Friday, May 21, 2010

Moving Tips (aka: In which I sound like I work for Glad)

I hate moving. I mean, I really, really HATE moving. As you savvy readers may have sussed, I have a lot of crap. A lot of beauty product crap, to be sure, but my hoarding tendancies don't stop there. Books, cookware, barware, clothes, shoes... I just have a lot of stuff. So you can imagine that packing up all my crap just to schlupp it somewhere else and unpack it again is definitely on my list of least-favourite-things-to-do.

Incredibly, for someone who hates moving, I've moved an average of once a year for the past 5 years. They (the wise folks??) say that there are lessons to be had amidst adversity, so I thought I'd pass on some of the little tricks I've learned during my myriad of moves that have made life just a little bit easier.

1. Plastic wrap is your friend.
Most of us have those little cutlery organizers. A smaller subset of us have trays and mini-cubbies full of makeup. What is the point of taking out the contents of these containers to pack them up in boxes, only to have to unpack them again hours later? THERE IS NO POINT. Instead, just wrap up those suckers in plastic wrap, as though you were shrinkwrapping the damn thing. Then, chuck the whole thing in a cardboard box. When you get to your new place, just cut through the plastic, and... TADA! Your cutlery/makeup/art brushes/extensive button collection is all ready to go into its new home. Cutlery is one of those things you'll need right away after a move, and it's just such a relief to have it all ready to go, instead of sorting through a shoebox of knives and spoons.

2. Garbage bags may seem ghetto, but they are actually ghetto fabulous.
You have a lot of clothes, yes? Much of it on hangers? Along the same lines as the last tip, why take all your jackets and blouses and dresses off their hangers, only to have to re-hang them all at your new place? Instead, gather 6-10 hangers (depending on the bulk) with the clothes on them, and use masking tape to tape all the 'stems' (the straight bit just under the hook) of the hangers together.  Once that's done, just slip a garbage bag over the bundle, poking a hole at the bottom of the bag so that the hanger can go through. Basically you are fashioning yourself a big dry-cleaning bag. Tie up the ends of the bag (at the bottom of the clothes, so that nothing falls out), and you're good to go. The bagged bundles take up much less space than boxes, and once you're at your new place, all you need to do is tear away the bags and tape, and your closet is up and running. Obviously, this isn't the best idea for cross-country moves, but if your stuff will only be spending like an hour in a moving truck, this trick will do just fine.

3. Giant ziploc bags are both comical and efficient.
Have you guys seen these things? You can find them at WalMart or sometimes Canadian Tire. They are amay-to-the-zing. Exactly as advertised, these are huge-ass ziploc bags. But instead of Chex Mix or whatever, you put your neatly-folded up clothes into them. Each bag will hold about a drawer's full of clothes (depending on the size of your drawers, of course). First and foremost, gimungous bags are funny, and if you're going to make your friends help you schlepp your shit across town, you should at least also make them laugh. Secondly, unlike big bulky boxes, clear bags mean you'll see what's in each bag more quickly, without labelling. They also fit a lot better/easier into whatever nooks and crannies you find in your moving truck. And finally, once you've settled into your new place, the huge ziplocs double as laundry bags too. Genius.

4. Regular-sized ziploc bags are less hilarious, but still efficient. Like the Germans.
So, you guys know to store the nuts and bolts and screws from your dismantled furniture in a small ziploc, and to tape that bag to part of the furniture, right? Of course you do. What is it, amature hour here?

5. Mark very very clearly the box that contains the corkscrew / bottle opener.
Trust me, you may well find yourself casually hurling your umpteenth box marked "Kitchen Misc." at the wall after you've spent 30 mins searching for these objects. This also applies to a lesser degree to the shower curtain and toilet paper.

6. Throw money at the problem if you can. 
Having moved both with the help of my wonderful long-suffering friends and by hiring movers, I can tell you that the latter is like 8-bajillion times better (p < .01).  Seriously, I don't know how I can ever go back. But, if you can't, or don't want to drop the cash, be sure to cultivate as many friendships as possible with people who are easily swayed by promises of food and alcohol. (See also: making friends in grad school.)

No matter what, moving sucks. But, with these tips, hopefully your move can go a bit smoother than it might have. At the very least, you should be able to crack into that bottle of wine earlier. (Yes, I realize you haven't unpacked the box with your stemware yet. Why are you looking at me like this is a problem? Wine bottles are just like big beer bottles, after all!)

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