If you are thinking of moving, this is the ideal time to call a Professional Organizer. The best time to contact an Organizer is at least six months ahead of the relocation. Please do not wait until the week before the move (seriously, don’t!). Here is some background story on how and why the moving process is chaotic and feared by many. Then, you’ll see the reasons why you should call a Professional Organizer now if you are thinking of moving.
Is this you?
Do you still have unpacked boxes from your last move? Do you even know what is in them? Maybe you did unpack, but you put things away without thinking about where everything should go? Are you still living with the consequences of that moving day?
The process of moving is stressful and messy. But, it also has lingering consequences that you probably have not even considered!
What’s Lies Beneath
At a fundamental level, moving is a change that we might be resisting. When we move, we need to make decisions about what we own. Frequently, the process of facing our stuff stirs up memories or fears we have not dealt with or for which we are not ready.
When people do not want to face these memories or fears, they drag everything they own from one home to the next without evaluating or discarding a thing.
Some move stuff they no longer want from one house to the next because they do not have the time to evaluate and organize what they own.
Yet others do not know of any method or strategy to prevent the chaotic moving day debacle.
And by forgoing this critical step in their moving process, they miss the chance to simplify their lives and start fresh.
As a result of the missed opportunity, their clutter and disorganization will follow them to their new home.
Meanwhile, At Your New Place
After having fallen for the beautifully staged home they saw and bought, reality rushes in like a train wreck on moving day when all the boxes and bulky bags arrive at the new place. These boxes and bags come in total disarray and include things that should not have been brought over. However, they are here now, and nobody even knows what is in what box.
The arrival of such mayhem on moving day often results in frantic unpacking and placing stuff wherever it lands. But, unfortunately, that is precisely where all that stuff remains for months, even years after the move.
Some boxes never get opened. So instead, those boxes will go from garage to attic, then back to the garage, and maybe the spare room, all the way reminding us of the messy move poorly executed.
Do-Over: Organize Home Before Packing To Move
Organizing the home before packing your move has several distinctive benefits:
1. Faster sale of the home
Clutter in a home speaks of a lack of storage and makes the home look smaller. Conversely, a well-appointed house conveys larger spaces and proper storage. Potential buyers will always open cabinets, closets, and drawers when these come with the house. They need to see those spaces as ample and efficient. An organized home sells faster because people buy space.
Why pay to pack and move things that will end up discarded anyway? Discarding what you don’t want first makes the process simpler and more economical.
4. Packing by categories
Organizing the home before packing for the move leads to everything having a single logical place in the house. When item categories are together in a single place, it is easier to assess our belongings and make decisions about them. Then it is possible to pack the move by categories. Packing by categories leads to logical, streamlined unpacking.
5. Streamlined unpacking at the new home
Belongings packed logically and with the new home space in mind are easier to unpack. After moving in, the result is a faster new home set up and better organization system designs. The unpacking process is critical in determining how you’ll live in the new place. If the process is fast, logical, and streamlined, you can expect to live with order and grace.
The Move – The Professional Organizer Way
Engaging a Professional Organizer to help with all your moving details can be crucial to having a positive moving experience for once!
An Organizer can help your moving process in many ways. Here are some of them:
1. Strategic planning, project management = streamlined, stress-free moving process
The Organizer knows the chaotic process of moving. Many organizers are excellent project managers. And from the management of the entire process to advise you on staged home living, the Organizer will spear no detail in the strategic plan.
The Organizer will share additional services and resources you might need throughout the moving and home selling process. Furthermore, they can coordinate and manage those services for you, removing stuff from your to-do list.
Whether it is staging services for your home, make-ready cleaning services, repairs for the new or current home, bulk trash removal, or designing services for the new place, your Organizer has you covered!
But the earlier you engage an Organizer in this process, the more opportunity they’ll have to help.
