This month's writing tips is over moving.
Necessities: boxes or containers, padding (packing paper, bubble wrap, etc), tape, and a permanent marker.
Firstly, think about how far you are moving and how it will all get there. If you are moving without any help, you may have some decisions to make about what can come with you and what needs to be rehomed. Assuming that part is done (or you have space to bring everything), next up is packing. Take a couple days and start putting together a list of handy things that you’ll want available to you as soon as you arrive at your new residence. This often includes a couple changes of clothes, toiletries to shower, paper towels and hand soap, trash bags, pet food, charging cords, and cleaning products. If it’s a far move with a lot of belongings that will take time to sift through and unpack, maybe things to get through a few days would be on the list, such as bedding, a few outfits for work, a rain jacket, pet belongings, etc.
Start early. Don’t try to pack a whole apartment in one day! You’ll be tired, stressed, and totally over it. Start a couple kitchen boxes, a couple living room boxes, and a couple bedroom boxes of things you don’t need for a week. As the date approaches, you could tackle each room and just leave the necessities for last.
Labels are SO IMPORTANT. If you have cardboard boxes you could write directly on them. If containers and you don’t want them permanently marked, write on tape that can be easily removed later, such as blue painters tape. Label at least two sides for easier reading.
Pack based on room, or some other theme. The most typical example is packing all kitchen items in the same boxes rather than mixing with DVDs, clothes, or other belongings. A shoebox is great for utensils! This method of organizing will make it easier to know where to set down boxes upon arrival, as well as making the process of unpacking go smoother.
Don’t make boxes too heavy. It may be satisfying to a perfectionist to fit 47 novels exactly so in a box, but you’ll regret it when it’s time to carry it up any stairs. Boxes made too heavy with breakables like dishes can also increase the odds of dropping it. For example, in the kitchen you could pack all dishes together but keep the boxes small so that you can’t accumulate too much weight in them. Alternatively, you could pack fewer dishes and be generous with padding by using other kitchen items such as pot holders and dishtowels, which would also help to keep the weight in check by taking up a fair amount of box space. Pack heavier things like a couple casserole dishes but then fill the top half of the box with lighter items like cupcake tins. Make sure you adequately pad and protect breakables!!! NOTHING should be clinking together like glass or ceramic. Some brands are fine to stack together (such as Corelle dishes), but if they are very delicate then you can put a paper towel or piece of packing paper in between each to avoid any rubbing or jostling.
Pack folded clothes and other linens in duffel bags if you are short on boxes or going a short distance. If you are moving without the help of a company and a short distance (such as staying in the same town), you could take several reusable shopping bags (ideally cleanish) and put clothes, linens, DVDs, or books in them to fill your vehicle. This is NOT recommended in moving trucks or for long distances, since the bags are more easily squashed and are not closed.
Make sure you know where any important documents are and pack cleaning supplies last. Make sure you reserve adequate box space, but leave them out until the last day. If you have a lease, it’s likely they they expect you to clean the place. This can depend - some people charge for it not being clean, some simply do not refund the pre-paid cleaning fee if it’s not clean, and sometimes the fee is not refundable. You can save money by doing it yourself, but don’t be afraid to get dirty - when moving out, it can be expected for it to be 100% clean, including the blinds, ceiling fan blades, appliances, etc. It’s not too bad, but can take you by surprise if you weren’t aware or haven’t been living in a clean space.
Last few tidbits: get friends to help and repay them for their kindness! Buy them dinner! If they contributed their vehicle to help, pay for the gas with some extra. When you are done with cardboard boxes, post online or leave them at the curb in case anyone else needs them. If you have a lease and did the cleaning yourself to save money, see if someone from the office will do a walk-through with you to verify that it’s acceptable. Take pictures to be safe.
CLEAN BEFORE YOU UNPACK - the new place SHOULD be clean but this is not always the reality. Take pictures of the state of it upon your arrival to document anything dirty or damaged. Wipe down all surfaces, the toilet, check in the fridge, and vacuum. Go ahead and use shelf liners in all of the cabinets if you so desire - although you are tired, it’s much better to do these things now or else you likely never will.
Last step: order takeout to your new address because you are tired and hungry from moving, damn it!