In my MIT post, I said we were moving in 8 days. I didn’t mean we were moving 8 days from the day we found out Peter had been accepted, I meant we were moving 8 days from the day I posted the post. Sorry for the confusion.
Here are the steps I took to make this move (my first ever do-it-yourself move, other than college) successful:
1. Four weeks prior to the move: planning
To be efficient I’ve found you have to keep the end in mind, which requires planning. Our plan (which sounds crazy, but it makes sense if you have all the details) was to pack the majority of our stuff and put it in storage in Utah, then drive to Boston with only the possessions that would fit in my car. In Boston we would have to re-furnish our new apartment. Since almost everything we owned would be in storage, it took lots of thought to decide what we could and couldn’t live without for the next two years.
2. Three weeks prior to the move: sorting, organizing, junking
I went through each room with a trash can and threw out anything we didn’t need. This step was easy because my house is already very organized. I spent time solidifying what items we would need in Boston and what items we could put in storage for two years. All clothing that I didn’t think I’d actually wear in Boston went to a consignment shop or Goodwill.
3. Two weeks prior to the move: organizing, packing
Luckily, I was wise enough to have saved all the boxes from our last move. I didn’t have to buy a single box, but I did have to buy 4 rolls of tape, 6 boxes of packing paper, 4 rolls of colored tape, 1 giant sharpie, 6 space bags, 1 rug bag, 1 sofa cover, 2 small packages of plastic wrap, and 1 medium package of plastic wrap. Overall I spent about $150 on moving supplies, even though I didn’t have to buy any boxes. Total bummer.
4. One week prior to the move: packing, cleaning
I packed one room at a time. Each room had a color associated with it; kitchen = yellow, bedrooms = red, etc. I used colored tape to mark all four sides of each box.
As I packed each box, I numbered it on all four sides and detailed the contents on a spreadsheet. The reason for the spreadsheet is that in the case that I need a specific item from a box in storage, my mom can find the item with little hassle.
As boxes were packed, they were stacked in one central location in the house, the kitchen. I made sure to distribute the weight evenly so that every box was light enough for me to carry. Most items were wrapped in packing paper, and any clothing/linen was put in a plastic bag before boxing it up. Since these boxes will be sitting for two years, I wanted to be extra careful that everything was as protected as possible.
As I finished packing each room, I cleaned it right away. Cleaning was easy-peasy. My friends kept asking me if I needed help cleaning. Um…cleaning what? My house is always clean, so this step took almost zero effort. Little secret my Grandma taught me: if you keep your house clean you don’t have to clean it very often.
5. Two days prior to the move: car organization
I made a pile in my living room of all the things that were going to be packed in the car for Boston. This helped me verify that I had the right amount of stuff to fit in my car. Things that didn’t fit were put in boxes for storage.
6. One day prior to the move: finishing touches, prepare car
Last minute packing, fill the car with gas, wash car (my dad taught me to always wash the car before you take a trip).
7. Day of move: Wrap furniture, prepare house for truck-loading helpers, pack car
All furniture was wrapped with plastic wrap to avoid scratches and dings.
We solicited help for this move, which made me uncomfortable. I wanted to hire some help, but Peter assured me that his friends in the ward would be willing as long as there was pizza, cookies, and pop involved. It took less than an hour. Thank you, thank you to all of our helpers!
Since we were begging help, I wanted to be sure that the house was totally ready for them. There is nothing worse than showing up to help someone and seeing that they haven’t done any work themselves. All boxes were already in the kitchen (see step 4), and I moved every other item to either the living room or the master bedroom. This way the truck-loading helpers only had to empty three rooms and there was no confusion.
As far as the packing of the car, I think I’ll dedicate a whole post to that. More on this later.
Overall, this move was completely stress-free for Peter (who didn’t pack a single box), and very low stress for me. Everything went smoothly, and as far as I could tell nothing was broken, scratched, or dinged. I think the key was having a solid plan, sticking to the plan, and doing only one task at a time. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.