Moving always seems like a beautiful adventure–it is fun to daydream about how you would decorate your new house or re-organize that office space that you hate. It is easy to romanticize about starting over, and going through all your old junk. Its all fun and games until you actually have to do it; then it isn’t such a beautiful adventure, its more like a chaotic hurricane of stress and junk.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am very happy I moved–but I am even happier now that I am in my new place. Even though I am waist deep in boxes and knick-knacks that have no place, it feels good to be starting again.

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Here is what I gathered to be the 10 most important tips when moving:

1. Start early – its like that big term paper that you think you can finish in a week but realistically can’t and end up pulling 3 all nighters in a row. That’s what moving is. Your house is bigger than you think and you have more junk than you remember. Doing a little a time is much less stressful than having to pack everything in two days, trust me.

2. Do the painting and renovations BEFORE you move in – That way your space is free and you don’t have to worry about wrecking you stuff or having to move it around. The painting, bathrooms, flooring, EVERYTHING, before you move in.

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3. Go through your stuff – while you are packing, not while you are unpacking. Its easy to ask the question “Is this really worth moving?” most of the time that answer is no. It also makes it easier to unpack when you don’t have boxes of stuff you don’t really want, that leads to boxes in the basement that never get emptied.

4. Don’t rely on your friends to help – they all will be eager to help in the early stages when you are talking about moving, but when the day comes moving doesn’t seem quite as fun, and things like watching paint dry seem more important. It is okay, just plan for it.

5. December is the worst month to move – Not only is it winter and the ground is icy and your fingers get cold, but Christmas is happening and there are parties that need to be attended and Christmas dresses that need to be unpacked ASAP.

5a. Do not plan a Christmas party 5 days after your move in date. This will result in hasty unpacking and too much stuff getting moved to the basement.

6. Cancel your electricity, water, cable, mail, etc. early – If you don’t you will be stuck without internet (the most important thing to survive) and you will be spending countless hours at your local starbucks (where I am writing this right now). Also, did you know it costs money to have your old mail forwarded? Change all your addresses early!

7. Unpack the important things first – Like your kitchen, you will need food and pans and will not want to search through boxes in the basement to find them. Kitchen and your bed, that’s really all you need for the first week.

8. Hire a cleaner – Seriously people are gross, pay the money to have someone else clean the toleit–its worth it.

9. Don’t party the night before – Having to move hungover is not fun, take my word for it. It starts early, goes all day, and there is no sitting. Think about it before you rent a moving truck.

10. Remember that it is all worth it in the end – your house will be beautiful and you can appreciate all the hard work you put in. While you are admiring the new house make a mental note to never move again.

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