Moving? A friend of mine is, and it can be overwhelming, especially if you are both selling and buying a house. Just because your house is sold doesn’t mean that the stressful part is over. You need to make time for paperwork, decision making and possibly repairs. You still have to get out of your house for at least an inspection and a final walk-through of your house. Not to mention you have to do the same things for the new house that you are buying.
So, how do you pack your house in the midst of all of this…and in just about a month’s time? If you are working full time, plan on spending some time EVERY evening and some of the weekend packing. If you aren’t working full time, plan on spending some time every couple of days packing. Life still goes on when you are moving, so remember the obligations you already have during the week and even on the weekends and plan your time accordingly.
The first thing you need to do is gather materials: boxes, packing tape, sharpies, packing paper, and bubble wrap. Do this as soon as you find out you sold your house so that you can get to work as soon as possible. Gather a variety of sizes of boxes if you can. The best and fastest way to get a lot of boxes is to ask someone who just moved for their boxes. They will likely give you them for free just so they don’t have to haul them to the dump. Post an ISO (in search of) post on Facebook or Craigslist if you don’t see someone giving away boxes right away. More than likely, someone in the area will have just moved!
Second, create a plan for when you will pack each area of your house. Don’t forget the garage and the yard! Start with the decorations in your entire house since these are non-essential, then move on to a particular room in the house and pack everything you rarely use.Finally, pack the items that you will want to use soon after moving into your new home. If you are able, plan to pack your own car with a few items that you will need right away (such as cleaning supplies, snacks, clothes, toiletries and bedding). You can see my plan for packing up each area of your house at the end of this article.
Here is how I recommend labeling your boxes:
- Label each box on the top and at least one side.
- On the top, write the name of the room where it will be going in your new home (not necessarily where it was it your current house). This way whoever is carrying the box into your new house knows where to put it.
- You may want to give the movers a quick tour of the house before they start to help them most efficiently unpack the moving truck.
- If you are moving into a multi-level home, it might be helpful for you to write “upstairs bedroom” or “downstairs bedroom” so that you aren’t carrying boxes up and down the stairs later.
- On the side of the box, label it with everything you put into the box. This will help when you get to the new house and say, “Where did I put my frying pans?” You don’t want to have to open all of the boxes labeled “kitchen” to find them.
Third, try to use up the food you already have in your house. Do your best not to buy more than the bare essentials at the grocery store during your last few weeks of packing. You don’t want to give yourself more work to do by buying more things to pack! Plan meals around the food you already have in the house. Focus on trying to use up everything in the freezer/fridge since these are more difficult to move.
Fourth, declutter your home while you are packing. If you find something you almost never use, take the time get rid of it! It’s a good idea to declutter your house while you are packing so that you aren’t dragging items you don’t even want into your new home. Have a box designated for items that you want to donate or sell. Do your best to sell/donate these items before you move if you can find the time. If not, at least you have these all in one box when you get to your new house!
If you find yourself having to pack up your entire house in four weeks like we did, you can use the plan I created below for packing up your house. If you have more (or less!) time, you will just have to alter it a bit.
Download my plan for packing up your house in 4 weeks HERE.
The packing checklist is broken down by week and how essential the items are that you should be packing. In weeks one and two you will be packing all non-essential items in each room (which is actually most of what we own). These are anything that you won’t have to use during the last month in your house. In week three you will be going back through each room and packing the items that are frequently used but you can live without for a few weeks. At the end of week three you should also pack a suitcase for each person with enough clothes and toiletries for a week. Plan to live out of this suitcase during your last week in the current house, and possibly for your first week in the new house. In week four you will be packing the last of your belongings, which should include anything you need to have for your last couple days in the house (or your first couple days in the new house). It’s a good idea to not have to pack anything the last couple days in your house as you will need time to clean for the final walk-through, close on both homes, and pack the moving truck.
So there you have it! Moving in a short period of time isn’t easy or ideal, but it can be done! The important thing is that you stay on top of your to-do list and don’t take on extra responsibility during this time.