You may be excited about moving into a bigger, better place but chances are that the process of moving itself isn’t making your heart sing. Finding boxes, packing, hauling your stuff up and down several stories, dealing with unexpected hurdles, and unpacking all have to be some of the least fun and most stressful aspects of adult life. While moving is never going to be a breeze (I’m already steeling myself for a move we have coming up in a couple of months. The thought already sends a shiver down my spine) there are ways you can make it a little less painful for yourself both mentally and physically, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.
Label, label, label. You shouldn’t have to wonder what’s in what box when you’re moving. Label each box by room, and make sure to note when a box contains breakables (I like to write FRAGILE in giant letters on every side of the box, but that’s just me). Keeping similar items together will make it simple to know where to put each box when you’re moving in. If you’re really into organization, you can number each box and note what’s packed in each on a list.
Start early. Unless you live like a nomad, do not wait until the week before your move to start packing. It will make things incredibly stressful. Instead, pack up decorative items and non-essential items as much as month in advance. Even more helpful may be creating a packing schedule to help you keep on track.
Hoard packing materials early. Most of the time, apartment dwellers can’t wait to get those space-sucking boxes out of their apartments and down to the recycling bin, but if you’ve got a move coming, start holding on to anything that looks like it could help you pack your stuff. This means boxes, bubble wrap, and newspaper aplenty. The more you collect early on, the less you’ll have to hunt for at the last minute when you run out.
Don’t go it alone. Even if you can’t afford to hire movers, don’t try to do a whole move by yourself. You’ll likely get hurt, break your stuff, damage your new or old apartment, or all of the above. Enlist the help of friends, family, or anyone else you trust to carry your stuff. You can pay them back in food, booze, or reciprocal moving help later on. And iff you can afford to hire movers, do it. You’ll thank yourself later.
Make a special trip for your most prized possessions. Have things you would cry over if they got broken or damaged? If you can, make a special trip with just these items (or just your breakable stuff) so you can give these things special attention and put them in a place where nothing else with touch them until the move is over. This will go a long way towards reducing your stress, as you know your best and most breakable stuff will be safe.
Get rid of anything you don’t need or want. There is no reason you should haul stuff to your new place that you don’t want, like, or need. Get rid of it before the move instead. As you’re packing up, creating a pile for things you’ll bring to the thrift store or throw away. Then, get it outta the way before moving day.
Do not overexert yourself. Stuff is heavy. Sometimes surprisingly heavy. Don’t try to be a tough guy or gal by lifting more than you really can. You could seriously hurt yourself and end up in the ER, which would derail your move and make things even more stressful. Always ask for help, take breaks, and be safe.
Chill out. It is easy to get seriously stressed when moving. I’ve been there. We all have. But freaking out won’t help your stuff get from point A to point B. Relax, breathe deep, and take a break if you need it. It’ll all be over soon.