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Liz CA

Your best moving tips

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It's time. I have started with taking pictures and paintings off the walls BUT it has been a decade since we moved last.

Hit me with all your tried and true tips about everything to do with moving.

In case it matters:

No moving truck involved (most likely), just many trips with a truck. Friends with muscles (young and old) will help. Distance from one house to the other is about 10 minutes one way.

There is not a ridiculous amount of furniture but rather a ridiculous amount of books...

Edited by Liz CA

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Label everything well.

Don't overpack boxes.  Just because it all fits, doesn't mean it is a good idea.

I told DH next time we move that I am going to go out of town for a week and come back to him having it all done without me.  Sadly I don't think that would happen since I did almost all the packing, and DH just isn't a packer.

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1 hour ago, Liz CA said:

It's time. I have started with taking pictures and paintings off the walls BUT it has been a decade since we moved last.

Hit me with all your tried and true tips about everything to do with moving.

In case it matters:

No moving truck involved (most likely), just many trips with a truck. Friends with muscles (young and old) will help. Distance from one house to another is about 10 minutes one way.

There is not a ridiculous amount of furniture but rather a ridiculous amount of books...

Color code each room with packing tape or stickers. Amazon sells kits. If it comes from that room (or is intended for a room), tape/label the box accordingly!

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Yes to small boxes for books!!! This size is perfect.

Having actual moving blankets like professional movers use was SO helpful. If you shop around and buy in quantity (a dozen or so), you can get them for about $10-$12 each. Wrap your furniture in a couple moving blankets, hold in place with stretch wrap, and it will be well protected. 

Buy lots of packing paper/white newsprint and use it to both wrap things and add padding to boxes.

Label by rooms in the new house (blue bedroom, kitchen, etc.) so friends will know where everything goes.

Furniture sliders (like SuperSliders) can be very helpful for moving and positioning appliances and furniture.

Pack as much as you can as early as you can.

I love reusable, washable canvas tarps for keeping carpet clean when people are coming in and out with their shoes on. 

Best wishes! 🙂 

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Throw it all away.  Buy new when you get to your new house. 😎

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This is timely since I'm in the middle of packing up too. 

The only tip I have so far is that you can get tons of empty, smaller boxes at liquor stores!  They'll even have ones with the individual cardboard compartments (from wine bottles), which you can use for fragile items, glasses, etc.

 

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2 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Throw it all away.  Buy new when you get to your new house. 😎

Honestly, this is how I feel right now.  But, I've already gone through 2/3 of the stuff... the last 1/3 is killing me!  

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1 hour ago, J-rap said:

This is timely since I'm in the middle of packing up too. 

The only tip I have so far is that you can get tons of empty, smaller boxes at liquor stores!  They'll even have ones with the individual cardboard compartments (from wine bottles), which you can use for fragile items, glasses, etc.

 

Just be careful there are no roaches hiding in the cracks. Really. Esp if you gather them from outside near the dumpster. 

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Budget enough time to pack your kitchen. Then double it. 

Get lots of paper, more tape than you think you need, and boxes. Make up some of the boxes before you start packing because it's a pain to stop to have to put them together.

Don't leaf thru books as you pack, or you will get stuck reading several pages in each as you reminisce...ask me how I know. 

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With so many people in and out, make paper paths taped down with painter’s tape. (I want to say butcher paper, but I don’t think that’s what the brown rolls are called.). No one is going to take their shoes off and no one is going to want to sweep, vacuum, mop, or steam afterward. And heaven forbid it’s a muddy day!

Laundry baskets are just fine for clothes in a non-moving truck situation.

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Get rid of absolutely as much as you can...then get rid of more.

Visualize where everything will go in the new house and pack it up accordingly by room.  Label and/or color code the boxes by room.

Back a first day box with toilet paper for all of the bathrooms (think extra with lots of helpers), soap and towels for the bathrooms, paper products for feeding your crew, dish soap, a few dish clothes, the vacuum, medications, etc.   Things you need as soon as you get there.

