The idea of moving to an apartment sight-unseen may seem like a disaster in the making, but it does not have to be.
Virtual real estate tours have become commonplace and although you may not have stepped foot into a particular property there is a good chance you already know what it looks like and how your furnishings will fit. Once you know what you can afford and what you want, here are six tips to make your move even easier.
1. Clean, Cull and Donate
Spend some time going through your possessions with a critical eye. The last thing you want to do is be unaware of things you’re moving and have to file a complaint against a moving company.
If you have clothing items that you have not worn in the last two years, chances are you will never wear them. Now is the time to donate or dispose of those articles.
The same is true for seasonal clothing. If you are moving to Florida permanently it would be safe to assume you will not need a down parka or boots rated to -25 degrees. Look at your recreational equipment with the same objectivity. In-line skates may have been an expensive purchase years ago but if you do not use them, sell them. Crafting materials can also end up taking more space than you had intended.
2. Pack Deliberately
Packing is probably no one’s favorite chore. Take the time to organize your stuff and then pack as if a stranger were going to set your new place and you will find the job of unpacking is faster and more efficient. Pack the kitchen stuff together and separate from items used in other rooms. Don’t commingle contents meant for different rooms.
Clearly mark the boxes with the name of the room they will be going in. This is key!
Number each box and make a list with the box number and the contents of each box. Not only will you be able to locate items before unpacking every box in the house, but you will have created a detailed inventory of what you own. This is useful for insurance purposes or if something becomes lost or severely damaged during your move.
Use different tape colors to denote where a certain box belongs. For example, use blue tape for bedroom boxes and orange tape for the kitchen. This visual clue lets you know immediately where something should be placed.
3. Small Items
Whether you’re moving from a tiny, expensive apartment in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park or a suburban apartment in Austin, TX, every room has its share of small items, particularly the bathroom. Invest in inexpensive plastic shoebox-sized bins with covers and you can pack small items into these bins before you put them into larger moving boxes.
To ensure the lids stay on during the move wrap a piece of tape around them. This is helpful if you will be moving small bottles that contain liquids and items that are very fragile. The kitchen may also contain items that should not be placed directly into a moving box. Spice jars will inevitably open, toothpicks will fly all over the inside of the box and sharp knives, well, let’s just say no to unpacking a box with knives that have shifted during the move.
You may have the best intentions to get to your new place, and you want to quickly unpack and arrange everything into perfect order.
Sometimes stuff happens and it takes weeks to unpack and re-arrange your household, particularly when moving to a place sight-unseen. It is okay. The best way to avoid panic in your new home because nothing is unpacked and you have to leave for your new job, in a new city, with no clue where you are going to park the car the morning after you get the boxes in the door. There is a hint for that.
When packing up your stuff, designate one box for each room as the “survival box.” For instance, in the kitchen, even before you unpack, you will need a mug, a plate, a small saucepan, a small knife, a place setting of flatware, the coffee machine and some ground coffee. This should be separate from the other kitchen boxes and clearly marked “kitchen survival box.” Do the same thing for your bathroom supplies and make sure have a few articles of clothing in your bedroom survival box.
5. Do Not Worry
After you have moved you may begin to worry about the things that may have been overlooked or forgotten. You can contact your old landlord and ask if you left something, then attempt to retrieve whatever it was.
Sometimes this works, sometimes not. Do not worry too much as chances are you have not moved to the moon.
There are large and small stores everywhere and purchasing goods online is so easy. Online orders often arrive in a matter of days. If you have taken the time to organize and have your inventory lists, settling into your new home will be easy.
6. The Last Thing
Record keeping has become relatively simple and there are all types of software that will track your budget, bill paying and friend’s addresses.
Regardless of how you keep your data it is important to have a separate box, locked or not, for important documents. Marriage certificates, birth certificates, social security cards, insurance documents, leases and passports should be placed in a waterproof, fire proof box.
This is an excellent place to also keep a list and photos of your household items.
7. Storage to the Rescue
One problem you might encounter moving into a place sight unseen is that you arrive only to realize not all of your your old furniture will fit. You might also find that you have less room for household goods than you thought. In a pinch, self-storage can provide some extra space while you figure out what to do with your excess belongings.
Moving to a new place sight unseen is not nearly as daunting as it may seem. If you organize your belongings you will easily be able to create your new home with little effort. Think of it as an adventure.