Moving is one of the most chaotic experiences in life. Here are my top tips for how to stay organized when moving.
1. Have a system.
I don’t do chaos well, so I needed a system for staying
sane organized during the move. My solution was a three-subject spiral notebook with pockets.
I confess that I usually have a spiral notebook with me – whether to keep grocery lists or project ideas. It’s just handy. But for moving it was essential.
First things first: label your notebook with your name, address and phone number. Why?
Well, I left this bad boy at the hardware store one day and nearly cried when I realized it. A cashier found it and called me. She said she knew it had a LOT of information in it!I couldn’t thank her enough. She got a big hug.
I divided the three subjects into (1) New House Stuff; (2) Old House Stuff; and (3) Blog Ideas/House Projects. Obviously, if you don’t have a blog, you would have a different #3, but for me it worked. I came up with a ton of ideas to write about while moving, and I wanted to keep them together with the moving stuff. You use #3 for whatever floats your boat.
For the pockets, I kept receipts and documents relating to each subject. For example, for the New House Stuff section, I kept all the receipts for anything I bought for the new house or in connection with moving. I also included any estimates I got for work for the new house.
2. Make a list. Check it twice.
In each section, I had to-do lists.
I freely admit I am a list-aholic. My lists have lists. And I like paper lists, not lists on a computer or phone, because crossing things out on my list makes me extra-super-happy.
Next, I color coded my lists (yes, we are entering into major dorkdom here, but stick with me for a bit).
For example, I highlighted everything that I needed from a hardware store in yellow; I highlighted everything that I needed from Ikea in pink. That way, when I went to those stores, I didn’t have to search everywhere for what I needed. It was all there in whatever color was designated for that store.
Any action that needed to be taken had a circled letter by it – i.e., the letter of the first name of the person responsible for completing it. If I had to complete that task, for example, I would have a circled “K” next to it. If the electrician had to do something, it had a circled “J” next to it. It was an easy way to keep track of who had to do what (and made me feel better that I didn’t have to do everything on the list!).
3. Keep lists of measurements you need.
I also kept related measurements I needed together.
For example, I kept all the window measurements on one page. That way, when I shopped for window treatments, all the measurements I needed were right there.
The same is true for any room measurements you may need.
When I made the list for what I needed for the laundry room, I included not only the list of stuff I needed to buy, but the room measurements so that I could make sure what I was buying would fit.
4. Record other relevant information, such as product codes or names.
When moving, there are certain types of products you have to buy a lot of – for example, door knobs, cabinet knobs, light fixtures, etc. Keep any product codes you might need to remember with your lists.
The label in this picture is the product code for the shade I chose for the light fixture in our bathroom. I was debating between three different ones. Once I chose one, I put the code in my book and then made sure, when I bought the rest of them (I needed 9 more!), that I got the ones with the same code.
To me, one of the best things about keeping this notebook is that, anytime I think of something we need, I can jot it down immediately. I don’t have to wait to find a sheet of paper or get into my computer. It’s always with me, so I can jot things down and then cross them out when I’m done.
As a bonus, if your child finds your notebook, they might leave you a sweet note like this:
How do you stay organized when moving?