2/24/11

Tips For Moving From A Chronic Renter

House Colors
Mine and Brett's first place together was in the married student housing section of our college campus. It was a tiny little thing but we had our own stacked washer/dryer combo and plenty of friends living close by to keep us company. Everything we owned was cranberry and cream with a little sage thrown in for good measure and either from our registry at JCPenney's or from a thrift store. That was almost nine years ago and we've moved six times since then!

Fall Display
Here are a few things I've learned while moving our stuff from place to place as our family has grown.

-Your first round of packing should be gleaning things you don't want to move to your new place. Make a pile to donate and one to toss.

-Pack a separate suitcase and pretend you're going to camp. Bring towels, sheets, soap, etc. You'll want to know where all of these comfort items are the night you move in to your next home and won't want to dig through boxes to find them.

-Pack a box full of non-perishable snacks and make sure you have disposable food stuffs available (i.e. paper plates, cups, forks) while your kitchen is packed away.

I Heart Washi Tape

-If you have people helping you be sure they are fed at some point during the day. Happy helpers are careful helpers.


-Label your boxes and which room they'll go in and inform movers to take boxes to those rooms.

-Keep ONE spot designated for screwdrivers, tape, all packing and unpacking essentials. Make sure all parties involved realize their access to the snacks depends on their cooperation with this rule.

-Get your internet set up at least a week before you move in to your new place. Otherwise you'll be driving to your local Starbucks every night to blog until it's installed.

What kind of moving tips do you have from your own experience? I'd like to see who has moved the most times in the comments!

xoxo,
Rachel

81 comments:

Desiree Fawn said...

Great tips! As someone who has moved three times in as many years, and with a little one, I know how stressful it can be :)

leslie said...

Thanks for the tips! I am one of those people who LOVE moving. It gives me a set date to clean my house and get rid of everything I don't absolutely love! I also get a little antsy with my home, so I like moving to a new place so I can experiment with where I put things in a new home.

I'll be moving again in May. It'll be the fourth time in three years! I absolutely love it.

Ms. Mac Man said...

Gah! Moving is the worst. I moved to Brooklyn in 2000 for college and over the next six years I moved EIGHT TIMES! P.S. in the last six months I moved from Ithaca, NY to Tampa, FL then to Wilkes-Barre, PA. So I am clearly a masochist.

Great tips!!!!

Antonia Krajicek said...

Your story sounds similar to mine. I've moved 6 times in 7.5 years. Three of those times were IN ONE YEAR...ugh! But, I'm happily rooted in my current home and don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

Your packing tips are spot on. I follow similar methods when I move. The most important for me are purge, purge, purge, pack a suitcase and label ALL of the contents in a box (just in case I don't get to it for a while :)

fezfreckles said...

Great tips! We've moved 3 times and we haven't even been married 3 years yet.. Also our lease is up in April and were already looking for a new place.. Oh the joys of renting.. Shoot me :/

kiki comin said...

My hubby and I have been married for almost 9 years..and have moved 8 times. There are few things that I loathe more than moving, but I loved your tips...there are a few I am tucking in my back pocket for that inevitable next time.:)

Rachel said...

In the past 5 years I've moved SEVEN times! My family has a reputation for being nomadic, so it was huge for me to be able to stay in the same house with my husband for an entire year! And now we're extending it to a second! I won't know what to do with myself!

All of your tips are things I've picked up along the way as well! great post!

Tamara said...

Great tips from a frequent mover. I'm moved 12 times since moving out of my parents house after high school. If I added that to the amount I moved growing up it would be shameful. Being from New Orleans, Katrina had a lot to do with at least 4 of the moves.

One tip I would say...you mentioned labeling boxes for helpers. I've found it to be easy to number rooms in the new place and label by number on the boxes. Then before the movers get to the new location I tape numbers to the rooms. I feel like this takes a little confusion out of which room is the guest bedroom or office or etc.

brynnmarie said...

We have moved 6 times in 6 years and will be moving again within the next year....ahhhh the army life :)

the dizzle said...

8 times in the last six years, 9 if you want to count a sublet i had (and moved all of my stuff - four boxes - into).

these are all great tips and the same ones i give to people. i'd add in a first aid kit and a box marked with cleaning supplies that is either moved first or goes with you to the new place. also, when your significant other SWEARS it'll only take two hours to clean/move, don't believe them. ever. :)

Julie said...

