So…our apartment sold! We have no idea where we are going or what we are doing but I wondered if you had any packing suggestions for me? I have to be out June 30! Even if you could just point me to a blog post that you might have prepared.
Thank you so much!!!
Well Amy, you are in luck! This topic is fresh on my brain with all of the relocations that we’ve been organizing lately. To answer your question I am going to break down an actual move that we recently coordinated and organized here in Palo Alto and share my favorite tips along the way…
We were hired by a family in Palo Alto to help them move to a new home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since we’ve coordinated a relocation and organized this family many times over the years we knew we could jump in and help them accomplish their goal of getting from point A to point B with less stuff, fresh systems in place, and a seamless transition. They decided to swap their large 5,000 square foot home with a small yard with a large property and a smaller 1,800 square foot home. With the priorities set we created an action plan and scheduled sessions.
We started with purging and let me say, you can never purge TOO MUCH when you are moving. By the time you pay to pack, box, move, unpack, and re-home an item you should really love it. For this project we divided the house into the following zones…
- Playroom/Living Spaces
- Coat Closets/Linen Closets
- Master Closet/Kids Closets
We purged the small items that we could fit into boxes and Hefty bags (I always use black so clients can’t be tempted to second guess their purging instincts). For larger furniture items we took photos and measurements and listed them online for a virtual sale that we would launch closer to moving day.
When you are purging prior to packing up I recommend moving around the room clockwise or counter clockwise so you can track your progress. Have a designated plan for removing the items you’ve designated for donation OUT of the house so they don’t creep back in. Plus, you’ll need all of the room you can get to pack and stack boxes.
Professional Organizer Tip! Try to AVOID having friends and family “rescue” items out of your unwanted pile of stuff. The reality is that your cousin/sister/neighbor will think they “need” something but they either never come to get it OR will talk YOU into keeping it. Instead, choose a charity to work with and take a second to soak up that feeling freedom from clutter.
For this project we purged and purged and purged! My van hauled away two large loads of clothing, housewares, and toys. As we went through each zone we also packed up items that the family wouldn’t need to use for the next 2 weeks (until moving day).
Professional Organizer Tip: Buy boxes uniform in size so they are easy to stack and label. Always label them for the room they will be going to at the NEW house. For this project we had to map the items from one room to a totally new room. For example, everything from the playroom, office, and family room headed to an art studio cottage at the new house. Instead of labeling the items from the room we packed them from, we labeled them as “art studio” so the moving company would know exactly where to carry the boxes on moving day.
Try to work around the room as you pack, clockwise or counter clockwise so you don’t forget a zone. This is the empty kitchen at our clients old home and it was completely empty.
Professional Organizer Tip: Don’t forget to have a trash bag handy! Line a large moving box with a black Hefty bag and just keep tossing.
We scheduled the virtual sale for this project just days before moving day so our clients wouldn’t be dealing with constant appointments. We used the Kuzak’s Closet blog, estate sale shopper list and our online shop on Instagram @shopkuzakscloset to market their furniture items and scheduled shoppers to pick up their purchases on the morning of moving day.
Selling things can be daunting so pick your battles and limit the items that you want to list online to things that will bring in the most money. For this project we donated hundreds of dollars of small items that my clients will be able to deduct from their taxes this year and sold a few thousand dollars worth of furniture that helped serve as a credit towards our organizing services.
Moving Day! If you are working with a professional moving company for your move make sure to be organized on the day of the move. Develop a moving plan if you have specific needs and goals, for example, if there are items that you’d like to come off the truck first they should go onto the truck last, etc..
Professional Organizer Tip: Be sure to have overnight bags packed for 2 nights for you and your family with medications, clothing, and chargers for electronic devices. For valuable items like jewelry, financial documents, gift cards and cash, it’s best to keep it with you at all times.
Take advantage of the fresh start by putting bedding and linens into clearly marked boxes on the morning of moving day so they can be washed at the new house before they go onto beds. We often do this while we are unpacking on the first day of the project.
Professional Organizer Tip: If you are bringing cable boxes, stereo equipment, and televisions take a photo of how the cables are set up before you disassemble with your smartphone. Detach cables and wind them up into Ziploc bags that are clearly labeled.
On moving day the only sight that you want to see is an empty moving truck! But before you get to that stage, you’ll need to direct traffic and let the movers know where you want your items to be placed. Whether you are hiring a moving company or moving yourself with friends and family do yourself a favor and make a sign to label each room to eliminate confusion.
Professional Organizer Tip: Eliminate distractions on moving day! Take advantage of the help that you have on hand and be available for questions. We often play the role of the home owner when we manage relocations for clients and we make sure not to take calls or breaks because we want to keep the project moving as efficiently as possible. Clear project management will yield a cost savings on moving costs and better results at the end of the day.
All of your pre-move purging and packing will pay off once moving day hits. If you think that it would be easier to deal with everything at the new house you are WRONG! So WRONG! Even if a company is paying for your relocation be sure to purge prior to having a team of packers come.
Once the moving truck pulls out of your driveway hit the ground running in top priority zones. Our goal is always to unpack and organize the kitchen first. The next priority zone is to tackle kids rooms and then onto the master bedroom and bathrooms. Living spaces, offices, and garages are always saved for the second or third day depending on the speed that we are working at.
This is a shot of the open concept dining room off the kitchen at our clients new home. With all of our pre-move planning it was able to look like home instantly. I just love this house!
Once the kitchen and dining areas were done we split up between the kids rooms and the master bedroom. Our client’s daughter came home from school and her room was waiting for her!
Professional Organizer Tip: Unpack one room at a time! If you bounce from one space to another you will end up with a big mess. Choose a room to work on and start by unpacking every single box. Sort the items as you go and then create a storage plan and put things away.
Our clients were happy to have our help again so they could settle right into their new home instantly. With a view like this it would be easy to do!
Well Amy, I hope these tips help get you moving in the right direction as you start to purge and pack for your upcoming move. If you decide to make your new home in California or Michigan let me know and Kuzak’s Closet will try to be there to help you get unpacked and organized!