Our upcoming move to Maryland is JUST AROUND THE CORNER, and you know what the craziest thing is? It isn't even official YET! Just to give a bit of background, Kyle's official last day in the Air Force is towards the end of May, but because we have a lot of leave saved up, we can take this leave as terminal and actually move away from the area before May.
Our ideal moving date is ASAP and Kyle has been looking for jobs since December-ish last year, so it's been almost 4 months, the biggest hurdle we encountered is how nobody wants to hire him too far in advance, so it's been a waiting game. This last week he was able to travel up there to drop his car off and he was able to also scheduled some interviews, yay!!! We are pending a concrete job offer and then it will be official! If everything goes according to plan we should be moving before APRIL!!!
But if you wandered to my blog, you're here for moving tips, so let's get to it! These are some things that always helped me pack and unpack more easily. This is my very first military move, but we have moved ourselves cross country and down the road about 6 times since we met :D so yeah, we've got some experience packing, storing and transporting household goods.
Put your linens, sheets, curtains, pillows, towels...anything that is made of fabric folded nicely in those giant Ziploc moving bags. They are amazing for keeping moisture and dirt out, they will also protect them from falling in the dirty floor and from dirty hands while the movers are there. So when you get to your destination, they are good to go, clean and dry, and you don't have to do laundry. Extra tip, if they're staying in storage for a while, put a dryer sheet inside, it will keep them from smelling musty.
We own three types of large bags, two kinds are space bags (vacuum bags) and the third is the super large Ziploc brand ones. They are all useful, but I personally love the last kit I got on Amazon, it even comes with a handy pump! They've held up better than the others (the actual space bag brand), although Kyle was able to destroy a few within a few minutes (I had them for months and not a single tear, so he probably mishandled them).
I actually use those regularly, I initially purchased them to protect my clothes from bedbugs (yuck, I am highly allergic to them) but I keep a lot of our spare pillows, spare sheets and especially big and fluffy comforters, it's is amazing to save space! They come is a bunch of different sizes.
WALL HANGINGS & HARDWARE
Whether you're moving yourself or you have movers coming in, you will need to remove all of the hardware from the walls (curtain rods, curtain tiebacks, mounting fixtures, so the trick is to get them all together in a storage bag or box and LABEL everything! You will want to know what belongs where, so use snack-sized storage and masking tape to keep track of everything and keep them all together. The same goes for screws coming off of furniture, wheels, anything small! Remember to also keep track of what "room" this will be packed with, so you know where to find it later.
This one should go without saying, but remember to set aside ANY important documents that you will use, will need or simply don't want to risk losing! That includes your records, diplomas, degrees, certificates, birth certificates, passports, and the list goes on. A good way to keep everything together is to create a moving binder, or a documents binder before the move. That's especially important if you have children and pets because their records will be needed at the new location. I have heard stories of people forgetting their passports and had to pay a hefty fee to access their belongings after they had already been packed , don't be that person!
PROTECTING YOUR FLOORS
Especially if you have wood floors, have the movers and packers lay down protective moving cloths or cardboard boxes for them to roll their dollies over and pack or unpack heavy items on in your home. This will save your floors from any damage and scratches. If you do find any damage to your home, address it with the movers and with the moving inspector before the movers leave your home.
WILL THEY TAKE IT?
Each company has different rules about what they will and will not take, most common items that are never taken are aerosols, anything flammable (including paints, cleaning products, ammo and fuels), some companies won't take spices, but others will. Opened food is generally never taken, even if they are not perishable, others things I have heard are toiletries, candles, batteries, even lighters and cooking oil, so make sure you have a pre-move inspection and ask them what they will and won't take. Oh, generally alcohol is not allowed either, although some places will allow you depending on your destination rules on alcohol! So use them up or plan to give them away if you can't take them yourself.
KEEPING YOUR DISHES AND SERVEWARE CLEAN & INTACT
This trick saved me SO MUCH TIME last two times we moved. I is time consuming at first, but it pays off when you're unpacking. To protect your dishes, simply lay cheap paper plates in between them, that can be for plates, bowls, trays, anything that will be stacked up and has a high risk of breaking, that is not only super cheap but has worked well for us. The cleaning trick is saran wrap! We get whatever cheap plastic wrap we find and I wrap EVERYTHING. I know this sounds crazy, but I hate having to clean every piece I own before I can put them away, so by wrapping them, wherever they go and no matter how long they're stored for, they will be CLEAN!!! If you are always trying to simplify your life and get rid of things, this could help you see what you have and haven't used in awhile (I still had a piece or two that had not been unwrapped since the last move 2 years ago! They're special from Kyle's grandma so I wont get rid of them, but that definitely told me how I don't use them often).