I have moved 7 times in my 21 years and
it'll be 8 in July. Not that bad, but I think I should be a professional packer. My biggest moving tip is to label boxes. I write lists on the outside of my boxes if there is time.

Bless you for moving with little ones!

Erin said...

i always buy a case of water & stock half in the old fridge, half in the new fridge.
we have moved 5 times in 6 years, i'm ready for a more permanent place.

Jenny said...

I've moved 6 times since I graduated college in 2007. I feel like a nomad, I keep it light, I only have the essentials (clothes and kitchen things basically). Luckily all my special things have a home at my parents until I get a more permanent place! I label boxes with what exactly is in that box so I can just look at it and know if I need to unpack it or not. I also do the glean through before packing up! I'm hoping after I graduate grad school this summer and move back to Seattle it'll be the last move for awhile.

mle jean said...

Thank you, perfect timing. I am moving this weekend. I like the idea to pack a suitcase like you are camping, genius!

Rachel said...

My husband and I have moved 5 times in 8 years and we're moving to a new apartment this summer... can't wait!

Amanda said...

I've moved 9 times in the last 8 years (with a little one for 4 of those moves). The tips are great. The only additional one I always suggest is keeping a folder with all the important info you need for a move. Phone numbers for utilities (new place and old) and a list of companies you need to change your address with (mag subscriptions, credit cards, etc.)

nova said...

Those are really good tips! I'm a terrible terrible mover. I throw stuff all together in all boxes and panic and leave everything to the last minute and do it all myself.

It always sucks. A lot.

Kelly Rachel said...

Great tips, especially about boxing up stuff for gifting/charity as your number one step. I see moving as a great opportunity to purge and declutter!
I just tried to count moves...um I THINK it's about 19 times in the past 15 years since I left home. I've totally lost count.

Amy - a is for ampersand said...

this is funny because I'm moving right now and HATE MY LIFE! Ah! Moving is the absolute worst task in the world/universe.

I think you're right. Labeling your boxes is key so boxes don't get strewn about everywhere! But really, though...someone should just invent magic moving methods.

Alycia (thecuriouspug.com) said...

great post! my husband and I have moved 7 times (i think!) and have it down to a science! i especially love purging the things i don't need or want to bring with us. i suppose my one tip would be this: if you want to sell something like furniture or something you don't want to bring or throw away, do it a few weeks before you are moving stuff into the truck. because you will get impatient and out of time and end up throwing it away anyway thinking what a waste! lol. we also keep tubs and flattened large boxes in storage.

Daydream Retreat said...

I've moved 12 times in the last 10 years and you're absolutely right about the purge prior to packing tip! A rolling stone gather no moss, lol! The best thing I've done over the years is keep my art studio space super organized and everything contained in one form or another so there isn't much "packing" of those items, just moving the already contained items from one place to the next and re-stacking on the shelving unit. Whether my art studio was shared with my bedroom (room rentals, studio apt's, etc.) or I had the luxury of an entire room it's always been a breeze!

Louana said...

I've moved a total of 20 times, twice when I was still a little kid and 18 times in the last 20 years and I remember all of them.

I've lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and the States, and I'm excited to move again (likely to another country again) somewhere in the next two years.

When I was in elementary school, I thought it was so boring living in the same house ever since I could remember, I fantasized about moving different places.

I had no idea yet how many times I was going to move in the future. And I'm positive I will move many more times before finally settling down. I like renting because I like change!

To make my constant moving easier, especially intercontinental with just a few suitcases, I've sold almost all of my unnecessary things. It was hard at first selling all those pretty and decorative things I'd collected, but it felt good too. No more clutter!

For my last move from Japan to SF I only brought my clothes, jewelry, computer, camera, and my craft supplies. The rest was sold or thrown away.

Moderate Boheme said...

no tips from me, just a horror story: I had to move twice in one month, because my new apartment almost immediately flooded and had to be gutted...so off to a new apartment I went. Talk about an expensive month!

mrs boo radley said...

When you move, be sure to move across the street, because then you can make tons of little trips. Which somehow makes everything seem much easier than moving across the country.
;)
We've been "here" for almost four years...a record for both of us since our youth!

