Tag Archives: moving

Destressing Your Move: Phase 2 – Start Packing

packing boxes Nina Garman from Pixabay

The first phase of moving was “planning ahead.” Now – at least 4 weeks from move day – it’s time to get into action. Packing and letting people (and companies) know your plans constitutes the bulk of this phase.

Picture this – the moving truck is pulling away from your new home. You’re worn out from the weeks leading up to the move.  You open up a random box and are faced with all kinds of mixed-up items that now have to be sorted and then figure out where they live. That takes lots of energy and time you probably won’t have – Ugh! Now multiply that feeling by the tens of boxes you have in every room! Yikes!

Make a Packing Timeline – Spend the time and energy before the move taking care to weed your possessions and decide where things will eventually live. That way, you can pack and label the boxes accordingly. 

There’s an analogy that a move is like a ball rolling downhill – the closer you get to move day the faster time will be flying by. And before you know it, you’re just throwing things into boxes (if you’re lucky) in order to be ready in time. Plan out a schedule for completing the major packing in each room and allow for a full extra week to catch up on all the things you didn’t plan for.

Get Supplies – If you do any of the packing yourself, you’ll have to gather supplies.  Since the boxes are bulky and can take over your house, dedicate space to store them so they won’t get in the way.

  • Places such as Home Depot and U-Haul offer online box ordering with easy “kits” for different size moves that you can customize.
  • Buy rolls or boxes of packing paper; don’t rely on finding enough newspaper for padding delicate items. Large bubble wrap is often more useful than the small bubble wrap for medium to large items. And don’t buy cheap packing tape – it isn’t worth the hassle when it constantly breaks on your tape gun.
  • Have a dedicated small box or basket and fixed location where you always keep your critical packing supplies: markers, post-its, packing tape, tape gun, utility knife.

Begin with the End in Mind

  • Whether you’ve decided to pack yourself or hire packing help, it’s essential to segregate items you’re taking with you into “like” groups to make packing and unpacking.  This is why it is helpful to start with an organized home. If you have pared down what you own so that you only have items you need to bring with you, there’s minimal decision-making come packing time.
  • Make sure you label your boxes with the destination in your new home, i.e., master bedroom, downstairs bath, laundry area, for example. Consider labeling some boxes “UNPACK FIRST” for each room.
  • It can help to have an inventory sheet with the box number and contents if the unpacking will happen over time or if your boxes will be sitting in storage for a time.
  • Pace Yourself – Packing can be exhausting! Take breaks, plan your meals, be realistic about how long you can work each day. Ask for help if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

moving day kit

Let People (and Companies) Know

  • Contact your utility companies on both ends of the move and make arrangements to transfer or cancel your service on the date you hand over possession of your home
  • In addition to the utility companies, make a check-list of the people/companies who send you mail: Banks, Insurance Companies, Medical Providers. Don’t forget to include:
  • Consider sending out “We’re Moving” cards with your new address to your friends and family.
  • Ask the new homeowners to forward any mail that slips through the USPS system and comes to your old address.

The Goal Is This…

You walk into your new home, energized and ready to get to work … every room has clearly labeled boxes of the items that belong in that room, the labels let you know which boxes you want to unpack first. When you open a box, you can efficiently put things away because you know where they’re going. Bonus if you have helpers it’s easy to direct them because the boxes are all well packed, labeled, and organized!  Next post – Moving Day.

Moving Day Comfort Item

Make sure you don’t leave any special things behind!


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Filed under Decluttering, downsizing, home organizing, Moving, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Ways to Get Things Out of (and Into) Your House

Are you downsizing or relocating? Or just have some stuff you want removed from your house? Every now and then need a couple of strong guys to deliver furniture or take away a big load of donations?

These 3 options provide ways to jettison the stuff you don’t want.



Remoov is a company that takes everything away and sells or donates, recycles and trashes items you don’t need. They literally “remove” everything, sell what they can and give you the difference between the cost of the moving and processing and 50% of the proceeds from the sales of items. They curate to get the best price for the items. They sell items through their online auction site: TheLocalFlea.com.

