This is not a “to-do” moving list. This is a list of what actually happens, what you will find yourself doing regardless of best plans.
In the weeks before the big move:
– Start out slowly. If you do a couple boxes a night leading up to the move, you will still have way more shit than you ever thought possible and something will go wrong at the last minute. So you won’t avoid any actual stress, but enjoy this honeymoon period when you still feel like you’ve got it under control!
– Label everything really well. Since you are packing early, these will be explicitly labeled boxes of non-essential items. These will be the boxes in your way later when you are desperately trying to find something else you need, so at the very least, it might help with process of elimination.
– Group belongings in boxes by room. This will determine which boxes will be in your way in each room later.
– Consider getting a few friends to help or renting a small U-Haul. At this point, as you purge some of your stuff, you are still vastly underestimating how much sh*t you have. Eventually come to your senses and hire a mover, if you…
– Decide to move on a weekend and not take any additional time off. That will be plenty of time to get there, unpack and settle in before frantically searching for the rest of your underwear Monday morning, right?
The night before the big move:
– Feel absolutely shocked that you still have so much to pack. Still leave your essential items for “the morning” when you will be “getting up early” …. i.e. only two hours after you collapsed in exhaustion the night before.
– Vastly underestimate how much stuff “doesn’t really need to go into boxes” because “it will be easier to carry”.
– The cost of hiring movers starts to feel totally reasonable right about now.
– Forget to eat enough, because you are avoiding dealing with the contents of the refrigerator.
– Decide that the beer or wine needs to be taken care of though, so you won’t have to move it. This will make you feel great later, especially on so little sleep.
– Start labeling things half-assedly since you need to hustle. Later will be unable to figure out whether this box says “clothes and hangers” or something about “elephants”. (You will open it to find yet more books and some candles. How the fuck do you have so many books and candles?)
– Pack some of your essential belongings that you think you “won’t need in the morning”. Decide you will certainly need at least three things in the morning that you packed and immediately regret it. Weigh the time and effort it will take to remove all the packing tape and re-pack box, and think “fuck it.” This is especially true for any body/skin/hair products that will make you look (or smell) like a presentable human being the next day.
– Get so hungry that you finally eat some snack food you want to “get rid of” as a last resort, which promptly makes you nauseous. Throw the rest away. Go pass out.
The day of the big move:
– Intend to wake up 5 hours before movers are set to arrive. Wake up closer to 2 hours before movers are set to arrive.
– Begin throwing shit in boxes, label according to last thing that got thrown in box and add “and misc.” Do this for WAY too many boxes. These will contain EVERYTHING you really want to unpack first.
– Start assembling a pile of belongings that “can wait” for you to “come back later” because you aren’t quite ready or it doesn’t fit well in boxes. Your hair dryer will be in this pile and consequently, you will have silly hair for a full week.
– Leave cleaning products to clean the old apartment this week. Arrive to new apartment and find it not nearly as clean as you would like it to be.
– Forget that cats like to hide when panicked. Remember when it’s time to put cats in carriers and they have crawled up into the loose board in your closet or other such nonsense. Resort to crawling towards them, trying to reason and beg cats to come out with reassuring “everything is fine” voice, knowing full well that your cat does not give a fuck what you are saying – their entire universe has exploded into boxes at this point. This could take up to an hour.
– Forget to eat again. Pack fridge food in odd ways ensuring that you will likely have to throw much of it away. You should just throw it away now and save yourself the trouble. But you won’t.
– Rejoice that you have hired movers. At this point, you would pledge to give them your first born child to transport everything as quickly as possible, without breaking anything or needing to talk to you at all.
– Realize, that you’ve forgotten to eat. Again. Stop to get fast food en route to new house. You don’t usually eat fast food and your body will hate you for the rest of the journey to the new place, so I hope you aren’t moving to a new city a couple hours away in heavy weekend traffic on the hottest day of this season so far, in a car with no air conditioning and a cat that just shat in the carrier out of panic.
– Decide never to move again. Ever. Even though you are in a rental and that’s impossible. Strongly consider the possibility of leaving ALL of your belongings, packing duffel bag and moving onto a boat instead next time.
Congratulations, You’ve Moved.
– Grudgingly decided to assemble your bed and prepare it for the inevitable collapse later on. Even if you do nothing else, do this and you will be ok.
– Order dinner or go get dinner. Not pizza, you haven’t had real food in 2 days, you need a balanced meal. Being unfamiliar with your new neighborhood end up settling for the first thing you find. Probably pizza.
((It will be the best pizza you’ve ever tasted.))