Alicia (The Red Deer) said...

I have lived in 16 different places so far! Ouch!!!

Suffice to say that I don't like moving anymore.

My tip - make sure you book in with removalists ASAP since they can book up quickly.

Also make sure you have fly spray on hand because packing and unpacking since this always seems to uncover some creepy crawlies. I have had quite a few screaming at spider incidents.

tara said...

we have moved 9 times in 7 years of marriage and my husband hates the house we are currently renting. we are going to take our chances with owning so that once my son starts kindergarten next year he can stay in the same school throughout.

my tip would be to color coordinate labels on boxes for each room with the date. we have used the same boxes so there are scribbles all over them.

Nicole Coffin. said...

I moved 4 times when I was pregnant with my first child! Stressful times for sure, but the best tip I got from that experience is to let the guys do all the heavy lifting! (...and don't get room mates.) :D

These were great! I've lived in this house for almost 6 years now with no plans on leaving anytime soon. So it's fun to see people go through those super fun house changes. You gotta love fresh starts, and instant makeover excuses!

Amanda said...

Great moving tips! We've had it much easier since most of our moves have been taken care of by contracted movers with the Air Force. I moved from home in 1998 and have moved 7 times since then. I may not have most moves in the comments but I think our moves have been pretty interesting: Florida to Germany to Hawaii to Texas to California. I hail from Ohio and my husband from Puerto Rico!

Nikkilooch said...

This is a great post. It will be good that you are used to moving when Bret finishes school and starts with the army. Every three years it seems like we're packing up.

jessicajane said...

very good tips! I've moved eleven times in my lifetime. 5 of them were in the last 5 years. And by next year (April 2012) I'll be adding another move to the list because my husband gets out of the military then! I think you pretty much covered most of the bases with moving. The last time we moved, I had packed all the essentials in my car, had 2 cats (a litter box in the back seat) and my husband and I up front. This next time we'll have a dog with us too...soooo, we will be cramped from the drive from San Diego to Ohio!

toni said...

Oh Rachel I have moved so many times I have lost count. Dad was in the Airforce since I was born...we moved the first 18 years of my life.
Then it was the out on my own era of my years moving from rental to rental.
Met my man and then I not only moved 3 times with him in the state, that we packed up and moved across the country!
Good grief!

I agree with all of your tips. I actually number my boxes and keep an inventory. I am anal. They are numbered according to need, not by room.
Another tip...if hiring movers make sure you tell them about your property as far as getting a truck to it or if there are any obstacles in the house. We live on the side of a hill (you need a sherpa and oxygen to get up and down) and the truck came with all our stuff and just about rolled out of control down the hill.
Live and learn.
:)
xx

Cat said...

Military moving is the worse. Especially overseas. The time difference and the fact that you pretty much live out of a couple suitcases for 2+ months while you stuff is getting shipped overseas and you're looking for a new place to live in a foreign country. One good thing about moving is spring cleaning. Then I'm usually cursing myself for not cleaning out more clutter when before I was forced to.

Sandra_Stillestund said...

From I was born until now I've moved eleven times, four of them after I left home, so I think I have some experience :-) I think one of the best advises is that you in general don't keep much stuff that doesn't have a purpose or a special meaning for you.And appreciating the helpers, like you said is also very important, I think you should make the move as effective as possible by having all your stuff packed and ready to go when they arrrive :-)

amongthechimneypots said...

28 times in 32 years, but I'm finally settled! It has made me a great de-clutterer; who wants to be lugging all that stuff around once a year?!

Anne said...

Oh, I'm another chronic renter and could write a book of top tips! My number one tip is to set up and make the beds up as soon as you can at the new place. Late in the evening when you are shattered and feeling a little depressed about how much there still is to do, you will be so so grateful to be able to climb straight into a made up bed.

I'm going to be moving again in a few months, so this is a topic I will definitely be coming back to!

Philip said...

We've been married 7 years and have moved 6 times. We are looking at buying a house and I need a tip on how to be happy as a homeowner instead of a chronic mover (which I don't love, but seem to do a lot).

Andrea Lauren said...

Paul and I have been together for 7 years and we've moved 10 times! And we're moving again in June.. I'm already thinking about my donate and toss out boxes :)

Rebecca said...

