I really think it's a testament to how miserable moving truly is that it's taken me like 2 months after we moved to even be able to think about writing about it.
It's just the worst.
But I have a few tricks/ideas/whatever that I've learned from our 7 moves that I thought I'd pass on. Or at least dictate so that I can remember them myself if Matt ever decides to tear my cold, lifeless fingers from this current home, because it will be over my dead body that we ever move again.
I have a Part 1 here for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be experiencing an upcoming move, where I talk about Pre-Packing Packing, meaning the things to do before actually starting packing that makes life so much dang easier once Packing-Mode has begun.
Trick #1: Getting Boxes
Nothing worse than having to pay for boxes to move stuff. I've gotten boxes for free from lots of great places: friends who have just moved, Craigslist, Buy Nothing groups on Facebook.
The best resource ever though is surprising. My mom is the master box getter and has collected as many perfectly sized boxes for me as I've wanted for 4 moves, and we have a lot of stuff. Just ask anyone who has ever helped us move.
But where does she get these mystical boxes? She gets them from (drumroll) her local hospital!
Whaaaa?!! I know, it's brilliant.
She goes by the Shipping and Receiving early in the morning as they're all outside working and asks them to save the sizes of boxes she's looking for, which they're happy to do as they all just go into recycling. Then she stops by the next day at the time they determine and boom. Giant pile of perfect, all-but-brand-new boxes, and only like 2 of them have the word "Bedpan" printed on them. But for real, they have some nondescript name on them, so no one would ever know where they came from.
The one thing is, you just need a hospital with a Shipping and Receiving. This last move I was a bit embarrassed with making my sweet, retired mother track down boxes for me so like a big girl I called the hospital right next to me and they unfortunately weren't large enough for an actual Shipping and Receiving. They did refer me to the hospital that did, but since I'm pathetic my mom was a champ again and brought me a giant load from her hospital because she's awesome.
So best place for boxes? My mom. But if you don't know her then contact your local hospital's Shipping and Receiving.
Trick #2: Prep the New House
The best possible scenario with moving is not moving at all. But if you have to move then the next best situation is having a week or 2 when you can get into your new place before actually moving. While I recognize that's not possible much of the time, if you have the option rejoice and be merry.
Best things to do in that time?
***all of these should be done in your "Free Time" while still keeping all of your balls (and children's schedules) in the air. Moving is the worst.***
1) Lay a carpet film down on the carpet. I'd rather not have to clean the carpets right after moving with all the in and outs wearing shoes. Instead I'd rather do that right beforehand when 2 birds get into my house and poop everywhere, which is for real what happened to us. And then one of the birds died behind my toilet for me to find 2 weeks later.
But putting down this film is like my first task when I get to the house.
Just make sure to pack up a pair of scissors to cut the film. Otherwise you might have to get a bit creative and it might take like 5 times as long. Just saying.
2) Label the Rooms and Furniture Placement
Figure out not only every room but where you want furniture to go and label everything. Put the room signs outside the door. Label where you want the pile of boxes to go. That way when your friends move stuff in so much of the work will be done for you. Everything will not only go in the right room but in the right place in the room. You'll probably end up moving some stuff around but this saves so much time and energy.
3) Paint, Paint, Paint
It is so much easier to paint before stuff gets in and in the way. Painting's always a pain, but it's so wonderful to have it all ready to go when you move in. Just remember though that, just like everything, it always takes longer than you think. My dad bailed me out this move. I bravely/stupidly took on all of the closets which I'm grateful I did NOW but things were not looking good for me for a while. So, thanks Dad!
4) Move the Kitchen
The kitchen is such a time sucker. It takes so dang long! I've been able to move the kitchen beforehand in the week of the move a few times and it's pretty awesome to be able to use my kitchen the day I move. I can then focus right away on getting the kids' spaces together to help them feel more settled.
It does mean things get a bit tricky food-wise at the old place before we move. I do my best to think through the easy meals and snacks we'll be having then save the few pots and utensils I'll need to fix them.
And let's just have a moment of silence for the wonders that are paper plates.
I also try to have some quick meals only requiring the microwave like these breakfast burritos or bean burritos. Or at that point, any frozen anything that I can find in the frozen foods aisle of the grocery store.
Trick #3: Rental Truck
It is truly almost a miracle that the above picture even happened. Our reserved truck was double booked and given away and there was not another 26 foot truck to found within like 50 miles. It was kind of a nightmare that took like a full 7 hours and a whole lot of driving and the cell phone number to the regional manager to be resolved. And who has that kind of time when you're moving?
Thank heavens we went to pick up the truck at noon the day before the move or we would have been absolutely sunk. I'm still praising the wonders of a certain brother who used to work for the unnamed truck company who gave me the magical boss' cell number.
This was not the first time we've had moving truck issues. I don't think it's as big of a deal with the smaller trucks but there's not as many big 26 footers (the biggest truck they have for rental) so resolving the frequent inventory issues that somehow come up is more challenging.
So my advice is two part:
Pick up the truck the day before. You can get it the night before for the same price and if you have to drive a distance to pick it up they may give it to you earlier in the day for free as well. Just call and ask. It's so reassuring to have that truck in the driveway when you wake up the day of the move and it's one less thing to have to worry about.
Quadruple Check on Your Reserved Truck: Call like the week before the move to make sure everything is all actually reserved correctly and then call again before you go to pick it up. We've been surprised by the pickup location being in a different place than the reservation, so check, check, check.
Trick #4: Park It
My next sage piece of advice is this: while people are carrying boxes and beds and bookshelves and your Aunt Roberta's lamp, stay put.
Now this part needs some clarification. We have always been fortunate enough to have lots of help loading and unloading the truck the day of the move, between our faithful family and members of our church. I make sure everything's all ready to go the best I can and they do the heavy lifting. But if having a moving crew at your disposal is not your situation then ignore this advice.
Matt has helped a LOT of people move through the years and he tells me like 38 times every move that my job is to stand by the truck and tell everyone where everything goes. I am superglued to that spot. Even though my boxes are all clearly labeled and each room has a corresponding sign outside it, there is always confusion as to where stuff is supposed to go. And quite frankly, who is going to know where that particular chair is supposed to live but you and if you go off helping carry something really quick that chair (and the bookcases and the couch and the desk and you get the idea) will most definitely not end up where you want it and the unpacking time just tripled, both for the people helping you and for you after the fact.
So my job is to stand next to the truck and direct traffic and do my best to swallow the guilt that is in every fiber of my being as they're sweating and I'm watching them.
And then to thank them a million times and feed them massive quantities of pizza. That's my job at that point.
Trick #5: Beg Help
If at all possible, beg and plead and do your darnedest to get help. I'm horrible at asking so it's kind of funny I'm writing this, but man, one person cannot do it all. And if they do, it comes at a great price, and I'm talking sanity, big time.
Have some friends help pack up your kitchen, ask someone to watch your kids for a few hours (and then a few more!), beg a few to stick around after boxes get unloaded to help set up beds.
We all have times we need help. You help others. Don't feel bad when you need it yourself.
Any killer tips I'm missing? Anything that's been super successful for you? I'd love to hear about it. Not that I'll need it as I'm Never. Moving. Again. But as that is what I said 2 moves ago, who knows.