I joke sometimes that perhaps I am supposed to marry someone in the military because when it comes to relocating, I am a pro. I've just completed my 18th move. You read that correctly; I've moved 18 times in 12 years, and have the chiropractor bills to prove it.
I don't brag about moving; in fact, I am quite embarrassed about it. There's nothing in me that has a vagabond spirit and yet an observing eye might think that I am unsettled. I've moved for work, I've moved for school, I've moved for love, but this time I moved to put down roots. This time I moved for me.
The way I see it, a single one of my moves generates money for the local economy, for there is the U-Haul to rent, packing tape to buy, and friends to pay (as volunteers ended around move No. 10). I'm sure that my family is pretty close to disowning me, but in actuality they have been more than generous with their time and energy.
The only way I can afford to move so often is to do it as cheaply as possible. I'm really quite good at organizing and editing things and I suppose the silver lining is that each move is an opportunity to purge or sell items not really needed. "Stuff" is a four-letter word to me.
As I was packing, I wrote down what I have learned when it comes to moving.
The first thing is: Hire movers. If that isn't possible, the short list of supplies that are needed to buy after collecting boxes from friends, family and work are: plastic wrap, bubble wrap, 40-gallon garbage bags, 10 to 20 bankers boxes, packing tape and a sheet of stickers in five or six colors.
Use the plastic wrap to tightly wrap all surfaces of your furniture, in a circular motion, to protect it from the perils of moving, using bubble wrap on corners and on anything else fragile. The garbage bags are a great way to move a closet, opening a small hole in the center of the sealed side for a grouping of hangers, covering clothes and then tying the bottoms off. That way if any clothes fall off the hangers, they are caught in the bag and won't fall on the ground. The bankers boxes are great for the little things because not only do they have handles, but the size makes for easy carrying.
I recommend also not to seal any boxes until right as you are walking out the door with them. Keep open boxes in every room and throw in the inevitable miscellaneous items that crop up at the end. When you do seal a box, add a colored sticker to the box that corresponds to the room in the new house where the box will end up. For example, boxes for your daughter's room will get pink stickers, and when you unload at the new place you will know which items go in her room.
One other vital thing to think about is that you should prep a box that should be the first one to walk in the new place with essentials for making it through the day. This box should include items such as: hand soap; paper towels, plates and cups; toilet paper; shower liner and plastic rings; sheets and pillow cases; utensils; bottled water; snacks; basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, flathead and tape measure); garbage bag; plastic tarp for trek-ins; scotch tape; and a cell charger.
I hope you don't have to move anytime soon, but if you do, I am busy on Saturdays. Forever.
LaBarbera works in the public affairs office of the Yosemite Community College District. Write her at email@example.com.