You've bought a new house, or work demands you relocate and now you find yourself in the unenviable position of packing up your whole life in cardboard boxes. Moving can be a really stressful experience for the whole family, tackling it with a master plan will make the steps of both packing and unpacking later easier. Here's a few pointers to get you going!
From the moment you decide you are going to move, there are going to be a dozen things move related that will pop into your head everyday, put them down on paper or create a file on your desktop. Making a list per room is also a great idea to help you tackle the rooms when you actually get down to packing. In the kitchen for example, dishes and perishables will need to go in separate boxes while the cooking gas may need to be disconnected and frozen food should either be used up or given away in advance. Make a list of stages to establish a timeline, like 'one month before' contact a mover, 'three weeks before' spring clean and sort, 'two weeks before' visit the bank to deposit any valuables like jewellery. Putting things under a timeline will help you approach moving day in an orderly fashion.
Spring Clean in Advance
Every home has it's share of things that have outlived their utility or have just been forgotten in a corner of the storeroom. Resist the urge to cart all of these useless things with you, and remember your 'junk' could still be useful to someone else. Consider up-cycling that children's buggy you paid a bomb for but your child has now outgrown, it may still be worth a pretty penny. Sell things that are no longer of value to you but may still be fairly valuable, bag up other items in fairly good condition to donate to a charity and trash other stuff. Involve your kids in the process, let them sort and pack their own things, this will also help to mentally prepare them for the move.
Create A 'Moving' HQ
Keep all things related to the move in one place, a moving 'HQ'. You will need miles of duct tape, markers, scissors, boxes, rope, bubble wrap etc. before you are done. Store it all together so you don't spend time looking through the chaos for a scissor or marker. Your master file for the move should also be kept here for easy reference, remember to print it out if it's on the desktop because that will also be packed up at some point. On moving day, create a master list by numbering each box on each side with a marker and a description of what is in that numbered box on the list, this will make unpacking a breeze and the movers can leave boxes in the rooms they are intended for saving you the extra work of lugging them around later.
For Moving Day
If you are moving within the same town, pack a few changes of clothes per family member and other essentials that you need to access daily, like mobile chargers, toiletries, medicines, snacks and disposable plates, almost as if you were packing for a holiday in an empty apartment! This should tide you over till you start opening up boxes. If the move is between cities or countries and it involves a longer timeline, you may need to consider packing separate cases for all family members, depending on how long your things take to get to you.
You should keep documentation for the new apartment and door keys handy on the day of the move. If you're travelling, create a travel kit with passports, tickets, foreign exchange etc.
Remember some things will still go wrong but the more you plan in advance the better prepared you will be for any eventuality. If you treat it like a great adventure and involve the whole family, it could transform a stressful move into one of the most memorable times of your life!