Last time I updated the blog, we had our house for sale, and I was impatiently waiting for it to sell. The market was a buyer’s market and it seemed to take forever! I’m pretty sure our realtor was sick of hearing from me and I was sick of keeping my house neat as a pin 24/7. It seemed like any time I thought I could go out for the day and leave the dishes in the sink and my bed unmade, I would get a text that we had a buyer that wanted to come by in 4 hours. I would rush home to scrub and clean and throw the excess laundry in the washer to hide it! I’m sure any of you that have sold your home feels my pain. It is a long and frustrating process!
We had the house listed for nearly 4 months. That might seem short in other markets,but in Southern Alberta that is an eternity. Then suddenly, we had an offer with a 3 week closing date – and I had a husband out of town for work during the weekdays. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the sale of our house. We are blessed that it sold when it did, but it was the worst move I have been through! Thank goodness for family and friends that helped me box stuff up and clean up our empty home; I lost count on the number of nightmares I had that it was 12 noon on the closing date and I still had half of the house to pack!
With the quick closing date, we had to move everything into a storage unit and we are temporarily living with family. Bless them.
In hindsight, I made a lot of moving mistakes, and some great choices too! So here are my tips and tricks for a move like ours (tight timeline, no spouse 5 out of 7 days, no new house to move into…).
1. Pre-pack as much as possible
We got our storage unit before we even listed the house. We pre-packed items that we wouldn’t be needing during the move. It made the house look more spacious, and got us started on the packing process. This is the perfect time to really assess which items you want to be taking with you to your next home. I sold off a huge chunk of unnecessary belongings that we just didn’t use or enjoy as much as we thought we would. Extra cash in our pocket and extra room in our storage unit!
2. Pack room by room
Nothing feels better than an entire empty room to check off the list. A box here and there really feels like nothing is being accomplished.
3. Recruit the troops
Bribe your besties with wine and snacks and your undying devotion. My kitchen was packed in 3 hours. And I had a huge kitchen.
4. Get quality boxes in consistent sizes
I tried to do this, but my inner cheapskate led me to buy boxes from kijiji that had been used. Some were a great score and some were ripped and crappy. The 2 batches of identical boxes from U-Haul were worth their weight in gold. They also proved my husband right about the ability to fit them better into the storage unit than the previous hodgepodge. He loves being right…when it happens.
5. Have a plan for storage
When you are moving a whole household into a storage unit, you need a plan. We started with boxes in the back, and progressed into the big furniture pieces, and then piled random stuff on top of that. Not a complex plan, and one that could have been better executed – but it was better than just chucking it all in and hoping for the best. This is another great time to purge the stuff that isn’t worth storing.
6. Colour code and track contents
I used coloured labels for each room of the house, and numbered each box. The contents of each box was then catalogued in a binder. It seems OCD, but will be essential if we have to find “that one thing” in the unit. Unless #10 applied, in which case…good luck!
7. Don’t allow yourself too many lazy days
This will come back to bite you in the rear. Sure, that Real Housewives of Orange County on the PVR seems high priority, but force yourself to pack up at least one cupboard or closet each night. The last minute scramble is far more stressful than missing Heather cracking open that bottle of champs (high five to anyone who gets that reference).
8. Get yourself some strong men or women
My husband is blessed. I am so freakishly strong he takes it for granted. He passed me a couch over the edge of the balcony and I didn’t drop it or snap my spine. I would have far preferred a strong man take over while I played Site Foreman and told them what to do. In a pinch my neighbour’s teenagers proved invaluable in carrying patio furniture and my BBQ. And the king-sized mattress. Love thy neighbour you guys.
9. Keep the corkscrew accessible
Pretty self explanatory. Together with tape and scissors and a screwdriver, a ew bottles of red are an essential tool in a move. To bribe your friends and to keep your sanity.
10. SCREW IT.
You are going to reach a point where all the labels and tracking and organization goes out the window. Screw it. Throw what is left in boxes, label it as “Random Crap” and call it a day (Good girl confession – some of my boxes are labelled with strong language. There were some bad days in there).
Have fun packing!