Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WFMW - Moving Mayhem

Moving is one of my strengths. Or used to be anyway. After this last one I'm beginning to have some doubts. But maybe that's just 'cause I'm getting older. And slower.

Anyway, because of my vast experience in moving -- 12 times before I went to college and 16 times since I've been married -- and because I'm a bit OCD, I've developed a system that really helps. It takes a little more time up front but saves LOTS of time at the end.

First thing I do is buy a new notebook. I could use an old one that still has pages in it but where's the fun in that? Nope, new notebook for each move.

As I pack a box, I list every item that goes in. I label each box on all four sides and the top with my code. B-1 would be the first box of bathroom items, K-3 would be the third box of kitchen items. See? So I can later look in my notebook and see that K-3 has the mixing bowls, the Pyrex 9x13 pan, some dish towels and all my spices.

Labeling the boxes according to the room where it belongs helps in the actual moving process, too. "Oh," I can tell whoever is helping us, "K-3 goes in the kitchen."

Of course, it isn't completely cut and dried. Because I like to use my towels and bed linens and some clothes to wrap more delicate items. I usually label those boxes "M" for miscellaneous. But because my notebook clearly tells me that M-2 has all the framed family pictures wrapped in our long underwear, I'll know to have the box put in the spare room and I can get to it later. And should I need that long underwear Pronto! I can easily find it.

I put books in smaller boxes because of the weight and although I could have a list of which books are in what box, I am not that OCD. I just label those boxes BOOKS.

When I'm using plastic bins that I really don't want to write on, I write the label on a piece of paper and tape it to the top of the bin. Didn't catch the hubby in time this last move though so some of our bins will forever be M-6 and K-7. Or something.

This time I quickly typed up the info because we had to provide a shipping manifest to the customs people and, while I was at it, I grouped all the K boxes together. (Not so neat and tidy in the notebook.) This was also helpful, but not absolutely necessary.

Let me tell you, at the end of the move you will be SO GLAD you have the master list of everything in those boxes. No more searching through 15 before you find the potato peeler, because the notebook tells you that all the kitchen utensils went into K-4.

This system works equally well for things you just store seasonally or temporarily in the garage or attic.

And that's my tip for this week's Works For Me Wednesday. You'll find tons more ideas over at Rocks In My Dryer!


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

The last time I moved was 20 years ago, and I employed much the same technique. It did work well. Now, on my christmas decs, for instance, I go right on ahead and write on those plastic tubs. But then you're really committed, or else you mess up the system.

Debbie said...

We once moved ourselves and I swore after that experience that I didn't care if I had to sell a body part to pay for it, I would never move myself again. I could never be that organized.

Mari said...

Those are some really good tips. I've only moved 3 times, including the move from my parents house when I got married. I don't have any moves planned but If I do, those tips will help!

Sharon said...

IF I ever move again I will sell everything I own and live on paper plates. I could NEVER be that organized. If I tried they would have to take me in a straight jacket to the loony bin.
Plan B: IF I ever move again, it would be to be near you and therefore you would be required to come and help me pack!
Plan C: Next time you move, you can come live with me!

riTa Koch said...

I loved your system!
NOW, after innumerable failed attempts to locate things, I would agree that taking time up front would be worth it.
However, even if I never move again,it is not too late to begin inventorying everything in each room, especially this year, as I am s.l.o.w.l.y going through each room and area to clean, sort, organize and get rid of the excess.
And I have just the notebook for that! Thank you, Kim!

C Rush said...

Awesome hints! I have used a similar system before, but not consistantly as my better half doesn't see the benefit - lol! I think we have you beat in number of moves, but we have been in this house for 15 years (half our marriage!). We have the "blessing" of a company-paid move this time. We have always done it ourselves, so it will be "interesting". So I am going through everything NOW in preparation to put the house on the market. I am currently up to my eyeballs in old checks / tax records to go through & shred - ahhhhhhh.

Kristie said...

Since I know we'll be moving at least one more time I'm certainly going to remember this. I do love organizing tips. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I used a similar system when we moved overseas. We left several boxes at a friends house, and we both have a copy of the list of what is in each box. It has already come in handy as I have needed an item or two from the boxes. It was easy to say: "Could you get itemX from Box#" I heartily agree with your system!