Ask FlyLady: Help We are Moving

Dear FlyLady,
I’m in the process of buying a house and I was wondering if you had any tips on packing & unpacking to make the experience a little easier & less stressful-Amber

Dear Amber,Every week, we have several FlyBabies that holler HELP: “We are moving, and I don’t know where to start. We have to put this house up for sale, and it is awful. Please tell me what to do.” “We are moving cross country, and I don’t know where to start to pack.”
“When we move, I don’t know how I can unpack and keep the CHAOS of the move from overwhelming me.”
These are some hard questions, but there are two simple answers:
  1. BabySteps! You have to break the job down into smaller parts so it doesn’t overwhelm you.
  2. Don’t move anything you don’t love. Moving is a great time to start doing a mass decluttering!
With a SHE mentality, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and paralyzed when looking at the whole picture – packing everything, moving everything, then unpacking everything. It seems like it’ll never get done. But, there are some simple rules to follow that will decrease this burden you feel.
First things first: you need a plan. SHEs usually wait until the very last minute to start doing anything under the guise of, “I work better under pressure!” But see, nobody works better under pressure. It stresses you out and can make you sick, which is the last thing you need when you’re trying to move, unpack, and take care of your family on top of it all. You need breathe first and get a note pad and start to make a plan.

Packing Supplies

For every recipe, you need a list of ingredients. So think about what you are going to use for the job of moving:
  • Boxes: These can be purchased at a moving supply company (check your yellow pages). They may also sell used boxes at a reduced rate. You can also go to liquor stores for their boxes. Keep in mind that you do not need to get huge boxes, because they will be too hard to lift when filled. Keep them at a manageable size.
  • Packing Tape: Be sure and get plenty of tape to seal the box top flaps. It is not that expensive, and it is worth having enough so you don’t have to stop and run out to buy more. Also, get the dispensers to hold the tape, and have more than one if there will be more people helping pack.
  • Scissors: If you don’t get the dispensers, you will need scissors. Just remember: scissors can be hard to keep up with while you are packing!
  • Garbage bags: Preferably, the kind that you can see through, that way you will not have to reopen the bags to see if it is trash or something you packed that would not fit in a box. Get very strong ones. Mark them with colored ribbons for code.
  • Colored Magic Markers: I use colored ones so I can give each room a different color, and that way, when we are unloading the truck, all I have to say is: “Yellow boxes go in the kitchen, green in the bedroom, purple in the living room,” etc. Then you can post the color of boxes over the top of the doorway to that room. Colored ribbon works great to tie around the garbage bags; stickers and markers usually don’t work because they either fall off or you can’t see them. Clothes are usually in these bags, so raid your sewing stash for old ribbon or your Christmas stash for Christmas ribbon. It is cheap and easy to recognize. Decide ahead of time what your color codes are going to be and put those supplies in the room. Just don’t label all the boxes “Misc.” or “Stuff” and “More Stuff”! You can also give the boxes a number and put the contents of that box on your notepad, so you can find where the item is without tearing open each and every box – and creating even more CHAOS! As far as labeling the boxes, if you start packing up the things that you will not need, and start at one and label in ascending order, you will know that the boxes with the lowest numbers can be unpacked last. The higher-numbered boxes are the ones with the stuff you use the most.
  • Newspapers or Newsprint paper: This is for packing your dishes and other breakable items. You can never have enough newspapers. Go to the recycle bins and get some. You may have to ask permission!

We have much more information on our website about how to put your house up for sale and how to unpack.  There is a whole section in my book Sink Reflections too! You have to find my book in your hotspots. If you have one of our originals books; just look for hot pink!

Moving can actually be fun when you pace yourself!


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