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Robert Burns

As the son of a father in the air force, I have had the "joy" of moving many times in my childhood (thankfully, mostly in the same state). And as a college/university graduate, I have continued that moving trend into my adult years. The most challenging for me was after the death of my partner (we were together for 9 years and lived together for 3 years). It was a hurdle to figure out what to declutter and pack first, as it was overwhelming to tackle an entire condo (2-story). I decided to start with the garage, since it was full of unpacked boxes that I had been wanting to declutter from previous moves. With the help of my best friends and relatives, I began to tackle the declutter process, which included replacing damaged boxes and reliving my youth along the way. Due to distance away from family and friends, I had to tackle the rest of the house mostly on my own. Since I had completed the most challenging room (the garage) first, I decided to make a daily plan of which areas of the house to declutter/pack, starting with the least used rooms first and the most used rooms last. This really helped me stay focused and not feel like giving up (or spending money on a packing company). It also helped me with the grieving process, by allowing myself the time to go through everything ("mine, yours, ours") at my own pace. In my new home, I was able to devote an area of the bedroom as a memorial/tribute of my partner (8x10 favorite photo, trinkets loved by my partner).

In addition to other comments on this article, I would agree that replacing boxes with plastic storage tubs is great, especially for holiday decorations. As someone who loves to decorate the home for the holidays, it has been helpful to keep things organized by month/season and easily see what is in the containers. Also, as a dancer for 20 years, I have dealt with chronic pain (neck, back, joint injuries). One thing that has been a tremendous help with packing and moving is labeling any boxes that are HEAVY (books, media). I am a lover of "retro," so I have a huge collection of DVDs and CDs (and, yes, also cassettes and VHS). It is amazing how quickily a few soft cover books or vinyl records can quickly become unbearable to lift alone! My tip would be to use smaller boxes for heavier items to avoid overfilling a box with heavy items. Also, try packing light-weight items (stuffed animals) with heavy items to help fill the empty space in a box (especially if you like to keep your media collections organized in any way.

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Robert Burns: Condolences on the loss of your partner. How lovely to create a memorial in your new home.

In my last move, I had the movers pack the books & vinyl because I knew that even though I could pack them, what would I do with the boxes after pcking and before the move? I couldn't stack or organize them because they would be too heavy for me to move around and there wouldn't be enough room to have box after box on the floor - I have hundreds of books and many records. Everything else was no problem for me to pack & stack.

I also recommend using bags for certain things, such as collections of nonbreakable items. If you have stuffed animals, for example, just bag them. I also had plastic collectibles. The stuffed animals mostly went in large plastic trash bags because there is no need to see them - it's easy to tell what's in them. Smaller items went into reusable supermarket totes. Since movers will not take open bags, I moved the totes myself in numerous trips. This worked because my move was very local. Bonus: Because I did so much moving myself, I lost some weight in the process!

I donated at least 200 books and many knick knaks before the move and ended up donating more afterwards. Everyone is different, but I decided I would rather move too many things and continue to cull afterwards than donate in haste and find myself regretting it later.

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Robert Burns

Goodwyfe: Thanks for the kind words. Your comment on reusable totes reminded me that when my current partner and I moved last year we used reusable totes for food items and toiletries (things we would need immediately). My partner also wrote "easy access" on boxes of items we would need to get too quickly after the move, like kitchen and bath items. This helped avoid unpacking boxes and the frustration of trying to find a box because others boxes were put on top of them.


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