I know someone who reads here who might be in need of some help. I thought I'd make an effort at writing down my processes for the moving/organizing thing.
Just to get this stuff in print before I forget...
Thanks to my husband's 20 year Army career, I've had lots of practice at moving. Ask any career military person and they can tell you moving stories. Good and bad. Fortunately for us, our stuff never caught fire on a moving truck. Our storage goods were not in a warehouse in Missouri that burned up. We never had all our crystal broken. As a matter of fact, very little was ever lost, stolen, or damaged.
I consider this both a matter of luck and planning.
The day the movers arrived to pack, I was always ready. This meant advance planning and work. If you're disorganized, those packers can't work fast and efficiently and they sometimes might not be as careful as they could be. (I've seen people cooking breakfast while the movers wanted to start packing. NOT a pretty picture.)
Here's how I did/do things:
At least one month before a move I start organizing. Being a packrat by nature, this is a difficult process for me. So I break it down into parts.
I would start in one room. Pick a corner of that room. Start at the corner. Now go through every drawer, closet, box, container and work your way around the room.
Here are the questions to ask yourself when contemplating an object:
1) do I love it?
2) does it bring me joy?
3) is it useful?
4) is it beautiful?
Be truthful with yourself. We all have things we've kept years past their useful lifespan. We all have things we once thought were great, but now our style has evolved.
Create these categories for your objects.
Keep. Discard. Donate. Sell.
The discard pile. Nothing is more satisfying than removing junk from your house. Makes you feel good. Refreshed. Ready for a new start.
Donations. You can give to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a host of other agencies. You can give to friends. Enemies. Freecycle!!!
Sell. Why not put somethings on craigslist or in a consigment shop? Make a few bucks. After all, you're going to be in transition and it's likely you'll want money for pizza!
Keep. If the previous three piles are small, maybe you need to examine your keep pile again. Either that or you are already the most organized person in the U.S.A. Stop being sentimental. Got tons of your kids artwork? Have you ever considered taking digital photos of it? I know some of us love our purses and shoes, but if you sell some of these now, you can buy more later. There will always be shoe stores somewhere. I promise.
I do this in every room in my entire house. Including the basement and storage areas.
I try to stop shopping for groceries and eat my way out of my pantry and freezer if making a long distance move. This never totally works. But I found with planning, I usually didn't have that much food to give away.
Yes. This takes time. But it saves you time. And money if you're paying for the move.
It's almost been six years since the last time I had to do this. Trust me there are days when I wish someone would get PCS orders and I'd have to start the process. Without a move looming over me, I'm slow to organize the house further. Though every once in a while, that urge comes over me. And I start opening drawers.