Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Well we've survived two weeks in our new apartment and despite several set backs, (no window screens, no cable or internet, a fire alarm that goes off even if you are only boiling water) we are loving our new abode! The whole moving process was, in retrospect, not so bad. I thought I'd share some moving advice as someone who has moved a grand total of 14 times in the last 16 years. (Yes, I also count all the summers I had to move from one side of campus to another in college. It takes mad skills to carry large crates of textbooks across a quad, people!)
The best advice I can give when it comes to moving is to keep up the momentum. Start packing early and then don't stop until you have unpacked as much as possible once you get to the other side. There is no reason to be living in utter chaos for longer than a weekend. Above is a picture of my room the day after we moved in. Still a disaster zone but only a few boxes left!
The week(s) before you move, get rid of as much stuff as possible. Moving is horrible and awful and just plain no good BUT it does give you the opportunity to reassess what you own and why. I threw away or donated a lot of items ahead of time and it felt glorious. That ugly fruit bowl that I'd inherited from my parents? Curbed! Those hideous throw pillows I hid in the ottoman? Garbage! Those ill-fitting jeans I used to wear just because I was too lazy to buy more? GONE! As a result, everything in our new apartment is something that truly belongs there and we aren't weighed down by 12 boxes of magazines we won't read. Another word of advice: color code your boxes as you pack. I used different colored sharpies to identify the contents of each box and which room it belonged in and that made it easier to separate everything once we were in the new space.
On moving day, do yourself a favor and hire movers. Sure, convincing your friends to help out in exchange for beer is cheaper but how much do you trust your friends when it comes to moving fragile furniture or electronic equipment? Hire professionals who will do everything for you and then you won't have to worry about anything. Also, let's be honest here, your friends don't want to help you move. As awesome as you are, no one wants to carry your 50 lb TV up four flights of stairs unless they are getting paid for it with real money. No amount of beer and pizza is going to be worth the ensuing back pain and your friends would probably just complain about it to their other friends. By hiring movers, you can also spare them the effort of coming up with a plausible excuse for why they won't be available that day.
Once you are safely ensconced in your new house or apartment try to resist the urge to arrange your boxes into an elaborate fort and pretend you are in a giant Nintendo game. Instead, get to work! Sure, you're probably exhausted by this point because if you are like me, you stayed up all night frantically shoving stuff into boxes and worrying that your last roll of tape was going to run out at any moment, but don't stop believing! Keep on keepin' on! Walk through that storm! Unpack as many boxes as you can right away and don't think about all the time you spent packing them in the first place because that will only make you depressed and send you running to your new local bar. Chug some Red Bull like the champion you are and tear through that shit. Seriously. It will be the most rewarding moment of your life when you have filled a cabinet with your dishes and already three boxes are unpacked.
Unpack and arrange your kitchen first. Why? Because I said so. But also because it's easy. You already know where stuff should go: In cabinets. Appliances on the counter. Cutlery in drawers. Blammo!
Next do your bathroom. Also easy. Hang up a shower curtain, throw your toothbrush on the sink and unpack some toilet paper. Done! Don't you feel so productive!?!
The living room and bedrooms are harder and I like to leave the bedroom last because that's the most sacred space but also because it involves arranging and organizing books and clothes which is the Worst.
Important---> Don't phone it in. Use this opportunity to organize your new space and do it well! Don't shove things in closets thinking you'll find a home for them later. You won't. It will all stay in that closet until you move again and then you'll feel bad about yourself. Instead, take the extra 10 minutes to figure out where that vase or lamp should go and then put it there.Also Important---> Keep a running list of stuff you need for the apartment. Who ever thinks to buy a new toilet brush in advance? No one. Tape a big piece of paper to your fridge and as you run around unpacking like a mad man/woman, cursing yourself for throwing away the ice cube trays, write stuff down!
Within a few days, you should be comfortably settled in your new place. We were because I'm awesome and also sort of like a crazy dictator when it comes to moving. Don't think it is OK to unpack DVDs 'next week'. Unacceptable. Do it now.
Don't fret about decorating. That comes with time and it's OK to keep your artwork propped against an empty wall for the time-being. You have to get a feel for the space before you make any monumental decorating decisions anyway. Even though we're all settled in, we've decided to wait a few weeks before we tackle larger projects like hanging art work and buying rugs. I feel OK about this because at least I know where my DVDs are!
Pictures and progress reports soon!
Photo Courtesy of: Mia G for w*ink