It has been almost exactly one year since my big move from New York to Oregon. I can’t believe how much work the whole process was, but I know that it helped me to break it down into bite-sized chunks – otherwise I don’t know how I would have gotten everything done without getting overwhelmed.
I thought perhaps that after all the big decisions had been made to relocate to the opposite coast that the hardest part was over. I was wrong. There were a million tiny decisions left to make and as someone who struggles with decision-making it was a lot of work.
Here are 5 tips to help you manage your way through this process.
#1 Decide what you’re going to do with all your stuff.
Sure you could opt to just take it all with you, but moving is a great opportunity to sift through your things and make some hard decisions. Paying to move things that you don’t really want or need doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. Also it feels pretty amazing to start fresh without being weighed down by clutter.
I suggest starting this process as soon as possible. Go room by room and touch every single item and make a decision about it. Be honest with yourself. Be ruthless. Ask your self the hard questions. Is this something that you use or are you hanging onto it just in case? Do you love it? Is it meaningful to you? Set aside anything you plan to get rid of.
If you find yourself struggling at this point, here are few exercises that I found helpful:
Think about the layout of your new place and how you plan to live in and use the space. Go room to room with a sticky pad and label every piece of furniture, lamp or any item that takes up floor space with what room you intend to put it in at the new place. Doing this may help you realize that you won’t have a spot for everything.
It can also help to envision how you want the new space to feel. I was moving into an open concept floor plan and I didn’t want it to feel cluttered. I visualized a cozy and calm space decorated with items that had been lovingly curated, but with enough room to breathe. Recalling this image to mind throughout the process helped me make some hard decisions.
#2 Have a rummage sale
At this point, you should have a good sized pile of items to get rid of. If you think that you may be able to sell some of these items on craigslist or ebay, set them aside. For everything else, host a rummage sale and then take what doesn’t sell to the thrift shop.
#3 Start staging items to move
Now that you’ve cleared up some room, designate an area to start put items that you plan to move, but won’t need to use. Don’t box anything up yet in case you need to access an item later. Seeing all of these items in one place will give you an idea about how much stuff you’re going to have to move. It also gives you an opportunity to change your mind. I found that as I moved forward in this process my minimizing muscles grew stronger and when it came time to do the final packing of boxes I got rid of things that had made the first cut.
#4 Make some money to help offset moving costs
- Use Craiglist to sell furniture, decorative items, sporting equipment, and electronics.
- Ebay is a great tool for selling collectible items like vintage cameras, old baseball cards, concert posters, etc.
- For older pieces, you may want to contact local antique or vintage shops to see if they’re interested in any of your items.
- You can also create a group on Facebook and invite local friends and family. Once I created this group, I just copied and pasted the craigslist and ebay ads to the group. In this way, I easily sold a bunch of items to folks that I knew. I even sold off my houseplants this way!
When you have many items to sell it can be easier to batch process them. Take photos of them from multiple angles and note important measurements and details that you will need later when creating ads. Then create 5 to 10 ads at a time copying and pasting as many of the details as possible.
It’s important to stay organized at this point. I used a notebook to record the date an item was put up for sale, where it was placed (some items were listed on multiple sites), and the asking and sold price. I also used this sheet to help me keep track of the dates and times that I had people scheduled to come look at items.
If possible, schedule a final rummage sale two weeks before the move. Any remaining items that don’t sell on Craiglist or Ebay should be put into the rummage sale. Anything left after the sale was should be given away or taken to a thrift shop.
It can be a bit of work, but I was able to make enough money from selling items to cover all of my moving costs.
#5 Decide how you’re going to move your stuff
I considered hiring a moving company, but it wasn’t in my budget. I looked into renting a moving pod which seemed like a great idea, but they weren’t available where I lived. I thought long and hard about renting a moving truck that I could tow my car behind, but I was planning a 5 day trip across the country in August. With long days of driving, I knew that I’d much rather make that trip in the comfort of my car instead of the cab of a moving truck.
I opted to rent a tow behind trailer – this option won’t give you as much room as a truck, but it’s typically cheaper and will allow you to drive your own car. If you go this route, you may want to contact several companies for the best price and to make arrangement to have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle if necessary. You’ll want to reserve a trailer as soon as your dates are firm because pricing can fluctuate throughout the year based on demand. I was able to get the best pricing from U-Haul and was told that a reservation will lock in the current rates and should they decrease later they would be happy to adjust to the lower rate.