1300 miles, 16,000 pounds of stuff, 2 cars packed to the brim, 1 dog, 1 cat, and 1 husband later and we are in Morgantown…finally!! Most of the boxes have been unpacked and are stacked nicely in the garage and we’ve slowly turned an empty house into our home.
Every move is a learning experience and this one was no different. This move is the farthest and most complicated one I’ve done yet. Not only were we moving to a new house, but our lives have changed in so many ways (all good). Here are some things I learned:
- If you are going to pay for someone to pack your stuff, let them pack your stuff. The only stuff that broke in the move were things we packed ourselves. Let the professionals do it.
- Try to have things in the room they belong. Unpacking goes a lot easier if the boxes in the living room don’t have shoes in them. Things don’t always go according to plan (sometimes the packers will grab other stuff to fill a box), but the more organized you are on the front-end will make it easier on you later.
- Remove things that you are packing in your car from the rest of the stuff. We had a corner in the dining room where we stacked the items that we didn’t want going on the truck (i.e. my jewelry boxes, liquids, candles, alcohol, etc) so that the movers didn’t have to figure out what went and what didn’t. This also gave us an idea of how much space in the cars we were going to need. Do this before the movers get there.
- Have a cooler ready with water and Gatorade (especially if you are moving during the summer). We also provided lunch for the guys loading and unloading the truck. I figured that this was a sound investment in making sure our stuff was taken care of. I also decided to tip (~$50 per person) – our move was more difficult since the truck did not fit in the driveway or street on either end so we had to use a shuttle. This meant my movers were loading and unloading twice. The tip was a surprise to the guys and made me feel less guilty for having so much stuff!
- Unpack one room at a time and pick something that will make you feel like you are at home. For us, setting up the dining room first was important. It gave us a place to have meals in the house right away and no matter how crazy the rest of the house was, we had a gathering place. I unpacked the kitchen next so that we could start preparing meals as soon as possible. We didn’t get to the bedroom or our offices until after. Whatever the heart of your home is, get that settled first.
- Take breaks. Yes it is important to get everything set up as soon as possible, but sometimes you have to get away from the chaos. Take some time to explore your new city, do something fun, and try not to think about the overflow of moving paper filling up your basement. Two days after moving in we went to a cocktail class at a local bar. Another night we went to a baseball game. We were also fortunate to have a vacation scheduled two weeks after moving in. It was perfect timing, we got a break from the chaos and got a chance to miss our new home a little. I think we came back refreshed and ready to finish getting organized.
- Embrace the newness. This is the only time you will be new to your town. Enjoy the process of learning where things are, finding the restaurants you like, and meeting people. Look around your new home and be grateful.
- Don’t compare. It’s pointless comparing what you have now to what you had before. This is the new reality and it is likely that there are things about your new place that are waay better than the old and probably some changes that you will get used to. For me, it’s not helpful to dwell on things I can’t change and even if I wanted, I can’t go back so there’s no point in focusing on stuff that will make me sad. Plus it slows me down on exploring!
- Pay attention to the coupons you get in the mail and other ways to save while settling in. Moving is expensive! Get the loyalty cards at the gas stations and grocery stores you will be using (for us it’s Sheetz and Kroger’s). The grocery store one is important because you will be starting from scratch on refridgerated and frozen food. Stock up on what’s on sale when you can and plan menus around that. You can download Kroger coupons to the loyalty card and when you swipe the card the coupon is automatically applied (so easy). I also downloaded Target’s Cartwheel app and was able to save a lot on new rug for the bedroom. You will get a lot of coupons in the mail, they’re a great way to save (especially at Lowe’s).
- Take a lot of deep breaths. Moving’s hard and you’re not going to be cool, calm, and collected all of the time. Melt down’s happen (even in your 30s) and that’s ok. Have a moment and then get back to it, those boxes aren’t going to unpack themselves!