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TIPS & TRICKS: How to Prepare & Pack for Your Next Move

First, you stumble onto your dream neighborhood. Maybe a tree-lined street led you to a charming building with a “For Rent” sign out front….or maybe you searched online listings for hours hoping to find the perfect place. After a single showing, you’re hooked. You sign the paperwork on the spot, your deposit check clears, the agent hands you the key, and the place is all yours!

And, then reality sinks in. As excited as you are to move into your new home, the process of packing to move out of your old apartment isn’t exactly an experience you savor. How can you make the most of this experience and keep stress from zapping the fun from your new adventure? We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you prepare and pack for your next move.

  1. Start early. Procrastinating can be invigorating. When you’re up against the wall racing the clock, you have no choice but to focus and hustle toward your goal. When it comes to moving, however, the ticking clock is not your friend. As soon as you make the decision to move out of your current place–even if you have months to go–you should start preparing for the impending move. Thoughtful decisions today will make moving simpler and less stressed down the road.
  2. Avoid any purchases unless they’re completely necessary. You’re about to move all of your earthly possessions from one address to another. By all means, make your life easier by significantly reducing the number of the new items you bring into your home. That means no more Costco/Sam’s Club/BJ’s runs and avoiding the mall like the plague.
  3. Collect moving boxes. Why waste money on moving boxes when they can be picked up for free? Grocery stores, Craigslist, bookstores, liquor stores, almost anywhere will be happy to have you take their boxes off their hands, and you’ll be doing the environment a huge favor by recycling! BoxCycle, a used box website, can also help you find used boxes in your area for a small price per box.
  4. Nail down your layout. When you toured that perfectly staged apartment unit, you might not have realized the small scale furniture or minimalistic design. To see if your current furnishings will work in the new place, do some legwork before you move….such as taking lots of photos and measurements. Online space planners like Floorplanner allow you to input measurements of your new space and your current furniture while the Houzz app lets you virtually decorate before you buy!
  5. Start purging. Moving to a new home is the perfect opportunity to review what you already own. Our possession’s can weigh us down like heavy baggage…do you really want to carry around that mini-fondue-crockpot that you’ve never used? How about that simply not-your-style framed print gifted to you by a well-intentioned Aunt? For helpful hints on how to get started (especially with parting from sentimental items), check out How to Purge Your Home Room By Room.
  6. Get rid of the things you don’t want. While some more valuable items might be worth the hassle of selling, consider donating what you can to the Salvation Army or a Goodwill near you. Women’s career clothing can be donated to Dress For Success, a nonprofit that empowers women toward self-sufficiency; books can be donated to Better World Books. (This for-profit social venture funds literacy initiatives around the world.) If you’re feeling energetic, host a yard sale or head to Poshmark, OfferUp, Ebay, or Craigslist to sell your unwanted items.
  7. Empty out that pantry. Instead of grocery shopping in the weeks leading up to your move, why not get creative with what’s already in your pantry? Try out those spring roll wraps you impulse purchased at Whole Foods or whip up a batch of chili with all of those extra canned beans and frozen veggies.
  8. Stay organized. After you’ve sorted and purged your way through your home, keep things neat by boxing items as soon as you can. If you have weeks to go, you’ll, of course, want to keep your everyday items within reach. But, items you use less often can be boxed, labeled, and stacked in the meantime.
  9. Don’t pack your sheets! Have your soft goods pull double duty. Keep sheets, blankets, and pillowcases on hand to protect your fragile items.
  10. Book your moving truck. If you’re not hiring a moving company and you don’t drive a truck or large van, you’ll likely need to rent a vehicle to pack all of those boxes into on move-in day. Be sure to book your truck well in advance– especially if, like most of the world, you plan on moving on a weekend.
  11. Pack an overnight bag. Once you’re in your new place, you’ll want your necessities within reach. Pack your toiletries, a few changes of clothes, your laptop, a sleeping mask, and whatever else you know you’ll need immediately into a suitcase just like you’re going on vacation.
  12. Spread the word. Depending on how far you’re moving, you’ll need to notify your child’s school or have your physician send over your medical records. To forward your mail, fill out this form via USPS. You’ll also need to call your credit card companies, bank, utility providers, magazine subscription and notify them directly of your change of address. For cute moving announcements for friends and family, check out this adorable Pinterest board!

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