Friday, July 6, 2012

9 Ways to purge your house before travelling

If you’ve been following our posts recently you may already know that we are in the throws of a full scale move – having to vacate our house by the end of June to make room for the new tenants. Being a planner and Excel spreadsheet junky, I jumped on the opportunity to make list after list of moving priorities, most of them were ignored. 

To say we have a lot of stuff is an understatement

However we did manage to make our June 30th deadline and now everything we own is either hibernating in a Rubbermaid bin in the back corners of a garage or being put to use by our friends and family in their homes. If we had to do it all over again (please no!) here are some things that we think worked well, and a few areas for improvement… 

Start early –The minute we bought our plane tickets we should have been making keep and toss piles for all our bits and pieces. Although we tried to be proactive a lot of things piled up at the last minute. 

Borrow a truck – The majority of our moving in to the house was done out of my Honda Civic hatchback; great little car, not necessarily designed for moving large amounts of belongings. We had to beg, borrow, and nearly steal a truck for the weekend but it was essential in moving some of the larger pieces of furniture. 

Purge, purge, purge – Due to the amount of stuff we had, we needed to cut it down to a storable size. Therefore, if we hadn’t worn or used something recently it was headed for a new home. With that being said, don’t feel obligated to get rid of something that holds sentimental meaning. Also don’t forget to consider the seasons when purging clothes – we may not need toques and mittens now, or on our trip, but they will be greatly appreciated when we return home at the end of December. 

Share the love – A lot of the furniture and decorative items we were storing or getting rid of are in excellent condition, so before sending them to a storage unit or second hand store we asked friends and family if they needed anything. As a result all of our furniture found new, temporary homes, and we didn’t need to pay for a storage locker. 

Rent partially furnished – We were extremely lucky to find two great tenants to rent our place while we are away, and as they don’t have a lot of furniture, and we have too much to store, we were able to compromise by renting our place partially furnished. Again this saved us from having to pay for a storage space or give away pieces that are in good shape but not worth storing. 

Have a garage sale – We wish we had our act together in time to have a garage sale. In the end we gave away a number of nice items because we simply ran out of time and the extra money we could have earned for an afternoon of work would have been a nice addition to our budget. 

Rubbermaid bins are amazing – Although a bit more expensive than regular cardboard boxes, we chose to pack the majority of our stuff into plastic Rubbermaid bins. Waterproof, bug and vermin proof, and sturdier than cardboard they will keep our belongings safe and stack easily. We also tried to remember to add a dryer sheet to each Rubbermaid bin to keep the contents fresh. 

Keep travel in mind when packing – Because we are moving out of our house two months before we leave for Europe it was easy to start packing absentmindedly without considering what we needed for our trip. Make a rough list of what you will be taking in your backpack, then consider when you will need for the next few months before your trip, decide what you no longer need and will be giving away, and then finally pack everything that doesn’t fit in any of those categories. 

Don’t forget the small things – Changing over your home insurance, utility bills, and cable/internet bills may seem small but can have a big impact. This holds true for updating mailing addresses as well. The paperwork piece of moving can easily slip through the cracks while you’re focus is on moving furniture and electronics so make sure to add it to your to-do list (or Excel spreadsheet!). 

Unfortunately moving seems to be one of those things that gets easier with practice – although we’re practiced out for now. Each time you find better and more efficient ways to do it, but in the end we are just glad we made it out in time. Now to adjust to the next two months living out of suitcases and Rubbermaid bins...

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Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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