“You’ve got to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old – whatever “the old” means for you.”
- Sarah Ban Breathnach
New Year's mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I think, mostly, the idea of a "new year" is a new start; a new beginning to life, and what one thinks their life should be.
Something that my family is going through this new year is quite the definition of a new start. We have been on a nine-month journey to owning a new home and, finally, received word that we can soon move ourselves into it. While this has us all overjoyed, it has me, personally, a little on edge.
I suffer from social anxiety, so the idea of moving to a new home, in a completely new town, is kind of unnerving. We have owned our current home for over a decade. We have great neighbors, our own circle of friends, and we're close to family members. It's scary to think of leaving all that familiarity behind, but what's scarier is getting our lives organized and packed into boxes by the deadline. That's why I reached out to other women in similar situations for help.
Yes. I broke my anxiety barrier, poked my head out, and asked for help. Which is something else that's new this year; at least for me. I am so thankful for the realization that I can't do it all alone, because I used to run around, trying to control every little detail about every little thing. I was so overwhelmed, stressed out, and thoroughly exhausted. But these women from whom I've received help has be such a relief. They gave me a wide range of tips and tricks toward having a stress-free move from our old house to the new one.
Here are a few of their fantastic suggestions...
1. Pack Boxes According to Category
Place wall hangings and decor in their own boxes. That family photo might have looked nice in your old living room, but maybe you want it to go in the new hallway? Or create a gallery wall for your new stairwell? Decorations don't always end up in the same rooms as they once were, so box them all together and figure out where they go in your new home once you're already there.
2. Mark boxes with colored stickers or tape
Instead of repeatedly writing the names of rooms on the outside of your boxes with that big, black marker, assign each room a color (the bathroom could be blue, and the kitchen could be red, etc). Then, have piece of paper as your color key. You can tape this paper on the door frame of your new home as a fast and easy reference for where the boxes go when you bring them all inside.
3. Make your OCD Happy
In order to make unpacking easier, tape a leaf of lined paper on the top of each box to list its contents. Even better, write your list in alphabetical order to help find the particular item you're looking for.
4. Pack Items that are unessential to daily living first
Let's face it, you're not going to suddenly re-read the entire Harry Potter series before the big move, so go ahead and pack up those books. While you're at it, pack party platters, garage items, out-of-season clothing, and camping gear.
5. Eat all the things!
Make a meal plan using all the ingredients you already have in your house. This will allow for less food that is wasted during the move. Supercook.com is an excellent resource in helping you find recipes for your ingredients, so get cooking.
6. Don't get hung up
Taking all your clothes out of your closet, folding them, and getting them into boxes can take a lot of time and energy. Save yourself the trouble by putting trash bags over your hanging clothes and tying the strings around the bundle of hangers. Voila! Done.
7. Protect your breakables
One good idea was to place styrofoam plates between your real ones instead of having to wrap them all individually, all while preventing chips and scratches. Another idea was to use towels and sheets to wrap breakables. This prevents breaking during transport while also gets you out of having to actually pack your towels and sheets
8. Purge, purge, purge!
You've heard of whistling while you work, now let's purge while you pack. Let's face it, we've all got a little baggage (not that kind). There's a catch-all spot in your home, a junk drawer, or storage space. Get rid of all the stuff you don't use now to prevent unwanted clutter in your new, clean space. Create a box of things to keep, things to donate, and things to throw away and you'll be happier in the long run.
9. a little goes a long way
Don't freak out too much about the time you have to pack everything and move it. Pick a spot of the house and focus on it for one day; then pick another spot the next day, and so on. This will help you realize your goal while helping you feel accomplished and motivated.
10. Pack your bags
Grab a bag or suitcase for each member of the family and pack it as if you were going on a weekend trip. Fill it with the usual clothing and hygiene items that you normally would, along with whatever other essential items you'll need on a day to day basis... and set the bags aside. Use these while you unpack instead of scrambling around for the boxes that hold the things you need right away.
11. (Bonus tip) one of these things is not the like the other
Try to use boxes that are all of similar sizes. If you can get a bunch of boxes that are the SAME size--even better! Fruit boxes from your local grocery store are excellent for packing. They are very sturdy, have carrying handles, and come with their own lids that just slide right on. Packing boxes of similar sizes allows for filling the truck a breeze, because now you won't have to worry about being a master at playing Tetris. Just pack, stack, and go!