Change – The Ultimate Organizing Test

A lot has been happening in my family’s life lately. We have already and continue to make some big changes.

  1. In the fall I left my corporate job. It was a necessary move but one we weren’t really prepared for – emotionally or financially.
  2. This month I began a new part-time job in an entirely different industry and career path. I’m very excited about it but there’s a lot to learn and I’m starting at the beginning.
  3. Two kids started their first season of competitive sports – and the time commitments are pretty intense. And these are not sports with a “season” really – they are the kind where you practice extensively year-round (gymnastics & cheer).
  4. We decided to relocate our family back across the country to be closer to family at the end of the school year. This means we have to sell our home, find new jobs, and find something new.

It’s a lot. I have to admit that I’ve struggled to hold everything together some days. But we are making it work. So over the next few months I’ll be sharing this journey with you – the good, the bad, and the very messy.

Life IS messy. It does not always stick to the plans we set out to follow. So I’m finding my routines and organizing strategies are that much more important… and that much harder to stick to. I hope you’ll follow along as I share with you the challenges and successes of organizing through major life changes.

 

The Most Important Moving Box

Spring is here and For Sale signs are popping up as frequently as tulips. A quick search of local MLS listings reveals 10 homes for sale just in my little neighborhood. Many people look to make a move before the end of summer and start of the school year. If you are among them, you may be feeling some concern over the process of moving. There is so much to do, and I’m not going to tackle all of those topics today. But I am going to cover just one… the most important box you’ll move.

Whether moving across the street, across town or across the country, there is one box that everyone needs to pack. This is what I like to call the OPEN ME FIRST box. I’ve had one with every move I’ve made, from apartments in the city to grad school housing to cross-country relocations and home purchases.

This box should be carried with you in your vehicle – not travel with the movers. Here’s my list for the OPEN ME FIRST box:

Food & Kitchen Essentials
When the movers leave the last of the boxes you’re going to be hungry. You’ll probably also be feeling too grungy to go out to eat so bring something with you.
* Paper Plates
* Plastic Silverware
* Water Bottles
* Non-perishable snacks
* Phone number to a local pizza/chinese/sandwich delivery place – look it up in advance and program into your phone!
* Roll of paper towels – these will be multi-purpose, you might want two!
* Dish soap – a small bottle will do
* Kitchen towel
* Bottle of bubbly & some plastic cups – everyone needs to celebrate! (champagne has the advantage over wine here as it doesn’t require a corkscrew to open… one less thing to bring with you)

Bathroom Essentials
* Hand soap
* Toilet paper – at least one roll for each bathroom
* Hand towel (optional, paper towels could substitute)

Cleaning Basics
Yes, your new digs should be clean but chances are you’re going to want to wipe down one or two things before you use them the first time.
* Paper Towels (the 2nd roll mentioned above!)
* Glass & surface cleaner (an all-in-one works well)

Shower Essentials
At the end of that grubby day, a nice hot shower will feel great. Be prepared!
* Shower curtain liner – you don’t need to hang all your lovely decorative shower curtains, but a $3 plastic liner will serve you well those first few days.
* Shampoo, conditioner, soap
* Bath towels (probably one for every family member)
* Toothpaste & toothbrush (floss is optional. Always recommended but if you get a pass on flossing any day in your life, I firmly believe it should be moving day)
* Blow dryer
* Hair brush

Bedtime Essentials
* Sheets for each bed you’ll use
* Pillows for each family member
* Blanket for bed
* Alarm Clock (or mobile phone with an alarm feature)
* Kleenex (optional – moving makes me sneeze, but you could use TP instead)

Rise & Shine Essentials
That first morning will be exciting and daunting as you look at the boxes.
* Light breakfast – a bag of bagels & jar of peanut butter work well for us.
* Overnight bag for each family member (change of clothes and any necessary toiletries, makeup, medications, eye glasses, etc.)

Miscellaneous Essentials
* Cell phone chargers
* Cash for tipping the movers
* Scissors! – Seriously so many uses.

Okay, so that might be two boxes. Or a box and an overnight bag for each family member. But you get the idea. Pack some things you’ll really need that first night so you don’t have to rummage through all your boxes.

The key is that if you finish up the move late in the evening, you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat, wash of the dust, fall into bed and hit the ground running the next morning.

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Quick Tip Thursday – Packing Tape Insanity

Today’s tip is less about being organized than it is about not making yourself insane over something small. Do you ship packages? Ever? With family out of state, selling things online and returning online purchases I actually ship more things than I really imagine. I like to use clear packing tape for my boxes. I’ve been using the stuff for at least 17 years, since that first time I had to send myself boxes at college. And in those years I’ve found one trick that is basically fail-proof and always, always saves my sanity.

When you’re done with the tape, tuck under one teeny little corner. This gives you a tab to pull it back up again when you need to use it next time.

It sounds so small, and it is.  But if you don’t do it the results may not be pretty.  I know you’ve been there… your tape has stuck to itself and now you’re trying to peel it apart in one piece.  But it’s ripping into shredded pieces and you’re getting little strips of tape.  Your frustrated and want to toss the whole thing in the trash.  (Yes, I know, I’ve had it happen too.)

But once you get that tape back to its full state do yourself a big favor and tuck under a corner.  You might lose 1/2 an inch of tape but you’ll save your sanity and your fingernails the next time you need it.