Sunday, April 4, 2010

Three Steps to an Organized Moved

With the big spring/summer moving season right around the corner (and the tax credit!), you or someone you know is probably preparing for a transition in the near future. Moving can definitely be stressful, but planning ahead will help simplify and de-stress the process. By avoiding last minute panic, you can make it to that summer barbecue or pool party instead of staying in to pack. Follow these three simple steps and suggestions for a successful and organized move!

1. Make a Plan

Start by taking an hour or so to do a walk through of your home, making a list of general categories of items in each room. For example, "linens, craft supplies, toiletries, books, etc". Don't get overly detailed - keep things simple. After assessing your belongings, determine how far in advance you want to start the process. If you have a lot of free time and very little to pack, a few weeks should be plenty. Conversely, if you have a lot to pack and very little free time, starting two or more months in advance may be ideal. Next, assign a number to each category on your list based on how many days or weeks you have allotted for the project. For example, use numbers "1" through "5" for a five week schedule. Start with the number "1" for essential items that you will need right up until the move date - these are the items you will pack last. From there, assign numbers to your remaining categories based on frequency of use, packing items you rarely access first.

2. Organize and Purge

Now that you have your week by week packing plan, it's time to take action. While you may not be able to fully organize your belongings until you are moved into your new space, simply sorting and grouping things into logical categories from step one will be helpful - the more you can organize before you move, the easier it will be to get settled into your new home. Plus, packing will be much more efficient and the likelihood of items getting "lost" or broken is lessened. The process of sorting through your belongings is the perfect opportunity to assess items and decide what you may no longer need. Don't just throw these things out - sell on eBay, Craigslist or at a local consignment shop and donate the rest. The money that you make can help with the cost of the move, furnishings for your new home, or any number of other expenses. Furthermore, the less you have to pack, the easier (and cheaper!) the move will be. If the idea of organizing and purging sounds overwhelming, it might be helpful to have an accountability partner to help you stay on track. This person can either be a good friend or family member, or a Professional Organizer like myself.

3. Pack

Once you have planned, organized and purged, packing should be a snap! Try to keep items together by room or category, and clearly label boxes that are to be unpacked first. Make sure you label the contents of each box in a clear and consistent manner so that it's easy to find what you need when you unpack. Set up a staging area in your home for packed boxes to be stored out of the way during the process. Use small boxes for heavier items such as books and larger boxes for lighter items like linens. Your local ABC store is a great place to pick up small boxes for free. You may need to purchase larger moving boxes - stores such as Staples, IKEA and The Container Store have an excellent selection of moving products. Don't forget about the environment as you pack. Use earth friendly products such as biodegradable packing peanuts and paper (not plastic) products such as Greenwrap whenever possible - and don't forget to recycle those cardboard boxes when you're done with your move!

Moving is one of my organizing specialties (and general favorite activities) so don't hesitate to contact me if you need help!

Kristen Ziegler

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