Moving in day 2008

When The Man and I moved into our townhouse, we were both coming straight from living with our parents. Naturally, apart from our bedroom furniture and personal items, we didn’t have a lot to move.

Six years on, we have accumulated a LOT of stuff. It’s things we need and use, so I’m not talking about clutter (well, mostly!). But we started out with the absolute bare minimum of furniture and household items (seriously, every time we cooked a new meal we discovered we needed some new utensil or dish) and have slowly built a home.

Now, we are faced with our first ‘proper’ move and to be honest I am kind of overwhelmed by the thought.

Where do I start? How long will it take us? And (with no garage or free floor space) where on earth do I put the packed boxes?!

So I’m asking pleading for your packing and moving tips. Leave a comment with your advice and we can get a nice big list happening.


8 Responses

  • When the Mr. and I moved from our apartment to our house, I went a little nuts with the packing and the organization of the packing.

    I started packing about 3 months out (only the non-essentials like books, decorative stuff, off season clothing, etc.) tackling a few boxes a week as we had time. I found that doing a bit at a time made it much more manageable, and I could take the time to do some more organizational-y things to keep my sanity.

    I labelled the boxes on 3 sides with a category label (i.e. books, cleaning supplies, games) and room destination. I also assigned a number to each box. I kept a spreadsheet each box along with it’s number, and a list of what was in the box. I didn’t bother taping the boxes until a week before the actual move so we could still access any items if we really needed to (this is why the spreadsheet was so handy – I could figure out exactly what box an item was in).

    We didn’t have anywhere to store the boxes either, so they were a lovely eyesore for a few months until we moved (I justified the eyesore because it meant we were that much closer to moving).

    Also, when you get boxes, try to get as many small ones as possible – especially for books. I found hardware stores to be one of the best sources for free smaller boxes. Grocery and liquor stores are good too (the wine boxes are especially sturdy).

    Some other random bits:
    – We had about 6 people helping us, so to make it easier on everyone (i.e. fewer “where does this go?” questions), I made labels for each of the rooms.
    – “Fragile” tape is awesome and shows up a lot better than marker
    – I made a moving kit that had essentials like tape, box cutters, markers, gloves, rope, etc.

    That’s everything I can think of right now. Good luck with your move!

    • Wow, now that is organised Ashley! So many great ideas there. We don’t have three months but three weeks is still long enough to go bit-by-bit. I’m adding ‘Fragile’ tape to my shopping list now!

  • Oh goodness – lucky you never having moved! Since I moved out of home at 18 I’ve lived in…8 houses, one donga on a station in western outback Queensland, lived out of our camper and ute for 15 months whilst all our stuff was in storage, and now am moving AGAIN interstate on the weekend. You’d think we’d have this down to a fine art – in the past five years we’ve lived in six different places, all over Australia. And we don’t just have your usual house stuff, it’s the shed/farm stuff which hurts my brain, dog pens, tools, trailers, garden stuff. I have started to clear the clutter – last week we did a big load to the op shop and threw out a lot too. We were pretty set up before we got married, but then obviously got a lot of house stuff for our wedding (which is what we wanted) but I’ve never actually sorted through what we do/don’t need, as we have quite a large kitchen now so storage isn’t an issue. We have like five full sets of plates/bowls, about thirty champagne flutes, a bit ridiculous for just two people. Now we also have a room full of baby stuff to move, it just seems to keep growing! THE STUFF! Good luck…

    • Yes, we count ourselves lucky! We only have a two bedroom courtyard home and are only moving five minutes down the road and it’s still feels like a mammoth task… Can’t fathom having to pack up an entire farm and move interstate! Good luck with your upcoming move, too!

  • Having moved a LOT in my 24 years, and 3 of them overseas & by myself (not as fun as it sounds), here’s the top tips I can think of:

    – Pack like with like; this might sound like a “no duh” sort of tip, but the first couple of times, I’d just throw things into boxes as they fit, and it was a nightmare. Now that I am more organized, it’s much easier; I generally don’t need to explicitly label things because I can remember where I put what (one of my many useless talents haha), but if you’re not so inclined, a detailed list like suggested above definitely helps.

