If you’re like me, you start to feel significant dread as soon as you decide to move, and that feeling just grows stronger as moving day creeps up on the calendar. But not to worry: I’m a veteran mover, having done so a whopping — wait for it — 18 times in my life. All those moves mean I have a ton of experience under my belt for you to learn from. Here’s my best advice as you gear up for the move to your next home.
Decide What’s Really Valuable
As you’re packing up your entire life, it’s crucial to set aside the things that are truly valuable to you and to store them in a special place during the move. When my family moved across the country in 1990, my mom lost track of her camera, which still held the film (again, this was 1990) with the photos of my softball team’s end-of-season party. Those pictures were lost forever, a minor tragedy that could’ve been prevented if my mom had just put the camera in her suitcase instead of … who knows where.
Before you run out and buy boxes, look around at what you’ve got on hand. Baskets, wine boxes and plastic storage bins all work just as well as traditional packing cartons without producing extra waste or costing more money. Also, I like to wrap dishware and glasses in kitchen towels and use old T-shirts for other breakables like the sweet lava lamp that still survives from my college days.
Do the Prep Work
Nothing’s worse than having to run to the store for tape in the middle of a major packing session. Gather up your supplies before you start, and head to the store to buy anything you need well in advance of packing day. Items to have on hand might include packing tape and boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper, mailing tubes (for packing items like posters or loose papers), box cutters and a few permanent markers to make labeling sealed boxes a breeze.
Lighten Your Load
You don’t want to make moving day any more of a hassle than absolutely necessary, so throw out as much as you possibly can during the packing process. Changes are, you’ve accumulated some junk during your time in your current home, so take a deep breath and start throwing things away. The last time I moved, I finally parted ways with the collection of bizarre porcelain angels given to me by my well-meaning grandmother when I was a kid. Goodwill got some interesting collectibles to stock their shelves, and I had one less heavy box to move.
Bribe Your Friends
Last but not least, you’ll need some extra hands to help you lift that antique couch you love so much, so ask friends to help you early and often. Your pals probably don’t like moving any more than you do, but I’ve learned that offering pizza and beer as a bribe makes this a much easier proposition. And it never hurts to let them have first dibs on that aforementioned pile of junk on its way to Goodwill.
Follow these tips as you prepare for your move, and with any luck, the big day will go off without a hitch. Soon you’ll have all your things off the truck and will be preparing for your first night in your cozy new home.