moving can be simple, organized and quick

image via flickr - inkygirl

Three years ago, I moved from an uncomfortable, drafty apartment into a fresh, new place.  Felt like another new start (after moving to Wisconsin from California five years ago).  I began preparing the moment I signed the new lease.

simple. organized. quick.
those became the words I kept in mind for the entire move. I even wrote them down at the top of packing/to do lists.

  • I began gathering packing boxes from a friend who works for a moving company (but I’d have even bought boxes from them). I had a huge flatpack pile on hand of boxes..so I didn’t have to go from store to store, begging for boxes.  that helped my peace of mind to be prepared.
  • I set up a Moving Basket and everything moving related stayed in that box (multiple pair of scissors, rolls of packing tape, labels, etc.)
  • I took friends up on their offers to help, and there was usually someone around each night – so we’d pack up part of a room or an entire room – of everything I didn’t need to live for the next month.
  • We took the boxes to a room (I chose my foyer) that was set apart for moving boxes – because it was close to the front door.
  • Each night I’d pack one or ten boxes….whatever I could do.
  • I kept a spreadsheet of calls/emails I’d gotten of people offering to help….and listed what they offered…. (food, moving help, packing help, cleaning, coordinating at the new place and at the old place) and kept track of it all..and kept in contact with them.
  • By the week of the move, I had 32 boxes stacked in the foyer to over 8 feet high (not recommended..but i had tall ceilings) and very little was left in the main living areas apart from some food and some furniture.
  • (I packed boxes and labeled them according to the rooms at the new place..so when they arrived, the boxes would go directly to the new rooms)


  • 9 AM – two friends head to my new place to prepare for the arrival of the various cars and trucks bringing my belongings
  • 9 AM – 14 friends arrive at my old place and they are immediately handed boxes to start carrying to vehicles
  • Some coworkers arrive with company trucks – to get the furniture out the door, loaded and to the new place
  • 9:45 AM – we’re on our way to the new place
  • 10:20 AM – everything is unloaded into the apartment, the furniture carrying friends leave, and it’s time to unpack (I was going to let it go and just play games – but all the friends began unpacking and setting things up  – putting rooms together)
  • 11:00 AM – friends have set up the office, the living room, the bedroom, and I can see how the friends directing people have had all the boxes put in the proper rooms.
  • 12:00 noon: it looks like I’ve lived in the apartment for months..books on bookshelves, shower curtain up in the bathroom, towels hanging, all kitchen items unpacked and put away in cupboards and shelves (with post-its from the coordinating friends – listing the kitchen contents so I can find my way around)
  • 12:00 noon – we eat lunch that was made by friends (sloppy joes in the crock pot, chips, veggies, water, soda)
  • 12:30 – 10:30 PM – 12 of us play games and hang out
  • 11:00 PM – I go to bed with a smile on my face because of the fun day – and quite thankful for all the love friends showed that day.

For months after the move, I heard friends who were there and friends who heard about it say that it was the most organized and quick move they’d ever been part of – and they didn’t even know my key words for the move!

It can be done!

image - flickr - rachwarwick

NOTE: I had five days after moving to get my old apartment cleaned and ready to go.  That was the most difficult part of my move – because once I was in the new place, I wanted to be done with the old.  I was in tears – but three friends showed up to help me clean the night before the former landlord did the inspection.  Looking back, I think I’d do it differently. I’d budget for a cleaning service to do the final clean for me so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it and could enjoy the new place.


2 thoughts on “moving can be simple, organized and quick

  1. Congratulations on your move – hope you are getting unpacked and settled in well? Glad you like my moving-house-post-it-notes! It was my way of keeping on top of what’s in the freezer and cupboards in the kitchen so that we used as much up as possible. I hate moving house!

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