This Is the Key to Staying Organized Before You Make the Big Move

published Aug 25, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Alex Brannian

Moving is one of those massive undertakings that always takes one day longer than you expect. While furniture can be moved out in a day, it’s always those last small items from the backs of closets, the depths of junk drawers, and the bottoms of bookshelves that seem to take a total of 24 hours to corral and move out. You feel like you maybe have three more boxes to pack, but then the stuff somehow keeps coming, like it’s tapped into some mysterious, never-ending supply. 

I was reminded of this firsthand last month when I helped my parents downsize from a house to a condo. I, along with my friends, are also waiting for prices to go down on the housing market to buy a home, meaning rental trucks are hopefully on our near horizon. In the meantime, I found that pre-packing is the best way to stay organized before making the big move. And I don’t just mean packing boxes a month before the move-out date.

Instead, I’m starting to herd all the things we don’t really use and can live without for the next year and putting them away into bins and boxes. Rather than focusing on cardboard boxes at the moment, I bought about eight Costco storage bins (which I can then use in our garage once we find a place) and am packing away things that aren’t part of our day-to-day life. I chose these storage bins because they will be easy to grab and move when the time comes and they won’t get soft from the humidity or dampness of the basement like a cardboard box would. 

The things I’m packing right now are things we don’t necessarily need but like to own. For example, the first thing I stowed away was the extra dinner party plates and serveware I had stashed in credenzas and hutches. I bring them out for holidays and candle-lit dinner parties, but we’re opting out of hosting this year to make the process easier. We’re packing up extra decor like planters and frames that aren’t in use, and knick-knacks and candlestick holders that spruce up shelves but don’t necessarily need to be out. I don’t want the apartment to feel empty, but it also doesn’t need to be filled to the brim. I wrapped all the holiday decor in tissue paper but left out one box of curated and downsized items I can decorate my home with this year, so it still feels festive, but the bulk of the work is already done. 

Our closets are also getting the pre-packing treatment, where extra shoes and bags that are rarely worn have already been stored in their labeled bins, and special occasion clothes have been neatly put away. Once we know which season we’re moving in, the next step will be packing away the opposite season’s clothing. For example, if we know we’ll be moving during the summer, we’ll start packing our winter clothes in spring.

Essentially, we’re packing up the things we can live without but don’t want to get rid of or sell. We still want to keep them, but we can go without them for a year. Pre-packing these items will help save hours of work once the move begins and help cut back on stress when it feels like your “stuff” keeps multiplying and multiplying.