2. Organizing your home = faster, more profitable sale
If you need to sell your current home before moving, an Organizer provides lots of value in the process. An organized home sells faster. Clutter in a home speaks of the lack of storage and makes the house look smaller.
Conversely, a well-appointed house conveys the idea of larger spaces and good storage. Potential buyers will always open cabinets, closets, and drawers that come with the home. Hiding the clutter instead of managing is not an alternative!
Thus, it makes total sense to organize the house before packing for moving if you need to be at your current home until you sell it.
3. Helping you decide what to move or let go = move with less expense and effort
People often pay to move stuff they do not want or need anymore. Selecting what you need and use beforehand saves effort, packaging material, and money. Working with an Organizer allows you to purge unwanted items before packing with ease. There’s no point in packing things that you will end up discarding anyway. Instead, simplify the process and save money by discarding or donating what you no longer need or want before packing for the move.
4. Organizing your belongings = logical packing + straightforward unpacking
It is easier to see what you own and to make decisions about your possessions when related items are together, things are they belong, and every category of items have a logical place. Thus, it makes total sense to organize your home before packing, which facilitates packing by categories — furthermore, packing by category results in a logical process that makes unpacking much easier later on when you need a well-appointed home.
5. Carefully and logically packing your move = faster new home set up
I have seen far too many packing jobs where we find trashcans with actual trash in them, together with kitchen stuff and even clothes. And when the packing does not include labeling or inventory, good luck finding what you might need from any of those boxes!
The scenario described above happens because moving companies usually pay their employees by time and volume. So, it makes no sense for them to separate item categories, mainly if that results in lighter boxes. Besides, packers are usually not Organizers, and they probably can’t make these decisions.
An Organizer packs by categories, carefully labeling everything and preparing comprehensive box inventories. Unpacking will be done with the same care and efficiency at your new place later.
6. Prepare your new home= home ready for your belongings + feel “at home” sooner
The Organizer can fit your new place with systems to suit your lifestyle — modifying closets, creating built-in organizing solutions, translating systems previously used in your last home, or lining shelves and drawers. This professional prepares your new home for you to feel like you belong there from the very start.
7. Carefully and thoroughly unpacking at the new place = move on with your life fast
Organizers find the perfect place for everything you own and put everything away so your new space remains organized and as functional as possible.
With careful unpacking, everything finds a logical place, and everything is beautifully appointed.
Moving is a process many people dread, but it can be amazingly beneficial when it is an organized, intentional exercise. Moving is the perfect opportunity to propel our lives where they should go. But when the process occurs without purging first, it leads to clutter and disorganization in the new place. And clutter is the opposite of the calm and stylish home we look forward to having.
So, declutter your home for a faster sale and an easier move and make space for new possibilities in your life. What is more exciting than moving to your new home? Moving to a new home where everything has a place, everything looks beautiful, and the space is functional. That is!
One of the hardest things about moving is achieving a balance between getting a head-start on the packing, having what you still need to live and function in the house before you move, and keeping a home worth showing.
As a Professional Organizer, I deal with packing for moving quite frequently. Many people find the packing and moving processes abhorrent and excruciating, making this one of the biggest stressors in anyone’s life. Thus, many times they rely on a Pro to deal with all that.
Here is some advice to ease the burden of the packing for the moving process. If there comes a time when you have to go through this, hopefully, being better informed and armed with some strategies will ease your pain.
Home Areas & Item Categories
Pay attention to the order, the how, and the what of your packing. The best thing to do when in the process of moving is to organize the home before you pack your move. Why is this? There are three main reasons:
(1) in organizing the home, you realize there is a lot you can let go of before moving (less effort and money to move)
(2) organizing the home prior to packing allows things that should be together, to be together. Then the packing happens logically, by categories. This makes the unpacking so much easier and home set up, faster
(3) no one likes seeing (or showing) a cluttered home for sale. Homes should be organized for showing. Shoving things in closets, cabinets, and drawers does not work. Visitors open these if they come with the house. If the contents in these spaces are disorganized, visitors immediately think the house lacks storage space. That is a big red flag in selling a home.
