spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Tales from Home Moving

on May 14, 2015

As I mentioned before, we just recently moved.  As in, 13 days ago.  And yet, we’re completely unpacked except for the last few boxes of the kids’ stuff.  The boy’s stuff used to be mostly in the living room, so we need to work out what is going where now that he actually has a bedroom.  Everything else is in its new home.  There are some projects left:

  1. I need a piece of furniture to house my photo albums.  I counted 34 of my albums, plus my husband has another 4.  I’m debating what kind of item to get, since our windows are kind of funky.  The panes above waist level are solid and don’t open, the bottom portion has the typical jalousies of Hawaii.  So if I put a solid bookcase there to house the albums, it’ll block all the fantastic breeze/light that comes in.  Plus I’ll be super paranoid that it’ll tip over due to those same winds…it’s been very windy lately!  I’m sure I’ll think of something.
  2. I need some lighting for the kids’ room.  There is no overhead light, and I hate floor lamps in a bedroom.  I’ve been looking at battery-operated wall sconces, but the reviews are mostly terrible relating to battery life.  Lots of light comes into the bedroom during the day, so at most the sconces would be on for a few hours at a time in the evening.  I might have to break down and get a very bright table lamp- at least it won’t be on the floor.
  3. I must change out the bulbs in the living room ceiling fixture.  They are that horrible “cool white” industrial light of garages and bad department store dressing rooms.  Everyone looks like a zombie movie extra.  So I ordered the “warm white” bulbs and will make my husband tippy-toe on the ladder to change them out for me.
  4. I plan to recover the glider/ottoman we got for free from some friends who were moving back to the mainland.  We’ve had them for about 2 years, and the cushions are stained, but with a toddler in the house, it didn’t make sense to invest in steam cleaning or reupholstering.  Now that’s he almost a school boy (!), I can use one of those online tutorials to recover the cushions with upholstery fabric.
  5. Along those same lines, I’m going to make some covers for a “student” or “task” chair that belonged to my daughter.  She never sits at her desk to do homework, so she put a pull-out table with all her nail art supplies into the chair space of her desk.  That means mama gets a chair to dedicate to her jigsaw puzzle table!  Of course, the chair’s seat cushion has marker stains, etc., so I’ll be covering that.  Thinking of a subtle Disney fabric for that small project.

Anyway, how did I organize my move?  Well, first you need to know some details.  We moved just a few miles away from our old place, and the landlord said we could start moving boxes in ahead of our “big furniture move-in” date.  This meant that we could reuse our boxes and bins several times each, which of course isn’t always the case when you are changing homes.  Second, we were rearranging bedrooms:  in the old place, my husband, son and I were in the master suite w/attached bathroom, while my daughter had her own room and used the full bath that was also accessible to guests/visitors.  In the new place, the kids are sharing the master suite w/attached bathroom, and my husband and I are in the smaller bedroom and using the full bath off the hallway.  We decided to give the kids the bigger space because my husband and I spend relatively little time in our bedroom, preferring the hang out in the living room with its big TV and recliner sofa 🙂  My moving box/bin identification system had one big label, plus colored dots on all sides of the box so you could tell which room it belonged in (prior to moving day, I would have taped a piece of paper to the entry points of each room as a color-coding reminder).  The idea was to group like label-colored boxes together in the center of each room so furniture could be placed along the walls when it arrived and rearranged at our leisure.  BTW, I totally love rearranging furniture.  Really!  I find the Tetris aspect of it very relaxing. My system worked fine for the most part.

That blue bar is covering up our last name.

Here’s the label I made up.  I used Avery Shipping Labels, sized 3 1/3″ x 4″.  Item # 8164.  That blue bar is covering up our last name.

But- once my husband starting making boxes on his own during my work day, and then taking them over to the new place without my fancy labels, I lost the color-coding benefit.  He still labeled the boxes of course, but he wrote directly on the cardboard and only on one side, and he did not use any of the colored dots.  Further complicating matters, we didn’t put any of the kids’ boxes in their room at first because we did some wall painting in there and needed the floor to be clear for the dropcloths- so we got some “living room red” stuff mixed up with “kids’ room yellow.”  Still, if my husband hadn’t been so motivated to get stuff over to the new place, we would’ve had to make a lot more trips on moving day, so I’m grateful for that.  I’m also grateful for his previous experience working at a moving company- we only lost 2 items to breakage, and they weren’t due to poor packing.

Here's the label "in action."

Here’s the label “in action.”  This bin had the label on one side, then yellow dots on every other side of the box except the bottom.

These labels corresponded to a spreadsheet.  Here’s what it looked like as a list in progress.  The highlighted cells indicate that the items in the box are fragile- I highlighted the actual “content” section of the physical label with a yellow highlighter as well once it was on the box.  Finally, you can see the other color-coded tabs on the bottom.

label spreadsheet

Another aspect of moving is having to change your address with everyone and their mama.  I don’t want to miss any important mail, so for 3 months before the move, I recorded the mail that came in and made note of the sender.  I used that list to make a (what else?) spreadsheet:

change of address checklist

And then, about 10 business days before the move, I started changing addresses.  I began with the Postal Service, and I did that manually.  It is possible to do it online, but the USPS has to verify identify when doing it online, so I would have had to enter a credit card, etc, and I didn’t feel like doing that.  The form takes 10 seconds to fill out, plus, the packet comes with some handy coupons.  Hello, 10% off at Lowe’s!  We did one for each person in the house.

The, my husband and I started to do our lists, mostly online and via phone.  You’ll see on the spreadsheet that some cells are grayed out- that means the only one of us holds that account or membership.  You’ll also see some cells that are “merged & centered.”  That meant that either of us could handle changing the address on that account.  I’m glad we started when we did, because we got some address change confirmation letters sent to our old address.  I guess that’s a security measure?  Anyway, if you can believe it, the changes that took the most time were my daughter’s schools!  She’s finishing up middle school within the next month, so we needed to keep our address updated with them for receiving her graduation information and final report card.  It stands to reason, then, that we needed her new high school to have our new address as well, for information on the 1st day of school and registration day.  There’s a formal process with the Department of Education involving copies of the residential lease, utility bills, etc.  It took several days.  I’m happy to be done with all that.

We also did old-fashioned moving announcement for relatives/friends who send birthday cards and invitations.  We used this pattern and have gotten several compliments on them!  The link is from Snapfish, but I found the exact same ones at Costco and was able to use a coupon.

So this is my first post from the new place 🙂  Here’s a dorky fact: we changed cable providers, and now our package includes such high-technology things as digital cable and DVR, plus a bunch of channels we didn’t have before. A long time ago, I used watch a show on the Discovery channel that I loved, but then it stopped showing and I forgot about it.  Well, lo and behold, while scrolling through the huge list of channels, I saw the Science Channel- and my long-lost show was listed in the guide!  I’ve been binge-watching How It’s Made and loving every minute of it.  The items are random (today I saw chemical tanker trucks, frozen pizza, and portable solar panels amongst the various episodes,), the puns are awful, and the narrator is Canadian.  What more could a girl want?

As for the décor in the new place…in the wise words of Ron Burgundy:

Stay classy, internet.

Stay classy, internet.

One response to “Tales from Home Moving

  1. […] few months ago I wrote about moving into a new apartment. I love an organizational challenge, and putting our stuff away in all new places certainly […]


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