Change your address; change your life.
Moving even short distances can simplify your life. Moving to a small space saves money, may shorten your commute to work and gives you the opportunity for some ruthless decluttering. For me, even a short distance move is a celebration of sorts. It’s an opportunity to adjust daily habits and to bring a new, optimistic energy into your daily routines. Below are tips to make your short distance move easier.
The Big Chuck
Before you begin the packing process, use your move to create a vision for the life you’d like to create in you new space. Commit to bringing only the things that support that vision. A short distance move is the perfect moment to focus on how you would like to live. Once you have a vision, you can create a physical space that supports it
Once you have the vision of what you’re creating, it’s time for the big chuck. In our recent move, I was shocked – SHOCKED – at how much our family had accumulated during the past few years in our minimalist home. As I went through drawers and closets, particularly in the kid’s rooms, I was floored at how much clutter we had accumulated even with our simple living intentions.
Now is the time to send any item that doesn’t belong in your new life to Goodwill or other nonprofit. Send these things to someone who could actually use the items that are only taking up space in your home. Then, chuck the rest. When you come across an item that you think can still be of service in your new place, but you’re on the fence, give it away or chuck it out. Only pack the items that you absolutely know belong in your new life.
If you’ve lived in your current home for a few years, consider renting a mini-dumpster to finish the clean out. For about $300, the dumpster makes the clean out process so much easier. Prepare to be shocked at how quickly it fills up.
Finding Boxes and Bins
If you have the luxury of having a few days to move, consider packing in reusable storage bins, like these. You can pack five or six containers and then unload at your new place. Then, repack the containers to continue the process. The durable containers can make almost unlimited trips, and they stack easily in the car. After the move, the containers can store holiday items and out-of-season clothing, or serve as hampers in kids’ rooms.
If you need to move in a single day, you’ll probably need to go old-school and pack cardboard boxes. Boxes are everywhere. Before our move, I collected copy paper boxes from my office for several weeks. Almost every office orders copy paper in bulk. Copy paper boxes are sturdy and the size keeps them from being too heavy to lift. Here’s 13 more places to find free (or almost free) boxes.
Packing and Labeling
Packing tape and Sharpies will be your best friends. If you’re using boxes, get a packing tape dispenser for each adult packing. That way, no one needs to stop the work flow to find the tape. Also, everyone should have a Sharpie to mark boxes.
Mark each box or container with the room that it belongs in the new house. That way, anyone can put the boxes or containers in the room they belong without you overseeing every item.
Ditch the bubble wrap or other non-biodegradable packing supplies. Instead use bath towels, dish towels and tee shirts to wrap dishes and other fragile items. The towels and tee-shirts all need to be moved to the same place anyway. The short trip doesn’t require all the packing care of a cross-country trip.
To easily move hanging clothes a short distance, pull garage bags with drawstring closure over five or six hanging items, and tie the closure over the hanger. Then, hang the bags directly in the new closet at your new location.
Color Coordinate Your Short Distance Move
All moves can benefit from the simple genius of color-coordinating the moving process. Assigning a color tag during the packing process for each room can streamline even the most complicated of moves. Then, mark each room with a color, and your helpers/movers will know where each box goes, freeing you up to direct the larger pieces or more fragile contents. At a glance, movers can put big and small items in the correct place. For smaller moves, color-coordinating items that fill specific shelves, for example, can be an easy adaptation of this moving strategy.
Pack for the First Night
Pack a box or suitcase for the first night that includes all the things that make you comfortable during the first 24 hours in your new home. This box should include clean bedding, pillows, toiletries for the family, and of course, the coffee pot and coffee. Throw in some easy breakfast food that will help you make it through the first morning. If your kiddos have a particular toy or blanket that they need to be comfortable, that goes in the box. Think of the first night as a camping trip and be ready with the few things that make your family comfortable. This should be the first box you move into your new home.
Have a Plan On Moving Day
Since we don’t usually move very often, some of the insider tricks for making the actual moving day go smoothly are easy to overlook. One short distance moving tip surprisingly involves using a moving day coordinator, who could be a professional organizer or your tidiest friend. Having one person that directs and manages all movers maintains a smooth workflow, even more vital for a short distance move because every minute on the clock for a truck rental or professional movers costs money. This coordinator can manage which items are moved first, last, or need the most TLC in transit.