Just like the plates above, you can use a lot of things as padding material, all of your towels, rags, scarves, anything that is fluffy and would help keep things separated and from breaking. We have also used plastic bags to fill mugs before, newspaper which is free in a lot of places. I hoarded any really nice bubble wrap packaging from things we ordered over the years and they came in handy every time we move! Plus they're free.
Another thing that is extremely helpful, even if it drives your spouse crazy is keeping boxes for oddly shaped or fragile items. We have boxes for most of our small appliances and since we just ordered a washer and dryer not long ago, I kept some of the protective foam around it, so we could use for this move. Sure our craw space was packed, but I've been keeping them for this very moment and I don't regret it.
PHOTOGRAPHS & VIDEO
This serves two purposes, not only you will have a visual proof of things you have and where they are and their condition, but especially if you would like to remember how things were set up so you can do the same thing in your new home, for things like bookshelf decor, or a table setup. Sometimes we can't remember how they looked, so having a picture will help you do it quickly and efficiently.
This one is especially handy if you're the super organized type, like me. Just get little dot stickers in different colors and attach them to either your items or the boxes they're in (or both) so when things are getting delivered you know exactly where they go, so you won't have to unpack your heavy kitchen box in the guest room later on ;)
OPEN ME FIRST BOX
A lot of people swear by this but I haven't tried it myself yet. The idea is to create one or more miscellaneous boxes with things you will need right away! Like a sheet set, maybe a pan or two, a few plates and silverware and some towels. Some people like to pack things that will make the new house feel a bit more like home, like candles and curtains. We are taking a lot of things ourselves, so we might not need this box since all of the essentials will be with us while we are in between homes. This could also be your essentials for the few travel days in between homes if you're moving far away. Remember to label it "open me first" or "first week" so you know exactly what box to open first.
PRE PACKING BOXES
A lot of moving companies won't take anything you have packed, so check with them before you pre pack anything, they're liable for anything that breaks or is damage during your move, so they will probably not use your boxes. In the occasion they are okay with it, DON'T SEAL THEM, instead label them with "inspect and seal" notes, that also goes for plastic bins, Kyle and I have tons of them instead of cardboard because of bugs,
- Have a sheet with every important contact number for your company, your quality assurance inspector and any point of contact you may need during the move
- Make sure to be nice to the movers, I know it is hard to not want to see everything they're doing, but try not to hover over them like a hawk, they'll appreciate it.
- Think about food, what will you eat while they're there? You might want to get them a snack too or offer them some water every now and again.
- Create a moving binder and keep all of your receipts, documents and important information related to the move there, including checklists
- Have lanyards with sharpie markers, any color labels and any keys on you, so they don't get packed and you won't have to go searching for one every time you need it.
- If you don't want the movers to take something, HIDE IT!!! I have heard they will pack ANYTHING IN SIGHT, so if you will need it, get it out of the house, hide in a room where they won't have access to or lock it in your car, that's especially important for small items like chargers and keys, or your dog food bowls.
- This is a good one, CLEAN YOUR TRASH CANS, many people have their garbage taken (yep!) with their trash cans, the movers won't clean your house for you (although they are required to remove all and any packing materials and debris before they leave), so clean your trash cans and throw any trash out!
- Remember to change your address with the postal service, insurance, any subscriptions, home insurance, banks, utility providers (or disconnect them altogether).
- Separate items you want to be packed together in piles, or sections around your house. You don't have to do a thing before our movers come (in our case anyway) but I have heard of baby items and light bulbs being packed together so I'd rather be safe than sorry.
- ZIPLOC ANY SMALL ITEMS TOGETHER (pens, silverware, little odds and ends, mementos...) pack them together in ziploc bags! That way the movers can just place all of the bags in a box and all of your things will still be together and organized, instead of a bunchy mess.
- Inventory your high ticket items (insurance companies will need this information in case of any emergency, not just for moving and you will be surprised at how fast things add up!), keep a spreadsheet of all of your items along with serial numbers, pictures and video of their working condition.
- Lastly but not least, READ EVERYTHING!!! Don't sign anything you can't read, make sure your inventory is accurate and legible, get copies of everything you're entitled to, there are generally duties and rights, so know yours and know your movers too, make sure to keep those point of contact numbers handy in case any tough situation arises.
Are you moving soon? I wish you good luck on the upcoming move, and the more prepared you are, the smoother your move will be!
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