Prepping for a big move? You’re not alone. According to the Census Bureau, roughly one in nine Americans moves each year. That’s about 12 percent of the country’s population — somewhere around 40 million people.
Some movers are old hands — they move frequently for work, or hop from short-term lease to short-term lease for whatever reason. When it’s time to pack up, they know what to do.
Most movers aren’t. They change residences infrequently — once a decade, or even less. In the interim, their moving skills atrophy.
If you’re a member of the second group, the prospect of a big move — whether across town or across state lines — is no doubt daunting. But it shouldn’t be terrifying. At least, not if you have these five things handy.
- Lots of Boxes
Like, more than you think you need. In all different shapes and sizes. Before shelling out out hundreds at an office supply or home improvement store, check with local grocers and big box stores — on delivery days, such places tend to have more boxes on hand than they know what to do with. Their employees are often only too happy to hand them off, store policies permitting.
- Packing Tape
Again, more than you think you need. You need to close up all those boxes, after all. If you’re not overwhelmed by the logistics of your move, do it right and measure the dimensions of each box type you plan to use. Otherwise, buy enough rolls of tape for a small army and remove them from their packaging only as necessary. You can return whatever you don’t use after the fact.
- Strong Bodies
Minimalists can skip this one. Everyone else, listen up: you’re going to need more than yourself and your spouse to get out of this with your sanity intact. If your budget can bear it, consider hiring a moving team — they’ll get the job done much faster, and in fewer trips, than you and an army of novices possibly could. Otherwise, seek help from your friends and neighbors: the strapping teenage boys down the street, your able-bodied friends, the cousins you conveniently haven’t called for years until now.
- Social Media
What? Yes, social media can help you get through moving hassles. If you don’t already have one, you’re going to need to set up a Twitter account. Once that’s done, search for people and companies that know a thing or two about moving: efficiency experts, designers, real estate brokers, mortgage companies, neighborhood associations, local service providers, whoever. Follow them! Even if the content they share isn’t directly relevant to your situation, it’s sure to be a relief to see that someone else cares about what you’re going through.
And, while you’re at it, get on Pinterest and Instagram too. When you’ve finally gotten everything unpacked (fat chance) and you’re ready to start decorating, you’ll be grateful for every visual aid you can get your hands (or eyeballs) on.
- A Love for Cleaning & Tidying
Unless your old home is being demolished, chances are good that someone’s going to live in it after you. And it’s in your best interest to ensure that it looks to them as if you never lived in it.
Before you say goodbye for good, get ready to clean, clean, and clean some more. If you staged your home for sale, most of the hard work should be done already. If not, consider hiring a professional cleaner to do the job right. And bring a disinterested set of eyes — a trusted friend, perhaps — on your final walk-through.
What are you doing to prepare for your next move?