(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

When your apartment is torn apart, when there are more boxes than seems possible, when the bubble wrap is everywhere and yet somehow insufficient, and when your to-do list is a mile long (but you can't find it or a pen), the best thing to do might be the most counterintuitive: start another project. 

I'm in the middle of a double-move right now — I'm packing up my apartment in preparation for moving cross-country and we're packing up the SFMOMA pastry kitchen in preparation for a 3-year expansion project — and it's a little overwhelming... okay, a lot overwhelming. I don't like stuff underfoot, I don't like things out of place, and I definitely don't like adding scavenged and saved cardboard boxes to my schlepping, but it must be done. It's expensive, and tedious, and headache-inducing, and so, to soften the blow, I've started a side project that's making me very happy.

It's nothing big, just a mix CD for a gift, but it's the perfect project. I've been listening to tons of new music and forgotten favorites, a great soundtrack for packing. It's nice and neat, all contained on my laptop — no mess or piles or scraps. It's so satisfying to find just the right song, satisfying in a more immediate way than taping up a box is. I can work on it late at night or early in the morning, times when I really shouldn't be making packing/keeping/tossing decisions. 

And best of all, I theorize that it uses a completely different part of my brain than moving does. Most of my time is spent planning, strategizing, list-making, thinking ahead: Will I use this? Is it worth it to move it? What do I need to keep out? What can be packed away for a month? Don't forget to (fill in a million blanks here)!! Making a mix lets my mind dance around: What about that guy? Maybe there's a cover of that song... oh right, I heard they had a new album! When I just can't make another decision or list or plan, I sit down at the table, listen to a pretty song, and daydream about what's ahead.

Do you have any counterintuitive tips for getting through the packing and moving process? 

(Image: 7 Unique Ways to Prepare Your Home For Guests During the Holidays)