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Mastering My Move: An Organizer's Guide for How to Prepare For Your Move

Updated: May 17, 2023

Photo by Erda Estremera via Unsplash

Looking at my 729 sqft apartment filled to every corner with furniture, decor, and all of those things I just couldn't live without every time I visited Home Goods (I know I'm not alone here...), I started thinking about how to make this move as efficient and stress-free as possible.

Moving can be a daunting task, whether you're moving across town or across the country... or in my case, packing for three months abroad, packing separately for family vacation, packing separately (again) for a business conference, and putting the rest into storage.

As an organizer for Step by Steppe Solutions, I've seen how seamless we help make our clients' moves. I personally get excited about editing and organizing items, and I knew I wanted to approach my move with the same energy and strategy we do with our clients.

The process can be overwhelming and it's easy to feel like you don't even know where to start; that's why I wanted to share the top tips and tricks that helped me prepare and complete my move with relative ease.

1) Start Early

One of the most important things to keep in mind when prepping for a move is to start early. Give yourself plenty of time to go through your belongings, donate, discard, recycle, or sell anything you don't need or want, so that you are only packing up the things you love, use and that serve you well. I even took time to try on every article of clothing I owned so I could make definitive decisions. Trust me when I say you ALWAYS have more than you think you do, so use time to your advantage!

2) Declutter

Moving is the perfect time to declutter your “life inventory”. Go through each room and decide what you want to keep, what you want to sell, and what you want to donate or throw away. For me, it was helpful to gamify the process - I gave myself a goal of getting rid of (ie. throwing out, donating, or selling) at least 100 items. To my surprise, I surpassed that quickly - I ended up getting rid of over 300 items!

3) Pack Strategically

When it comes to packing, it's important to pack strategically. This includes a few different things:

BOXES or BINS - You can pack your items in boxes or bins; this is personal preference. Oftentimes you can find gently used moving boxes and packing paper for free if you check Facebook or ask around. This is a HUGE money-saving option for a lot of people!

WEIGHT - Pack heavy items in smaller boxes, and lighter items in larger boxes. This will make it easier to move the boxes and prevent any injuries. In storage, be sure to stack them with the heaviest on the bottom so that they don't crush any of your belongings in the lighter boxes.

LABELING - Label (and if you’re feeling extra fun, color code) your boxes. Make sure to label each box with its contents and the room it belongs in - this will make your future unpack significantly easier. Be sure to label all the boxes on the top and front in the same places so movers can easily see what room boxes go into on the unpacking side of things.

MAPPING (storage units only) - Map out your storage unit from an aerial view so you know which area of your unit houses which room of your space. This is also helpful for the movers so they know where to place items in the unit for you. And, if you need to retrieve an item or items, you will know where those boxes are in the unit. Be sure you leave an aisle within the unit for access to your boxes.

FIRST OUT - Create a “first out” box (or boxes, if needed). In this box are all of the things you will absolutely need first when you are unpacking - ie. hand soap, paper towels, trash bags, scissors, box cutters, etc. This will be one of the first boxes you move if you are immediately moving into your new space, and will be one of the last boxes you put into storage (closest to the door) if you are putting everything away for a while.

4) Chip Away

Have 5 minutes between calls? Put some clothes in a bin. Have 30 minutes while dinner’s in the oven? Pack 3 boxes. Don’t underestimate the power of these “micro” packing sessions - most of my packing was done this way. The input adds up over time!

5) Keep Important Documents Safe

Make sure to keep important documents, such as passports, birth certificates, and insurance papers in a safe and secure place. Create a system or a dedicated space for organizing and keeping track of important documents during the move - these are the LAST things you want lost in the shuffle. You might also consider making copies for a trusted friend and/or family member to keep for you, for those “just in case” scenarios.

6) Many Hands Make Light Work

My saving grace were the many friends who lent a hand when they could. Throughout the course of four weeks, I had different friends help with the editing process and the moving/storage process. Each helping hand was a blessing, as I definitely couldn't have gotten everything moved by myself in my Honda Fit (LOL!).

I'm an entrepreneur, an organizer and administrative assistant at Step by Steppe Solutions, and a dog-walker. I was balancing all of that plus being sick, traveling for work, and saying my "see you later"s to my friends while packing and moving. What I'll leave you with is this - If I can do it, so can you.

Packing for your move doesn’t have to feel like punishment - if you plan, start early, declutter ruthlessly, tackle the project in bite-sized pieces, and stay organized, it can be much more manageable (and less stressful) than you think. If you find you need backup, call in Step by Steppe Solutions - we can help you declutter and create all of the systems needed to make this move your swiftest yet!

And if you want to follow along on my business and travel adventures, follow me on Instagram (@corinne.eckert). I'd love to connect with you!

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