Organizing for a Move

Sharb MovingOver the years  I’ve helped plenty of people unpack boxes from moves that had occurred many years in the past, sometimes as many as 7-10 years in the past.  The boxes had sat unopened for so long because the stuff in them often should never have been moved in the first place.

The costs incurred in these situations are significant – the financial costs of packing, hauling and storing these boxes and the emotional costs incurred every time the homeowner looks at them and wishes the boxes were just gone.  Finally there is the cost of hiring a professional organizer to support the process of going through these boxes so many years later.

In order to avoid these costs, the first step when considering any type of move needs to be decluttering and organizing.  This might seem counterintuitive to some.  Why on earth would I go through all of my stuff and organize it before I move to a new place?

There are a number of good reasons:

1) Moving is expensive and the less you move the less it will cost you in terms of your time to pack and unpack, the amount of packing supplies you need to purchase and the cost of the moving company, which will charge you based upon the amount of stuff you are transporting.  When I decided to write this article today I gave myself about 30 minutes to see what items I know will not be making the move with us to our next home.  I was actually amazed by how much I was able to gather (pictured above) in such a short amount of time. Throughout the process I kept reminding myself that every item I don’t take is one less item to pack, one less item to transport and one less item to unpack when we move in.

Sharb Antique Pump Organ2) Moving is an opportunity for a fresh start and who wants old stuff weighing on them like an albatross? When we moved to our current house, I moved this antique pump organ that there was absolutely no room for in this home.   It sat in the basement here for months, and every time I went down there I felt guilty – guilty that someone wasn’t enjoying it, guilty because a damp basement wasn’t good for it and guilty because I knew I was most likely never going to want to display it in this home or any future home.  I finally ended up giving it away to an individual whose home it was more suited for.  Voila!  Guilt gone!  If I’d only given it away though before I moved I wouldn’t have had to pay to move it or endure months of guilt every time I looked at it.

3) If you organize your stuff before you move, it will be a lot easier to unpack when you get to your new home.  For example if you have books scattered all over your house, but have a vision of a room filled with shelves for your books at your new home, wouldn’t it be great to gather all the books at your old home, let go of the ones you don’t want to make the trip to your new home and then pack the rest up so they can all be moved right into the designated room in the new house.   I was just talking to a client today in fact who was finding it challenging to have to sort through boxes and bags of items she wished had never even made the trip to her new house.  If she’d had the time to organize these items before they were packed, unpacking would have been a much simpler process.

These are just a few reasons to organize before you move.  What other reasons do you have?  Or, what’s one thing you’ve moved that you wish you hadn’t?  I’d love to hear.




8 Responses to “Organizing for a Move”

  1. Loy May 1, 2014 6:07 pm #

    What a helpful blog, Andrea. I loved your 30-minute “if I were moving” example. I’m definitely going to put these ideas to the test.

    • Andrea Sharb May 1, 2014 7:50 pm #

      Thanks Loy. Let me know how these ideas work out for you!

  2. Ellen Delap May 1, 2014 8:31 pm #

    We all want less stress when we move too! Being organized means less stress in paying for items you didn’t want to bring, less stress in finding placement for items, and less stress because of exertion and fatigue.

    Great ideas!

  3. Yota May 2, 2014 8:47 am #

    Thank you, Andrea! I’ve moved plenty of times to know how valuable your tips are. I’ve done my share of learning the hard way. Now, I start with the end in mind. I see moving as a new beginning therefore, carrying dead weight around, defeats the spirit of new beginnings. The older I get, the lighter I want to feel. I also see my physical space as the manifestation of my inner state. One takes care of the other.

    • Andrea Sharb May 2, 2014 9:28 am #

      Always wonderful advice to begin with the end in mind, Yota. I also appreciate your statement about your physical space being a manifestation of your inner state – really gives one something to think about. Have a fantastic weekend.

      • Yota May 2, 2014 10:48 am

        Thank you, Andrea! Have a wonderful weekend too.

  4. Linda Samuels May 6, 2014 8:20 pm #

    Know you’ve got moving thoughts happening for you right now. How great that you’re helping others while talking yourself through the process too.

    I’ve moved very few times in my life. The last time we moved, I said to my husband, “I’m never moving again!” It was so stressful and there was so much stuff. And truth be told, I LIKE feeling settled. Moving is unsettling…at least temporarily.

    While I don’t see us moving any time soon, I can imagine the possibility. Right now there is no reason or desire to leave where we are. However, it’s always a good time to reduce and let go of those things that aren’t needed. So moving or not, clearing spaces sounds like a great plan.

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