What Really Happens When You Move

I’m fortunate to be working with four different families who are moving right this moment. Two are moving across town, one is moving out of state, and one is moving out of the country. All of these folks either travel frequently or have multiple homes, so it’s been interesting to watch them move out of their primary residence and help them stage their home for sale. There are these moments that have happened in each situation that my team can almost predict down to the minute. In case you are planning for a move in the near future, let me help you anticipate for this shocking moment that typifies what really happens when you move.

What Really Happens When You Move

At some point before the move, you’ll begin to wonder, “Where is all my stuff going to go?” If you are downsizing, this is particularly important, but it’s also important if you are moving into a new house and have some means to buy a few pieces of new furniture (or a lot). This is particularly important if you are planning to become an RV full-timer for a bit, or if you are moving to a smaller flat or apartment, as is the case with some of my families.

If you are moving to substantially smaller digs for a bit, but planning to buy a house roughly the same size as the one you are leaving within a year or two after moving, then this one of the few times when temporary storage spaces make sense. After all, if you fully intend to set up your heirloom king sized bed and Grandma’s china hutch in your new abode, it has to go somewhere for a short time, and a climate-controlled, inside storage unit can be worth the relatively small price to store it safely.

But if your current furniture mostly consists of mid-level furniture and assorted IKEA pieces, then I urge you to really think about this. In order to store your stuff, you’ll have to:

  • Hire a mover (yes, you could DIY this, but all of my families described here are way past the point of paying their college buddies with a case of beer for labor, and besides, their stuff is too nice to trust to inexperienced movers)
  • Buy packing supplies, boxes, crates for mirrors and artwork, packing paper, and bubble wrap
  • Rent a storage unit (typically $100/300/month)
  • Pay for rental insurance on the unit (usually required by the storage company, but always a good idea)
  • Eventually hire a mover to put things back in your new home, which can be even more costly if you’ve moved out of the area

By the time you’ve had your things in storage two years, you could easily have paid over $5,800 for storage and moving, and that could buy a lot of new stuff!

Of course, if you are storing Grandma’s hand-carved wooden china cabinet, then by all means, it might totally be worth it. But if you are saving the furniture from the basement and your dishes that you used in college, in order to pass them down to your children who will eventually “need something when they move away from home,” let me tell you that your kids are going to much rather have $40 to buy a new set of dishes at Target rather than have to unpack your dusty old things from storage. I hate to be the one to break it to ya, but it’s true.

And even if you aren’t storing things to pass down to your youngsters, what about yourself? If your sofa or bedding is over 10 or 20 years old, don’t you deserve an upgrade? I can’t even count the number of clients who end up in a new condo/home/apartment and decide that their furniture is the wrong size/color/style/century. If you have the means to refresh your home’s look, it’s best to figure that out before putting things in storage.

[bctt tweet=”If you have the means to refresh your home’s look, it’s best to figure that out before putting things in storage. #staging #organize” username=”DarlaDeMorrow”]

So what about those few things that you can’t replace at a retail store? Your memorabilia? Your photos? Your framed family portraits? Your hard drives of family videos? Well before getting your packing underway, I highly, highly, highly recommend getting those things scanned, digitized, and backed up in cloud storage and/or a permanent photo storage service like Forever. (affiliate link) It’s a relatively inexpensive move compared to all the other expenses of moving, and you’ve been meaning to do it anyway, right? You can still send your originals to storage, but if the climate control fails, if your stuff gets infiltrated by critters, or if your storage facility has a flood (all of these things have happened to me or my clients), your photos are still safe and ready to pass down to your kids.

This big aha moment that all four of these families (and countless others) get to right at the end of their moving process, is when they say to me, “I’ve been moving for weeks or months, and I’ve already moved everything that I care about, and yet there is still so much stuff left!!!” They go between instructing me to donate it all, only to look over my crew’s shoulder as they cherry pick a few last items that they want packed. Or they go they other way, telling us to go ahead and pack up everything left in the kitchen, only to realize as we empty cabinet after cabinet, that we’re looking at a bunch of single, mismatched glasses, an entire drawer of plastic with no lids, and random dishes that are no longer their style. And silver! So much silver that they have not used in decades and no one wants to polish!

[bctt tweet=”Don’t get to the final days of your move and say, “”I’ve been moving for months, I’ve already moved everything that I care about, and yet there is still so much stuff left!!!” #organize #moving http://HeartWorkOrg.com” username=”DarlaDeMorrow”]

You might have seen all this coming, but here’s the last big aha moment of moving. Here’s what really happens when you move. There’s an awkward period when you are still living in the house, and so you need glasses, a flower vase or two, and a can opener, but you don’t really want to move any of that to your next place. If you can get down to the bare essentials, knowing that they are all things that you’ll donate to Goodwill on your last day in town, that’s excellent. More often, I see families mixing the last few good dishes with the ones they don’t want to keep. They leave a few things in the closet (always a good practice while your house is on the market, so it doesn’t look like the house is abandoned), but they still need to weed through them to find the keepers. This kind of thinking leads to the thinking that you are “almost done,” when in reality, you still have a couple of days left for sorting, packing, and decluttering. Which, of course, means that there are a last few boxes to move into the new home (or storage). But by then, the new place already feels full.

This happens every. single. time.

Did any of these big moments happen to you the last time you moved, or had to move a buddy of yours?


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lisa

    yes, I’m missing the weekly blog. I would also like to order some CD’s from the annual meeting. I have before, how can I do it now? Thank you, Lisa

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