by TJ AndersonWe work on new-construction and renovation projects in Nashville all the time, so home design concerns — paint colors, tile choices, kitchen finishes — are a big part of my life
Easy Moving And Packing Tips For National Moving Month
by TJ Anderson
Apparently May is National Moving Month. Who knew?
On the list of things I know a pretty decent amount about: Nashville real estate, home design, the Vols, golf, and, even if I'm new to National Moving Month, moving.
The first four: interests and passions. The last: necessary evil. But when you spend enough time helping people (and helping yourself) navigate a particular evil, you amass a few worthwhile tricks, some from trial and error, others from friend/internet advice.
If you’re about to move, or think it might be looming sometime soon, these are my go-to moving tips, aimed at making a necessary evil a little less evil. Hope they're helpful.
Before you pack, plan
Packing your packing into just a few days is a recipe for stress (and lousy packing). Stretch it out (ideally into weeks), and make a schedule. Monday, we’ll pack the guest bedroom. Tuesday night, the back bathroom. A room or so a day feels much less hectic, and you generally take more care.
Before you plan, purge
Can’t recommend this enough. Especially if you’re selling and buying a home. Before you list, do a serious purge, and be ruthless. There’s the KonMari “Does this spark joy?” approach, but I tend toward the simple “If I haven’t used this in a year, it’s gone” mantra.
Some homeowners like to do a garage sale, and I love that idea. But it’s not for everyone — for some of us, it’s another thing to plan, another thing to stress about. Donating is always good, and some organizations will come pick up stuff for you.
Call your utilities/movers well in advance
Using a moving company? Don’t put off scheduling. If you can set things up a month out from your move date, you’re in better shape.
At least a week or two out, call your utilities and get things set up to transfer to your new address, too. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen forget this, and end up sitting in the dark on move-in day.
Make an immediate-needs bin
Probably my number one moving tip. There’s nothing worse than getting into the new place and realizing you have no idea where to find all your simple, immediate needs, like hand soap and TP. Get together a small, plastic bin with essentials like those. Paper towels, some cleaning wipes, all-purpose cleanser, garbage bags — that sort of thing. And keep it with you.
Pack an overnight bag, and specific sleep-stuff boxes
You’ll figure out where your stuff is eventually, but not the first night. Probably not the second or third night either. It helps to prioritize and pack a few boxes specifically for those first days, to make it easier to crash after hours of frenzy. Get a bag together like you’re taking a weekend trip — toiletries, clothes, etc. And pack a few specific boxes with bedding, pillows and whatever other stuff you’ll need to sleep. If you spend a month trying to figure out where you packed things, you’ll at least have your immediate-needs straight.
Use plastic storage bins for cleansers/toiletries
Another one a lot of us learn the hard way. Liquids always end up spilling during the move, leaving you with soggy cardboard and soapy stuff. If you have plastic storage bins, set those aside for your cache of cleansers/soaps and such. A lot of people also swear by uncapping bottles, topping them with plastic wrap and screwing the cap back on.
Skip buying boxes
One option: Seek out free boxes, which is pretty easy. Craigslist, neighborhood Facebook pages, local big-box retailers, liquor stores… you have options. (Liquor stores are particularly good; the bottle partitions are great for kitchenware.)
Another option: Go with reusable plastic bins. Bin It has a Nashville office — you order their preassembled bins, use them for your move, then the company comes and picks the empty bins up. No piles of cardboard in your new place.
Get creative with packing containers
It doesn’t have to be all boxes. Use stuff like your luggage and hampers too. And don’t be too proud to use good-old trash bags — slide large ones right over the clothes hanging in your closet, hangers and all, and the closet’s ready to go.
Get creative with packing materials
You can buy rolls of bubble wrap and stuff since it’s fun, but it’s easier/doubly effective to get creative with what you already have around. Rolled socks in your glasses. Towels/blankets/curtains with your picture frames and knick knacks. Disposable/plastic plates between your dishes, coffee filters between your bowls. Those piles of plastic grocery bags we all save? Throw pillows? Stuffed animals? Use them in your boxes of breakables, and get them packed at the same time.
Plastic wrap your drawers
Someone gave me this advice a few years back, and I’ve noticed it since becoming part of easy-moving 101. Don’t empty all your drawers — wrap plastic wrap all the way around each one, with everything still inside. Keeps things from falling out while you move, and when you get to the new place, unwrap, and you’re unpacked.
Keep a bag of baggies handy
While you’re taking things apart, you’ll have a ton of screws/nuts/bolts just asking to get lost. I stick them all in baggies and label them well, or packing-tape them onto what they go with. Make much fewer trips to the hardware store that way.
Watch your weight
The natural inclination to keep similar things together leads us to pack 600-pound boxes of books that split open in the driveway. Instead, spread the heavy stuff throughout several smaller boxes. Putting books and magazines at the bottom of boxes has other benefits, too, like padding/protection and weighting boxes so they stay right-side-down.
Label the smart way
Classic rookie move: Scrawling across the tops of all your boxes — “books,” “photos,” etc. You’re left answering endless questions from movers/friends about where things are supposed to go, and almost worse, you have to continually undo stacks of boxes to find things.
Better/easier: Label the sides, use color-coded tape to designate rooms. I’m partial to the stuff above: color-coded Smart Move tape. Makes it easy for movers/friends to put things in the right spaces, makes it easy to find boxes you’re looking for, to conveniently pack things… And it’s tape. Win/win.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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