Moving and downsizing advice

After completing a massive downsize move, I feel the need to hand out some advice to a couple of my readers who are going to go through a downsize later this year. My move was not planned, but I had an opportunity I didn't want to pass up so between 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon and 8:30 on a Monday morning, I made the decision to take the offer. 

1. Start now in preparing for it. Moving in a week from a 3 bedroom 2 bath to a 2 bedroom 1 bath is a major undertaking. Especially when you are like me and like your "stuff". How one woman could collect so much stuff is beyond me. Keep in mind I have had 3 yard sales in April so I thought I was done with "stuff". Turns out I was wrong.

2. Everybody I know packs everything in the house that is sitting out or in kitchen/bath cabinets first. If the move is including downsizing to a smaller  home, I recommend to start with your closets first. Don't fall prey to the adage of "I'll move the closet stuff from closet to new closet and sort later." You will get there and realize there are not as many new closets and in some instances not as big as the old closets. Nothing worse than getting organized in your new home, making it all pretty and then realizing you have to stack those extra closet storage containers in a room until you can get a chance to go through them. Do it now. You will wear yourself out if you have to face that after the move is complete. Voice of experience here.

3. I am a very sentimental person. But some things that I was sentimental about was just because I liked them, not because they had a special meaning. And when you don't have enough room for everything, it is amazing how pragmatic you can become and sentimentality takes a back seat really fast.

4. Think before you get excited to find a good size box to pack in. Remember as you are packing that big box, at some point somebody is going to have to lift it or move it. I tried to be very cautious about that and some were a little heavier than others, but the guys that helped me move had no problems in lifting them. The problem came when I had to lift them to move them out of my way or set them on a table or chair to unpack them. Really didn't think that through very well. So be cautious and don't over pack a box.

5. One thing I have always done when I moved was the minute we knew we were moving and had a move date, I went through the entire house and took every single thing off the walls. That way, we had all that done and out of the way. It will amaze you how good you feel when you know you have made a start.

6. About a week before you move, make up your favorite fragrant dish (spaghetti, beef stroganoff, chilli, etc.) Freeze it and have it ready to move from the old fridge to the new fridge. This way, your first official night in your new home you can pop it in the oven and have a delicious dinner without worrying about where is this and where is that and having to clean an entire kitchen in the midst of unpacking.

7. It is also a good idea to pick up some plastic silverware, Solo cups and plates. That way the last couple of days you are packing, you are not facing a pile of dishes to wash before you can pack. And when you get to the new house, you can eat while you are unpacking without having to start accumulating dirty dishes before all the clean stuff is even put away.

8. If you are not going to be using a moving company to move you, it is a good idea to cart as many items as you can that are breakable in your car for the few days before moving day. This way your valuables are not tossed around in a big truck. My daughter and I made sure to bring all my tea pots, tea sets and obviously my Pyrex all in one load so we knew that those all went somewhere safe while the rest of the moving was done.

9. Have fun with it. Don't let it get you down. You will be so excited about your old place, but you will also feel moments of sadness leaving the familiar. I guess it was especially hard on me since that was where we lived when Allen got sick and that's where we spend his last days preparing for the end. In ways that made it harder to leave and in ways it made it easier.

10. Make sure you get a good night sleep every night before, during and after the move. No matter how much you want to get it all done, don't stay up past your normal bedtime to do it. You will be totally exhausted and won't even be able to enjoy the new house.


Simply Linda said...

great advice...we moved from Alabama to NY 3 yrs ago...and let me tell you, it was hard to get rid of stuff before the move...have a great week ahead.

Nonnie said...

Wow! That is a lot of info and really good tips. I wish we were downsizing soon, but husband just isn't there yet. Take care lifting those boxes.

Terri D said...

Great advice and thank you for it. We haven't moved in 27 years and are looking at downsizing after the first of the year. How 'bout you come down for a couple of weeks and give us a hand? Seriously!! ;)