No matter how much pre-organization and planning you do, the truth is that almost all of the work for a move happens in the last week. You can go through your things and sell/give/toss but you really can’t pack up your home until the last week. We have done 2 international moves in less than 2 weeks each, and knowing how to pack and organize was critical. The move we made where we had 4 months notice was actually our most stressful because there was so much idle time where would couldn’t do anything about the move but worry about it and that was much worse than two crazy weeks. So how do you survive the last week before a move and get everything done?
- Make a meal plan. There will be days you may need to eat out or cook only with your microwave. Plan your meals for move week carefully so that you can eat nutritious meals at home as much as possible. Avoid the fast food trap because the poor nutritive value will slow you down as you work and no one needs the extra cost of eating out during an already expensive time.
- Pack room by room. Start in the least used room – the school room, office, playroom, workshop, garage, or basement are all good places to start. Pack up that room and move to the next room. Keep a few special toys in the kids’ bedrooms and encourage them to play there. Save kids’ bedrooms and the kitchen. Keeping the kids rooms relatively unchanged until the last-minute will reduce stress for them and allow their room to be a safe haven for them during packing. You will want to use the kitchen items you did not pre-pack right up until the last-minute so save that room for last. You will reverse this order of packing to unpack in your new place.
- Make a last-minute box for each room. This will be that box that you put all the things you are using right up to the move date. Bedding, favorite toys, clothes, bath towels & toiletries, the last pans and kitchen utensils etc. will go into these boxes. And you will unpack these boxes first at the new place.
- Keep up with the dishes & laundry. Yes you are busier than normal but now is a very important time to keep the laundry and dishes washed. Do a load of each everyday. This way you won’t be scrambling on the last day to wash everything, or worse yet, have to pack a box of dirty laundry.
- Label everything! Don’t just put the room label on a box,but include something about content. For example – kitchen: formal dishes or Bathroom: Extra linens. Label if it is a pre-pack box (so you know you can wait to open it) or if it is an “open first” box.
Take a deep breath! Moving is hard on everyone and so this is a time to extend some extra grace to yourself and those around you. But the good news is that if you plan and organize, you really can limit the chaos to one week before the move and just a few days of unpacking after the move.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the series: Moving Day