  • 50% of the value of the sold items
  • Donation receipt for your taxes
  • Your junk responsibly discarded
  • A new home for your unwanted items

They are committed to reducing waste by increasing recycling and reuse of products. The timeframe for the removal of items can be quite short.  Getting money back from items sold can take many weeks.  Pricing is easy to figure with their online graphic.

MaxSold (1)


Having an estate sale is a one traditional way of clearing a home. MaxSold is an ONLINE only version of an estate sale.

What do you have to do to prepare? Separate items you want to keep from those you want to sell. Items for sell will be grouped into “lots”, photographed, put into an online catalog and marketed locally. Viewers of the auction have 1 week to bid on items. Pickups are scheduled for 1 day in particular time slots and managed by MaxSold staff. Purchasers must show ID and proof of purchase before being escorted to pickup their “lots.”

The whole process takes 2 weeks end to end. Max Sold charges 30% or $10 per lot OR $1000 overall whichever is higher. MaxSold does not handle donation or disposal of items that don’t sell.



Think of this as Uber for movers. On-demand or by schedule you can get 2 guys to load, haul, deliver or move things within a home. A simple to use phone app lets you set your pickup location, add a photo of items to be handled, get an instant quote, and movers can be on their way within 30 minutes. You can also schedule a date & time in the future if needed. Currently only available in SF Bay Area (all counties) and Los Angeles. Drop-off point can be up to 150 miles from pickup.

Examples of when to use:

  • Bringing home furniture from IKEA or another store
  • Taking away boxes of books for donation
  • Taking away a load of junk to the dump
  • Moving furniture between rooms of the house
  • Pickup a craigslist purchase and deliver to your house

These are only 3 of many different ways to declutter and downsize. When you’re ready, help is available!

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Filed under Bay Area Services, Decluttering, Empty Nest, Garage, Moving, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Move Loot – Selling Your Items for Fun and Profit


We’ve listed a few ways to find new homes for furniture and household items you are ready to part with. We’ve discovered a consignment option which prides itself on stellar customer service by picking up your items to sell, photographing, pricing, advertising, storing and then delivering your sold items to the buyers. All for no out-of-pocket cost to you. The typical Move Loot shoppers are urban professionals between 25 and 45 years old. The most popular items are apartment-sized, selling for less than $1,000 with modern lines.

How it works:

Sellers send pictures and descriptions of the items they want to sell to the folks at Move Loot and suggest a price. MoveLoot determines if they can sell your item, if so, they will they take 50% of the selling price.

move loot selling guide

How it’s different:

It’s different from traditional furniture consignment stores in that they provide pick ups for sellers [free if the item(s) are valued over $200.] For buyers, they provide free delivery for purchases over $99.

Like other consignment stores, the consignment fee is 50% of the sale price.

It’s different from Craigslist because they provide professional photos, complete measurements and thorough descriptions. Plus you don’t have to field all the inquiries and have strangers come to your house!

What they don’t take:

  • Mattresses & Box Springs
  • Pre-Disassembled Furniture
  • Cribs and Changing Tables
  • Sofa Beds, Murphy Beds
  • Recliners
  • Electronics (Fans, Sewing Machines, Clocks, Pianos, Fireplaces)
  • Large, Built-in Furniture
  • Chandeliers & Ceiling lamps
  • Dishware, Plate Chargers, Servingware
  • Rugs, Linens, Curtains
  • Pillows, Blankets
  • Beanbags
  • IKEA Furniture that requires disassembly
  • Locked Furniture without Key
  • Broken Furniture/DIY-projects

In the SF Bay Area at least, there are lots of options for moving unwanted things out of your life, revamping your living space so it better matches your lifestyle or paring down to prepare for a move.

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Filed under Bay Area Services, Decluttering, General Organizing, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse

Shift Your Perspective To Declutter

perspective shif

Do you see two faces…or a vase?

The graphic above is an optical illusion of perspective. Which image is “real” –  the vase or the faces? Both, of course. The value we place on objects in our lives is changeable depending on your perspective.

