Packing for a Big Move

Considering a big move? It’s important to have a strategy in place and stay in a positive mindset.

When my husband and I moved from Maryland to California six months ago, we knew we could not take everything with us. We wanted to start fresh and anew. Our options for a new place to live were open, but we settled on sunny California. After visiting San Diego once before, we decided it was the perfect place to begin our new lives.

Our plan was to stay in a hotel for the first month to get to know the Southern California area. Since we were going to be hotel hopping, we could only realistically bring what we could carry. If it couldn’t fit in the five suitcases we brought to fly with us, it had to be shipped by car (which took about 10 days to arrive). Packing for a move across the country is nothing like packing for a vacation or a business trip. This was one of the most stressful and challenging times in my life. However, this purge was a great way to lift my mood and cleanse my spirits during the stressful time.

My biggest challenge was my closet. The decluttering process was particularly exhausting. I had to decide what I was keeping and what was going to be sold, donated, or put in the trash. And this is just for the closet. Imagine decluttering and packing an entire house!

For some, it may be easy to get rid of clothes that you have had in your closet for a while. In my case, it’s much harder to part the longer I’ve had the item. I’m somewhat of a clothing hoarder. I feel like my whole wardrobe has a purpose, even though most mornings I wake up saying I have nothing to wear. To make the process easier, I organized in phases.

Phase one: Check items for holes, stains, and odors that cannot be removed. You will be surprised what clothing you find has a button missing, or stain that you didn’t notice before.

Phase two: Try on clothes that haven’t been worn in a while. Bodies change over time and your perception or taste might have changed as well. Now is the time to get rid of the clothing that you cannot fit. Think about the new location and the weather in that area.

Phase Three: This is where a trusted friend or family member comes in. I asked my sister to come over to help me get rid of stuff in my closet that I may be too attached to. Even after my own decluttering, she really challenged me and made me think long and hard about certain pieces that were either outdated or not flattering. I love her honesty!
If a piece of clothing fits into any of those categories- time to go!

My husband and son didn’t have  as many clothes as me, but they each did a similar process of checking the clothes and trying them on for fitting. When everything packed and ready to move, we ended up with nine Ziploc bags in the car along with a couple of boxes which included business supplies, pictures, kitchen appliances and utensils, and personal mementos that we could not fly by plane and/or would not fit our five suitcases.

I live my life with no regrets, however challenging, this was one of the best moves of my life!


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