Put fragile and important paperwork in your personal car.

Plan on treating your helpers to pizza, subs, etc and have bottled water available at both houses.

Downsize the stuff you are taking again.   Seriously.

I just did this last fall.  The kids and I moved about 8 miles away with the help of friends...one small box trailer, a horse trailer, and 2 utility trailers.

Once things are loaded up at the old house and the first load leaves for the new house make sure you have some workers to help unload the stuff at the new house.

Oh, and get rid of as much as possible before you move.

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Get a U-haul one size bigger than you estimate that you possibly need.  Have everything boxed and stacked before you pick the truck up. With some help, the loading  ramp on the truck, and that short distance you will be loaded and unpacked in a few hours.  With only a few miles to drive, even the largest truck will cost no more than $100.  A bunch of small trucks, and vans, and then having to lift everything up, and strapping everything down, will take take more effort than you can imagine.

 

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Assign the furniture to someone who knows how to move it without damaging walls, floors, and doors.  

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Even with a short move, box up things that won't be necessary right away, especially kitchen items and books. If someone has a wardrobe bar for their car, you could save packing up a lot of clothes. Also, if you're moving over a few days, then you could reuse some boxes. 

Also, purge now. Most of my moves have been fairly local, but we always ended up with a pile of trash and donations that were going to be a pain to move. 

Be sure to take lightbulbs out of lamps, use blankets to wrap large pictures with glass or mirrors. 

Invest in proper tie downs and make sure people know how to use them. 

If you have stuff that shouldn't be moved in an open truck, consider a UHaul van. In most places they're $20 for the day (not including insurance). They only seat two people, but they're quite spacious. 

 

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Don't throw it all away and buy new.

We have done that for the last few moves.  It gets expensive, and no matter how many times you say to yourself, yes, I'm just going to buy a replacement couch as soon as we get there - no, you're not.  You're going to think of a million other ways you can spend that $100 and you're not getting the couch for months.  Do not throw away the couch.

Do Kondo things.  Just not everything.

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I bought moving boxes from uhaul. The boxes have handles and are sturdy. All same size boxes made it so we could put more in the vehicles when moving. No wasted space from odd or different shape boxes. Uhaul used to buy back any unused boxes. Plus the boxes fold perfectly flat when stored till used again or given away.

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

With so many people in and out, make paper paths taped down with painter’s tape. (I want to say butcher paper, but I don’t think that’s what the brown rolls are called.). No one is going to take their shoes off and no one is going to want to sweep, vacuum, mop, or steam afterward. And heaven forbid it’s a muddy day!

Laundry baskets are just fine for clothes in a non-moving truck situation.

Yes! I was going to suggest something similar. Or as mercya said, canvas. We’ve used flattened boxes fully taped down on the sides to the floor to create the most used path from the front door to wherever seems right. 🙂 it’s super helpful protecting your floor, especially if you’re using those furniture dollies that are coming in and out, over and over.

get either the room labels from amazon that were rec above, or a set of colored sharpies to mark boxes (draw a big line across the box, ex blue/master, red/kitchen, etc). Go to your new house and tape a piece of paper to each room that’s either got the corresponding label, or sharpie color line, so helpers know where things go without asking you a thousand times  

get Hefty 2 1/2 gallon zip locks from amazon and put things in them to keep them together, and clean—utensils, kitchen drawer items, nightstand contents, underwear/clothing drawers, etc  

make sure the new home has a ‘need it now’ box with toilet paper, hand soap, paper/hand towels, etc

have a parts box  ***VERY*** well-labeled. You’ll guard this with your life  🙂 all parts go in it, and ideally are in zip lock bags labeled. So, a bed is taken apart, those parts go in a baggie labeled ‘master bed’ and go in the box . likewise with curtain rods, bookshelves, electronics, remote controls, washer/dryer parts, etc. 

i could go on and on, but I’ll stop there  🙂 happy moving!

