The Art of Moving: Purging and Packing

Purging and Packing

A friend of mine recently announced that she will be moving soon to begin a new job. She tweeted that she needed tips for how to “effectively and efficiently purge, then pack up, a household.” I have moved twice this year so I figured that it might be useful for me to share some of my thoughts on purging and packing.

The secret to purging is that you have to be willing to ask yourself a simple question about your possessions and then have the determination to act upon your answer. Ask yourself, have you used, watched or worn [insert an item] over the past year? If yes, keep it. If not, then you probably don’t need to keep it. Pack it up and donate it to Goodwill. If you’re not using “it,” then perhaps someone else can. Purging is only challenging if you let your possessions have more value than they actually possess. Keep a few things for sentimental reasons, but unload those items that eternally gather dust. I’m not really a collector, but I do have a few collections: books, cds, dvds, and comics. Yes, comics. C’mon, they don’t take up that much room.

So to recap, purging is all about letting go of the things that you don’t need, use, or want anymore. Stuff gathers in our lives because we let it. Purging can be extremely cathartic during the moving process.

I’m a big fan of buying a lot of boxes. Small boxes and book boxes from U-Haul are the best because you really can’t overpack them. They are easier to pack “Tetris-style” than other bulkier boxes. And, your back will be much happier with moving more lighter boxes than just a couple of ultra-heavy boxes. Also, remember that it’s okay to live-purge whilst packing. Have a box for purging next to your “keepers.” Packing takes time, so remember to allow yourself at least 2 or 3 extra days than you think you will need. Extra time is almost always needed with the packing / purging process. Start small. Pack a few things each day. Waiting until the last moment will make purging difficult and you may not pack as neatly as you would if you had more time.

My go-to packing supplies: U-Haul small / book boxes, black permanent markers, and tape (lots of tape!).

The neat thing about purging and packing is that it’s usually connected to something positive. You’re getting to move to a new place to start something exciting. An awareness of your purpose can energize you throughout the process.

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  • Tanya

    A good friend of mine uses this technique, “Does this complicate my life? If yes, CHUCK IT!” Hope all is well Stoller. :)

  • I’m NOT like the people on the TV show, but I definitely have hoarding tendencies when it comes to all things paper. I recently left a job, so I had to move out of my office. Before I left, I threw away an incredible amount of paper, and it felt wonderful. If I’d stayed, I probably would’ve kept that stuff forever, but most of it was already years old and totally unnecessary, so I knew nobody would ever need it. Now if I can just make myself purge all the old, unneeded paper from my home, I will be in great shape!