    – Make a stash of your every-day things off to one side. These should be the things you need last and first, so toiletries, chargers, your favorite PJs, etc. Again, maybe obvious, but I don’t know how many times I’ve had to scramble through boxes at the last minute because I needed a charger/bath product/list/gadget/etc. Like someone also suggested, add a pile of “moving necessities” to this pile, and you’ll be golden.

    – Packing clothes in boxes is a waste of space and time, mostly because you have to fold them and the boxes get really heavy really fast. I use 4 or 5 of those big blue IKEA bags, and then one box for small things & accessories. Same goes for shoes. (The packing paper that you can get for free at IKEA is also a great asset for moves!)

    – Also, books! If you’re like me and have a lot of them, just pack them in sturdy sports or travel bags; much easier to carry, no chance of the bottoms of boxes falling out, and means you’ll have less boxes to take up space as well.

    – Boxes: just find an area in your house that you don’t mind them standing around too much. I usually make two stacks, a big one of heavy ones with durable stuff, and a small one of fragile ones – makes it easier to distinguish one from the other, and you can move the heavy ones to the new house first and then stack the fragile ones on top, without any worry that things will get crushed.

    – Generally, I would go room by room instead of by things you don’t need at the moment. For example, pack up the study first (removing things you really need and putting them on your “important things” stack, then move on to the bathroom, living room, kitchen, and bedroom.

    That’s all I can think of right now; pretty basic stuff here, but I’ve found it really useful over the years. Also, maybe this could be helpful:
    Some are a bit weird (Americans! 😉 ), but 13 and 15 are also on my move to-do list!
    Hope some of this is helpful for you!

    • Awesome tips, thank you Johanna! I have packed up about half a dozen boxes of non-essentials and have put the room plus a general idea of contents (eg ‘craft supplies’) but don’t think I will go too much more detailed than that.

      Love the last out / first in and the moving essentials idea – it’s kind of like how I approach packing for a trip actually.

      Since we are just moving down the road we will likely do what we did moving in here which was just lay all the clothes (still on hangers) in the back of the car. For folded things though the bags are a great idea.

      That is so smart about the books! I think I will try using the suitcase. Great idea on the having separate piles for heavy v fragile, definitely stealing that tip. Thanks for sharing that article too!

  • Moving is such a fun time – sometimes traumatic, exhausting but so much fun as well!! I’ve done it 8 times (twice internationally) in our 13 years of marriage and twice in the past 18 months – with a family of 6. But I do enjoy the opportunity to go through every single item we own and consciously decide if we need/want it or not. Getting rid of all the extra stuff and clutter is such a liberating feeling.

    A couple things which really helped me was starting packing all the unessentials a few weeks out. Then label those boxes which you pack in the last week or so adding a label or coloured dot or something so you know those are the ones to unpack first – generally a working household once those boxes are unpacked – books etc. don’t need to be unpacked to have life running again. (Last move I was in our home 1 1/2 days before I unexpectedly took off 5 hours away to spend a week by my father’s side in ICU and even in that time I had the household functioning for my inlaws to step in and look after the children. Boxes still in some rooms of course but all the “red dot” boxes were unpacked first. )

    Label boxes clearly with the room they are to go in and then just basically for the contents (you usually open the box and see what’s in it rather than read the label anyway).

    Think through things as you unpack – I often have a ‘give away’ bag or three filled as I unpack as well. I find that things stay in the position they were first put in, so I think through the kitchen carefully, deciding where everything will go.

    Have a ‘essentials’ box/bag on hand to pack at the last moment – include: Packing tape, stanley knife, permanent marker, chargers, remote controls, drink bottles, and anything else you think you might need to know where it is straight away. (or doesn’t really fit any other box like the remotes)

    I do hope you enjoy your new home and the extra space along with the process of moving.

    • Holy moly, Corinna, you are a moving PRO! Your organised approach sounds like it was a godsend when life threw a family emergency into the mix (hope your father recovered okay).

      I have actually thought in a fair bit of detail about where everything will go, right down to the kitchen cabinets. I just need to shift my planning from paper to actual packing!

      On everyone’s advice, I have started an ‘essentials box’ – currently only has tape and markers but will add other items over the next couple of weeks.

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