It’s been said that moving is one of the top 5 most stressful life events –
- Death of a loved one
- Major illness or injury
- Job loss
And often moving must happen because of one or more of these life events!
While there’s no way to make moving completely stress-free, with some forethought you can keep the move manageable. There’s a lot to cover so we’re going to talk about moving in three phases:
- Planning Ahead
- Start Packing
- Moving Day & Beyond
Plan Ahead & Start Early
This is probably the biggest key to managing the stress of a move. Having enough time to organize all the moving parts (pun intended) and stay on top of details keeps you feeling in control. Often the timeline of a move will feel like a ball rolling downhill, picking up momentum and going faster and faster – the closer you get to move date the shorter each day will feel!
- Ideally, a minimum of 2 months before your move schedule movers and start to tackle problem areas, room by room.
- Decide if how much packing and moving you’re doing yourself vs. hiring help. If you’re going the DIY route, allow for more time. If you’re hiring packing help, you’ll need to pre-sort things to avoid having boxes of mixed-up stuff to untangle at the new home.
- Moving isn’t inexpensive! If you hire help for packing and moving, even for a local move, expect to pay a few thousand dollars. Hiring help can be well worth the value. With someone to schlep boxes, you’ll be able to focus your energy on decision making rather than physically wearing yourself out.
- Know the limits of your new space and let that guide your purging, especially for items such as photos, memorabilia and books. Floor planning ahead of time gives you the exact reality of what will fit in your space. You want to make sure the available storage will hold whatever you bring.
- Honor your own limits of time and energy for combing through these things in order to weed the collections.
- Think about what to do with everything you won’t be taking with you. Decide if you want to sell anything via a garage sale, estate sale or online. Identify local donation places and find out if they do pickups. You will have leftovers that can’t be donated; identify haulers or find out your city’s policy on bulky pickups as part of your trash service.
This first phase of moving is all about getting a handle on the big picture and getting through as much of the sorting and purging as possible.
Even if you’re not moving now and just considering it for the future, the process of sorting through things and paring down will make you more nimble if and when you decide to move.
Here are 5 of the most common hurdles we see folks face when trying to shed off things they no longer use and need:
It’s Too Precious for Goodwill
- Find a charity you like and believe in and one you feel really appreciates your donations – it will help ease your attachments and satisfy that need for things to go to a “good” home.
It’s Worth Too Much To Give Away
- Are you sure? What you paid for it and what it’s worth now are rarely the same. Get confirmation from an auction house (usually can text pictures or bring things in on a free appraisal day). If you find out it’s not worth what you thought, you may be willing to just donate. And if it really is valuable you can sell it through a buyer or auction house.
I Don’t Want It To End Up In Landfill
- Try Freecycle, Craigslist, NextDoor for items that are not donatable (particle board furniture).
- Take advantage of the Bay Area’s unique donation options such as Urban Ore, East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use, and SCRAP
- Some things really are trash and we have to accept that. The only way to stop that kind of outflow is not to buy it in the first place!
I Could Use This Someday
- Beware of prioritizing the future over the present. Having a space crowded with “maybe, someday” can keep you from living fully in the present. You need to weigh that cost against the cost of possibly having to replace something if you do actually need it later.
I Feel Guilty Giving It Up
- Ah, good old guilt. So impractical, yet so tenacious! Sometimes it helps to put the shoe on the other foot…would you want someone else to hang onto a gift you gave them solely out of obligation if they really didn’t need or want it?
- Try a little ritual of appreciation to help relieve guilt before releasing an object. For gifts, take a moment and recognize the good intention someone had when they gave it. For other items, acknowledge the pleasure or service the item gave you. For example, to let greeting cards go, our friend Maggie thinks of the person who gave it to her and gives the card/letter/Christmas picture a kiss before she puts it in recycling
There are no rights and wrongs in your own process; as usual, you get to decide how much to keep and what to let go. Beware how much of a project you’re creating for yourself and how much are you willing to do. Keep in mind your larger goal of how you want your home to function and feel and let that be your constant guide!
