Moving on to the next stage of life often means saying goodbye to your old house in favor of a smaller, more streamlined home. While no move is ever truly easy, there are plenty of things you can do to make your big move as painless as possible.
Exactly how much planning time you’ll need depends on the distance you’ll be moving and the amount of stuff you have to move, but a good rule of thumb is to start at least three months out. It’s much easier to do one box per day for 90 days than to pack up your whole home in a week.
Make a List:
There are some items that you just can’t live without and others that have real sentimental value. List the things you have to keep and the things you’re willing to part with, and the move will be much more bearable.
Consider Your New Floor Plan:
One of the easiest ways to visualize rooms in your new home is to take a look at rooms in your existing home with similar dimensions. Is your new living room the same size as your existing bedroom? Could your two couches fit in your bedroom? Don’t expect them to fit in the living room, then.
Be Environmentally Responsible:
Getting rid of things you don’t need is a huge part of moving, but getting rid of them doesn’t mean throwing them away. Odds are good that if it isn’t broken, someone can use it. Try shipping or giving things to friends, family and neighbors or donate them to a local shelter.
Convert Pictures and Videos:
The rise of digital storage means there’s no need to keep physical copies of many of your belongings. Convert bulky VHS tapes into much more space-efficient DVDs. Scan your pictures and save them on your computer; get an external hard drive to serve as a backup.
Be Discerning With Children’s Projects:
Items that your kids created can be especially difficult to throw away; it feels like you’re losing your connection to their childhood. Still, it’s important to be critical. It’s one thing to keep original artwork; it’s another to hold on to a form that your child colored.
Use a Color or Number System:
Once all your belongings are sorted and packed, label each box with a color or number designated for each room. For instance, you might put a piece of red tape on every box bound for the living room. When you get to your new home, put up another red mark in the living room itself. In addition, consider custom crating for oversized items or rare antiques.
Consider Borrowing or Renting:
If there are items you only use occasionally, it might be more practical to borrow or rent them as needed in your new home. You might be able to give away extra furniture and dishes, for instance, or share a snow blower or leaf blower with your new neighbors.
Sell Your Valuables:
The most profitable way to sell off your high-end items is at auction, but if that’s not feasible look for reputable antique dealers in your area. Often, these dealers can buy up everything you want to sell; if not, they may help you connect with specialty dealers.
Make More Efficient Use of Space:
It’s often possible to move to a home with less storage space and still keep most of your belongings. For example, something as simple as putting pants and shirts on the same hanger can free up a lot of room in your closet. Add new shelves to cabinets, get under-the-bed storage containers and hang as much as you can from the walls.
In addition to helping with the physical work of the move, your friends and family can provide an objective opinion to help you downsize. Often, all you need is to hear someone say, “You don’t really need to keep that.”
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By Brett Dugan
By Brett Dugan, a writer living in the greater Denver area with a passion for assisting brands to achieve their marketing goals through the development of online relationships.