As an Army brat we moved a lot. Every two or three years we packed our belongings and headed to a new destination. There were times we lived in two completely different cities in the same country for short periods. For example; one being Sagamihara, Japan and the other Nigishi, Japan. Our three year tours were the lengthiest, and moving was a normal part of life. Over the years my family packed and unloaded thousands of pounds of furniture, clothing, books and other personal items. With each move I learned four major lessons. No matter where I go, I always keep them in mind when it’s time to ship up and ship out.
1. Never buy boxes
When dad was in the Army we never bought moving boxes because the Army moved us. I never understood what a luxury that was. When older I realized no one else would pay for my moves. From this point I learned that many stores give away, for free, their boxes. I have never bought a single box to move.
Many stores give away banana crates and paper product boxes. However, the best place for boxes are liquor stores. The boxes are smaller so they can’t be overfilled and much easier to carry. They are also very sturdy since they’re made to carry liquids and glass.
2. Things are not forever
Unlike the physical act of moving I learned at a very young age that things are not forever. Life is ever changing. Things are thrown away. Things are replaced. Friendships are divided by miles, and families are separated. No matter how much I loved that area, with those people, I knew in another year or two things would change.
3. Never wait until the last minute to take apart furniture
One of the most time consuming parts of moving is not necessarily packing, but taking apart furniture. Even with the most stealthy, smooth hands it can take hours to break down furniture. For example; my children’s bunk beds had screws, anchor screws, bolts and washers. Lots of them. It took a long time to do a single bed, and we had two.
Don’t wait until the last minute to break down furniture. You’ll slow your packing momentum otherwise so start with the least used furniture.
4. Always store the hardware safely
There is nothing worse than trying to rebuild a piece of furniture with missing hardware. However, it’s easy to lose nuts, screws and bolts since they are small. To keep your sanity never take apart furniture and set the hardware down. Keep it organized, and always store the hardware safely with the furniture.
Before dismantling furniture set aside plastic sandwich or freezer bags to store hardware. As you break down each piece of furniture place the hardware in the bag. Once all the hardware is in the bag, seal it, and tape the sealed part to the underside of the furniture. Then run one piece of tape across the body of the bag and the furniture, also. You won’t lose the hardware this way, and you’ll know exactly where to find it when it’s time to rebuild. Also, be sure to tape it to the underside so you don’t mess up the paint or fabric.