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I've moved clothes many a time in trash bags (sturdy ones ordered online, but still).  They're easy to haul that way.

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I would rethink the No Moving truck plan.  They are pretty cheap and you'll have enough to do without making many trips back and forth.  Do you own a dollie?    If not, you need a nice one. 

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  • Purge / Kondo / Label (as already mentioned)
  • Uhaul boxes are significantly sturdier than the Home depot boxes.  Our local Uhaul also bought back our unused boxes.  They also sell boxes for artwork, mattress covers, and dollies.  
  • Pack small fragile items into empty shoe boxes which then can be packed into larger boxes.
  • Clean trash bags can also be used to pack bulky but light items like comforters, linens, towels, pillows, etc.  or even as a temporary garment bag.
  • Have a couple of large plastic storage bins with covers available. These can be used for odd shaped items and for need-first items (like box cutters and toilet paper).
  • Create an excel spreadsheet with box IDs (e.g. K11 for kitchen box #11) and key contents (because sometimes it takes a while to unpack).  (Mom, where are my cleats and shin guards?)
  • We were on a very tight deadline to move out, so I set daily packing requirements for the family based on an estimate of the number of boxes.  

Good luck!  HTH!

 

Edited by nhtwins
typo
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When you go to uHaul to rent a truck or trailer, buy boxes there.  Especially closet boxes. They are cheap and sturdy and make your life so much easier.

Don't just code rooms.  Also put a RED sticker on anything that's so important you'll need to open it right away.

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4 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

Just be careful there are no roaches hiding in the cracks. Really. Esp if you gather them from outside near the dumpster. 

 

Ew!   Well, anything outside will be dead because we're still coming out of winter.  But we get them from inside the liquor store.  That's a good point, though!

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7 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Throw it all away.  Buy new when you get to your new house. 😎


After our last move, DH looked at me very exhaustedly and said, "Next time we move we leave everything behind and walk out buck naked." 😂

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Since you are moving yourselves - I'd suggest move all the heavy items first when your worker bees are still willing and able; that way, as the day grinds on, you only have left the lighter and less cumbersome stuff left

 

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8 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Throw it all away.  Buy new when you get to your new house. 😎

 

You are not seriously suggesting I throw books away, are you????     😵

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You can also get duck tape in different colors.   We use that for taping boxes that go in the attic.   So, Christmas decorations gets Red Tape.   DD's too small stuff gets Pink Tape.  My few things get Blue Tape.   Maybe something similar for packed boxes.   The tape on the box is very easy to see no matter how the box is situated. 
 

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2 hours ago, shawthorne44 said:

I would rethink the No Moving truck plan.  They are pretty cheap and you'll have enough to do without making many trips back and forth.  Do you own a dollie?    If not, you need a nice one. 

 

We are going back and forth on the moving van thing. I need to check what the local UHaul charges for one day.

5 hours ago, Ottakee said:

 

Visualize where everything will go in the new house and pack it up accordingly by room.  Label and/or color code the boxes by room.

Back a first day box with toilet paper for all of the bathrooms (think extra with lots of helpers), soap and towels for the bathrooms, paper products for feeding your crew, dish soap, a few dish clothes, the vacuum, medications, etc.   Things you need as soon as you get there.

Put fragile and important paperwork in your personal car.

Plan on treating your helpers to pizza, subs, etc and have bottled water available at both houses.

Downsize the stuff you are taking again.   Seriously.

I just did this last fall.  The kids and I moved about 8 miles away with the help of friends...one small box trailer, a horse trailer, and 2 utility trailers.

Once things are loaded up at the old house and the first load leaves for the new house make sure you have some workers to help unload the stuff at the new house.

Oh, and get rid of as much as possible before you move.

 

Thanks for pointing out the TP and paper plates. This is something I may have forgotten in the chaos.  

5 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

Just be careful there are no roaches hiding in the cracks. Really. Esp if you gather them from outside near the dumpster. 