We have moved 6 times in 8 years and we have four children. WITHOUT FAIL if I am 9 months pregnant, I have had to pack up an entire house and unpack with a newborn. This has happened ALL four times. SO whenever I get pregnant, my hubby and I joke about where we are moving to next.

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

awesome tips--love the one about the suitcase--brilliant! You'd think I'd know all this since in almost 6 years of marriage we've moved 5 times!!
We have a big "other country" move coming up next year...we're very excited and I'll be sure to check back here!
Sarah M

lisaroyhandbags said...

We've moved about 18 times so I'm getting to be a pro. Purging is essential! I also number each box and as I pack each one, I write on a list exactly what is in each box so if I'm looking for the toaster, I know that box #8 has the toaster in it. It saves a ton of time opening all the boxes searching :)

Sweetie Pie Bakery said...

I have you beat-11 times in 10 years! It used to be fun but now I'm just exhausted.

Since we move so much we make sure to break the boxes down carefully and save them.

What I learned this time around was to use colored duct tape! I color coded each room and if there was something important, wrote that on the label. It is a lot easier for movers to move by color rather than reading all the sharpie after a while :)

allison said...

great moving suggestions!!

after living in the same house for 27 years...i have moved 9 times in 11 years!

the biggest thing i use is if i havent used it since the last move then it should be donated or garbage!
keeps my clutter down.

tammy said...

We moved 7 times in the first 6 years we were married. We also had 3 babies during that time, and for 2 of the moves I was VERY pregnant. O_o Since then it's slowed down a bit. We spent 2 years in one place and we're at a record right now with almost 3 (gasp!) in this one.

Chelle Lynn said...

I have moved 9 times in the past 7 years. We'll probably make it 10 this fall. I'm definitely a pro by now.

The biggest thing I've learned?

HIRE MOVERS. I pack everything myself, but hire movers for all the furniture and heavy boxes (I move anything "breakable" or "precious" myself.) It costs around $300, and so worth not having to beg my puny little male friends to lug my stuff around.

Mama Mandolin said...

Another renter here! Since I started college (2003) I've moved 10 times! A few times it was multiple times each year.....As much as it sucks it is such a nice cleanse of things when you move to a new place and can get ride of the things you don't use anymore.

with love, the fishers said...

the packing the suitcase tip was brilliant.
We just moved 3 weeks ago & that seriously would have come in handy!

and purging is a definite must. Putting up a family picture in your new place & maybe lighting a familiar scented candle, are all things I did to make the new place start to feel more like home.

wearethefishers.blogspot.com

Absolutely Kathy said...

Those are great tips. My husband and I are coming up on our 3 year anniversary and we have moved three times. My husband is a pack rat to the extreme. Each time I have tried to donate or toss items. I think that is the best tip. Also give yourself plenty of time to pack if possible. Label, Label, Label is the biggest thing. Also if you have kids call in a babysitter to take your kids for a day or two. Packing and moving with kids out of the way is the best thing.

julia said...

I hate moving.

I first moved from my parents house to Florence, Italy, then to Hamburg, Germany, then to Perugia, Italy, then to Darmstadt, Germany, then to Rome, Italy, then back to Darmstadt, then to Brussels, Belgium, then to Berlin, Germany and now back to Darmstadt again.

Did I mention I hate moving? ;)

Shannon said...

I just moved about a year ago, and we are already getting ready to move again (landlords moving back into their house, what can you do?)

I have two tips that made our last move a lot easier: as my bf and his friends were moving the big furniture out of the house (couch, tv, bed etc) I came in behind them and swept and vacuumed. We were also able to get our move-in date and move-out date set a couple weeks apart so that once we were all moved out of the old place, we were able to go back to the old place the following weekend to do the heavy-duty cleaning and return keys etc. Not having to worry about cleaning everything and moving on the same day was really nice.

Aimee Smith said...

Great tips! The only one I would add is try to get boxes around the same size so that they stack easily. Also don't get large boxes, once they are full they are too heavy! Stick to the medium size.

I am a seasoned mover I am 25 and in my lifetime I have moved 19 times! 8 times since I was 18! 4 times in my 3, almost 4 years, of marriage. Plus we are moving for dental school this summer!

Happy moving to all!

fialka012 said...

Hezké...

Amy said...

