Today’s the day! My fiancé and I are moving to a new apartment today. And in case you are in the same shoes & need a pep in your step to get yourself on the right foot for moving, I’m here to help!
But First! Why we’re moving:
After being in the Cedar Valley in Iowa my whole life, I’m off to new adventures!
My fiancé and I graduated from college and I began applying for jobs right away. As a writing major, I could either see my opportunities as very minute or very broad. At times, I felt trapped, but as I searched for more and more jobs, I realized I had endless opportunities. My experiences as both an assistant and an event planner helped as well. Although it was awful for my wellbeing at the time, spreading myself too thin in college seemed to have this one perk. Marketing, creative jobs, editorial jobs, you name it, I applied for it!
Long story short, I’ll be a content coordinator in the Des Moines area, and I’ll be blogging and writing copy for their website!
I struggle every time I have to pack and move to a new place. I am definitely not an expert on this topic, but after living in a different dorm/apartment each year for the past four years, I have learned a few tricks about what to do and what not to do while packing.
Here’s what helped me pack these past few weeks:
Declutter and Donate
One of the most important things to do even before packing is to declutter. If you haven’t used it recently, don’t try the “Oh, maybe I’ll use it when I move” thing on yourself that you’ve been saying for the past three years. Moving allows me to start fresh. So get rid of that old pair of shoes, donate that end table! Some things need to be thrown away, like that pair of shoes that still have sand in them that you haven’t worn in years, but donate at every chance you get!
My fiancé gets irritated when he asks for my advice to keep or get rid of something and all I do is ask “Does it bring you joy?” but it works! I ask myself this as well, and since it helps me maybe it’ll help you too! My mom read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō (It’s on my reading list!) and she always asks “Does it spark joy?”. If it doesn’t, get rid of it! If it does, keep it.
Another rule that helps me: If I’ve had a small thought of getting rid of something in the past, but I kept it that time, I get rid of it. I just went through my dresses last night and found two that I had considered donating but I convinced myself that although I had only worn it once in three years, I would wear it again. I finally donated them and it felt so good.
The second thing to do is organize everything. I’ve been making sure things are with other like things. My storage container meant for DVDs and electronics has become filled with cords I found around the apartment. I went through my craft storage and got rid of about half of the things. It felt good to know that storage would be lighter, and that someone new will get that yarn and glue I have been holding onto for no reason.
When I pack, I don’t stay in one room for too long. I honestly don’t have a highly organized system, but here’s what I did:
I started by organizing my problem areas (desk, nightstand, bathroom storage) and then went through and took down all of the pictures and decor around the apartment. Next, I went through and found all of the empty bags and containers I could find in the apartment. After that, I packed up all of my winter clothes, old papers and things from college, and whatever else I knew I wouldn’t need for the next two weeks before I actually move.
After this, I tried to be less all over the place.
Here’s a somewhat-more-organized list of what I did:
- I started by packing the decorations around my apartment. Not only was this an easy start, it helped to see plain walls and I actually was able to see a difference. While packing, it’s generally hard to see progress and can be disheartening. The blank walls and empty shelves helped me see that I had made a difference while packing that whole day.
- One thing that is important to do is find storage that works with the specific thing you’re packing. Don’t use a huge storage container for a few picture frames when it could work better for your winter clothes, or shoes! Make the most of each container you use. Be careful not to make them too heavy, though. You want to be able to carry everything.
- I labeled all of the storage containers, pieces of furniture, and bags of things with different colored sticky notes. One for each bedroom, the kitchen, living room, and the bathroom. This way, when my family helps me unload everything, they know where the stuff all goes. This is definitely a necessity for boxes. All boxes look the same and I don’t want to have to open everything to figure out what’s inside; I want to be able to put it wherever it needs to go and keep moving! This way the entry way won’t get clogged and it’ll help me out in the future.
- I left my clothes on the hangers, and wrapped them in a garbage bag so they don’t fall off and it’s easier to carry them in bulk without having to take them off and put them back on the hangers! Once before, I had tried poking the hangers through the bottom, but this way, the hangers stay together and I can actually still use these garbage bags for their intended use after moving!
- I also tried to organize my clothes before bagging them up, so I separated jackets from dresses, casual tops, and work tops!
- The next thing to pack is books, movies, crafting things. In my case, these things are already in storage. This makes it easy to go from one dorm to another, or in this case, one apartment to another.
- I packed a backpack full of things I would need the next day. I packed an outfit, along with some necessities such as shampoo and deodorant etc. for the next morning just in case I didn’t unpack everything that first night. I had some hand soap, a hand towel, and toilet paper to unpack right away so we didn’t have to rummage through boxes for those either. I had some scissors to open the boxes too. I kept some garbage bags in there, so we could throw away packing materials in there. I also packed some cleaning wipes so I can clean off the counters and things before putting my stuff away. I made sure to keep this bag with me so I could unpack the whole thing before we started moving in case anyone needed to use the bathroom, wash their hands etc.
Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner, a razor, tooth paste, (not my tooth brush because I still had to use that the night before moving) lavender oil in case I got stressed out, and deodorant.
Extra Step: Dance parties!
Packing isn’t the most fun thing in the world. I recommend listening to music and taking a few minutes every hour to dance it out! Make a great podcast of songs you can sing and dance along to ahead of time. Podcasts or audiobooks are also a great choice! I love listening to Anna Faris is Unqualified and the audiobook I’m listening to right now (for the fourth or fifth time) is Bossypants by Tina Fey: my favorite book. It seriously made me laugh out loud while I was doing the un-fun task of packing clothes.
What tips and tricks do you have for moving and packing? Let me know!