really the only areas of concern when it comes to decluttering. Even if you choose not to go through your stuff as you're packing, it's a lot less stressful if you can do it in small chunks rather than a week long packing binge. For instance, I packed up stuff we were no longer using as well as almost my entire craft room. It only took me yesterday and today, but I actually only worked on it during the past two days nap times. I don't get stressed out with the overwhelming idea of packing up an entire house and I still get to do other things with my day.
Use The Bare Essentials
I plan to only keep enough clothing unpacked to fit in a duffle bag or suitcase. There's just really no reason to have all of my things out as a just in case scenario that most likely won't happen anyway. I can safely bet that two or three pairs of jeans, 5 shirts, a jacket, some sneakers and a pair of flats will be enough to keep me going. I can also pack any bathroom beauty items up with the exception of a brush, a few hair ties, toothe brush, toothpaste, deodorant and tinted moisturizer. (Give or take a few other small items of course) but for someone who doesn't use all that other "stuff" we've got very often, it won't hurt my feelings for my hair spray to be packed away.
Also, just a really helpful hint:: always pack the toilet paper last, because it's usually one of the first things you'll need in your new place. =)