Monday, June 22, 2009

Moving Every Year: a Primer

That is what I wish existed. A nice set of tips for twenty-somethings (or anyone perhaps) who move all the time. Out of dorm rooms and apartments. I am doing much better at it than last year, I have to say, but even now, I can see what I should have done differently a few weeks ago. Such as allotting time to pack up stuff I wouldn't need instead of thinking, "I need to spend all the time with my friends that I can." No, I should have passed up a few nights (and taken a few more sick days from work) so that I could spend time with those people during my LAST week instead of, with six days to go,finding myself confronted with an attic full of Christmas decorations and other odd junk.

The first tip I will give, for myself and others, is to give yourself permission to drop the eco-friendly stuff for the last week or two. You can do your Get My Deposit Back cleaning with castille soap if you want, but ditch the reusable dishes unless you plan on leaving them behind. This isn't true for everyone, but a big sanity saver, I've learned, is to break yourself from the wash-pack-crap I want to eat-unpack-rinse-eat off of-rewash-repack cycle and just BUY SOME DISPOSABLE CUPS. Plates aren't a bad idea, either, though I've been getting around this by merely eating out of the same container I cooked in.

It's also a good idea to give yourself permission to buy takeout for the last week or so. I know it's fattening and expensive, but is it worth it to preserve your sanity? Yes, yes it is! You can always buy a packet of pre-washed salad (I got one yesterday--all organic and snooty--for four bucks) and throw some oil and vinegar on it if you find yourself ready to explode from too much grease.

Another good thing to do, that I should have done two months ago, is assess what you actually need to survive and be content day to day. I mean, what dishes and cookware do you absolutely need? Ditto spices and condiments. Most importantly--clothes and shoes and jewelry and toiletries! Get that excess packed up and into storage NOW so it's not haunting you later.

The closest I've ever gotten is to, about two weeks before moving, select X+2 (where X=number of work/going out in jeans-inappropriate public days left before move) outfits from my wardrobe, have them all laid out down to underwear, shoes,and accessories, and hang them in a closet. (Or in the case of my old apartment, from a random shelf-life extension of my bedroom wall.) And then take everything else (minus pajamas and a few junky outfits for moving) and put it in a suitcase and put it in my parents' house.

More later as I think of it. I'd love to know what other people do. Sort of like exchanging tips from other road trippers.

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