Moving–Pre-Packing Organization


Now that we’ve decided to sell the house for sure, we need to get it ready.  I feel like I need to get some of my things out of the way so that people can see the house in its best light.  Also, a lot of my things will need to go into storage during the transition, so I want them to be packed carefully so they don’t get damaged.

I want to pre-pack for the month of February.  We have been offered the use of an empty semi-truck trailer to put many things into for free.  I hope to list the house in March, and I plan to have it looking nice by then.  Our house is not super messy, I just hope to make it look  nicer so I get a better price for it.  The shop is actually a concern.  There are a lot of things in there that need to be sorted and moved to storage so it doesn’t look so full.  The barn is 90% clean, thanks to friends who came a couple of weeks ago and helped.

It is likely that the house will sell quickly if we price it right.  The market is hot right now and the average time of sale is 12 days in our area.  Then, if it does sell quickly, we will need to finish packing, put all of the boxes in storage, and move into our camper for a few weeks until the new house can be purchased.

When I think about the amount of work that needs to be done, I feel like crawling into bed and putting the covers over my head.  I decided I needed a better, more specific plan than just staring around at all of my possessions and wondering if there were enough cardboard boxes in the world for all of them.  So, here’s what I came up with.

Rob got me a huge pile of cardboard boxes from stores.  He also bought a big pile of plastic totes with lids.  The boxes will be for things that cannot be damaged by moisture or mice and the bins will be for things like delicate dishes that need extra protection, fabric, and any clothing that ends up getting put into storage.

I started going through things like dishes, candles, baking pans that were seldom used, homeschool curriculum from other years and things like that.  I was completely overwhelmed until I convinced myself that I didn’t have to do it all at once.  I simply took the small amount of time I had available, say 1/2 hour or hour, and tackled one small area or shelf.  I then grabbed an item or 2 and made a decision.  I packed some for later, threw away a lot, and then divided the rest into “sell” or “donate.”  I also left quite a few things on shelves or in cupboards that I anticipate we will use during the interim before the house actually sells.  I haven’t gotten very far, yet, but am starting to see progress.  I figure that when all of my family and friends come to help me, now I can point to a shelf of books and say “pack all of those”  and not have to make any decisions, thus using their help more wisely. I won’t get it all done ahead, so I figure I will have plenty to decide on that day!

I am delighted that I sold a bunch of homeschool curriculum on e-bay already. It will ship out today, and that’s another big box gone.  All money we get from selling things will go into a special account for things like paint and curtains for the new house.  I anticipate that the new house will be needing a little TLC, since we are going to find one that doesn’t cost very much, since we won’t qualify for a loan.  How much TLC needed depends on the price we get for this house.

I started packing empty canning jars as we empty them.  I will actually go down to the basement when I get time and pack up several boxes of empty jars.  We will continue to eat from the full ones, and I will deal with those when the time comes closer to actually moving.

I am making a large pile of things to put into the camper, i.e. more canned food items, etc.  It is in the shop getting some warrenty work done (let’s not even go THERE today–I’m not pleased that it needs it–but glad it’s getting done for free), but when it comes home, I will pack and organize it for an extended “camping trip.”  That can be pre-done and will actually give me a place to store a few things.  I don’t plan to stop life when I’m living in there, so I want a few projects in there to work on.  I anticipate that it will be a short stay–and easier than moving in with friends or relatives while we wait for things to close.


As soon as we get a big pile packed, and some strong friends to help, we will start taking loads over to pack into the semi.   We are still eating down the stockpile, but will have lots to move anyway.  I plan to put bins of food in the front of the storage semi and then “shop” from those bins each week while staying in the camper.  We already have a place to plug in our freezers and will shop weekly from those as well.

It’s a plan.  I’m eager to see which parts work and which parts need tweaking!  I’ll take any and all ideas you may think of.

14 thoughts on “Moving–Pre-Packing Organization”

  1. Wow, it’s so overwhelming to pack up your life, isn’t it! One think I always appreciate about moving is the opportunity to purge things that have gathered over the years. Be brutal in your decision on what stays and what goes. You can always get another one if it isn’t very expensive to buy and you really find you need the item later. Best of luck to you.

