I'm going to admit to something a Mountie spouse shouldn't.
The truth is, I hate moving. No, that's not completely true. I love looking at apartments and houses. I adore decorating and rearranging furniture and finding furnishings and art that suits a new space. And this year I learned that I really like going to new places and starting out fresh.
What I really hate, is packing.
For years, when we got a new place to live, we had to pack all our stuff, arrange for friends and vehicles, and do the thing ourselves. In our life together we've done that kind of move 5 times. So of course I was happy to learn that from now on, our moves would include a professional moving company who would pack everything for me. And for someone like me, who will be looking at moves every 4 years for the foreseeable future, that was good, good news!
When we arrived in Kitimat, we found a great little house very quickly, and we were quite happy there. However, there were a few things our house lacked. One was space; everything was on one level and so there wasn't much privacy (remember my excitement over having "A Room of My Own?), or storage. Second, it didn't have a fenced yard so my pups didn't have a place to go out and play, and taking them out at night was less than fun (and a cause of concern for my spouse). And third, the kitchen was small and hard to move around in. And so, we decided that we would start looking for a new house, knowing that if we couldn't find a place we were happy in what we had.
A few weeks (very few!) ago the perfect house became available. And so, once again, I found myself faced with the prospect of doing a cross town move. We had very little time to prepare and so I couldn't purge and pack in as organized a manner as I would've liked. But, with a combination of hard work, late nights, and good, good friends with trucks, it got done and it wasn't as painful as anticipated. And so, here I am, in my new house, having lived to blog the tale.
Each time I move I get a little better at it. There are a few things you can do to make it go easier. Some of these things I learned on my own, and some I learned from friends. They are all useful, mostly common-sense tidbits, but it's surprising how easy it is to forget to do something basic.
Cross Town Move To-Do List:
- Call utilities ASAP and arrange to transfer them to your new location. Remember to ask how much notice they need, if there is a transfer fee, and if your account number will change. If you're really on the ball, ask for your agent's name and for a confirmation number; this can help if something goes wrong and you have to call back.
- Check your current lease and make sure you are in compliance with what you agreed to.
- If you aren't hiring a professional moving service, start recruiting friends and vehicles.
- Get boxes (liquor stores are great, they have the strongest boxes). FYI, the ones for wine bottles are great for glasses, stemware, bottles, anything you don't want to tip.
- Get your "Moving Survival Kit" ready.
- Have a plan, but be flexible.
Moving Survival Kit:
- Boxes (as mentioned above, my personal favorites are liquor store boxes. Strong, sturdy, and in a variety of sizes.)
- Packing tape (invest in a tape gun, they save you time in tearing, cutting, and the dreaded "finding the end." Buy lots.
- Sharpie Markers
- Laundry baskets (a friend lent me hers and they are great! I'm going to buy some of my own!) They are especially good for carrying food
- Hockey Bag (the same friend lent me theirs, and you can fit almost all your clothes in one. This depends of course on the size of your family, and the size of your wardrobe). I wouldn't suggest running out and buying one just for a move, but if you have one or can borrow one, use it.
- Garbage bags. Use these to move clothes. Clear ones are best because there is no confusion as to what is in the bag. If you use black or green bags, make sure your helpers know the difference between your duds and your trash.
- Box cutters
- A list of takeout menus
- Newspapers (for packing fragile items)
- For short hauls, I don't worry about packing perfectly. So, clothes go in garbage bags, not everything gets wrapped, and not every box gets closed. In fact, one thing I do to get more in a box is to raise the four "flaps" and tape them to make a higher box.
- Try not to buy groceries right before you move. We tried to use up what was in our fridge so there was less to move.
- Eat out. Yes, it costs a bit more, but for what it saves you in time cooking and cleaning, it's worth it. Rest wins every time!
- Use those baggies! I use them to hold the hardware and "little bits" for shelves. I label the baggies with a Sharpie.
- Label the rooms in your new place. I put a sign on each room. This might sound obvious, but there are 5 bedrooms in this house. No one but me and my husband knew which was destined to be a bedroom, or a craft room, or a study. We saved time having to direct people by labeling the rooms.
- Have a survival box, and keep it safe and separate. It should be the first box in. In it, put everything you will need for your first night in your new place. Toilet paper, sheets, cell phone chargers, light bulbs, a few towels, a dish cloth and towel, a bar of soap, tooth paste, pet food, etc.
- Have a set up box. In this, put your tool kit, and anything you will need to get set up. Cords for electronics, your telephones, and all those baggies will go in this box.
- Take care of you. I learned from my mom that the first thing you should do is set up your bed (or get the mattress on the floor) and get it ready to sleep on. It saves you from having to go searching for your bedding exhausted when you finally decide to collapse. Sleeping under a coat is never fun!!!
- Have a system for unpacking. Mine is to get everything into the rooms they are meant for. Then, with the mess out of the way, get your "living space" ready. I get my kitchen in order first so that there is a place to eat, sit, and visit if someone drops in. Then I do the living room. Next I finalize the bedroom and bathroom (since they were semi set-up from the survival box). After that, I take a room at a time until it's done.
- Keep track of who's helped you and thank them. Also, make sure you return borrowed items promptly.
And most important of all - enjoy your new space!!