While moving anywhere can be difficult, moving to Las Vegas can involve a unique set of challenges, particularly for those who have never lived in a high desert before. The dust, heat and lack of basement or attic storage space means recent Vegas transplants need to unpack and organize with careful and strategic precision.
For advice on what to do and where to start, we turned to the people who likely handle more packing tape and label makers in a year than the average person will encounter in a lifetime. Below are some helpful tips from three professional organizers, all of whom currently reside in fabulous Las Vegas.
Purge before you move
Ginger Guerra, owner of Organized by Ginger, says if you wait until after you’ve moved into your new home to begin to discard unused items, you’ll run the risk of never ridding yourself of unnecessary clutter. “Get rid of everything you don’t need before you move,” she advises.
Though Guerra admits that this can be difficult. “When people move to a new house, they make the mistake of thinking they’ll have a magical place for everything,” she explains. “But if you didn’t have a place for it in your old house, you’re not going to have a place for it in your new house.”
Moving also has a way bringing out the nostalgia in people; suddenly every unused Christmas gift or broken, dust-covered childhood toy becomes a cherished possession. “It’s normal to get overly sentimental,” adds Guerra. “That’s where an organizer can help. They can help you make the tough decisions.”
Think carefully about what you’ll need
When helping clients move, Guerra typically asks them the following three questions: Do you need it? Do you use it? Do you love it? “You should say yes to one of those questions or you shouldn’t have that item in your space.” However, Guerra says just because a possession isn’t practical or you haven’t used it in a while, doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. “Most of my clients are stressed and have trepidation that I’m going to tell them to ‘throw it away, throw it away.’ But I believe that if you have the space for it, you don’t have to throw it away.” Instead, Guerra recommends people carefully consider their reasons for wanting to hold onto an item and then make a decision from there.
Pare down your winter clothing
If you’re coming from a colder environment, you may want to keep in mind that Las Vegas winters are relatively mild. While it can occasionally dip into the 20s and 30s, that’s a rarity. For most of the spring, fall and winter, the temperatures remain in the high 40s, 50s or 60s.
Minimize patio furniture
“A lot of people come here with a lot of outdoor furniture, but there aren’t many big yards here,” Guerra points out. Also, because summers in Vegas can be dangerously hot, backyards simply aren’t used as often as they are in places with more lounge-friendly summer weather.
Pack by room
Guerra recommends boxing items by room, rather than by category. Thus, instead of tossing the pens and stationery from your home office in with the craft supplies from your craft room, pack them separately. “Keep all of the stuff from your office desk in one box, and then label it,” Guerra suggests. If your belongings are going into storage, she recommends taking the labeling process a step further by recording the contents of each box in a notebook. That way you won’t have to rely on memory alone.
Unpack right away
“Most people get the boxes moved into their new houses, and sort of stop there,” says Lindsay Cleveland, owner of Life. Organized. “They tend to unpack here and there over a few months, or they unpack everything and just shove it all into drawers and cabinets without really thinking about it.” If you don’t take the time to unpack properly and get organized from the moment you move in, you won’t likely find the time or motivation to do it later. “You’d be surprised how many people still have boxes unopened for years after moving into a new home,” says Cleveland.
Janel Ralat of One Organized Mama concurs, commenting: “Get those boxes unpacked ASAP! Unpacked boxes will attract clutter and the inability to find your items will force you to make unnecessary purchases. So save yourself the time, money and headache and get your home set up immediately. She adds, “the sooner this happens, the sooner Las Vegas will begin feeling like home.”
Strategize before you start
Cleveland recommends organizing your possessions by use. “Think about how you will use each space before you put things away,” she advises. “The silverware drawer should be close to the dishwasher; the serving utensils need to be divided into sections in drawers, not just thrown in one big space. Your clothes should be hung up in an organized way. If you do it right the first time, you won’t need to do it again.”
Keep the hot weather in mind
“Garages are the most common storage spaces in Las Vegas homes since we generally don’t have basements,” advises Ralat. Be careful of what you store in garages due to the intense Las Vegas summers where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees for months. So storing photographs, memorabilia, candles and perishable items could be devastating, even after only a few days in the Las Vegas heat.”
Cleveland reiterates this point as well, mentioning, “In other states, you can readily keep paint, candles, mementos, and photographs in the garage, but here, they will either go bad quickly or melt altogether.”
Repurpose the coat closet
Because rain, snow and frigid temperatures are not common here, reserving a closet specifically for coats is a waste of space, says Cleveland. “I tell most of my clients to move their coats out of the coat closet and into a lesser-used area of the house. Save the coat closet for purses, backpacks, or other things you grab more often than a coat.”
No need to separate your winter wardrobe
While in many regions of the country, people separate their wardrobes by season, that isn’t needed in an area where there are really only two seasons: hot and cool. As Guerra explains, “Switching out clothes doesn’t happen as much here. People don’t move all of their winter clothes into storage. You can even out your wardrobe so that it can all fit into your closet at once.”