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Don’t Stress Over the Moving Mess

Don’t Stress Over the Moving Mess

A few key insights to ease the pain of moving homes

Even the most meticulous and obsessive person falls victim to the chaos and stress of moving homes. Here we have compiled a few quick thoughts to help you organize the mess that inevitably follows the decision to move.

Six months back, my wife and I sat on the verge of a stress-induced mental breakdown as we looked at the garage we had to clean out before moving out. I couldn’t even bring myself to open the shed. Before we knew it, we had 72 hours left and way too much to do for a couple of full time workers with a young child.

If I had known there was help out there, I would have gladly accepted it. Go Trashy is a great example. They’re a junk removal app. I could have photographed the mess in the garage, received my upfront price, and watched a vetted hauler remove the stuff in a matter of hours.

Instead, I rented an expensive van and made five trips to the dump at nearly a hundred dollars each. Perhaps worst of all is the guilt my wife and I felt a few days later. The dust settled and we realized we had missed half a dozen important recycling, reusing, repurposing, or upcycling opportunities. Haste makes waste, right?

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So first thing is first. Here are some organizing tips to help you hone in on the areas you need to attack first. It’s a strategy meant to alleviate stress while setting you up for a smooth, successful move.


Organize, Separate, Clean

Organizing is vitally important. Before you throw out an item or put a book into a box, organize everything in each room. Start with a bedroom that’s fairly clean, so that you can develop a system. Create piles for items to be thrown away or recycled, and then create piles for items to be packed, sold, given-away. Lastly, create a “not sure” pile. That way, you don’t overthink each item. Get them organized into piles quickly.

Separating is an obvious part of organizing. It’s also a chance to look at what you have and to ask yourself a few key questions. Would someone else I know like this item? Do I have more than one of these? Do I even use it? Separate out the items you think your friends or family might like, and also create a pile to sell at a garage sale or online.

Cleaning seems like an obvious step, but it’s often missed. It’s hard to summon the energy to clean a place that you will no longer be living in. The organizing and separating steps come first for that exact reason. By saving the cleaning until things are organized, you can prioritize messy areas, and you can work around (read ignore) all those nice, clean piles you’ve made. It’s not just about getting your deposit back. You will find more stuff to save or sell as you clean.


Remove, Recycle, Sell

Sell whatever you can. It can help you cover moving costs. As I mentioned before, there was a wave of guilt that washed over me as I watched my new neighbors purchase a couch similar to the one I had just thrown away from our old home. I could have given them ours, or even offered it at a low sale price, and they would have saved money while helping me protect the environment.

Recycling can come in many forms. We know that we do not have to throw away most of our things today, but putting items into and through the recycling process eats up lot of energy and water resources. Instead, recycle by repurposing something you no longer use into something you need. Do you have older kids who don’t have much nice stuff yet? Maybe a gift of some of your unused furniture would make their home complete.

Remove absolutely everything that is not going with you. If you have your piles neatly organized, you know the ones that need to be recycled, tossed, or sold. Now is the time to get rid of that stuff. Don’t let it get too close to your moving date before you start this process. Most of the stress of moving comes from procrastination or wishful thinking. Be proactive.


Minimize, Label, Sort

Minimalization is about living with the things you need and dearly want, and not with all the stuff that piles up unconsciously in our homes. It’s not just for folks in tiny homes either. Minimize the things you need, and you will find yourself living a less cluttered and less stressful life.

Label all your boxes! Even if you don’t know where each moving box will end up, label the box with a brief list of its contents. You might, like I did, think that you can remember what was in the old Blue Apron box and what was in the old Diaper Genie box. You will forget. Label, label, and label!

Sort the items you know you’ll want right away in the new house from the items that might be stored or opened later. When you go to make your first dinner in the new place, what will you need? You don’t want to be looking through boxes of children’s books when you’re trying to find the paprika.

New House Key

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