Movin’ on up, or out, or whatever — but organized

Debbie "Organized Move" Kaplan

Dim the lights and please offer a big round of applause for my first-ever guest blogger, Debbie Kaplan. Don’t you just love her sequined gown? OK, you’ll have to imagine.

Debbie’s a cherished friend, expert risotto-maker, loyal plant-sitter and veteran blogger. (She’s also married to someone who I have yet to beat in Boggle, but that’s another story.) Her Frisco Kids blog is THE must-visit site for bargains, deals and kids’ activities across the Bay Area. And she wouldn’t be featured here if she weren’t pretty darn organized to boot.

Here’s her take on how to have a more organized move:

I’ve lived in Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and California. I’ve moved twice while pregnant, and twice with kids. So I consider myself somewhat of an expert in packing and moving. Here are a few tips to keep your move sane.

-Track what goes into each box. You think you’ll remember that you stashed your stapler with your pasta, but after 115 boxes are sealed, your memory isn’t so solid. Keep a clipboard handy, and note what items go in each box, and number the box before filling it.

-Don’t just put the number on the top – put it on each side of the box, so you can see it no matter which way it faces or what’s on top of it.

-Pack bottles with liquid in Ziploc-type bags. I can’t tell you how many open (and even sealed) bottles of shampoo and lotion leaked during our moves.

-Have an “open me first” box with anything you’ll need your first day in the new home. What to pack in it? That depends on you, but maybe an alarm clock, extension cords, batteries, personal items (toothpaste, anyone?), sheets and a few light bulbs.

-Put all “assembly” accessories in one box. That would include brackets for your entertainment center, that handy Allen wrench, the bolts for the bed frame and any instructions for reassembly.

-If you need to disassemble furniture, take photos as you do it, so you can refer to them (still on your camera!) when you put things together on the other side.

-if you’re moving in summer, consider whether to pack tcandles and chocolates. If the moving truck is going through the desert, you might end up with a sloppy mess.

– “Sixty cents a pound” is our family mantra. That’s what it cost us to move our boxes from Wisconsin to the Bay Area. If it wasn’t worth 60 cents a pound to us, we didn’t move it. Purge, purge, purge. It’s easier to do it before you move than after.

-Don’t buy expensive packing materials. Collect boxes from work, Freecycle, Craigslist and the grocery store. Our professional packers used sheets of paper, not bubble wrap, to protect our Tiffany crystal.

How do you make moves less chaotic?


About organizesf

Professional organizer June Bell ( combats clutter and chaos with sage advice, tested techniques and good humor.
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4 Responses to Movin’ on up, or out, or whatever — but organized

  1. I have to admit, I don’t move too often. I am more of the type that really doesn’t move.

  2. After making numerous moves, these helpful hints are right on! Even though it sounds like a lot of work to note what is in each box, it is well worth it in the end! The boxes that are things that you need your first day, are sometimes easy enough to create, because they are typically things that you needed until the very end as well!

  3. Sara says:

    The tips on the “open me first box” and “60 cents a pound concept” will be really helpful for the move I’m planning this fall. Unfortunately, I have no expertise in the area. I just do my best not to make boxes too heavy:) Great Q&A!

  4. Susan says:

    Like Debbie, I’ve numbered my boxes on all sides. I also labeled them by room, so “Kitchen” boxes go you know where.

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