 

DH got a box from behind a hardware store and as he wrestled it to the car a roach ran out...he then inspected the box inside and out extra carefully for another family member of Mr. Roach but it seems he was single.

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1 minute ago, shawthorne44 said:


You can also get duck tape in different colors.   We use that for taping boxes that go in the attic.   So, Christmas decorations gets Red Tape.   DD's too small stuff gets Pink Tape.  My few things get Blue Tape.   Maybe something similar for packed boxes.   The tape on the box is very easy to see no matter how the box is situated. 
 

 

Last night I ordered the "moving kit" from Amazon - the smallest one since we only need labeling for main rooms, a sturdy moving blanket and a large mattress bag.

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On 5/2/2019 at 8:52 AM, shawthorne44 said:

I would rethink the No Moving truck plan.  They are pretty cheap and you'll have enough to do without making many trips back and forth.  Do you own a dollie?    If not, you need a nice one. 

This.  We have twice moved locally without a moving truck.  It is endless!  Each little trip barely makes a dent.  Do some trips like that, but pack as much as you can and have one big moving day.  Our big far away moves were so much less stressful because it all had to go at one time.

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I have done (and liked) a variation on the no_moving_truck plan.   It is good for local moves.   I rent a storage unit close to work.   Every night before work I load at least 3 boxes into my trunk.  Then on the way home from work, I drop them at the storage unit.   One of the advantages is that I'm cheap and it means less for the movers to move.  Those boxes of books are heavy and add up to $$$.   Then, the day of, I hire movers.   The other advantage is that there is that is that point in a move-prep in which you are overwhelmed with boxes, boxes, everywhere and you aren't half done yet.  This way, you visibly see your space clearing out as you pack.   Some days I'd be too tired to pack, and I'd cheat a little and throw already boxed into the trunk.  

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We moved recently and when we packed boxes we used green-yellow-red tape strip by where we labeled contents. Green was for things we needed to unpack right away (everyday kitchen stuff, bathroom essentials, etc.). Red was for things there was no rush to unpack- family photo albums, childhood keepsakes, Christmas stuff. Yellow was stuff we use but not essential. Embroidered linens, beach towels, dvd collection.  Dh and ds knew to work on green boxes first even though they probably wanted to walk down memory lane going through red boxes. 

‘We moved books in U Haul book boxes and were pretty diligent about listing what was inside each. The boxes are sturdy and easy to handle but stack very well. It’s been easy to sort and stack the books in the rooms where they’ll reside. 

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I would re-think the no moving truck. Get one with a ramp or low deck.  It will save the backs of your helpers and time and gas going back and forth.

If you absolutely cannot get a moving truck, have some helpers stationed at the new home.  They will be your unpackers.  Equipt them with box cutters, allen wrenches, screw drivers and other basic tools.  Station a few others at the old home, they will help load the truck(s) and clean up after the move.  Provide plenty of snacks and drinks at both locations.  Also, have a designated runner - this person will order and fetch lunch/dinner and any other necessary items.

Pack your books shelf by self and label each box - bookcase 1, shelf 1 ...  Also label your bookcases.  Use crumpled paper to keep books from shifting or bending.  That way you won't spend the next year trying to reorganize your books.  If your bookshelves are adjustable - remove the shelves.  Put the shelf-pegs in a labelled container.  Put the container in your unpack first box.   (Take this box to the new location with or before your first truckload.)

Label each box not only with its contents but also with its location in the new home.  Also label the shelves in your new kitchen or give your helpers a labeled diagram so they can start unpacking as soon as the boxes arrive.  Let your helpers know what your priorities are as far as unpacking - kitchen or bedrooms first?

Pack a few changes of clothing, pajamas, sheets, blankets, towels, and toiletries in suitcases.  Either take these to the new house the night before and place in the master bedroom closet or put them in the trunk of your car.  That way you won't have to unpack everything right away.  