Katherine just returned from a trip abroad. Carrying around her needed items in just a couple bags reminded her how important it is to travel light…on a trip and in life. It’s easier to be spontaneous when you have fewer burdens.

  • Need to change hotel rooms? With just a small amount to pack, it can be easy
  • Have to run for a train? It wouldn’t happen if you have 3 cumbersome pieces of luggage to drag along; things can happen faster with a lighter load
  • Can’t find the apartment you rented? Have to trek up and down stairs, looking for the right address? It keeps the stress level down to not be overwhelmed with too much stuff

Dana recently worked with two clients who had to pack up and move on short notice. This is what she learned about perspectives:

  • When we’re on a deadline decisions are easier to make. The time pressure leaves no time for lingering in limbo; decisions have to be made. The ability to make timely, definitive decisions is at the heart of decluttering.
  • There’s a sense of relief with the urgent need to shed stuff. It’s not easy but it feels great to finally clear out stuff you’ve been meaning to but never get around to. The outside push to makes it happen.
  • Both families noticed a perspective shift and were able to see their belongings through a different lens. Our relationships with our things aren’t permanent or fixed. These attachments we have feel fixed, but it doesn’t take much of a shift in circumstances to cause a shift how we see those same objects.

Barring introducing something really unpleasant into your life, how can you generate some urgency to get things done?

  • Host a party! The promise that 10 people will be showing up to your door can create that sense of urgency needed to get stuff cleared off your dining room table or to arrange your living room to be welcoming and conducive to conversation.
  • Set a date and hire a painter to get a room painted and you’ll be sure that at least one room will be cleared out.
  • Schedule a donation pick up, guaranteed you’ll at least have a bag or two on the curb a bit less stuff cluttering up your house.

P.S. – It’s not to late to sign up for the workshop on disaster preparedness this Friday!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Managing the World of Self-Storage

How good of a deal is that storage unit?

How good of a deal is that storage unit?

Lately we’ve had several clients struggling with the issue of storage units. It makes us realize how important it is to think through the decision about renting one before you make the leap.

When we feel compromised for space the appeal of an extra garage is enticing. There are valid reasons for needing and using storage but if you don’t have a planned exit strategy and timeline for emptying it, the long-term cost will far outweigh the benefits.

The Financials

Don’t let the perception of a low monthly cost cloud the reality of how much you’ll really be paying over time. According to the Self Storage Association, in 2013 the asking rent for a 10’ x 10’ unit was $115/mo. That comes to $1,380/year. If you can afford that much would you be better off spending higher rent or mortgage to get a larger living space? Would the money be better spent processing and organizing the stuff so you don’t have to store it? 

Still think it’s a great idea?

  • Some stored objects depreciate or become obsolete (computer equipment, appliances)
  • If you’re holding onto things because “they might be valuable one day,” the storage cost will greatly offset your profit
  • If you can store it for years, you can probably live without it
  • If the storage bill is unpaid, the contents will be sold to pay the fees and you will still be liable for the balance of the bill
  • Having more storage promotes acquisition
  • Inadequate security can put your items at risk of loss
  • Climate issues – damage can occur to furniture/art/photos/papers due to moisture and heat; climate controlled units are more expensive

Getting Out

Understand that the main cause of clutter is unmade and postponed decisions. Getting a unit emptied will require many decisions about what to keep, what to let go of, and how to let go of items. Having an exit plan is essential for controlling your costs. Decide a date for when the unit will be empty and plan a timeline accordingly.

First step is usually to sort the contents. Options for getting items out once you’ve sorted:

  • For furniture, art, and collectibles – have an estate sale person come and make you an offer
  • Some storage facilities offer eBay selling services
  • Schedule a charitable donation pickup
  • You many need to hire a mover or hauler to get rid of large items or trash; storage units generally don’t let you use their dumpsters
  • If all else fails, leave the unit unlocked and the door ajar

Take a hard look…do you want to spend money on keeping things in limbo or do you want the clarity and peace of mind of having made sometimes tough choices to free up your resources for better uses?