I thought of you several times last week! I drove (with my family) on HWY 287 from DFW,TX to Fort Collins, CO and back! Along the way, we passed through lots and lots of small towns. I saw more thrift stores than I could count! I have a big van (which was packed with lots of unneccessary stuff!) so we had no room for any great deals. How do you do it? do you have a trailer you take with you? Do you leave some open space for goodies found? Have a great weekend! Amy

Andrea!!! said...

I think my sister wins the moving game - she's moved 12 times in 4 years (and always to a different state!) Her hubby is in the army, which was a big part of the reason they bounced around (she moved both times he was deployed for school and to be close to family).

We have moved several times too, but not too bad. The one suggestion I would make is be honest about what you should donate, but don't go overboard. When we moved 4 years ago I went nuts with our donating and let go of some beautiful glasses that I now dearly regret :(

Sparrow's Nest said...

Don't forget a tarp. It almost always rains when we move, lol. I've moved over 23 times in my life, and it almost always rains!

Joy said...

Ok, this couldn't have come at a better time! We are moving in three days! I'm so relieved I've been saving boxes for a while so we don't have to scramble (or pay) for them at the last minute. My husband and I have been married for 2 and a half years and this will be our FOURTH move!! Oh my land, I'm not quite sure what goes through our heads! Anyways...thanks for these helpful tips! Oh, and I wrote about this post today! www.happycandido.blogspot.com

Brittany said...

when i log into my paypal account it shows 10 addresses for the past three years. last year alone i moved 3 times, and this month i plan on moving into the apartment below mine. one basic thing that i have learned: don't buy anything i can't lift myself.

stacey said...

Your tips are all great! One important thing I've learned is to NEVER, under any circumstances, hire the cheapest movers you can find off of craigslist. They are scary!

I have moved 14 times:) I love new places but I have to settle down now that my son started school.

Ali said...

I've moved a lot but my husband and I got married last may and we are in our 3rd place since then! Ah! REady to not move for a while!

Erin said...

Oh my goodness! This was truly helpful. We have been married for five years and we are on our sixth move. Ridiculous, I know.

I love the suitcase idea, so helpful.

Jenny said...

Sounds like you've got this thing down to an art! I wish I was as organized as you... when I was moving just next door from where I lived, I thought "no biggie". BIG mistake, I definitely didn't prepare enough.

Matt & Lanna said...

My huz and I have moved 4 times in 2 years. And we're about to make our 5th (and hopefully last for a long time.) in June!! My biggest advice is to start packing well before you think you need to, so you're not stuck packing things on moving day while your hubby and his friends are hauling stuff into the back of the truck! THAT IS STRESSFUL!! And I know from experience!

kyla said...

I <3 your home!!
xo.kyla

camille yanair said...

we've moved 6 times in 5 years and my only advice would be don't grow too attached to any one thing! otherwise it WILL be the one thing lost in the move! thanks for the tips!

Serena said...

Great list! Honestly, it might seem like such an indulgence, but I learned after my first couple of moves that hiring movers made my life SO much easier.

Chrstian A. said...

I'm a military brat! I have moved over 13 times (maybe more) in the past 9 years...I went to 5 different high schools...and I'm not talking down the block...I'm talking CROSS COUNTRY! I do have a couple of tips!
-Start Early...you probably have more stuff than you realize
-Create boxes to open up first. My momma taught me this. Put things in this box that you'll need (shower curtains, towels, paper plates, etc.)
-Keep track of the small things! When you take beds, tables or other constructed items apart keep the parts together! I usually tape the parts to the underside of the item.
-MARK IT...I hate when I mark something "Livingroom" well...that doesn't help much. I usually go into to detail "Living Room-Frames, Vases and Cushions FRAGILE"
That's it...That's all I got!

Mrs.Rachael I LOVE your blog! This was such a cute/informative post! Muah!

Eva said...

Very good tips! I have moved many times in my life. Most of them were for very short periods of time while I worked as a flight attendant. And the rest were kind of miscellaneous: 1 year in Amsterdam, 3 months in India, several days as vacation trips, 1 year in New Mexico, and, recently, moving to the US as a resident. Every time was different, but had something in common: my need for traveling light. Moving for me is like starting over, like a new path is opening in my life...So...I want to start as new as possible too! I like the idea of getting things from the place where I am going to live, things unique and characteristic, different and inspiring :-)

Katie A. Ward said...