If you are doing many trips with a pickup truck - move furniture first.  That way if you can't get everything moved in one day, at least the stuff you need the most help with has been moved.  Also, once the furniture is in place, the helpers you have stationed at the new home can arrange it and start unpacking boxes.

If using a moving truck - load boxes first. That way the furniture will be first off the truck.  It is easier to position furniture if boxes are not in the way and as boxes are unloaded designed helpers can immediately unpack them.

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If you need to wipe out cabinets and/or add shelf paper, do it in advance, so that when you arrive with boxes, you can unpack your dishes right away.

Eat everything in your freezer and pantry now.

Don't forget to forward your mail and change addresses for your bills.

We always find that there is still a lot to pack, when we feel we are almost done. I will look around a room, and it seems like I am almost at the end, and then it takes two more hours to finish. All of the last little bits add up to a bunch, especially in the garage. So leave more time than you think.

Also, the final cleaning takes a long time. Don't try to do that final cleaning on the day that you are moving; you will be too tired and busy.

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@Annie G - interesting idea to pack and mark by priority rather than by room. I ordered colored duct tape and can do it either way.

@Sherry in OH - Lots of great ideas. Moving furniture first does make more sense, however, I know dh will want to get smaller boxes over there, books and pictures we don't need. Perhaps stack a few things in the little storage room or in the garage. I would probably have never thought of packing a "go bag" for the first night!

@Storygirl  I won't try to do the cleaning the same day. I will be so exhausted. Good idea eating / cleaning out the freezer. The seller is leaving two fridges behind (he is moving out of state)  so we will probably only bring our small chest freezer as our fridge is 17 years old and a side by side which I would not buy again. 

 

Edited by Liz CA
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Along with the other great ideas, I will add that I made a "moving" tab on my phone's memo. I number my boxes. then put a description of the contents in my phone. The box will also have room designation on it. Creating the list in my phone is easier than paper.

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If you live in a two story house, get everything down stairs a few days before (or move a few boxes every day) so it is not as tiresome or make a chain of folks on the steps to pass boxes down. 

We are moving soon. I just emptied the side attic and took one load to Goodwill and am gearing up for a garage sale next weekend. I need to get the big attic emptied and sorted too. 

Best of luck!

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Other things I've thought about... I actually started emptying large storage spaces in our home months in advance.  So... places where we stick stuff that we might not even want to keep.  In our house, that's our attic and basement.  I ended up getting rid of probably 90% of it.  By starting on that early, I've had the time to bring things to consignment stores, sell things on eBay, donate, etc.  Now, when I'm getting down to the last four weeks, I can do everything else.  But it's SO much easier knowing that all of my piles and piles of assorted boxes and past items that I "might" use again someday have been sorted through and are done.

Another thing I'm doing is packing things together that can remain in boxes even after I move... things that I know I can just store at the other end.  That actually is a lot of our stuff!  We still have a lot of our kids' things, or kids' memory-stuff, family heirloom type stuff, old photo albums that I want to keep but won't be displaying anywhere...  I don't need them handy in our next home.  I just want to keep them.  So, they can go immediately into storage.   I label those boxes "Storage" and list what's in them somewhere on the box, and know they can be immediately put away and ignored.

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15 hours ago, Liz CA said:

@Annie G - interesting idea to pack and mark by priority rather than by room. I ordered colored duct tape and can do it either way.

We marked each box to indicate which room it went in- we had movers and wanted to be sure they did as much work for us as possible.  But when a room is filled with boxes, it’s nice to know which needed to be unpacked first vs which could wait. Even in my quilt studio I had boxes with red tape and waited weeks to unpack those. But those green boxes got me up and sewing quickly. 

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On 5/2/2019 at 12:02 AM, Carol in Cal. said:

Small boxes for the books.  Otherwise they get too heavy.  

 

Yep, this. And if you're not opposed to having liquor boxes, they're the best for books. They have to be sturdy to hold those glass bottles, so they're perfect for books. Call ahead to the ABC store to ask them to hold them for you. The one nearest me gets shipments daily. If you call in time, they'll hold them for you.

