"Now, pay close attention," My dad said, as if about to impart some long-awaited secret. "Be sure to write on the outside of the box what you put inside."
Um.. well, of course, I thought. Didn't he have any confidence in me? That should be obvious. And it is. But I've discovered something:
No matter how clearly you label the box, what is on the outside is no where near what is on the inside.
Packing up all the crap I own made me realize some tips that movers never tell you---or at least, tips I had never considered before.
1. Do you really need all that crap?
I've become convinced that I have much more than any single person should have. It's an embarrassment of riches, a wonderful blessing that I am both thankful for and mortified by when there are so many people in the world who have so little. Each time I move, I debate just getting rid of everything, and starting anew. I could sleep on an air mattress while I save money adding piece by piece to my home. And I almost do it.
Then I remember the sentimental pieces I have: my grandmother's rocking chair, the first bedroom suite my parents bought, the tin knight in armor a friend gave me for my 30th birthday... and I start packing again.
Keep what you want, but be sure you keep what you love. Clutter hinders creativity.
2. Whatever you put on the outside of the box will never be what's inside the box.
Because at the end you play, "hey, I have some space in this box, let's throw in hangers, washcloths, cat toys, bedroom slippers, knickknacks and basically anything that can fit in this narrow space. Then I open it up and it's like a buffet of madness.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help
I like to fancy myself an independent person. Asking for help was a big deal to me, and I'm thankful for R who helped me haul some things away and E and C who gave me boxes, and some extra help. C is even keeping one of my sentimental items that almost got lost in the shuffle. But I should have asked for more help, because----
4. You will be (fill in the blank) sick, lost, on deadline, with sick kids, out of town, car broken, etc. the days leading up to or the day of the move.
I tend to be a pack rat, and I'm thankful that I had at least started to get rid of some clutter, but the week before I had bronchitis and a sinus infection (though thankfully escaped the flu this year)--and of course, that has a domino effect because I couldn't get work stuff done because I was sick, yada, yada, yada.
Just plan for Murphy's law.
5. Be afraid to ask for help.
This may seem to contradict what is before, but hear me out. Asking someone to help you move is not like asking them for a ride to the airport. In fact, other than asking a friend for a body organ or carrying a baby for someone, there's very little that can be more miserable than moving.
My point is--- your friends aren't moving professionals, and you shouldn't expect them to be. Likewise, be aware that, if they fall and get hurt, they won't get workman's comp.
6. Be aware of what places will and will not move.
My movers wouldn't move anything flammable. No problem, I thought.
But then I realized, that includes hairspray. Nailpolish remover.
They wouldn't move any toxic substances. No problem I thought.
Then I realized, that includes household cleaners. (and in some cases, my cook books)
So what may not be obvious to you at first should be evaluated. (Imho, if you can at all afford it, hire someone to move you. It's like ripping off a Band-aid. Do it quickly.)
7. Your new home will be chaos for a while. Just accept it.
Everything will not be organized. Don't expect it to be. Take it one day at a time.
8. Put all your boxes in one room.
If you have a guest room, or office, or room that you will not be using on a daily basis, put as many boxes as possible in there. That way, you can gradually remove one box at a time while you live your life, and you're only walking through boxes in one room of the house.
9. Your cat will view this as both the ninth circle of hell and the best playground ever.
At the same time.