I am a new reader but couldn't help but comment on this post! I love it! I have been married for 7 1/2 years and have moved 10 times! (including to Europe and back) and will probably be moving sometime this year.I always love it but this last one was with a baby and not nearly as fun :)

mel said...

good post!
i have moved 8 times since 2005 - 4 cities.
annnnd new apartment in april. looking for one to stay at this time.

Gabi said...

Moving is the best! It can start a new chapter in your life, and gives you the opportunity to part with things you don't like anymore (both stuff/ emotions).

I've moved seven times in 26 years of life, and am about to pack my things up the eighth time. This time with my own little family, and a toddler - am SO excited!!!

Thanks for this post - it got me even more motivated! ♥

The Paxton Family said...

I've been married for 5 years this september, and as a family we've moved 17 times since then! Whew! (not to mention the many times I moved as a child/single adult!) So I consider myself a moving aficionado! ;-)

I agree with all of your tips! But you put it much more eloquently than I could have! Thank you!

Coming from someone who lives out of boxes, I also pack a couple of important family photos in my clothes and they get hung on the wall almost immediately so that even if the boxes aren't unpacked right away, it already feels like home!

Jade said...

Excellent tips, thanks for sharing them! In my 33 years I've moved easily two dozen times, most of which with a very disorganised parent who haphazardly threw items into boxes with no regard for organisation nor labeling (/shudder). When I've moved as an adult I put together a kit that I keep with me; within my kit are lists, utility numbers (old and new), calendar, etc. This helps me stay organised and coordinate all the important things.

leaf and letter handmade said...

my dad was in the army so growing up i had a phobia of losing things in the move. i always have to have a medium-sized box for things that i would be absolutely heartbroken if they got lost/broken while moving- my jewelry box, for example. then i make sure it comes with me in the car rather than being taped up & tossed about on the truck!

welshgrl2 said...

Great tips! I usually leave the "donating things" portion of my move until the very end when I've moved all the stuff I actually like or need. It's super frustrating to still have a house full of crud when you feel like you've already moved, so I think I'll be taking your tip and do the donating first next time. : )

Jen said...

Thank you! We're moving next month, and we've lived in the same place for 4 years.. so I'm a little rusty! :)

Kim said...

Thanks for the awesome tips! I think I'm a professional mover. We moved 9 times in 8 years. A tip I have to share is that if you are moving close just put your dishes in your back seat and cover them with the hanging clothes from your closet. They'll all make it there safely and be ready to go into their new home.

Allyson said...

Good tips! I have lived in 6 houses, 7 apartments, and a lake house in my 22 years of life. And I'll be moving again soon. I've never been in one place for more than 3 years.

Katrina {calikatrina.blogspot.com} said...

LOVE your tips! I will have to come up with some of my own for our next move and link everyone to these too! We've lived all over SoCal. We move again in September... 7 rentals in 7 years. Fun fun! :)

p.s. Just received my redvelvet package yesterday with your lovely chalkboard bubble. Love it!

Cat said...

are you moving again??
We are in June, so thanks soooo much for the tips. They are really good! I am amazed at how beautiful you make your home while you are renting. We rented this last move and I struggled to make it "home-y". Inspired by you!

Cat said...

Here is my moving since leaving my parents home:
Ann Arbor, MI (5 apts); Lubbock, TX(2 apts); San Antonio, TX (2 apts); Sacramento, CA (2 houses); Abilene, TX; St. Louis; Lansing, MI; St. Louis; London, UK; Bath, UK and Minneapolis in June.

I hope to slow down here in the next few years!

Becca said...

as a married college student and not looking forward to moving a million times...tHANKYOU for this post. so important and informative!!

theheinouscanis said...

I'm also a chronic mover. My #1 tip: get a few new things that you love for the new place. It'll keep your packing energy and stamina up.

And PURGE! If you haven't used it in a year and a half, throw it out.

Pack as little as possible. Take clothes directly from the closet and put them in garbage bags, still on the hangars. Use dresser drawers as boxes and cover the tops to keep the clothes in.

Oh, and arrange for the most organized person you know to help you unpack, even if that means being nicer than you want to.