This handy turntable was brought into use on American dining tables in the late 19th century. Eventually a smaller version was created to sit inside kitchen cabinets, forever moving the lives of oils and spices to the front of the pantry pecking-order. We were hoping to find a fun story behind the Lazy Susan nickname but its origins seem lost to history.
Benefits of a Lazy Susan
Turntables let give you front-of-cabinet access to a large group of items that would otherwise be hard to see and reach. Because you access from the front and don’t have to reach in the cabinet, they are ideal for folks who are shorter or have limited range of reaching motion.
What are they good for?
- Canned goods
- Smaller loose items such as flavoring packets or teas
Some folks are lucky enough to have a giant Lazy Susan built into a corner base cabinet. These are great for small appliances but also pantry items. Special dividers can be added on these built-in shelves to help separate and organize smaller loose items.
Lots of Features and Styles
Turntables come in a variety of materials, sizes, and styles. Pick the style of turntable based on what kinds of items you’re trying to store.
- Diameters range from 8” to 18”
- Materials: plastic, solid metal, metal mesh, and wood.
- Single or double tier
- They come with no lip, a short lip or a tall lip
- Some have rubberized surface
- Built-in dividers or separate dividers you can add to any turntable
Think Beyond the Pantry
Turntables work well anywhere you have small/med size items you access frequently.
- Fridge: condiments, snack items
- Bathroom: makeup, face products
- Art Studio: brushes, paints, glues, small tools
- Garage: small hardware bits, lubricants
Consider pivoting to using Lazy Susans all over your home or office.
Did you know organizers don’t just organize? Professional organizing comes in all sorts of flavors. Some organizers are more generalists and cover lots of areas; others pick one specialty and stick to that. Have a look at the variety of challenges where professional organizers can help:
- Business development
- Children and teen organizing
- Chronic disorganization
- Closet design and organizing
- Corporate operations
- Digital organizing
- Estate management
- Estate sales
- Event planning
- Feng Shui
- Financial management/Bookkeeping/Bill-paying
- Garage sales
- Hands-on organizing
- Hoarding behavior
- Home inventories
- Home offices
- Home staging
- Household management
- KonMari organizing
- Notary Public
- Online sales
- Paper management
- Personal assistance
- People with disabilities
- Project management
- Psychology involved in organizing/productivity
- Records management
- Relocation and move management
- Social media
- Space planning and design
- Speaking and training
- Storage units
- Task and time management
- Team productivity
- Travel prep
- Virtual organizing
No matter the size or scope of your project, we can help you find an organizer with the specialty you need! Ask us for recommendations or go directly to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals — NAPO.net.
Filed under ADD/ADHD, artwork, Bathroom, Bay Area Services, Bedroom, Business Organizing, children, Closets, clothing, couples, Decluttering, disorganization, downsizing, Empty Nest, Garage, General Organizing, Holidays, home organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Laundry, Living Room, Memorabilia, Moving, Office, Paper, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, School, Seniors, Storage, Technology, Time Management, Travel, Wedding
Usually when we talk about shedding we mean purging – today we’re talking about storage!
Don’t overlook your side yard and back yard as places to expand functional storage. It doesn’t take a huge footprint to add in a decent capacity storage shed.
There are many vendors of pre-made sheds in all sizes, shapes, and materials. Some can sit directly on the ground and some need a foundational base of concrete or pilings. Often a handyman can help with the preparation and assembly or the company you buy the shed from may offer that service as well. As an example, it took our handyman 10 hours to fully assemble 3’ x 6’ shed that did not need a foundation. So, don’t forget to factor in the cost of labor in the price of your shed.
Things to consider storing in a shed:
- Sports equipment
- Camping supplies
- Yard/gardening tools & supplies
- Car supplies
- Emergency supplies
- Holiday decorations
- Extra paint and building materials
- Out of season or size clothes
- Archive documents
If you’re storing things like clothes, papers, or memorabilia, make sure they are in tightly lidded tubs.
Sheds go beyond pure storage and can be working areas as well. Some can be wired with electricity, have flooring, and function as small studio or office spaces.
