Karen's Korner - January 2022
Should You Keep a Cardboard Box That Has Remained Unopened in Your Basement/Garage/Storage Area - For Years?
What is in it? Will I miss it? What if it is valuable?
It is very common to find unopened boxes left over from the LAST move – as we prepare for an upcoming move. Clients tell me how stressful it is to have these kinds of boxes hanging around. They share how upsetting it is when they can’t find treasured items since the last move – and have no idea if those items were lost or are still in unpacked boxes. Most upsetting of all, is if you finally open those boxes, to find the contents of those boxes have been damaged by rodents or moisture or mould. Cardboard moving boxes are designed to protect goods in transit and to efficiently use the space in a moving truck. Cardboard boxes are not designed for long term storage – and they do not do well with ANY exposure to humidity.
Adult moves are hard and exhausting… Not like in your 20’s – when you and a group of friends could throw everything in a small truck, and you were done in half a day. I like to tell my clients my favourite analogy – an adult move is more like hiking the Grand Canyon. You are so caught up in the challenge and excitement of the first half of the hike that you don’t realise the second half is uphill. The second half of a move – the unpack – is where decisions will need to be made – about where every single thing in those boxes is going to go in the new home. It’s no wonder people stall on unpacking as ‘decision fatigue’ sets in.
Make sure you start with a well-defined goal of what move day and living in the new space will look, work and feel like.
Here are my top tips to make any move less stressful from beginning to unpacking the last box:
Edit BEFORE you Move
The more things that can be eliminated BEFORE the move – the better. Be realistic about categories like books and clothing. Even a 10% – 20% reduction of the major categories of stuff in your home, will make a huge difference in the effort and the cost of the move. Think about different climates and activities you will be engaged in daily.
Some things do not have to go with you. Charities will benefit…and you will feel relieved!
Beware of Over-owning
Try not to shop for the new house BEFORE the move. I understand how hard this is; it’s exciting to want to decorate and purchase all the fun things for a new house. But those items will only add to the total volume being moved and complicate the unpack. This is not the time to ‘over-own’. Instead, focus on editing and getting essential home systems up and running.
Try to focus on consuming, recycling, and donating pantry and freezer items and save the Costco runs for later.
Map the Current Home to the New Home
Chances are the new home is different in substantial ways. Different layouts in the kitchen, bathrooms, mudrooms and closets can especially hamper the unpacking process. What happens when the old house had a kitchen desk – where the mail and basic office supplies lived – but the new house does not?
It’s not like you can live without mail or office supplies! That ‘map’ will determine how we pack and how to label boxes in a way to support the unpack process.
Labelling Done Right
In order to prioritise unpacking, it is critical that you label boxes to identify what is in the box, which room it came from and where it’s going! There is a world of difference in a box labelled ‘Dining Room’ versus:
‘Table Cloths and Large Platters in Buffet’
Move to Butler’s Pantry
In the case of large moves, multi-step moves or moves to storage, create a complete inventory of EVERY box. Take pictures!!!!!
Unpack by Priority
Most of us know to keep essential medications on us – and have the sheets ready to go on the beds first thing.
What’s the next priority? And the next? And the next?
It’s so very important to have an unpacking plan – to detail priority and resources needed. Without this plan, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed or run out of energy before the really important items of the household are unpacked.
It’s really hard to decide exactly how many years of Christmas and birthday cards to keep! Memorabilia decisions are almost always the hardest categories for clients to go through. In the time crunch of a move, it’s okay to put those decisions off – to a point.
Pack and label all memorabilia, identify where the memorabilia boxes will be placed on moving day (a room that is dry, climate controlled and out of the way) and MOST IMPORTANTLY identify WHEN you will unpack those boxes!
Edit on the Unpack
The moving process often gifts us with the clarity and drive to make decisions that were difficult in the old home. As you are unpacking, it’s very common to realise that decor which worked in the old home – just doesn’t work as well in the new home. Have a place to collect donations as you unpack – repurpose some of those moving boxes to collect these donations!
Move with Intent – so you can live in a Happy, Unpacked and Organised New Home…and call us if you NEED moving boxes – we can help!