    1. I am trying to purge hard, but find myself saying, “what if I need _____.” So, hopefully, I can get tougher. Selling the curriculum this week has made me more eager to find out if I have anything else that can sell. I’m loving the idea of having a fund for fixing up the new house. After shipping, e-bay fees, we ended up with a little over $450 for this week’s sales, so I’m super excited right now. That’s a lot of paint! And, that’s 2 more boxes of books out of the house.

  2. I have thought about your situation quite a bit. I think you are being wise, but golly, how hard!! Having bought and sold multiple houses, I do have some thoughts on your next home purchase. I believe that you guys don’t like moving and would like to setting someplace ‘forever’ and that you really love your acreage. You can always change the house, but you can’t change the spot of land it’s sitting on. I know you guys have given this a lot of thought, but it also seems like you guys have renovated before, so you know you can do that. Is it just that you don’t think you would be able to get any acreage at all? I hope it works out for you and I admire your attitude!

    1. Sheila,
      We’ve discussed options for hours and hours and hours, because of this very reason–we are “country” people, not “city” people. I want property SO bad, I can’t tell you how bad. However, I’m prepared to do whatever I need to do to make this work right now and make the best of whatever house I end up in. That being said, we will live in almost any house to get a little land. (I do say almost). We are not sure if we can pull it off, though, because we won’t know what $ we will get until we actually sell this place. We do want to buy right away, though, because rent $ spent only will diminish our chances of getting a better property or house. My husband is out of work, so we will not qualify for any loan. Property is expensive. We live in one of the most expensive parts of the country, according to what I’ve heard, and are not willing to move out of state unless we had a really good reason. Our family is all here, as well as our friends. We do not know what the future will bring. If we can’t be on property right now, maybe we can get back into the country in a few years when things straighten out. The good news is that we will be debt-free, including our house once this sells, so won’t need much $ to live on.

      1. I am sure you have thought of this also, but could you possibly split the acreage you have now and sell the house and a couple of acres and be able to put something on the remaining land to live in?

  3. I have been wanting to move for 8 years but the overwhelming amount of work just does me in. I can’t wait to see the tips and tricks you use to pull this off! I am also loving your “can do ” attitude. To me it makes all the difference in the world.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! Sometimes I think I overthink or overplan things trying to decide how to circumvent all of the problems that “might” arise. I am glad to be taking some action now, and not discussing pros and cons anymore, even if it means having to move.

  4. Sounds like a good plan Becky! I’ve moved several times in my life and always found it best to pack one room at a time. Ans label, label, label!

    1. I am labeling:) I am hoping to strike the balance between bare shelves/cupboards and having enough stuff to use because we truly don’t know how long it will take to sell until we list it. One room at a time sound good. I have started 3 different rooms, so maybe I just need to focus in on one at a time and that will help with the overwhelmed feeling.

  5. Labeling boxes is key. I think you have a good plan to put food in the storage last so you can “shop” from it. We thought we had packed so well for our last move and still ran around going “where is a sharp knife, spatula, etc…” lol. We lived out of boxes with stuff in storage for a month while we were working on our house and living in it.

    A little at a time does get it done. Just look at it in chunks of time or areas and not get overwhelmed.
    Take care!

    1. Thanks, I’d better label better than I have been. Hopefully, there is nothing in the boxes I already packed that I can’t live without. Maybe they are too vaguely labeled. Time will tell:)

      I did another hour today in-between working. I got 2 boxes to sell, and 2 bags to donate.

  6. I think you’ve got a good plan. You can do this. Take small steps and keep moving forward. I remember downsizing from what I thought was my forever home. It was hard but now I live in a small place and accept that you can’t always hold on to things – even things you think you need.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I realize that others have lived through this, and it gives me comfort! I am being more and more ruthless each day, even going back and throwing away things I thought I’d keep a couple of weeks ago.

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