I must admit that this is my first big move… ever. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and my parents have lived in the same house from the time I was two years old. I never experienced the joys/craziness of moving as a kid, and even going to college and moving to DC everything was done piecemeal since I wasn't too far from home [i.e. less than 90 miles away]. That being said, I tried to be extra prepared this time around and decided I'd share some of my tips from my relatively low-stress move from DC to Brooklyn. In a dream world, I'd hire someone to take care of everything for me, but since [let's be real] it's not completely cost-efficient at this point in my life, I decided to take on some things by myself. By no means do I cover everything here, but rather a few key points that streamlined the process...
I ended up getting most of my boxes from liquor stores + Trader Joe's, which was really handy. They were really sturdy and a good size for me to carry. I did however pick up newsprint, a mattress cover, a couch cover, a rug cover, and clothing covers for extra ease—Uhaul has some other great packing materials too. I also rented an appliance dolly for moving big things, which was SUPER handy. I was able to cart furniture and plenty of boxes at a time. Thanks for the tip + help, Dad :)
I also color coordinated boxes with tape for each room. You can pick up different colors of masking tape from the home improvement store. It made it really easy for determining what boxes go where upon move in. I also marked fragile boxes with neon gaffers tape, so it would be a clear reminder to be careful with those boxes!
I had a small 'Pack the Truck' party and invited over some of my closest friends for dinner + drinks, and oh, yeah, to pack the truck. It was nice to see everyone before heading out of town as well! Do be sure to lock the truck with a very secure lock post-packing. I backed it into our garage so the back door wasn't accessible even if someone tried to get in. [My bike was recently stolen through a locked gate and two U-locks, so obviously wanted to be extra safe with this detail.]
If you're going the DIY[-ish] route, hire a few helping hands. Through Uhaul's website, you can hire moving help. Since I was moving across states and through some tricky city streets/parking situations, I decided to hire someone to drive the truck for me. Probably the best decision I made. I didn't have to stress about missing a turn, driving the long stretches of the New Jersey Turnpike, or navigating Manhattan at rush hour.
I also decided to hire two people to unload the truck. That way I wouldn't get all sweaty, and I could easily direct where things went. It was incredibly low-stress, and I wasn't exhausted the day after. It also didn't cost an arm and a leg, which I was most concerned about.
Take off work while moving, even if you're just moving across town. Last time I didn't do this, and I definitely regretted it throughout the process. Since I work from home, I was also able to schedule my move for mid-week, which was really, really nice. I could book extra help + a truck without too much lead-time. Also nice because I didn't have to feel guilty about asking my friends to help over a weekend; instead I could plan to enjoy + settle in then!
Prêt à Voyager's parents gave me the perfect little box. It was nice to take a moment here and there to stop and reflect instead of getting caught up in things. A nice little pat-on-the-back [aka you're-doing-a-good-job-with-this-whole-moving-to-a-new-city-by-yourself thing].
Upon arrival + after unloading all my boxes, I planned to get some fresh air, pick up some groceries + fresh flowers. The flowers were a a great 'welcome' to making me feel at home, even if nothing was quite unpacked.
Four days before moving, I went ahead and cooked enough meals to last me to my move date. This way, I could go ahead and pack my pots and pans as well as my dishes and flatware. I ended up using disposable containers, paper plates, cups, and flatware so I wouldn't have to wash any dishes too. So, so helpful, and I wasn't battling nightly cravings for carry out [plus, I was able to use up some things in my fridge].
I also made a little survival kit with a few essentials: bottled water, cash for tipping + tolls, printed directions + phone numbers [should my iPhone die en route, which it did], chargers, ibuprofen, first aid supplies, change of clothes, measuring tape, doorstop, box cutter, and plastic baggies. Definitely came in handy throughout the day.
Do you have any other tips for moving/getting settled in a new place? I'd love to hear :)
[instagram shot by by lauren o'neill]
NOTE TO SELF is a column of helpful, handy tips for life. Those things you figure out as a twenty-something and look to share with others. Hopefully you find these tips useful!