4 Truckloads (moving tips for pack rats)

4 truckloads.  That’s what the mover estimated it would take to move when she came through our house.


nothing like having someone else with experience tell you objectively how much crap you own.

The ruthlessness is not going as well as I’d hoped, because there is simply not enough time to be objective and make thoughtful decisions.

In order to move, we need to pack 2 rooms a week.  We have started with two of the hardest rooms: the Attic and the Craft Room.  8 large and heavy bags of garbage have left the attic, the rest is mostly boxed and ready for movers.  The craft room, because I did the clean out last fall, doesn’t have that much to be chucked/sold, so it seems like I’m not being as ruthless as I’d like.

One of the things that’s really hard is trying to pack in place.  I’ve combed the ‘net, there really aren’t that many tips on moving for pack rats.  In a room crowded with stuff, in a house crowded with stuff, you pack a box but you have no place to put it, and it gets in the way of packing other things.  I’m quickly coming up with some rules of thumb to make things easier to pack.

  • Work your way over to a wall, even if you have to temporarily move/pile things around you (try not to box yourself in dangerously).  As you pack things, start stacking boxes at that wall.  Work your way back towards the door.
  • Disassemble furniture if possible and wrap it up.  Disassembled furniture takes less room.
  • Keep a pile of various sized boxes nearby, unless you have help to keep fetching more.
  • Keep trash bags handy.  Use smaller bags you can keep next to you, and consolidate them into larger bags later.  You will be more likely to throw things out if there’s a bag there, rather than just tossing it in a box.  This is a great chance to reuse any shopping bags that didn’t get used for cat litter.
  • Keep a smallish “sell/donate” bag/tote/box nearby.  Empty it as it fills into the area you have set aside to hold these items.  Keeping this nearby will make it easier to make the decision to purge unneeded items.
  • Pick a limited set of clothing to wear until you move.  Use the stuff you don’t need as packing material where needed.  Keep a bag of these items near you when packing.  Saves on clothes boxes!  Just make sure you don’t pack it in a box you’re not planning to open anytime soon in the new house, or you’ll be wondering where those awesome jeans went!
  • If you don’t have a home in mind for an item in your new house, consider purging it.  I have a nice desk organizer I bought from Pottery Barn years ago.  I have no home for it in the new house, and when a friend expressed interest, I happily said he could have it.  If pressed, could I find a place for it in the new house?  sure.  but I know I’m better off without it, leaving room to enjoy the space rather than the things.

Got any moving tips for pack rats out there?

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