Fiona’s Guide to Moving

I have moved several times over the years. The first two moves happened when I was 12. My parents split up and I moved half of my stuff to my dad’s new rented house, and then a few months later when my mom sold her house, I moved the other half of my stuff to her new rented house.

About a year later, my dad moved from his rented house into the apartment we would stay in for almost 8 years. There was another move of about half my stuff. Then a few months after that, my mom moved from her rented house into a house she bought. Hence, more stuff got moved.

After that, I pretty much had good stable living spaces for a while. I moved back and forth between my dad’s house and my mom’s house twice a week, but I didn’t have to move all of my stuff, so it was fine. I did obtain really good organization skills from all of that though.

Storytime! When I was 12 I had to tell my earth science teacher that I left my homework at the other parent’s house and that I would be able to get it in a few days. Thankfully I went to a school where this wasn’t a big deal, and she was willing to work with me on it.

This September marked the third time I’d picked up my stuff and moved into a college dorm. I don’t have as much moving experience as some people my age, but compared to most, I have a ton of moving experience. My dad also recently moved to our island house (without my help), and my mom is moving away from the city and into a rental, and then later next year she will be moving into a house that she’s building. So without further ado, here are my tips for moving.

1) Get Rid of Stuff!

Do you really need 3 backup spatulas that are exactly the same? Do you have anything that you no longer use and is just creating clutter? In many ways, I am lucky I discovered minimalism when I did. If you’ve read my post on minimalism, you’d know that it wasn’t a walk in the park for me. However, I do have a lot less stuff now than I did a few years ago, This made moving into the dorms last year and my apartment this year SO MUCH EASIER.

Sometimes it is very hard to get rid of stuff. Trust me, I know. I will post something on how to get rid of stuff at a later date. However, it’s not fun to move a bunch of junk and stuff you don’t need and THEN get rid of it. You’ll spend hours of extra time and effort moving stuff, only to get rid of it.

The first time I moved into the dorms, I had several huge plastic bins full of stuff. I filled both my parent’s cars and then some. My dad dropped me off early for a program a week before and we brought a carload of stuff. When my parents came for the official move-in weekend, both of their cars were filled with stuff. My roommate at the time was from Hawaii, so she had I believe only one large suitcase and her carry on luggage. Her brother lived nearby,  so she was able to do a lot of her dorm shopping in the area. It was still a large difference, my boxes and boxes of stuff versus her stuff.

Most of the stuff I didn’t even use! I went on a clothes shopping spree before I went to college because I had convinced myself that I needed a HUGE wardrobe with polo shirts (both long sleeved and short sleeved) and enough jeans for 3 weeks. I spent all the money I’d earned working that summer on stuff I thought I’d need for school and clothes. The mattress pad I use today was within those purchases, that was a wise decision. However, did I need to buy the most expensive stylish shower flip flops from American Eagle? No. I never even wore them! They ended up going to the Goodwill in brand new condition still on the hanger with the tags attached. Other things that went to the Goodwill were all the polo shirts (long and short sleeved, about 10 of them) from American Eagle, still with the tags attached.

2) Don’t Buy Stuff You Think You Need

If you learned anything from my story above, I hope it is not to buy stuff until AFTER you move someplace and are there for a few weeks. For my apartment, I did buy a few things – a dish drying mat, some rubber gloves for cleaning, and some sink sponges. When my parents helped me move into my apartment and we saw the space, we were able to go out and get some more things for me. A cover for my couch. A set of sheets for the extra bed. (thanks, mom!). It was still several weeks before I got a pasta pot, some nicer silverware, and a TubShroom (I have long hair, and have to clean it out every few days). I didn’t know what I needed (except the essentials, which I either already had or was handed down from my parents) so I didn’t buy things until I knew what I needed.

3) Plan

To move, you need a plan. How are you going to get all your stuff there? A tip I have is to label boxes and keep the essentials accessible so that when you need your toothbrush, you don’t have to go digging 4 layers of boxes deep. Contact family and friends and ask if they can help you move. It’ll be a lot less expensive than hiring a moving team, and usually friends and family will do it for free! Or at least for the price of a homecooked meal or some cookies. (which reminds me – there are cookies downstairs. Be right back). Okay, my cookie fix has been satisfied (are there ever really enough cookies? Comment down below!)

If possible, plan at least a few months to move. If you have to, rent a storage unit closer to your new place for a few months. Even if you’ve decluttered, it’s almost guaranteed that you will have way more stuff than you think you do. Furniture, bedding, food, lights, first aid stuff, etc. These are a few things we forget when we are assessing how much stuff we have! Moving is stressful, and moving out of somewhere sometimes has time restrictions. You don’t want to push it up to the last second.

4) Research

Research the area in which you’re moving to. It is possible that you won’t need some of the things you needed in your current living area. Is there a donation space near your new place? How easy will it be to get fresh food? Will you need extra blankets for warmth, or would donating some to a donation place or a pet shelter be a better option? Does your new place have appliances included? What about basic furniture? Will online stores such as Amazon deliver to your door, or will you have to drive to pick up your packages? What about your mail? Are you going to use that bike you’ve been saving for years?

5) Consider all the possibilities

What will you do about moving heavy furniture? Hiring somebody for this is probably the better option, particularly if you are moving on your own. An injury on top of trying to move is more stress than you need in your life. Is there a better time to be moving? For example, if you have family at home during a few months, wouldn’t it be easier to move then, so you have help? (probably not if you have small children though – send them to grandma’s house! They’d love it)

What tips do you have for moving? Comment down below! Also, how many times have you moved in your life? I am curious.



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One thought on “Fiona’s Guide to Moving

  1. Carole Vincent says:

    When Willow went off to college in NYC (from Seattle), she had only what we could take on the plane. Over the summer she got a storage locker for the stuff she didn’t want to bring home such as bedding and winter clothes. Minimalism is the way to go!!!
    BTW, I enjoy reading your entries. 😀

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