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Expert Organizing Tips and Tricks for Moving or Downsizing

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Relief Anxiety Form Moving

My goodness, moving can be stressful, right? If you’re feeling the anxiety, it’s certainly not just you. Moving is actually in the top five most stressful life events—right up there with the loss of a loved one and divorce. This is seriously burdensome for so many people.

Here at Organize by Designe, I want you to experience the freedom of a life less cluttered. You may not have control over the housing market, the interest rate, or the cost of rent in your area, but you do have control over your stuff—even if it doesn’t feel like it at this exact moment. You need expert organizing tips and tricks for moving or downsizing.

As a professional organizer, I help busy people like you prepare their belongings to move from one place to another all the time. I’ve got to be honest—that much practice makes me good at what I do. I’ve developed tricks over the years, and I want you to benefit from them whether you’re a moving newbie or you’ve got a move or two under your belt.

What you’re going to see below is my method for helping clients prepare their belongings, pack, and unpack all in an organized way. This general flow can help anyone move or downsize with less stress.

But when you choose to work with me, we will individualize this plan to fit your unique needs—plus, I’ll be there every step of the way, moral support always included. It is my passion to serve you.

How To Prepare Your Belongings For A Move

Let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Go through everything you own. 

I mean e-ver-y-thing, even the basement where we hide all those gallons of paint—one of the mysteries of homeownership: how do we even acquire so much paint? Leave no stone (or basket!) unturned, no junk drawer unopened. Unless it’s seasonal, if you haven’t used it in 6 months, you don’t need it.

Step 2: Toss only what you cannot recycle. 

Only throw out things you cannot resell, donate, or place in the recycling bin. Papers you need to shred, broken items, stained clothing, etc. should all go in the trash.

Step 3: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” 

I say this all the time to my clients because it’s true. What feels useless to you may be extremely useful to somebody else. This is what sets me apart from other professional organizers: I want to be eco-conscientious every step of the way. Recycle, resell, or donate, so we can reduce waste in our poor landfills.

With my clients, I even help them properly recycle things like hazardous waste. If you’re not up to speed on safe practices for doing so, hiring an expert like me can make sure it is done in such a way your family and the environment are safe.

Step 4 (For Downsizers): “The Tape Tip”

I recently worked with the sweetest client going from a 2200 sq. ft. home to a 600 sq. ft. apartment. She wanted to keep more furniture than I knew she had room for—who could blame her? These pieces had been the background of her life in this home. After a good hug, it was time to get an actual look at the reality of the situation.

Take painter’s tape to the floor and map out the size of your new room. Let’s say, the new living room. Start placing your furniture and belongings—the couch and chair you hope to keep, the books and the baskets, etc.—into that area as if the tape were real walls. You will be able to see clearly what space is available to you, so you can make an easier decision about what to keep and what to pass on to somebody else.

The Golden Rule: Pack To Unpack

After you’ve made a keep, toss, or recycle decision about everything in your house, you are left with only items that you truly want to take with you. What do we do with all that’s left? We “pack to unpack.” I use this phrase over and over with my clients because it is so important for making the move as easy and peaceful as possible. 

Pack to unpack: you want to make your house livable as soon as possible when you move in. 

How do you do that?

First recognize that you have to live for a little while in your current house, so each room will have a few items that need to stick around—a toiletry bag in the bathroom, basic utensils in the kitchen, etc. Then the rest gets packed up in a way that makes it easy to place it in your new home. 

  • Work smarter, not harder: Here’s just one example. You don’t need to take every piece of silverware out of the organizer and place it in a box just to pull each piece out of the box and place it back in the organizer in your new home. I take plastic wrap around silverware organizer with all the knives, forks, and spoons still sitting there. 
  • Clear labels are your friend: Labeling a box “bedroom” is unhelpful if your new home has four bedrooms. Instead, try “(Child’s name) bedroom: books.”
  • Make Your Moving Toolbox: I always help my clients make one special moving box that stays in the car. This box has things you will need to put your life back together, like a box cutter and rags (and let’s be honest: a wine bottle opener!). This box won’t leave until the last day and you put it in the car right next to you as you drive over. 

3 Easy Steps For an Organized Move-In

Now we have unpacking. If you took “pack to unpack” to heart, moving in just became 10x easier. Now you have three basic steps for an organized move-in:

1. Put all the boxes in one place.

Keep the boxes in one area, so you are not tripping over boxes splayed all across the house or needing to move them around constantly as you’re putting things away. Bonus: there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing your pile of boxes dwindle.

2. Get rid of the packing materials. 

Broken down boxes and folded packing paper/bubble wrap have two options and neither of those options is a trash can. You can sell your packing materials on Facebook marketplace; this lets you make a little of your money back if you’re on a tight budget. Or you can bless somebody else in your area who’s about to move.

3. Put everything away in a nice organized manner.

Start your home’s organization game strong. Make a place for everything, so everything can go back into its place. If you want your new house to start off with the freedom of a life less cluttered, check out Organize by Designe’s services right here.

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