Even short distance moves require the dismantling, packing, and reattaching of electronics cords and plugs. While this process can be a headache, if you follow these quick tips, you will be streaming your favorite show before you know it.
- Take a pic. Snap a photo of the set up of electronics before you unplug anything to pack so you can recreate it at your new space.
- Store cords in a bag that is taped to the electronic device. No more searching for the “right” aux cord if each device’s necessary cords are physically attached when you break them down for the move.
- Store smaller electronics in its own clear bag. No more wondering if you have included the aux cord or plug for your important devices since you will be able to see at a glance.
- Put all clear bags into one larger box and label the top with the contents. Move this box with your first night boxes and rest easy knowing your valuable devices are all accounted for and usable with their cords.
Renting a Moving Truck
With a simple living philosophy, sometimes something as commonsense as renting a moving truck seems counterintuitive. Instead, look at a short-term moving truck rental as an uncomplicated investment in your moving strategy. While borrowing a buddy’s truck might seem like a cost-saver, the moving process will actually drag on with multiple trips without a rented truck that is designed to move your precious personal items. In addition, most moving truck rental agreements will also provide you the opportunity to insure the contents and the moving process, giving you peace of mind about your cargo as well as the moving process.
Get Help with the Heavy Stuff
Leave your friends out of this. I’m sure they love you, but no one wants to move your couch. For a short move, it is well worth the money to hire professional movers to handle the heavy items. Professional movers are just that, professional. They have the right equipment and training to move your sofa, bed, dresser, fridge, washer and dryer without anyone getting hurt. And, because the move is short distance, movers can efficiently load and move your items in just a few hours. Spend the money to have professionals handle the hardest part of the move.
Move the Boxes Yourself
With professionals handling the heavy stuff, you can can easily move the packed boxes the short distance. By labeling and not overpacking, the boxes can be moved by just about anyone. The labels let you sort the boxes to the rooms quickly, even without your oversight. If your friends really want to help, this would be the time.
Set Up Your Beds First
If possible, set up your bed first. Put clean sheets on everyone’s bed. Find the pillows, set out the pajamas and tooth brushes. Set up the coffee pot so it’s ready to roll first thing in the morning. After a long day of a chaotic move, it’s great to have a place to sleep ready before you hit the moving-all-day wall.
Unpack Like a Pro
Once you have the first night items unpacked and useable, (like your pajamas, toothbrushes, and bedding), you will want to focus on unpacking practical items. A helpful short distance moving tips is focusing your day one of unpacking on setting up the kitchen. Since you likely ate out a few more times than normal in the packing and prep for the move, having your kitchen items ready to use is fundamental to the minimalist lifestyle. With clean cookware and dishes in their places, your evening routines will fall back into place in your new home. Even if moving supplies are still waiting o be unpacked, being able to eat the meals that you regularly prepare for yourself will encourage a sense of calm and normalcy.
As you unpack, make sure that you consistently create a pattern for taking care of packing materials. Break down the boxes and then stack up the containers or flattened boxes as you unpack them. Fill a laundry bag with towels and moving packing materials that can be washed – and go ahead and wash them as soon as possible. As you unpack, your stress level will go down if you lessen visibility of the moving materials from your home. Taking a break to move the flattened boxes or moving containers every so often will break up the monotony of the unpacking and ensure that you won’t have a huge pile to take care of at the end of the day.
Make a one or two-touch rule for your personal items when you unpack. Try to unpack and hang, stack, or organize the items right away to put them directly where they will live in your new home. By simply minimizing what you do with unpacked items, you will find that not only will the overall process be faster, but you will be more organized in the long run.
Explore Your New Area and Upgrade Your Habits
A short distance move is an opportunity to upgrade your habits. Because you’re familiar with the area, you won’t need to register a car or find a new doctor, like you would with a move to another state. Instead, use the short distance move to find a new gym or yoga studio close to your place or to find a nearby place that makes a great salad or smoothie. Changing your address is a great time to change your life.