Note that if a moving company handles the move, they might have restrictions and limitations about how to pack and who does the packing. Due to insurance, they might need to do the packing instead of the client.
But whether you pack your move, or they do, following a particular order in the process and grouping items in a certain way for later packing will make everything easier.
The main thing to remember is that packing logically and per item category (not by room) is the name of the game. Therefore, although this article is divided by house areas, you will notice the crucial importance of item categories in the process.
Miscellaneous & Décor
Pack decorative and miscellaneous items first. Gather artwork, framed photos, Knick knacks, books, paintings throughout the whole house. Wrap frames and delicate items in bubble wrap. Place decorative pieces in medium-sized boxes so they aren’t too heavy. Also, pack so that the weight of the top pieces doesn’t crush the bottom items.
Living Room/Media Room/Game Room
Most likely, your movers will take care of large electronics and furniture in that room. However, before moving day, you should empty the cabinets and drawers and allocate their contents in the groups, boxes, according to the item categories in the space. Examples of items in these areas are board games, DVDs, board games, CDs, smaller A/V equipment, toys, blankets, smaller electronics related to games, etc. So, you want to go throughout the house and gather all items that belong to any of these categories, so these items are packed together.
Pro Tip 1: Use small boxes for CDs and other living room items. The weight adds up fast — pack heavier items toward the bottom of the box and lighter items toward the top. Don’t exceed 50 pounds per box to make moving easier.
When a game room, living room, or media room includes crafts items, if you will have a dedicated crafts space in the new home, box crafts stuff separately and mark them as such. These boxes should land in your new crafts space when you move. If the new home does not have a dedicated crafts area, you might want to merge all crafts material with office supplies. In this case, take all crafts items to the current home’s office area to pack these items with office things.
You might need many files and documents right until the day before the move. Set aside all documents you will need, and you can transfer the contents of your filing cabinet to banker’s boxes. Label these boxes. You will only need to add those files or documents to the boxes on moving day.
It is best to pack your desktop computer last unless you have the same access to information using your laptop or iPhone. Laptops can go with you in the car, so there’s no need to pack them in anything but their case.
If you have been diligent in keeping your paper files in order and have cleaned up your files every year, you are in the best shape possible in that area. If not, take care of that now. It’s in your best interest to avoid moving messy files that will need sorting later and would only make your move more expensive.
Linen & Coat Closets
Linen and coat closets usually contain lots of random things. Moving is the best time to see what we own, what we still want, and what won’t go with you. In the process, it is essential to consider the function of those items we keep.
The purpose of each item determines where that item should be stored. Now is the time to take each item where it should go, rather than pack everything in these closets together.
At the same time, determine if other items in the home should rather be in any of those closets. In that case, gather such things and merge them with the closet’s contents. Why? Because you want to pack together items serving the same purpose or belonging to a particular category. Packing this way leads to a faster and more logical unpacking process on the other end, as mentioned before.
The kitchen usually contains items that we accumulate for years and never use. Before packing, spend some time assessing what you use, need, and want. Get rid of duplicates and other things that are you do not use or want.
Pro Tip 2: Pack dishes, trays, cutting boards, and other flat items in boxes, vertically instead of flat. This way, they are less likely to crack. Use smaller boxes for dishes and utensils because these items are heavy. Place thin foam sheets between the plates. For china, use bubble packaging material. Cloth napkins, dish towels, and tablecloths are also helpful to cushion.
Pro Tip 3: Avoid newspaper, though. Newspaper leaves ink marks, and you do not want to have to wash every dish in your new home when you move in.
Most bedroom items can be packed well in advance of the move, except for the sheets and blankets on the bed and outfits you wear regularly.
