219 How to Plan for a Move (or Declutter Your House!)
Ever felt overwhelmed by the mere thought of moving or decluttering your home? Well, you're in for a treat because, in this episode, I'm revealing a stress-busting plan of action based on my own experiences with multiple moves. Learn how to methodically list every item in your house, begin packing well ahead of time, and master the art of categorizing your belongings into keep, throw away, and donate piles. Trust me, whether you're in the midst of moving madness or simply yearning for a tidier living space, this episode is a must-listen.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Step-by-Step Packing Strategy
- Importance of Early Planning
- Decluttering as You Pack
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Hey friends, welcome back to the podcast. So today's episode before if you are not moving, hang tight, because I want to tell you why I would still encourage you to listen to this episode. So this episode is a kind of step by step strategy If you ever find yourself in a position where you are moving, like you're actually packing up your home apartment living space and moving somewhere else. It is a strategy I have used multiple times because I have moved many, many times in my life. Now, the reason why I want to tell you, even if you're not moving, to listen to this is if you are someone that maybe is thinking about. It is really time to kind of go through all my belongings and things are starting to feel a little cluttered or out of control and I'm looking around at all the rooms and where I live and thinking where do I even start? The step by step strategy I'm going to lay out here today can also be used when you are just wanting to do kind of an overhaul, on going through your stuff and thinking about what do you want to keep, what do you want to get rid of, and it's a very systemized way of doing it that you can break down into bite-sized chunks. So, as you're listening to it, realize this isn't just if you are packing up all of your belongings, but it's a good way to review and kind of take inventory of everything that you've got. So let's go ahead and jump in.
Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram @megansumrell, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Hi there, welcome back to the Work Life Harmony podcast. On a recent call with my top program students, every month I hold a live call where people get to submit questions or come on live and ask me questions about all things time management, organization and productivity, along with planning. A conversation came up asking me do I have any tips on how to plan and prepare around moving? And I will tell you, I love this topic.
So I grew up in a military family. Now, we did not move as often as some other families, I know, but we certainly had our fair share of moving. And then, when I got out of college, I think I counted one point within a five year span, I think I moved five or six times just in one five year window between apartments and moving. And then I ended up moving states. So I had to pack up everything and leave Virginia and move to North Carolina. And most recently, just about three and a half four years ago, we were in a position Some of you may already know my family had the crazy opportunity to be on the HG TV Lovator Listed Show and part of that process meant that we had to, on our own, pack up our entire home, every single thing we owned.
We needed to pack it up and get it moved into pods in order for the home renovation. I'm talking every room, every closet, everything. So I have had my fair share of getting a house packed up and ready to move and then unpacking on the other side. So I wanted to take time today and give you a few tips for any of you that are preparing for a move on how to make the packing part of moving much easier and less stressful. Now I am not going to be discussing tips around planning on buying or selling homes. This is really just around a very systemized strategy to help you get your house packed up ready for a move.
I had a dear friend that was moving this past summer and I went to her home about three days before they were scheduled to get on the road and move. It was a similar situation. They packed up their own home themselves into pods, were getting those pods moved. I remember I walked into their home three days before they were scheduled to pull out of the driveway and I took one look around and I knew it's like there's no way you are actually getting out of this house in three days. My heart broke because I wish I'd been able to have helped sooner in the process. They did eventually move, but it was four days later than planned. I want to help you avoid that, because I promise you this packing up your stuff is always a lot more than you think it's going to be. Let's walk through the steps that I recommend.
First and foremost, the best place to start is to whether you want to do it on paper or digitally, totally up to you. I encourage you to make a list of every room in your home, both inside and out. Maybe you have a garage, maybe you have a screened-in porch, maybe you've got a crawl space. Those all get included as well, and separately, or also on the list to itemize every closet in your home, because the closets will get you if you don't list those out separately. For example, let's say you live in a three-bedroom home. Your list might include dining room, kitchen, living room or rec room, family room, whatever you call it. Or maybe you have two different ones. Maybe there's an office master bedroom. If you have a kid's bedroom or a guest bedroom maybe guest bedroom, master bathroom, guest bathroom, hall bathroom then you might have a linen closet. Maybe you've got the closet in bedroom, one closet in bedroom, two, so on and so forth. Let's say you're even just in a one-bedroom apartment. Mentally you're like of course, I know all the spaces, but you really need to list them out. You're going to create the list of every room and every single closet in your home, with each row being one either the room or the closet.
