Moving 101 — We're here…now what?

It’s so exciting to pull in to the drive of your new home! Call me crazy, but one of the things I love about moving to a new place is planning where my things will go. And this last time, unfortunately a lot of them went to storage as we downsized our living space considerably.
So imagine with me…there you are with your family, your big truck full of stuff and a few friends/family/folks on the other end ready to help you unpack that big truck. And let’s face it…you’re really kind of exhausted. At least I always am. I’ve been busy packing up our home, cleaning the old one, coordinating loading the moving truck, driving to the new place (which isn’t exactly a short trip) and entertaining small children along the way. We pull in, the kids jump out and usually run through the new house to be the first to stake claim and explore new territory. And you have to unload the truck and make sense of all those pretty boxes you labeled before you left. Now what?
If we have help unloading the truck, I try to walk through and “label” each room, at least verbally. So that when I say “office” everyone knows which room I’m talking about. Then comes the unpacking of the truck. Boxes are carried out and remember that master list you had? The one you created at the very beginning? That looks a little like this?
Yep. That’s it. I’ve been pregnant for several of our moves and my husband isn’t fond of me carrying heavy boxes while carrying a baby (or ever really). So I direct. As the bins and boxes come off the truck I can say “purple circle…goes to the kitchen” or “red triangle…garage”. Oh my goodness, it makes the unloading so much easier. Everyone knows where the boxes go, I don’t end up with kitchen stuff in the bedrooms and I don’t have a huge mess to sort out later when all my help is gone. I’m not terribly picky about where in the room the boxes go, so I still have a pile of bins in the room, but I know all of those bins belong there and will be unpacked mostly in that room. So.much.easier.
There are some bins that will end up getting moved around, but in the initial stages all bins of the same color come to the same spot. For example, I know that not all of my homeschooling bins will be unpacked or put on my homeschooling shelf in my kitchen (at least that’s where it is now). But initially all of my orange circle boxes get put in my kitchen where my current homeschooling stuff will be used. Because I have my itemized index card, I can easily tell which orange circle boxes I need to open and unpack and which ones I can send to the basement for storage until next year.
And oh! What if we can’t find something? I can go to my itemized index cards, go to the category and find which number will have my item. A few weeks ago I was looking for our heating pad. I knew that I had packed it in the bathroom boxes. When we moved in we had only unpacked the essentials (because that’s all we have room for). I went to my handy dandy itemized cards. Found my heating pad listed in yellow circle #5. My husband located the box and the heating pad. We erased the heating pad off the list and put the bin back in the garage.
As I’ve said, we’ve moved to a much smaller house this time and a lot of our things are in storage in the basement or in bins yet in the garage so this system has proved more than useful again. I’ve been able to locate the Christmas lights or fabric paints without having to tear apart boxes looking for one item. So much easier!
I should also note two things.

  • Besides finding toilet paper the first room I usually unpack is the kitchen. I feel like I can think when my kitchen is unpacked. I usually pack our clothes and supplies for about 4 days in suitcases before we move so I don’t have to rush to unpack clothes that first night.
  • I try to hang one or two things on the wall the first day in our new home. I have a couple of pictures and a shelf that are my first things on the wall. They’re the last things I take down when leaving and the first things I put up when we get there. It just helps a big empty house full of boxes feel more “homey”.

So that’s it. That’s how I’ve organized our family (now of 7, including a baby) to move 12 times. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used when you’ve moved?

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