In my short 7 years of marriage my husband and I have moved 10 times and 3 of those moves were across state lines. No, we are not in the military. As I’m sure that was your first thought.
The reason for so many moves for us is because I married into a family of faith so when God says go they go. It was defiantly a learning curve for me since the longest move I had ever done was only 4 hours away and that was right before my husband and I got married. Before that I was born and raised in the good ‘olé state of Texas.
You probably don’t even realize it but I can bet you just read that last sentence with a southern accent, or at least in your head you did. Surprisingly so I don’t have one, even though I was surrounded by it my whole life. It really does throw people off but that’s a story for another day. Let’s move on.
So, with my first move being only 1.5 years after my husband and I tied the knot and the fact that it was across multiple state lines meant I was going to learn a thing or two. It defiantly grew my faith beyond anything I can really explain, but packing, oh boy was that a whole new world for me or what.
It’s kind of like Ariel the little mermaid after she got legs and tried walking on land for the first time. No joke. Luckily my husband had already lived in Idaho, California, Hawaii, and Texas so moving was no new adventure for him. This also meant that I didn’t have to figure out the whole packing thing on my own. Thank God!
Here are some things I have learned that made moving long distances easier and more efficient.
DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING
No matter what kind of move you are making you can’t and shouldn’t take everything with you. If this is your first move then this may be a hard concept for you, but it’s the truth. Go through all your stuff and the things you haven’t used in at least 6 months or longer should be evaluated if they’re important enough to take or not.
There will also be things that you use regularly but will end up being cheaper for you to sale and then replace once you get to your new home. For us this was always furniture. Being newlyweds, our furniture was bought off craigslist or given to us for free, so it was much easier to sale and replace in our new state than to pay to ship them.
BUY NEW BOXES
It may be tempting to get used boxes from friends or stores but I can promise you that this will do more harm than good. First off they will all be different sizes and shapes so this will make an already complicated packing experience 10x worse. Second is the fact that some or most of these boxes have been used a few times so they aren’t as strong as new boxes. Especially when you’re moving across state lines its always going to be better to have new boxes than used. Trust me.
BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR BREAKABLES
There’s always going to be things you don’t want to break so get creative on how you pack them. For the things that are most important to you, pack them with a bubble wrap of some kind. For the rest you can use blankets, towels, rags, or even clothes. I always packed my dishes with a piece of clothing in-between each one and it worked great.
It may be tempting to use newspaper, but I highly advise that you don’t. You know how the ink gets on your hands after you read it? Well the same thing will happen, but this time the ink will be all over your stuff. I can promise you that this is not something you want to deal with while you’re trying to unpack and settle into a new home.
Don’t be cheap. Go to a store like uHaul and buy plastic bags specifically designed to wrap your mattresses. We didn’t do this for one of our moves and paid the price. The truck we got to move our stuff had some kind of black stuff on the floor that we didn’t notice unitl we were unpacking. This meant that our mattress, that was under 6 months old, now had a permanent black streak down the side. From then on out we always wrapped our mattresses.
DON’T PACK BOXES TOO HEAVY
When you’re in the middle of packing sometimes it can get away from you. For example, when you’re packing your bookshelves try not to get distracted and pack the whole thing in one box. You will be left with really heavy boxes and one sore back.
To make this easier try to keep heavy objects at the bottom, not to exceed more than half the box, then fill the rest of the box with light objects like pillows, towels, or blankets.
Never think you will be able to remember what’s in each box, because you won’t. Sorry, but it’s the truth. So, go ahead and label each and every box. The more detailed you are with the contents the easier it will make it when unpacking, organizing, and for the times you packed something too early and need to find it. Don’t worry it happens to all of us.
COLOR CORDINATE BOXES
Pick a few different colors of duck-tape and assign them to a room in the house. Pink goes to bathroom, blue goes to living room, green goes to master bedroom, purple goes to kitchen, and so on. Take a piece of the correct colored duck-tape and place it on top of the box beside the list of contents.
This will make unloading your truck 100x easier. Now you just have to look at the assigning color and take it to the correct room when unpacking. This means you won’t have a huge jumble of boxes in your living room or wasting time trying to figure out where to take each box.
PRETEND YOU’RE PLAYING TETRIS
A good pack job is done like a game of Tetris. You want everything to fit snug so there is little to no moving around when your driving. When you load your truck stop every 4 feet and start building up before continuing forward.
If you’re short on space, make sure to take advantage of every hole you can. On our first move we used the inside of our washer and dryer to pack leftover clothes and even miscellaneous objects that didn’t fit in boxes.
PACK THE MATTRESSES LAST
When you load your truck for the final move make sure you put your mattresses in last. This is helpful just in case you get to your final destination really late. That way you can at least get a good night’s sleep before unloading everything the next day.
To help protect your furniture from getting scuffed, like tables and desks, use blankets to lay over each piece before you stack any boxes or objects on top of it. Some moving companies will provide moving blankets with the truck or for a small additional fee.
PLAN ON THINGS BREAKING
No matter how well you pack there’s only about a 5% chance that all your stuff will make it to your destination without something breaking or getting scuffed up. With our last big move we hired a moving company to deliver our belongings. Unfortuanlty, we didn’t know that the trucks shocks were out until we started unpacking and a lot of our furniture had been scuffed up from bouncing all over the place.
LAST MINUTE BOXES
This is probably the most important tip you will receive and after your first move you will understand why. My mother-in-law taught me this and it has come in super handy.
The very last thing you pack in the truck needs to be what I call the last minute boxes. These are the things that will make living in your new home easier before you unpack everything. I usually have 2 or 3 depending on the size. Here’s what I pack in them.
- Clean Sheets for all Beds
- 1 Cooking Skillet/Pan
- 1 Oven Mit
- French Press (I have to have my coffee!)
- Serving Spoon
- Eating Utensils for the Whole Family
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Roll of Paper Towels
- Paper Plates
- Hand Soap (Make sure you put in a sealed Ziploc bag.)
- Dish Soap (Make sure you put in a sealed Ziploc bag.)
- 2 Rolls of Toilet Paper
Moving is never easy and when your moving across state lines it’s a whole new ball game. Hopefully with these 12 tips it will make the preparation and move a little easier on you. Just remember to not stress over the small stuff and try to enjoy this new adventure.
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