Your second step is to look at when do you need to have everything packed up and then do the math to calculate how many weeks do I have? Maybe your move is scheduled for six weeks from now. So you're recognizing I have six weeks. So, before you start packing, here's what I want you to do I want you to map out, based on the number of rows that you've got, how many of those rooms and closets and how many weeks. Create your first draft plan of how many of those rows do you want to tackle each week, so that you are slowly chipping away at it. And when I went through most recently packing up our entire home, getting it boxed and into pods, that was the time I actually had five weeks to work with to get the entire home, including everything off the walls, all of it, packed up. And so when I went through that process, including all the closets, et cetera I knew I needed to tackle three of those things on my list every single week so that it wouldn't all be piling up, and I was packing boxes at three o'clock in the morning. Okay, so now you've got your list and you've got your tentative plan of how many of those you're gonna tackle each week.
Now the next thing that I want you to establish is to decide where in your home, what is a dedicated place that you will, and your family as well, have to put the items that are not getting packed. Meaning, let's say, you're doing a drive-across country for a move, that means maybe they're going in the car with you or maybe they're going on the plane ride. Now, if you're doing a local move, this might be things that you just wanna drive yourself over to your new home, apartment, et cetera. But I want you to have a dedicated place where you are putting those objects that you're saying these don't go in a box. And the reason why you need a dedicated place to do this is because if you tell yourself like, let's say, you're going through a closet and you go, oh, I'll just leave the stuff in the closet that I'm not packing. What happens is is, if you leave the stuff in their spaces that you're deciding you're not going to pack and you can't see them all, it will get away from you Meaning when the time comes to move and you start going. Oh well, yeah, let me get my little duffel bag out and put the stuff in it that I said wasn't going in boxes. You're gonna end up needing 20 duffel bags. So by having a dedicated place that you can see, it makes sure that things aren't getting out of control, and or you don't have duplicate stuff, right? Maybe you don't need eight towels that aren't getting packed, maybe you only need one or two. So find that dedicated place where you will physically put the things that you are not getting packed, and you may need more than one spot in your home. For instance, maybe your whole family agrees that there will be a certain room near the bedrooms that stuff that's not getting packed goes, and then maybe a spot downstairs if you have a multi-floor home. All right. Now let's move into the actual physical act of packing.
When it comes to getting started, I encourage you to start first with your kitchen. The kitchen, typically, is the one that has the most boxes. Again, not true for everyone, but it's sneaky because there's typically a lot of cabinets, pantries, all of that associated with the kitchen. But there's more in there sometimes that we realize Now when, any time I've had to pack up my home, I actually divide my kitchen into two, meaning I will tackle the kitchen first, doing the first pass of packing all the stuff that I know I don't need. You know like in my situation I had five weeks. Everyone thinks I'll pack the kitchen last because we need our dishes etc to live with. Yes, but I guarantee you there's a ton of stuff in your kitchen you can pack ahead of time that you aren't going to need to touch. So I always start with the kitchen and do my first pass of packing up anything and everything in the kitchen that I know I can live without until my move is complete. So maybe you've got birthday cake pans, or you've got muffin tin specific to holidays, or all those baking supplies that you only use once or twice a year that you know you're not going to need for the next five weeks. So divide the kitchen into two packing sessions. Packing session number one you tackle it first and then your final kitchen pack can be right before you move, when you can finally, you know, pack those last spoons, forks, couple of plates and glasses that your family may have been using for the last five weeks.
Okay, so, now that we're into that actual packing, anytime you go into a room or a closet to pack, you are going to have three categories of things. Category one is yes, this is moving, it's going into my box. Category number two is it's I don't need this and it's something that I can actually just throw away, meaning this isn't something I can actually donate. We all have that stuff, right? You're opening up that junk drawer in your kitchen and you're finding that you'll almost worn down eraser or the ripped pieces of paper or the half used post-it note. Right, those are the things I'm talking about. You need to have a place, and usually I have a trash bag next to me saying, okay, if it's trash, it's going straight into the trash bag. And then the third category is donating. Now I encourage you to get an established box or bin. That is the donating. So let's say back to our kitchen. You were sitting down and doing the first pass of your kitchen. You're going to have your trash bag and you're going to have your donation box and then you're going to have the boxes that you're packing in.
So, as you are going through the packing, you are decluttering while you pack, and this is why starting early is so important. If you are down to the wire, you're like I have two days and I've got to pack up my entire home. You're not going to have the time to thoughtfully declutter as you pack. You are literally going to be like those scenes where you take your arm across the cluttered table and just be shoving everything into a box and you are going to end up packing so much stuff that on the other side you're like this is a nightmare. So, as you are going through your items, ask yourself do I want this to move with me? If yes, it goes in the box. If no, is it trash or is it donating and then put it in its appropriate spot.
