3 Tips for a Smooth Move

I may have mentioned a time or two or thirty that we are preparing to move from Florida to New York next month.

Although I'm not thrilled about the prospect of cold, ice, and snow again (after more than a dozen years of living in mild climates) we are ready for the change. It's actually kind of neat to "get" to move around a lot. Plus, if we didn't need to pack up the entire house every few years, I would never be motivated to declutter and deep clean anything.

Today I want to share a bit about our Getting Ready To Move process. 

Now technically the Navy "moves" us. They have movers come in, they pack up all of our stuff, they load the truck, they drive it to the new place, they unload the truck. They even put all the boxes in the correct rooms and put our furniture back together. You would think that would make things easy and fancy free on our end, right? Yeah, not so much.

Packing boxes and heavy lifting is the easy part. If you want a move to go smoothly, it requires a lot of behind the scenes prep work.

(Side note: When the representative from the moving company came to do our pre-move survey—basically walking around the house looking through each room to see how much crap they'd have to deal with—she told us they would probably shave a day off their original estimate because we were very organized. This kind of made me giggle.)

Following are three things we do to make moving as simple as we can. If you can ever refer to moving everything you own plus three young children and a cat over 1000 miles as simple.

Me and a much smaller Agent A
after our flight from Naples, Italy to Norfolk, VA

When you move frequently, it's easy to categorize things by did I use this in this house? the last house? and get a better sense of whether or not you should keep an item. Looking at something that is still taped up with moving company stickers on it, and realizing you haven't even opened it and haven't missed it, makes it easier to let go. 

Kids outgrow clothes and toys, random things collect in your closet, and books hang around collecting dust. Just walking around the house for a few minutes could probably nudge you to consider ditching at least ten things. 

Do this enough and you will start looking at everything you own and thinking, do I want to unpack this? Because really, if you want to keep it, you also have to deal with it on the other end.

Don't forget to consider big stuff, too. For instance, we have a dining room table we rarely use. It's nice, it's pretty, it's in good shape . . . but it's not practical for us. It only has four chairs and even though we have a "formal" dining room at the new house, we need that space for other things. So, it's going.

Four-year-old Agent J entertaining herself on the long flight
by using the air sickness bag as a puppet

Now that some things are out of the way, what's left needs to be organized in a way that makes sense. I like to start by cleaning out closets.

You may have already done this as part of the finding-things-to-donate process. If not, I've found the best way to accomplish this is to take everything out of it (and I mean everything), clean as necessary, and put only the things that truly belong there back in.

It's likely as you do this you will find more to donate, but even if you don't just seeing how neat and tidy everything looks will put a smile on your face. 

In addition to donation items you missed the first go-around, you will also probably find several things that belong in another part of the house. Move them to their correct home (or find them a new one).

Once the closets are nice and shiny, do another walk through the house to locate items that can go in a closet somewhere, and get it out of sight.

Also, if you have any cabinets or drawers that are primarily used for miscellaneous storage (e.g., we have a "junk" drawer in the kitchen and a cabinet in the laundry room where we store some random household items and homeschool books) empty those out and give them the same treatment.
Senior Agents hanging out in yet another airport

Now that you've pared down your belongings by donating what you don't use, organized closet and storage space, and done a couple of walk throughs, it's time to clean.

I have a two-point plan when it comes to cleaning: 1. Get rid of crap. 2. Clean a clean house. This, of course, is ideal. In reality, it's a work in progress to make this come together on a regular basis. 

You want to move a clean, organized house. You may think who cares it's all going in boxes and I'm just going to have to re-organize it on the other side anyway, but trust me when I say it will make your life 100 times easier when you start unpacking.

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