Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

The ‘Smaller is Baller’ Project – And Tips For Moving


So I think I said we were moving. And I also think I wrote that blog post when I was still tipsy on house-infused vodka.

Don’t get me wrong; I am super excited about the move. I feel like this time of year, one needs something fresh and exciting to look forward to — whether it is a sunny vacation, a new hair cut, a new hobby, a new baby (it seems like all of my girlfriends are expecting this spring — after May, I expect you all to call me “Auntie Rachel”) or a new apartment.

That being said, I am starting to feel the stress associated with moving — and not only with moving, but downsizing.

I came home from work at 4:30 this morning, paced throughout the living room with a tape measure, proceeded to wake Kent up four times before 5:30 a.m. to ask his opinion on the width of the couch and tossed and turned in bed until I finally fell asleep — only to wake up at 10:30 a.m. to Google additional storage options.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Even when everything is going smoothly in life, I’m a little nuts. Yes, no matter how many “Namastes” I type at the end of a blog post, I suffer from a common problem often referred to as “Type A.”

I am the brand of person who has five simultaneous to-do lists scribbled all over the apartment, makes additional lists in my head during Shavasana (even when they tell you not to!), gets mad at myself when I sleep past 9 a.m. (even after getting home from work at 5 a.m.) and feels the need to justify that second slice of pizza for dinner…. OK, fourth. Shit. See what I mean?

So needless to say, packing up and moving — for me — is a very precise and calculated process.

I added it up, and since May 2007, I have lived in seven apartments; this upcoming move will make eight. Here’s the list for those who are fact checking:

  • Franklin Street, Fredericksburg
  • Rowe Street, Fredericksburg
  • S. Russell Street, Boston
  • Westland Avenue, Boston
  • Burney Street, Boston
  • N. Alfred Street, Alexandria
  • 38th Street NW, D.C.

So eight apartments in six years – I am basically an expert.

As stressed out as I may be now (And really, it’s not bad — on a scale from 1-10, I am at a 5. Check back in a few days), I know that all of my work will soon pay-off big time when we move in with as few hiccups as possible.

Moving with few hiccups, you might ask? Yes. Like I mentioned, I am an expert. Here are a few tips I’ve picked-up over the years that make me LAUGH in the face of moving day.

Buy before and move in with what you need to live. I can’t stress this enough. People are so hesitant to buy some things before a move, but some purchases are essential to a seamless move. This may require an extra trip to Target (so like, two extra bags to add to your pile of boxes), but think of how nice it will be to have bathroom cleaner (in case the property managers missed a spot in the tub from the previous owners — yup, been there), toilet paper (that doesn’t come with the place, don’t get stuck), Swiffer pads (to wipe down the mud stains your friends tracked in while helping during the move), hand soap for the sinks, paper towels, trash bags, shampoo and laundry detergent. Oh, and wine. You’re going to need that on moving day.

Decide the big design ideas before. Sure, some details need to wait until after you settle in, but if you are moving to a new place, know what you need to come with before going in. What do you want to bring? What can you fit in the space? Where are you going to put it? For the past few moves, I’ve printed (or sketched) the floor plans and literally drew in our furniture, art and pictures and where it will go. This gives you an idea for both design and flow and functionality. It will also give you an idea of what you cannot take (so you can sell it/donate it before the move and don’t have a random couch on your porch) and what you can buy and build (we still Ikea) before you move. That way, all you need to do is place the furniture, unpack and relax.

Come in clean. Again, maybe this is my Type A speaking, but the only thing that can make the process of moving worse is moving with dirty things and having a pile of laundry on top of piles of boxes. Before the move, wash your favorite bed sheets and pack them in a bag with a dryer sheet so they stay fresh. That way, once the bed is moved in, you can put the fresh sheets on and know that you will be able to crawl into a clean bed after a hard day of work. The same goes for your slipcovers, window curtains, towels and shower curtains. Your washing work will be a pain the week before the move. But trust me, it makes the ability to adjust and relax on move-in day much easier.

Be green. One thing that makes me crazy about all of my moving — and moving in general — is how much people throw out. (My brain instantly cuts to a scene in Wall-E…) Just keep in mind that your trash is someone else’s treasure. And that electronic waste is a real environmental/social/health hazard. Most Best Buys and local health departments offer stations for recycling old hard drives, cell phones, computers, wires, etc. Goodwill takes almost anything, and Craigslist is a GREAT option to get rid of stuff for free or for a small fee. Also, bubble wrap is a trap — and an expensive trap, at that. Use towels, t-shirts, and blankets to wrap breakables. And make sure to recycle the boxes when you are done.

Make a list and have a ‘Get Shit Done Day.’ Kent and I call those days where you just knock out an overdue list a “Get Shit Done Day.” These days don’t have to be physical errands, just any type of day where knock out a list. For moving, this could be a day where you book the moving van, call Comcast to cancel your current service and set-up your next service, call Pepco and do the same, change your address with the Postal Service, change your address with your credit cards, send out an email to close friends/family with your new address, etc. Just get it done in one day. It takes about an hour or two and then you are DONE. Move on.

Celebrate. Set aside a few dollars in the “moving budget” for a little celebration. Whether it’s pizza and beers on the new hardwood floors, or margaritas with your friends who helped you lug your goods, make sure you allow some time and money to celebrate your new space and new chapter in life.

I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me in the past.

I would say “Namaste” like in other posts… Only, I know I am going to go organize some throw pillows. [Sigh]


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This entry was posted on February 17, 2013 by in Lifestyle.

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