Now, with the first two or three packing sessions that you do, like the, maybe the first room and the first closet, time yourself to see how far did you get in a given amount of time. So, for example, maybe you packed for one hour and you realized, wow, I got one closet done in an hour. Or I got a third of this room packed in one hour. And the reason you want to do that is we need to go back to our plan as soon as possible to ask ourselves is this a good one? So back to the example I gave.
When I had five weeks and I was looking at what I had mapped out, I was like, all right, I got to tackle three of these rows every single week on my list in order to not have it catch up with me. Well, I timed myself the first couple of packing sessions that I did. Now, in my situation, the end date was the end date Cause after I went through my timing, I was like oh, this is gonna take more time than I thought. I was like I wish I had two more weeks because, realistically, with the time I thought it was gonna take, I'm probably only gonna get two rows, two of these rooms, done a week Now because my end date was fixed. What that told me was I needed to plan for more hours each week to pack in order to get three of those rooms done. So I can remember when I went through, I had planned out okay, three rooms a week. I am going to have a three two hour packing sessions every single week, and that's gonna get me there. Well, after I timed myself on the first week, I realized, no, I'm actually going to need more. Instead of the six hours I thought I would need a week for packing, I was actually going to need closer to eight and a half to nine. Now the good news is you find that out early. Then I was able to go adjust my calendar and block off the appropriate time that I needed to make sure that I was able to stay on track with getting those three rows on my list done every single week. So once you've started that packing process, your first couple packing sessions time yourself to make sure that you are allocating the right amount of time and that that initial draft plan that you created is actually a good one.
Now the last step in this is, as I was talking about. When you're packing up each one of these rooms and you've got the stuff that you're boxing up and keeping, you've got your trash and you've got your donation is schedule time. Either every other week or every week. Your needs will be different depending upon how much stuff is getting thrown away and or donated. You may need to plan a run to, say, the dump or your local donation center every single week to help keep up with the pace of the decluttering as well. So that will be unique to everybody. Some people may not have that much stuff. They may run pretty lean and mean already, and so they might realize you know what I can pack for a couple of weeks before I have enough stuff to warrant my time to fill up the car and go take that run to the dump or the donation center.
Now I'm gonna recap all these in just a second, but my final piece of advice don't do this alone. Learn from my mistakes, please. When we were packing up our home, it happened to coincide over the month of December, during the holiday season. So you know, as some of us can fall into that typical martyrdom again, I'm still a work in progress, and this was almost four years ago. I would have done it differently today. I took this task on pretty much all myself, instead of saying and sitting down with a family and saying here's the list, here are the places I need you to pack, here's what I'm going to pack. Now, it's not to say I did every single box myself, but I would say I probably did 95% of them and I didn't need to.
So let's recap a good strategy to help you get your house packed in a less stressful I'm not gonna say stress-free friends. Moving is stressful, it doesn't matter how organized you are, but it can be less stressful. So first, make that list of every room and every closet and have it stored, either paper or digitally. Second, calculate how many of those do you want to tackle each week between now and your move date. Get that draft plan in place. So in my example, my original plan was I gotta do three of these every single week to hit my deadline. Then establish the place in your home that you are going to store the things that aren't getting packed, that either are flying with you, driving with you, or you yourself are physically putting in your car and moving to your new location.
And then, now that it's time to start with the packing, start with your kitchen. First, do the first pass of your kitchen. When you sit down to pack any space in your home have your packing boxes, your trash and your donation bins. So everything must go in one, three of those, or it gets physically moved to the dedicated space in your home for the things that are not getting packed. And remember time yourself on those first couple packing sessions so that you have a clear understanding of is your plan a good one? Are you going to be able to get there? How much time do you need each week realistically to stay on track? And then, finally, don't do this alone.
When you have this kind of a plan in place, it is so much easier to delegate and spread the load with the people that you live with. Or even if you have a friend, maybe you live alone and you're packing up. You could call some friends and say I'd love to have a packing party one night. Well, when they come over, you want to get the most out of their time, right? So if you're able to tell them hey, I would love for you to do this closet and this closet, I've already pulled out the stuff that doesn't need to get packed, so if you could just pack those, that would be great. That is such an easy way to enlist help from others that might be willing to say I'd love to come over for a packing party. So I hope that you have found this helpful. If you know anybody that is moving, by all means I would love for you to share this episode with them so that they might be able to make their packing a little less stressful.
Now, if you are new here and you're thinking, ok, these tips were great to help me move, but what about the rest of my life? The rest of my life is feeling kind of overwhelmed. If that is the case, I would encourage you to go check out a free training that I have available for you, called how to Plan, Manage and Schedule your Time, even with a crazy and unpredictable lifestyle. You can go grab that at www.theworklifeharmony.com. Just sign up for it there and I will deliver it right to your inbox. Have a fantastic day.
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