Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pinch Me! This Post was Written by Diana Stone!!!

Today is super special. Diana Stone (of Diana Wrote) wrote this post for me! Gah!!!

Diana's blog was my first blog crush. I had read friends' blogs but hadn't "followed" a blog of a stranger. Let's just say I was new to the world of blogging. Diana also was the main inspiration for my starting this blog. So when she said she'd write this post for me? Let's just say I was a bit excited.

When Karl and I officially decided we were going to move, I turned to Diana's blog to seek out expert packing advice. (One of her gifts is keeping a tidy & clean house and being amazingly organized. My piles could use her help!) I searched her blog but couldn't find any posts that unlocked the secrets to successful packing and moving...so I decided to email her asking if she'd possibly consider writing about this topic, and maybe, perhaps, she'd be willing to write it for me to post on my blog...

Without further ado, here are packing tips from Diana Stone! (And huge thanks to her for her tips and for writing a post for my little blog!)

Every few years, we move because of either work changes or military stationing. This means that we spend a lot of time packing and unpacking and making things that fit in one home or apartment fit into the next. This can be a real challenge as time goes on. My husband and I started out at the tender ages of 20 and 21 with my Volkswagen Jetta crammed full of all our belongings. We bought a futon when we arrived in California.

8 years later in El Paso, we hired a moving company and still packed two cars full of the rest.

In my marriage alone, I have moved 10 times in 10 years. Because of this, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at packing up things in a hurry. I’ve also gotten good at answering the question, “Do we need/want/really use this?”

Which at moving time changes to, “Do I want to pack, move, and unpack this thing again?”

A lot of the time, the answer is no.

What's a family to do? Here's our strategy for moving with either ample or minimal time:

One suggestion I have is to “pretend move” on a yearly basis. I take giant bags and boxes and fill them with everything we aren’t ever going to use, that’s broken, or outgrown. Then I donate, giveaway, or throw away depending on the condition. If you’re into yard sales, this would be great for that. We don’t do them because I honestly don’t want the stress.

As the date to move gets closer, minimize purchases. If we have gone without it so far, we can go without it till we get settled again.

About 1-2 months out, start packing up small items and seasonal things. Grab boxes, packing material, and disposable utensils/plates as you shop. Check with your neighborhood for community garage sales.

A few weeks before, take down decor and sort clothing. Make weekly trips to donation sites (don't leave it sitting around the house, it just makes more clutter).

Take a full morning or afternoon to switch services and update to a new address.

When it's crunch time, hit it hard and fast. I try to put several sized boxes in each room and keep things together. Bathroom things stay in their own boxes. Clothing can stay on the hangers. Try to leave anything that's in a container that way - wrap it up with bubble wrap. Old blankets and towels can wrap pictures well. Pack small - the bigger the box the heavier it'll probably end up being. Buy a lot of mid - small size boxes and just a few bigger ones for lighter, bulky items.

Label everything immediately. As detailed as you can - maybe put "Kitchen" but also include which items are in it. This is a lifesaver later when you're moving in, just need the pots, and each box isn't just all the same name.

Leave boxes open of things you still use. Although there's nothing as satisfying as a closed and ready box during moving, it's also horrible to find out at the end that you have a billion little items that still need a box. You'll have that anyway, just minimize it.

Any tips from your end? How do you make moves quicker or easier?

Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  

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