There are many things we keep in our bedrooms that fall into the “miscellaneous” category. Examine those items. If anything belongs somewhere else, take that item or group of items to where they belong so they can be with their logical groups before packing. If you no longer need or want something, this is the time to let it go.
Go through every toiletry product in your cabinets and discard unwanted or expired ones. Identify all hygiene and beauty products you will need until moving day and those in a box or bin, so they remain available for your use but are easy to grab and go on moving day.
Pro Tip 4: After this process, pack the rest of your toiletries in small boxes lined with plastic garbage bags, as toiletries can easily leak.
Pack all towels and linens that are not in use with other towels and linens found throughout the house, in one single category. This can also be packed in advance.
Pro tip 5: Keep a laundry bag handy for the few dirty clothes and towels used until the last minute.
Do not wait until the last minute to pack your closet. Unfortunately, closets become storage spaces for all kinds of things, and we forget about them because these items hide behind clothes.
Start organizing your closet ahead of time before your move so you can decide about those items that don’t belong in the space. Place those things with related stuff and where they should have been in the home. Then, once in the new house, find the logical, permanent place for those items (do not place them back in the closet!).
The use of wardrobe boxes makes packing clothes easier — transfer the clothes from the closet to the box, hanging them on the bar. There is no need to remove hangers, which facilitates unpacking your wardrobe later.
Pro Tip 6: Protect folded clothes by placing them in a large plastic bag before boxing. Then, if the boxes get wet in transit, the plastic will protect your clothes.
Before you cringe, let me say that you can tackle the garage with ease and grace.
Start by trashing everything that you can discard. There is usually a lot of trash in garages. That will make the process easier. Then, take all paints and chemicals to a specialized recycling facility. If paint cans have lived in the garage for years, they are no longer in good shape. Also, paint is specific to the house- you won’t need it in your new place. One idea is to take pictures of each can lid, so you keep a record of paint formulas and brands for the new homeowner.
Moving companies don’t transport chemicals and paints, but you’ll be better off buying new products, so you start in your with a clean, fresh, new garage area and supplies. Also, these items are heavy, and moving companies charge by weight. So probably it is less expensive to buy new garage products.
For this same reason, you want to clean up your tool chest or toolbox to keep what you need and use. Repair and building equipment are bulky and heavy and will substantially increase moving costs. You will be amazed at the many things you can let go, sell, and even donate to places like Habitat for Humanity during this purging process.
Now is the ideal time to take inventory of your holiday decoration. We usually store holiday decor in a garage or attic. So, see what works or not, what will fit your new place, and what can be donated or trashed.
Organize all items to keep in plastic, labeled bins with lids. Those bins will probably go inside moving boxes for the move, but the totes will protect their contents. Once at the new place, you will remove the boxes and place the containers in your garage shelving system, attic, or storage unit.
Treat any other things you keep in your garage the same as the holiday décor category (organized, relevant contents, in well-labeled plastic bins). You will see how manageable the garage is when you tackle it methodically.
Some pet items such as grooming supplies and extra toys and additional dishes can all be packed in advance. Ensure to leave out anything needed for your pets until moving day and during the moving process, such as kennels accessories, special toy(s), treats, etc. Ensure your pets are safe during moving day, including keeping them locked away when movers are in and out of the house to prevent them from running away.
Important Things To Remember
In summary, here are some things to remember for packing each space of the home:
Before starting the packing process, it would make sense to organize the home – during the organization process, items find their logical homes, and things of the same kind come together, making it easier to pack logically.
Purge as you go.
Get all items of the same category or use throughout the house and pack them together.
Pack item categories with your new home in mind – think about where the things will go.
Label each box with the name of the room where they will go in your new home (not where they came from).
Using a box number system, create a contents inventory for each box in a master file.
Creating a plan and starting the process ahead of time are crucial elements in making the packing process less stressful for you and your family. The less stress you face in this phase means a more enjoyable transition to your new home.