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Filed under Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, Perspective, Storage, Strategies

Moving Essentials

Preparing makes all the difference

Preparing makes all the difference

Moving can be stressful and overwhelming; there’s no real way around it. By the time move day arrives and you actually land in your new home the last thing you’ll want to do is start digging through boxes in order to find your pajamas and coffee maker.

Here are 5 groups of items to gather and pack separately and label as “OPEN FIRST” to make the transition easier:

  • PERSONAL ITEMS Pack a suitcase of essentials as if you’ll be on a trip for a week or two. Don’t forget things like slippers, medications, and toiletries. Keep this suitcase with you.
  • LINENS  Though you’ll feel like you’re on a trip, you aren’t in a hotel and there are no linens provided. Pack a few bath towels, washcloths, and bed sheets.
  • KITCHEN Imagine yourself the morning after the move – it’s nice to start the day with your usual routines.  Pack your coffee maker and/or teakettle, a few place settings, dishtowel, dish soap & sponge. Think ahead about easy healthy snacks and meals so you don’t deplete your already drained energy by surviving on pizza and pastries for a week.
  • OFFICE/LIFE MANAGEMENT  Don’t add to your stress by losing track of current bills, mail, and important documents because they are buried in a box somewhere. Pack those separately from other files and office supplies. Do include some essential office supplies such as postage, envelopes, pens, checkbook, charging cables, computer, and passwords.
  • TOOLS  Create a move kit of essential tools to help both on the packing and unpacking side: box cutter, measuring tape, screw driver, hammer, pliers, post-its and marker pens, packing tape, flashlight or headlamp, felt pads & furniture sliders.

What did you find essential to get through your last move? Share it here!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

What Motivates Us To De-clutter?

Motivation can be generated ... here's some tips!

Where do you find the motivation to do the right thing?

When the overcrowding problem in your home is so overwhelming that you can’t find anything and you can barely open the front door, it may be easy to find the motivation to take action.

Once we “hit bottom,” we are more open to getting help…any help…to make changes in our lives and our living spaces.

But, what can you do to “raise the bottom” and find the energy to tackle the accumulation of unsorted stuff before it causes you too much suffering?

 Motivation can come from the inside or the outside.


Deadlines. Taxes due–April 15th is always a prod that can give you a boost.  It’s a reliable deadline to which most of us adhere to get our paperwork in order. And the deadline comes reliably every year.  A yearly purge of unwanted possessions and paperwork is a good habit. Think of it as “spring cleaning.”

Self-imposed deadlines. How about making a date to have the rugs cleaned?  Or inviting a contractor in to research a kitchen remodeling project?  Sometimes just having a fresh set of eyes looking at your spaces can help you see what we have in stark reality.

Impending house guests. Do you look forward to your family visiting?  Having guests come usually triggers a fresh look at what we have and how we are storing stuff. Even if the guest room isn’t overloaded with stuff that we’ve been putting off making decisions about, the idea of someone coming to stay helps us to see how our home is functioning…or not.

Relocation. The cost of moving stuff you don’t care about is a great motivator.  If knowing that the less the movers have to transport, the less it’s going to cost you, that could be an impetus for making some tough choices.

Family changes. The addition of another family member (sweetheart, parent or child) can provide a level of alarm that requires a fresh look at your living space. The transitions when children grow up provide natural prompts to do space overhauls.  And, when your child moves out (for real) repurposing a room is often what’s called for.

Job transitions. The need for home office space can prompt whole house revamp.


Therapeutic insight. A session with a therapist, coach, or professional organizer may remove roadblocks to the organizing process.

Medical diagnosis. An organized space becomes necessary for your health:

  • Allergies – clutter makes it hard to clean dust and pet hair
  • Disability or other medical condition which requires accommodations in your living space
  • Nutritional plan which relies on an efficiently appointed kitchen

Motivation of unknown origin. Some people suddenly just “see the light” and the goal is clear, along with the method.

Since you’ve read this post to the end, you’re probably not one of these “I’ve seen the light” people… So, what can you do?

Light your own fire!  Invite a friend over to stay, meet with a coach, make an appointment with a contractor or architect and take a small step toward a goal.

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Time Management