- Pack a "first night" box. Carry this box in the car with you, whether you are moving across town or across the country. Always know where 4 things are--- this box, your purse, your cell phone and your car keys. In this box pack what you need to take a bath, fix your bed and have a bedtime snack. If you take medication pack it in this box, and add some pain reliever for an aching back. Okay, you may need more than one box but put them in the car and keep up with them! Mark (Decorate!) them so clearly you can not miss them should you set them down in a pile of other boxes. First things I would pack would be toilet tissue, shower curtain & hooks, bath soap, a hand towel, a bath towel for each person, deodorant and toothpaste & toothbrushes. I would add a sponge and scrubbing bubbles to clean the tub. If you will have a mattress your first night then pack bedding. If not then pack sleeping bags and pillows. Pack a change of clothes, your pjs and your cell phone charger. Believe me, on moving day you will just want some toilet tissue, a bath, a place to sleep and something to eat. Moving is stressful. Pack a treat or whatever you will appreciate most for a bedtime snack. You will be exhausted. For me it will be an apple, a package of chocolate covered graham cracker cookies, a big jug of ice water and a glass. A book to read at bedtime is a must for me. If you have a pet don't forget a water bowl and a day or two of pet food.
- Next, fix a first day box. Mark clearly! Shelf paper, scissors, hammer, paper towels, disposable cups, plates, spoons/forks, napkins, cleaning supplies. I would pack cereal and bowls, bananas and make sure I picked up milk, OJ and ice to put in the fridge at the new place first thing.
- If you are buying packing boxes they should be fine. If you are collecting boxes from a grocery store or something I would suggest spraying them with insect spray then letting them air before you pack.
- Duck tape comes in a variety of colors. Pick a color for each room and as you pack a box put a strip of colored tape around the corners of the box. Such as red for bathroom, blue for kitchen, etc. The idea is you can glance at the color and know exactly what room that box goes to for unpacking. Just enough to see--- you don't have to wrap the entire box. Do not put the colored tape on the top of the box. When boxes are stacked you won't see it. Put it about midway down the sides. THIS IS THE ONE TIP THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MOVE EASY. Let's say you have 50 boxes to move and 4 of them have bathroom things in them. If all the bathroom boxes have a red piece of tape you will find them in minutes. (actually I have never bought duck tape. I have used strips of colored construction paper and just taped them down with scotch tape because it is cheaper)
- If you have to work the week after you are moving pack a suitcase with everything you need for work for a week, just in case (clothes, shoes, badge!) because you may think you will unpack everything in a day but most likely you won't.
- As you take down things from your walls (picture frames, etc) tape the nail or hanger to the back of the item.
- As you pack if you haven't used something in the past 6 months you probably don't need it.
I am grateful beyond words to have Social Security disability and a small retirement check. Grateful beyond words, but I have to watch every penny. That is ok, I have had to watch every penny carefully ever since the first one I ever earned. For instance, I got my hair cut today at Wal-Mart, $15 ... and it was my first haircut since September. It was a splurge. Today I just had to do it for me. It was way overdue but since it fell on the list of wants, not requirements, it kept getting moved to the "if there is money left over" list.
It has become increasingly more difficult to pay my house payment, utilities, buy prescription drugs, food, etc ... thus making a Wal-Mart haircut a big splurge and luxury. Something has got to give so it is going to be the house. It is ok, really. I had been staying awake nights worrying over what the heck would I do if I had a plumbing bill, or the heater or A/C went out. Frozen pipes would bankrupt me ... really. You have no idea how I have prayed over my plumbing & heating this winter when on the news there would be reports of the cost of frozen pipes bursting and heaters failing in the middle of our coldest weather.
This is the plan:
- get on the waiting list for a low income housing project apartment (done, and yay! I am poor enough that I qualify for reduced rent!!!)
- sort through all my belongings and downsize (in progress)
- have a garage sale (uh, I have no garage so I guess it is a yard sale) and sell as much as I can of whatever I can live without to come up with money for the deposits & moving expenses (preparing for)
- be delighted to get a one bedroom approx. 700 square foot apartment (please let one come open next month, not next year because I am sinking fast) or a 2 bedroom (I qualify for both and will take whichever comes open first)
- it is only 2 years old thus the insulation, etc is great (keeping utilities very low) and it is safe, nice, clean, and not scary (I am too old to live in scary places any more). Appliances are nice, entire parking lot and grounds are well lit and well maintained. Neighborhood is great
- my daughter lives there and since we both drive old, decrepit vehicles we often have to rely on each other to share whichever is most drivable. She and I both have chronic illnesses and take care of each other when we need help
- it is close to my son and his family
- a grocery store, drug store, bank, library are close by