I pop in the front to tell them I'm there for the boxes and drive around back to load them in my car. It's a win-win. They don't have to break them down and I get free boxes to move books in. 

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If you have the time, try to purge before moving.  It'll stink if you move all your stuff just to give a lot of it away once you settle in!  

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Today I  have already put some books into the "discard" pile. Do libraries still take donations? Some of these are old textbooks that are not used any longer (from dh's university classes), yup we still have some of those...so they will probably be recycled. How about other books like short novels, etc? I hate throwing them into the recycle bin but I may have to.

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8 hours ago, Liz CA said:

Today I  have already put some books into the "discard" pile. Do libraries still take donations? Some of these are old textbooks that are not used any longer (from dh's university classes), yup we still have some of those...so they will probably be recycled. How about other books like short novels, etc? I hate throwing them into the recycle bin but I may have to.

 

Libraries vary in what they will take. Some will take bulk donations, cull what they can use and dispose of the remainder.  Other libraries will only accept books they want for their collections or are likely to sell at a booksale.  They are usually happy to get novels (long or short), children's books, and recent non-fiction.  Call your library and ask.  

Goodwill will take textbooks and clean books in poor condition, including used workbooks.  

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12 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

Goodwill will take textbooks and clean books in poor condition, including used workbooks.  

Our Goodwill wouldn’t take our textbooks or unused workbooks so we took them to a Goodwill in a neighboring town. They also refused them.  I’m happy to hear others do! I’ve bought used textbooks online and some are from Goodwill so I know they still take them. Wish they’d tell ours to accept them. 

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Boxes are actually a handy way to store books.    The trick is to have them well-sorted as you put them in the boxes, and they scale up easily.   So, for example, you might have a box of "biographies".   When that gets full you look at what you have and figure out how to subdivide that.    So, it might divide into "U.S. Presidents -  Biography" and "General Biography" or maybe "pre-1000AD Biography" and "post-1000AD Biography".    Then if the "post-1000AD" box gets too full, you might divide that into women and men. 

Fiction can be similar.  For example, we have a boxes labeled 'Early Dune' and 'Later Dune'.  

Books that are of current age-range and interest are on the bookshelves.   We have a LOT of books. 

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On 5/2/2019 at 9:23 AM, Liz CA said:

We are going back and forth on the moving van thing. I need to check what the local UHaul charges for one day.

 

When we moved 7miles from rental to rental when DS14 was a baby, rental to home when both kids were under 2, my husband used a minivan and flattened all the seats. He took three days. We don’t have a bed so the big furniture were just two cribs (dismantled) and lots of storage racks (dismantled).

My neighbor used his Toyota Tacoma truck and made a few trips for the big furniture; bed, dining table, sofa.

My neighbors who use UHaul rents the $39.95 truck. The $19.95 UHaul truck is too small unless your furniture is already dismantled IKEA style. 

Our libraries take all book donations then they sort. Those not sold go to the free to take pile.

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We had to move fairly quickly last spring when I decided that we didn't want to live in the other house while it was on the market. A realtor friend urged me to look at rentals in February and get that locked down versus waiting until the house sold and then trying to find something in the summer. I found a rental that fits us really well, and we had only a few days to sign and start moving because others were looking at it. It would have been nice if I had cleaned out prior to that, but I didn't.

We had teams from our church help us, which was really nice, but some of the college kids didn't label the boxes as well as I'd like. At least we got it done. They also cleaned after the boxes and furniture were gone. 

Thankfully a friend walked around with me and had me put all of the critical stuff into carefully labeled boxes so we were able to get functioning right away after the furniture went. Because of her, I knew immediately where bathroom stuff, dishes, cleaning supplies, and such were. She came over the day after the furniture and helped me get the kitchen and bathrooms set up. That was a huge help because I was really tired and stressed.

I'm still sorting through stuff a year later, but we've had a lot going on. 

 

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