Saturday, May 31, 2014

These Boxes Aren't Going to Pack Themselves

We are moving to a new town over 20 hours away and we are packing our own things. On some level, I knew this was going to be an absolute nightmare! But, I didn't want to face that in the beginning. Now that the contract is signed and the check is literally in the mail... Take the check he said.  I would love to throw up my hands and hire professional movers to get this crap on a truck and out the door! It's way too late for that...

Here's the thing that you don't know when you are watching the packers get your stuff into boxes....they don't care about your stuff.

I don't mean they are going to throw it around like the airlines lob your checked bags and wreck your stuff. They literally don't care about your stuff which allows them to work in complete detachment mode. They pick up a trophy and they wrap it in paper. Then, they put it in a box. The professionals don't know that the little girl who won that trophy is a young woman now trying to decide where she wants to go to college.

In theory, it sounds very easy to do. Not that I know. As detachment mode has been unavailable for this entire experience. For instance, I picked up a trophy yesterday--to wrap it and put it in a box. It was from the first year of swim when she was a little fish unafraid of the water. I had a small tear for the little girl who screamed and jumped around when they called her name. All of these precious moments are mine and that's why I have to pack for a month and professionals pack for a day or two.

Now, it is 80 packed boxes later and I have accumulated a large pile of things to take to the swap meet... you know when I get that spare morning to really get some "ish" done. I still have about 20 boxes to pack and that is just a rough estimate because truthfully... I only have 20 boxes and the thought of going back to work to get more boxes and drag them up the stairs sounds like the last thing I have time for this week.

So here's what I hope will help you if you ever decide to pack yourself. These aren't going to help you with Remembrance Mode. But, you will be happy to start with this little list when you are ready to get your show on the road.

Ten Hot Tips to Get Packing!

1. Clean Your House First. When you pack, you put stuff in a room in a box. It sounds simple. When things are out of place, they get put into boxes with other stuff. Then when you are unpacking you are running all over your new place putting things away. Also, you don't unpack all of your boxes the second you get into your new place. If all of the pieces to a game are scattered, it's useless until you find all of the pieces.

2. Get Free Boxes. Sounds so easy to buy them for a dollar a piece, but there are so many free ones around that it really doesn't make sense to buy them. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. Craigslist has them advertised all of the time, grocery stores have plenty, and you probably have lots of them at work.

3. Determine how much tape you think you need, then buy more. Going back and forth to the store for tape is a time suck! The best tape is the brown tape you get at Uhaul. If you have extra at the end, throw it in the trunk (with receipt) to return later or use it when you ship packages at Christmas. This item is only a deal breaker when you need it and you have none.

4. Buy flat paper. We have moved countless times. The paper you use to wrap your glassware and breakables is easier to use when it is flat and ready. They have it by the box at Uhaul... cheap. Also, save your shredded paper in plastic bags and dump it in your boxes to fill space around your breakables instead of balled up paper--it's free!

5. Mark your boxes properly. Mark all of your boxes on the top and on at least one side. Use arrows to indicate which way goes up if it matters. I use stars to indicate what needs to be unpacked first. Let's face it, unpacking all of your boxes will take time.

6. Keep your tape, markers, box cutters, etc. in one area. It is so easy to walk around with the stuff and lose it in your work in process space. Keeping it in one place cuts out the time you lose looking all over your house for the tape you know you just had but can't quite locate.

7. Visualize the Goal. Set a packing goal. Pack a few boxes everyday or pack in stages. Knick Knacks are great to look at but a pain to pack because they need to be wrapped in paper or bubble wrap. They are a great place to start.

8. Breathe. No one in your family is going to take packing as serious as you do. So just breathe, consider how hard you would work for a jerk, and get your attitude straight so your family doesn't find other things to do to avoid the war zone.

9. Irreplaceable items need to be in your car with you. We have some things that we adore, paintings, our important documents, that sort of thing. We travel with them in our car. Why? Because I want to make sure they get to the final destination in perfect condition.

10. Manage your mail. Forward your mail and opt for paperless statements even if it's only for a little while. If your bank has a bill pay option, set up your payments in advance on a reoccurring basis until you are settled or longer if you enjoy the freedom!

I can blog everyday about the drama involved in moving! I am sure there will be more to come.

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