Moving Tips – Cross-Country or Hood-to-Hood

If you’re just checking in, we’re moving on Sunday! And if you’re counting (or have lost count), this will be the THIRD move since we left DC last August. For me? The fourth move in the past year, and this will be the first time I’ve signed a one-year lease since my Dietetic Internship (2008).

I may not have settled, but I have lived in some cool places:

2.7 0216.1 021Boulder 002

And, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two.

Here are my Moving Tips – whether you’re going Cross-Country, or just the next neighborhood (aka ‘hood’) over, these will be helpful. Trust me!

Padmapper.comthis site has become 1) an obsession and 2) my very best friend. Somebody told me about it last Fall, before we moved into Denver (from the suburbs), and words cannot describe how helpful this was. Staring at the bright white Craig’s List screen with addresses and neighborhoods that meant nothing to me was getting me nowhere. Seeing those listings on a map, with reference to places in Denver I was familiar with? A-mazing.

What makes it even better? Search specifics – set your price range, select options for image/no image, pets, sublets, full-leases, etc. Basically you create a map that only shows you exactly what you want to see. And from there, you can create alert with keywords and those specifics– choose the frequency with which you want emails letting you know that the apartment/house you want was just listed. Get on it! – the “walkability” of a neighborhood is a huge factor for me. Here, you type in your address and it will tell you the “score”, and also how close things like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, parks, trails, etc are to the neighborhood. If you’re very unfamiliar with the new town/city/county that you’re moving to, this can be a huge help when deciding where to narrow down your search.

Pricing – Depending on what you’re looking for, it may help to scope out apartment buildings in that area to get an idea for pricing. Even if you don’t want to live in that building, it gives you a comparison point for houses/condos in the same neighborhood.

In the weeks leading up to “the big day”, DO NOT buy:

     Large containers of anything, especially if you’ve got some distance to cover
this could include any or all of the following, depending on the journey at hand: shower necessities (spill = mess), condiments  or frozen foods (no fridge = spoiled), canned foods (heavy = ouch), laundry detergent (see :shower & canned foods) or baking supplies (again, see: shower & canned foods).

     Boxes! There are way too many other things you’ll be spending money on (security deposit, rent, things you “MUST HAVE” in the new house, etc), boxes can definitely be found free from many places.  Take it from someone who once paid almost $3 per box at a UPS store, while in an unpaid internship and before moving into DC (hello, expenses). Lesson learned.

     I’d suggest 1) a friend who recently moved (thanks, D’s coworker!) 2) any store – grocery, liquor, convenience or even a clothing store (ask when they get their shipments because, trust me, boxes galore!).

While you’re packing – PURGE! Go through everything you have –get rid of things you haven’t  used/seen/thought about in the past 6 months (seasonal clothes are an exception to the time rule, but I guarantee you can pare down the wardrobe, too). We’ve made an unprecedented amount of donations to Goodwill in the past year. We probably could’ve started our own store – or gone with “yard sale” idea.

Once you have your big pile of things you don’t need, go through everything again. Trust me, you’ll find more. And that means you’ll have less to pack!
Win, win.

Pack early, and live the minimalist life. Usually I assume the little packing I do leading up to The Day is helpful, but I leave out almost everything that I might possibly ever need in any situation. In other words, I pack books, picture frames and things on the wall. Everything else? But what if?!

Lesson learned: when moving day comes, and you haven’t used more than half of those things you haven’t packed yet? You’ll be one busy, exhausted, frustrated mover.

Instead, pack it all up! You probably won’t need it, and can probably live without it for a few days and will definitely be glad you have a few less boxes to pack when it’s finally time to move everything out.

Gather friends to help, if you can avoid paying movers to do the heavy lifting.

This isn’t any huge revelation, but I’ve done the solo-thing, and it may be the most inefficient system ever. Granted, there’s little you can offer the saints that help you move boxes in and out, and then in again, to make it worth their time. But, if you know good people (whew, thankfully we do!), they offer their stronger muscles, cars and helping hand. It makes a big difference!


This could go on and on, mostly with things I’ve learned the hard way. Things like don’t Race on moving day (Twilight 8K), don’t move in the middle of a DC summer (i.e. July, i.e. death), remember that old houses have Narrow doorways and staircases, start gathering newspapers early…..but those are all stories for another day.

What tips would you give someone on the Move? Or, what story taught you THE thing you need to know about relocating?



Filed under about me

17 responses to “Moving Tips – Cross-Country or Hood-to-Hood

  1. I’ve only moved a few times – out of my parents’ home when we got married, and then hubs and I have moved 2 times since. Purging is BIG for me and something I used to do on a regular basis (I have been slacking now that we have a basement to fill with JUNK – oops!). I am not a fan of clutter!

    Also – label boxes CLEARLY with what is inside and what room/area it needs to go to! I was lazy when we moved and there are still mysterious boxes foating around. Um, yes, 3+ years later. Probably could have purged most of that, actually. :S

    • Heather C

      Oh, the labeling – YES! So important. Not so much for our 1/2 mile move this weekend, but from DC –> CO that was huge. 🙂

  2. Labeling is key! When I did the FL to MI move I labeled everything clearly with it’s location and a summary of what it contained so that way I knew what immediately needed to be unpacked and what could be put to the side for later. I’m also a big fan of packing early, purging everything possible, and living the minimalist life for the 2 weeks leading up to the move. While packing for that cross country trip I also tried to load up on paperboxes from work to pack most of my stuff in so that was nothing was ever too heavy and almost everything could be packed nice and neat because they were mostly all the same size.

  3. Elizabeth

    Good luck, my dear. I have no words of wisdom, except to be patient with one another because no one likes moving.

    Also, we decided after I moved in that the next time we move, we’re hiring someone. It’ll totally be worth it.

  4. mamacita

    Oh my goodness – you are the Queen of moving. So glad you 2 are signing a one year lease. . .

    Love you lots, Mamacita

  5. Wait, where are you moving?! Just nearby?

  6. Instead of using newspaper use towels, blankets, sheets, etc to pack fragile things. You’d be packing those things anyways might as well get some use out of them. Plus it helps motivate you to unpack so you can make the bed or dry off after a shower lol.

    • Heather C

      Great point! We used kitchen dishtowels for some of the plates, and we use bed sheets/comforters for some glass plates that go with a hallway table & side-table. Very helpful!

  7. Oh my gosh, so thankful you posted that padmapper link! We are looking for places in the region but this link is great.

  8. I love this post! I’ve never even heard of those websites, so I’m so glad you shared them here. Good luck with the move on Sunday!

  9. Pingback: Out and IN: Moving Success | Dietitian on the Run

Let's Hear It!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s