Moving is one of the most exciting, yet challenging, times in a person’s life. It signifies change and new opportunity. And yet, most of us approach moving with dread. We look around our crowded rooms, peer into the abysses of our closets, and think “How will I ever move it all?”

The first step in approaching your move is to picture it and decide, exactly, how you WANT to feel about your move. Of course not every move is on happy terms, but no matter what the circumstances, try to approach your move from a positive light. This is an opportunity for a clean slate and reinvention. As you begin to take inventory of your current home, ask yourself which items will help support who you want to be and how you want to live in your new home.

Continue to ask these questions as you begin the actual work of sorting and determining the items you will take with you on your move. Do not approach your move with a “What do I get rid of” attitude. Instead, choose a room to start in, and begin by sorting items into broad categories – grouping like items together (books, office supplies, decor, etc.). This gives you a sense of volume and scale of each type of item. You will also begin to see which items you have collected multiples of during your time in your present home.

Now, moving from category to category, pull out those items that are most dear and special to you. These are your “treasures.” Treasures are items that are most used, say something about you, or nourish you spiritually.

Setting your treasured items aside, look at what is left. Do these items look different now? Often, taking our most loved pieces out first changes the look of the remaining pile.

Consider each remaining item individually, and ask yourself:

  • Is this item mine?

If the answer is “No,” put it back. You cannot make decisions about other people’s things!

If the item is yours, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Do I want it?
  • Where will it live in my new home?
  • Will it fit in my new home? (When treasuring large items such as furniture, it is good to have on hand the floor plan of your new home, including dimensions and locations of doorways).
  • Does this item support who I am now?
  • Does this item make me happy?
  • Does this item still have a purpose?

If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” then it is not a Treasure.

Deciding what to do with your non-treasures can be a task in itself, and you must decide what your goal is with any items you are not taking with you. Moving is expensive, and you may wish to sell or consign your items to offset your moving costs. Keep in mind that garage sales, eBay, Craigslist or consignment sales all have a cost to you in time and effort. Try to hold your sale at least two weeks before your move to keep your stress level down. If recouping cost is not as important to you, or is not a viable option, you may wish to simply donate your items. Many charities allow you to schedule a pickup, saving you a trip. If you are trying to get your house show-ready immediately, you may want to load up your car and drive to your nearest donation drop off and have it done.

Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. By approaching your move with an eye toward embracing change and creating a new space for who you and your family are now, you can make your move all about moving your treasures, and not just “stuff.”

Fun Fact

The average American moves 11.7 times in their life, reports the United States Census Bureau. 42% of moves are job-related, 40% personal and 18% military or government.

Organizing In-Sight

Children can be especially prone to nerves about moving. In our recent move, we followed this tip from my daughter’s magazine (“Moving Survival Guide,” American Girl, July/Aug 2013): Give each child a small box (ex. banker’s box) and let them decorate it. This is their “Star Box”, and they can put into it anything that they consider a treasure. It may be a favorite stuffy, a loved blanket, trophies, crafts, pictures… anything they want! Make sure that star boxes either come with you in your car on moving day, or are the last on/first off the moving truck. Your child will feel more comfortable in their new room if they can immediately decorate with their favorite things.

Products and Services to Know About

Smart Move Tape is an easy way to organize your moving boxes. The color-coded packing tape has the room or message printed right on it, allowing you to tape and label boxes in one step.