I can barely put two coherent sentences together these days. That partially explains why I had to scrap my last attempt at a post about something meaningful. 🙂
However, I did spend the weekend helping folks from church move, reigniting my passion for all things organizational! So how about a post on something purely practical – MOVING!
We have moved in as many forms as you can imagine – partially, temporarily, entirely, and we have owned homes, rented homes, and borrowed homes. I have had my household split between owned homes and rented homes, storage units, friends, and cars parked across the US. I have had to purge and organize my household so often that something inside me starts the process again every couple of months even without any plans to move.
So, I’d like to offer you my best tips for moving or whole house purging and organizing – which I suggest doing every couple of years even if you don’t move. It just feels good.
1-3 Months Out
Clean out your garage
- Find disposal sites for all the strange chemicals, old paint, oils, etc. you have lying around. It’s stressful to have a pile of strange things you can’t put in the trash or leave for the next owner as you are trying to drive off.
- Find all the paint colors you have in your home for touch-ups.
- Clean out any storage cabinets, organize tools, and create as much space as you can for boxes. As you pack up other rooms, you can carry boxes out to the garage. This keeps rooms uncluttered if you are showing your home. It also cuts down on the chaos inside the house in general.
Clean out all your closets
- Make up boxes for items you can donate, and boxes or bags for trash. If you come across an item you know you won’t need until after the move, box it up. It’s nice to create space in your closets if you are selling your home, but also to stack boxes in as they get packed.
Clean out all drawers, desks, bookshelves, and cabinets
- Again, make up boxes for items to donate, and for trash. Box up things you won’t need until after the move, and wipe down surfaces. Drop off all your goodwill stuff so it’s not hanging around. When you finish this process, all your cabinets are organized, cleaned, and purged of items that could slow down your final packing process or clog up your next place. The few days before the move is not the time to try to decide if you want to keep or pitch something.
Take down pictures and do any touch-up painting
- If you leave this until the last-minute, you may be surprised at how much there is to do. That’s a nasty surprise to have to attend to later on.
Start eating out of your freezer.
- Give away food you can’t use. It’s best to empty it now and start using your fridge freezer until after the move.
1-2 Weeks Out
Deep clean the stove and refrigerator/freezer.
- This means not only the inside, but pulling these away from the wall (YIKES) and cleaning the walls and floor behind them. A lot of people don’t do this until much later, but I like to do it in advance so that my final cleaning is really just a final wipe down. A major cleaning is the last thing I want to do when I’m in the final days of moving.
Wash down all the baseboards, window wells, and air vents/registers.
Thoroughly dust all your furniture
Wash your windows
Vacuum the edges of all your rooms and ceiling corners with your attachments.
Clean out couches and chairs (nothing like your friends picking up your couch and 5 years of crap falling out!)
Pack a few days clothes and toiletries for each member of the family in luggage.
- Also create an overnight bag labeled “Important Docs, etc.” That’s where you’ll tuck all those last-minute items you don’t want to lose track of – cell phone chargers, bills to pay, moving and utility company phone numbers, keys, etc.
- If you have kids, pack the DVD player and some movies in luggage too. That way, when you get to your new place and you need a few hours right away to unpack, you can find the TV, plug in the DVD player and put in a movie easily.
So, the gist for me is – do as much as you can before-hand. It really makes the move and more importantly – the unpacking – so much easier. It also serves the people who are helping you move because the boxes are all ready and the major cleaning is already done.
If you aren’t moving, but just want to do a household purge/clean – I follow the same order. Garage, closets, drawers, cabinets, and then deep clean. You will be amazed at how much junk you have accumulated! You will decrease your clutter and have much less to keep up with! A week of intense cleaning translates into time saved throughout the year!
Feeling overwhelmed? Give me a call. I can come to your house and help you map out a plan! (Offer me some chocolate and I’ll stay and do it for you!)