17 December

Recipe for Moving House

Moving house is one of the most dreaded actions for many people. I have developed a system that makes it far less painful and time consuming. The three crucial elements are:

  • Stick to a Plan
  • Pack, don’t Stir
  • First get the Boxes

The Plan

Make a list of all your rooms (including closets and the bathroom!). Now, number the list in order of usage, with 1 applied to the room you use the least (probably a closet). The kitchen should probably be last, and it should get two numbers (trust me). So, for example, if the kitchen is room 9, then give it numbers 9 and 10.

Now get a calendar. If moving day is the 20th of the month, you’ll need to start packing on the 10th. By doing just one room per day, you can manage this even on days when you need to go to work. And you will suffer much less by doing just a few hours per day than saving it for weekends and having to work all day.

In the week before the 10th, buy or order proper moving boxes that can be fully closed and stacked neatly, packing tape, a professional heavy-duty tape roller, bubble wrap, and marking pens. Usually it’s cheaper to buy moving supplies from a hardware/home store or an online box/moving supplies company than from truck rental places who profit from last minute purchases. Note: You will need 2x as many boxes as you imagine. Also collect some discarded newspaper, assorted discarded boxes, and shopping bags.

Do not start packing until you have all your supplies collected and organized in one place of your house.

So on the 10 of the month, you’ll start with #1, that closet. You’ll quickly realize that some of the smaller “rooms” in your house take far more time than you imagined because they involve more decision-making. I’ll get to those decisions in a moment.

As you proceed through the plan doing one room per day, you’ll have some easier days and some harder days leading up to the move. This way you’re not so exhausted.

Pack, don’t Stir!

The goal is to touch each object only once. To make this work, you need to have somewhere to put it.

Before you approach a room, you need to assemble your packing kit:

  • a marking pen, the tape roller, and a bag or box containing some bubble wrap and newspaper.
  • four receptacles:
    1. moving box headed to new house: only items that are currently in use
    2. moving box headed to storage: only for precious sentimental items that are not currently in use
    3. discarded box or sturdy bag: for giveaway items
    4. discarded box or sturdy bag: for garbage

Give each object your attention. Ask yourself:

Do I love it?

Does it spark joy?*

Do I want to take this into my future?*

There is no pressure to “get rid of things.” If you love it, keep it!!!… But ONLY if you love it.

* Questions by Marie Kondo

Do not put an object down until you have made a decision about it. If you really do love it, keep it! If it’s part of your active life, send it to your new home. (Box #1). A few beloved objects are not currently relevant, and will need to be stored (Box #2). But storage is only for Very Precious Beloved No Longer Used Things.  If you can’t immediately answer one of the above questions with “yes”, then decide if someone else might love it (Box #3: Giveaway) or if no one ever again could (Box #4: Garbage).

As each box becomes full, seal it with tape, label it precisely (you will thank yourself for every detail of information you include on the outside of the boxes), and put it in a pile (make 4 piles associated with the 4 box-type destinations). Create a sense of order during this disruptive process.

Finish each room before you move on. Don’t leave any little “unresolved” objects sitting around in the room. Before you leave each room, it should contain only the furniture and a pile of boxes.