Whether you are moving from one house to another in the same town, or packing up and moving 6100+ kms away, the preparation and transition can be overwhelming. It is sometimes hard to remember to take a deep breath and realize that one way or another, everything will fall into place.
When I sat and thought about it, I’ve actually done my fair share of moving in my short time as an adult. Each experience differed from the next, but everything always worked out.
When I moved to Mississippi, I was leaving home for the first time, so my belongings were few. I was limited to what could fit in 2 large suitcases, and if I’m being honest, it was a relatively easy move. It was very different, however, when Kyle and I left Mississippi to move to Newfoundland. I still had limitations. We could only take what would fit in a 1999 two-door jeep wrangler and the storage container we attached to the back of it. (That’s right. We drove). This was more difficult to come to terms with, as in the two years we shared in that apartment, we accumulated some treasures. Nevertheless, we took what we needed, squeezed in what we really wanted, and parted ways with what we had to let go of. (Thankfully, the apartment is still in the family and we have access to some of those things, in the future). This move entailed choosing a travel path, paperwork for customs at the boarder, ferry and hotel bookings and prepping my dog, and myself, for the road trip.
Now, I am preparing to move to Saskatchewan. A few differences to note: it is actually the furthest distance I’ve ever moved; the RCMP is handling the packing and transportation of our belongings; and, there aren’t limitations on what we can bring! When I say that the RCMP is taking care of the packing and transportation, I mean that they will come in, pack and load our belongings and begin the drive to our new home. That may sound as if we are free of all duties. Not necessarily true. To name a few, I must have everything sorted, piled and ready to be taken. I must somehow stay on top of what is going in what box, so unpacking is easier on me, and I must take what I learned from the Mississippi move and plan our route, book a ferry, book hotels, be sure to arrive at our home on a specific date, prep my dog for the road and keep record of every cent spent for RCMP records. Phew.
Although all of these moves differed in a lot of ways, the first step I always take when planning a move remains the same…
Tip #1: Make a Check List.
Make a checklist. Make many. This will help you itemize what needs to be accomplished. I have several running lists, all kept in the one place. I have lists for things to purchase, things (and rooms) to clean, things to pack, and duties to be completed. You can always do what I do and make your own, but, if moving is new to you, there are great resources online for checklists, so you don’t forget anything important. There are online lists and also some printable documents as well. My favorites are:
I mentioned above that it is important to track what each box contains, to make for a smooth and easy unpacking experience. Which brings me to my next tip.
Tip #2: Organize and Label
Find a system that works for you to determine the contents of each box as its being packed. This can be accomplished in many ways. If you are doing all of the packing yourself, you can label the items in marker on the outside of the box, or you can give the box a number, and write a list in your notebook of the contents inside the respective box numbers, so you can refer to that list when its time to unpack. Since I am not going to be physically packing my belongings (for insurance purposes) I have to come up with a quick method to identify the boxes as the movers are quickly packing them. So, I’ve grabbed some different colored Duct Tape at the dollar store. I will create a legend, and assign a color to every room in my house. For example, while things are being packed from my kitchen, I will stick a piece of red tape to the boxes, indicating to me that the contents of those boxes belong in my kitchen. Each room will have a color, so when all of the boxes are delivered to my new home, I’ll be able to quickly sort them and place them in their respective rooms. Though I won’t have a detailed itemized list of each box’s contents, I’ll still be able to unpack in an organized manner.
Tip #3: Be Prepared
Kyle and I have to be as prepared as possible for this move. We are arriving at a completely empty home, so it is crucial that we plan ahead. We want to have the moving trucks arrive with our belongings very soon after we get there. Fortunately for us, we will be able to stay in a hotel, until our belongings arrive. The nearest hotel, however, is an hour away. For that reason, I am going to be sure to pack an air mattress and some blankets with me, so that, if we grow tired of making a two hour round trip daily, we have somewhere to lay our heads at the new place! Being prepared goes for everything. It is important for Kyle and I to give ourselves some wiggle room when it comes to the driving schedule. We want to be sure that we have sufficient rest days and days that get us as far as possible! That way, if weather becomes an issue, as it is still the dead of winter, we still have time to make it to our destination on time! Another thing is, because our fridge will be taken, I need to plan ahead to defrost the freezer. The truck takes our belongings 4 days before we leave, so I’ve had to make sure that sleeping arrangements were made elsewhere. Those little details will make for a much smoother transition.
Tip #4: Stay Excited!
This is an exciting time! Moving to better things in life should be a positive! Whether you are moving to a new area of town, moving to another town, moving to a new province or even a new country, be positive! You are in for an adventure, full of learning experiences. Is it tough to move away from home, family, friends and everything you’ve ever known? Yes! But nothing worth doing is ever easy. Make the absolute best of the new chapter in your life. When it becomes stressful, or a little scary, focus on the happy thoughts, because I assure you, there are always happy thoughts, even if you have to look a little harder. Though I am sad to leave Newfoundland again, and though I will miss my family and friends dearly, Kyle and I are moving to a brand new place, together, to continue our journey, and accept growth and betterment in our lives!
You must always move forward. Success is often found outside of your comfort zone (and in my case, timezone!)