Fingers Crossed! (And a Moving Checklist)

I have some great news to share with you today! Josh and I put in an application for an apartment! We found a place only about 10 minutes away from where we live now, and although we were originally looking for a place closer to the city - the difference here isn't very big and it has many other benefits. To start, it's on the first floor (not the eighth!) so we can kiss elevator trips to take the dog out goodbye, it's significantly cheaper than where we are now and it's almost the same size - and still 2 beds and 2 baths. We are so excited about this place and (fingers crossed!!!) we'll be moving in there on August 1! 

Wait... August 1? As in 2 weeks from now? Yes. Yes, only two weeks in which to pack and clean and then get ready to start making our new apartment our home. Fortunately, we do have until August 10 on our current lease, so we'll make the big move between August 1 and 5 and then have a few days to make sure that everything here is clean and ready for move-out. 

The last time we moved, we were bringing two different apartments into one, and moving from places without a similar layout. That meant that packing, and moving, and unpacking, were a bit more chaotic than we may have liked. Aside from the bedroom and the kitchen, all of our other boxes (and even some of those) kind of got dumped in the center of the apartment and we had to open boxes one by one to find out where they belonged. This time, we'll utilize color-coding and proper labeling so that boxes end up in their right locations. 

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When you move, I think that the most important thing is to stay as organized as possible. By staying on top of each piece of your move, everything will run smoothly. This means making lists and sticking to plans - but I promise that it will be better. I once moved out of an apartment in college with absolute no plan or real advance planning, and it involved stuffing my car so completely that at the end I was just stuffing things in to partially opened windows. Opening up the car doors when I got home was an adventure and I quickly learned (the hard way) how not to move. So, my checklist (and coordinating advice) comes from lots of experience and lessons learned.

1. Create a Moving File

Signing a lease? Getting Welcome documents? Buying new furniture? Obtaining new insurance? It's important to keep all of this in one place. I recommend an accordion file, or to have both an accordion file and a binder - which is what Josh and I do.

All receipts, and smaller items, get stored in the file, while all bill information and leasing agreements have been stored in the binder. Every single bill gets hole punched with confirmation numbers and dates paid noted on them and stored in case we need them in the future. This keeps us on track of everything from furniture receipts in case something happens, to IKEA debit receipts which you can bring back for extra IKEA savings on future trips. I also keep moving coupons - like Bed Bath and Beyond ones - in the binder as well so that they don't get misplaced during the move.

2. Sort and Purge

This is the time to go through everything and make sure that it really is worth moving. If you can have a yard sale, this may be a great time, but otherwise, it's good to haul things to Goodwill. This goes for clothing, toys and kitchenwares. When I moved last August, I donated well over 100 books to a great organization that I found near Boston (More Than Words) and there are plenty of organizations all over that focus on book donations. 

This is also a good time to throw out things that are broken that cannot be fixed or that you don't care to get fixed. As you go through your home, ask yourself if each item is worth moving. If it isn't, make the decision to donate or to throw away (for things that don't work or aren't in good shape).

3. Acquire Boxes

Once you've sorted and purged, removing the unwanted items from your home, it's time to get boxes for packing. If you want to spend the money, you can buy boxes, or even large tupperwares from your local Walmart or Target. I love these for heavier items - typically kitchen ones - because they tend to be sturdier and less likely to do any damage to what is inside them. Another great place to get boxes is from your office, if you receive things from bigger companies, you'll often have empty paper boxes or supply boxes that will be sturdy as well. Finally, liquor stores are a great place to get boxes because you'll be able to have confidence that those are sturdy as well.

4. Pack

Now that you've amassed a bunch of boxes, it's time to start packing! Move through each room, one at a time, and pack everything that can fit in the boxes. It's much easier to move a larger box than it is to move a large number of small items. Anything that won't fit in a box, I typically leave until the day of the move. Once a box is full, I label it and color code it - placing a small sticker on it to ID the room that it's going to so that things run smoothly on moving day. But, I DO NOT tape it shut. Although you may not think you'll need something in a box before you move, you never know and it's better to go through everything the night before a move to tape boxes shut then, than it is to have to open a box up. 

Always leave clothing to be packed last to make sure that you don't need anything you've already packed. In 2 and a half weeks, Josh and I will be attending a wedding and we'll need to make sure we have easy access to our wedding attire and that nothing gets misplaced during the moving process. Our clothing and our dishes will probably be the last items we pack. (For cross-country moves, it's good to pack a bag with a few days of clothing, plus toiletries, to avoid any issues of finding things.)

5. Change Your Address

Finally, after you've gotten organized and packed your things, it's time to let people know your new address. A quick stop at the post office will get you a USPS address change packet (that comes with 10% off coupon from Lowe's!) and most magazine subscriptions can be changed online. I also make sure to go online and change my address for my credit card bill and make sure that utility companies know the new address for final bills. While putting in a USPS address change is great (and I think, a must do), it's good to cover all of your bases with things you get in the mail. 

6. Making Moving Day Arrangements

Are you making the move yourself or hiring a mover? Do you have kids or pets? There are many things to take into consideration for your main moving day. We'll be doing the move on our own, so we'll need to rent a U-Haul truck and make arrangements for that. If we were moving further (or into a non-first floor), we may have hired movers, but to save money, we'll be doing it ourselves. And we don't have kids, so we won't need to worry about having anyone watch them, but we will be boarding Nash so that he doesn't get caught up in the confusion and so we can focus on the move while he's being pampered for a few days. It's also good to keep some things available for your move-in day, such as toilet paper, snacks and cold drinks; it's better to be prepared than to be caught off-guard. 

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And with that, you're pretty much all set! Is there anything else that you do in order to prepare for a move? All moves are a bit different, but I feel like with the above list, I've got my bases covered and it leaves me time to spend daydreaming about how I will decorate and set up our new home! (Spoiler Alert: I'm thinking paint!)

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