As with organizing any space, be very conscious about how you populate it. Use the vertical space as much as possible by adding in utility shelving or appropriate hangers for things like ladders and bikes. Use larger, stackable tubs to group small items where appropriate and don’t forget to label them. Painter’s tape makes a quick, large label you can write on (use a thick marker) and change easily if needed.
Having extra storage is grand but beware – sheds can be a tempting dumping ground and quickly get out of hand!
Remember those days of luxury when you lived by yourself and had total control over every inch of your space? It may or may not have worked for you, but you were the only person it affected. But now you find yourself sharing space with your honey…and crap is everywhere*? &#! If you find yourself doing battle around the clutter in your shared home, remember these three tips:
#1 Neither of You is “Right”
When we choose to share space with others we give up some of those rights of autonomy in exchange for having to compromise and make the home livable for all who use it. Negotiate change from a perspective of how spaces need to function, not who is right.
#2 Allow for Personal Spaces
Whether it’s a single drawer or cabinet or an entire room, it’s helpful for each of you to have some space that only you oversee and get to keep however you want. Have clear boundaries about who is responsible for which spaces. And decide which spaces are managed jointly. Good fences make good neighbors.
#3 Manage Your Own Mess First
It’s so much easier to see where the other person has a problem. But step back and take stock of your own clutter collections first. Managing your own messes will help disarm your partner and show them you’re committed to making the home better for both of you.
Easier said than done, of course, and sometimes these conversations get waylaid by emotional charge. Tackle one small area at a time to build up the communication skills and get help if you get stuck! An objective party – a trusted friend, therapist, or professional organizer – can help you separate out and solve the practical issues of decluttering. Remember your goal: creating a home that nurtures your relationship and life together. Co-managing a home is one way to show love and respect for your sweetie.
Tip: Start your day with a routine that primes you to be in charge
All of us, at one time or another, get that sinking feeling of having way too much to do in way too little time. It’s demoralizing to feel overwhelmed by the routine tasks of everyday life. While barely treading water with the routine tasks, it doesn’t take much – a flat tire, an unexpected potluck, a roof leak – to push your schedule into full chaos. How can you reclaim your sanity and sense of control and competence?
Here are some strategies from a recent workshop we took from Productivity Coach, Steve Kirch.
Make Conscious Choices
Busy is a choice, but often doesn’t feel like it. You may not feel like you have choice or control over your time. But even in the most obligated person’s schedule there is enough wiggle room to create space for reflection, planning, and some choice-making. Regaining control of your schedule and your life, starts with making a little time to evaluate the bigger picture and consciously deciding what tasks are essential and where they fit best in your schedule. Otherwise, we get pulled from our important goals into other people’s priorities.
Purge, Purge, Purge
One of the most essential things to do is re-evaluate how much you take on. Just as our spaces get cluttered, so do our schedules. Given your personal priorities, figure out both your essential tasks and those that make you truly happy — and fit those in first.
Create a Morning Routine
It doesn’t have to take oodles of time to plan. Start with 10 minutes of any day and be intentional about how you are going to spend your day. What are YOUR critical few priorities for today? The ideal time to do this is first thing in the morning.
Consider getting up a little earlier and incorporating this short morning routine that grounds you for the day and helps you feel in control of the ship:
- Stretch or move
- Drink some water
- Plan the day (check your calendar)
Get Things Done
Try these strategies for actually getting tasks done:
- Time blocking – group like tasks together and schedule a block of time to complete them before moving on to a different set of tasks or project.
- Pomodoro Technique® – work for 25 minutes, don’t work for 5 minutes, for 4 rounds –then take a longer break.
- Don’t check email first thing in morning.
- Know your biological prime time – what is yours? Try and schedule important tasks during this higher energy time.
- If you’re naturally distractible (ADD), structure your planning time to avoid distractions and consider silencing your phone or putting it on airplane mode to avoid interruptions.
Try to incorporate one or two of these tips into your day and see how it feels. If you need more help, consult with a Professional Organizer, Coach or Productivity Specialist. Asking for help can be one of the most productive tips of all.