Thursday, January 20, 2011


I've moved enough in the last 5 years to feel as if I could qualify for the 'professional mover' title. I've learned a few tips a long the way that have been very helpful. Maybe these tips might help someone else.

Items needed:
  • Black Sharpie markers
  • Masking tape
  • Packaging tape
  • A ton of free boxes
  • Colored round (garage sale) stickers
  • Black garbage bags with tie strings
  • Newspaper 
 - Make a 'Moving Notebook' where you keep all your important paperwork and checklists for the move. Be sure to keep track of the places you call to change your address, a sheet where you keep reminders, etc. 
- De-clutter as you pack. Have a box nearby for give away items. The more you get rid of the less you'll have to move.
- Pack in stages. If you have a move date that is a few weeks or more down the road use the weeks ahead  to 'pre-pack'. This strategy helps take the pressure off those last few hectic days before the move. Go through each room of the house and pack things you can live without until the moving date. Do this each week because the closer you get to the move the less items you'll need.  Leave the boxes in their original room (well marked with specific items listed on the outside of the box) so you can find an item quickly if need be.
- Color code the boxes and link to a map of the rooms in your new house. For instance, the kitchen could be a red round sticker (office supply stores sell garage sale stickers with multiple colors). Then make a map of the house and place a red sticker on the kitchen area and another red sticker on the box(es) of kitchen items. Make several maps and place them at the entrance of the house so that when your 'movers' bring in a box with a colored sticker they can look at the map and know which room to place the box. Be sure to also write the destination on the box in case the sticker falls off. :-)This will help take the pressure off of YOU as the 'go to gal'.
- Become friends with the produce manager at your local grocery store. I like the apple boxes best for packing because they are not too large and have a nice top. I also use banana boxes because they stack well and work great for larger items. Wine boxes work well for plates. Ask the produce manger what is the best time of day to pick up boxes and then call first thing the next morning.  Let him know you'll be there immediately to pick them up. ALWAYS get a TON more boxes than you think you'll need. Guaranteed you'll need more than you can imagine.You can also check Freecycle to see if anyone is getting rid of their moving boxes.
- You can post on Freecycle that you have moving boxes for pickup once the move is over. They should go fast. Or better yet, check to see if your city has a cardboard recycler who will pay you for your cardboard.
- Purchase a box of heavy black garbage bags (I bought mine at Costco) that have colored tie strings. I use these for pillows, blankets, bedspreads, towels and odd shaped items that won't fit into a box. Label the bag with a piece of masking tape.
- I also use black garbage bags to cover my clothes which keeps them from getting dirty. I gather no more than 5 items on a hanger and use rubber bands to tie the tops of the hanger together. Make sure you use clothes pins to secure any clothes that look like they will slip off the hanger. Pierce a hole in the bottom of the garbage bag and place the group of hangers through the hole. I cover all the clothes we won't be wearing weeks ahead of the move and leave them hanging in the closet. Just leave the clothes unwrapped that you'll wear the final days.  This practice makes it very easy to transport clothes without items falling off and getting dirty. If you're using a moving van you can hang the clothes on the side rails in the van.
- Cook food ahead of time and freeze so you don't have to cook the first week you're in your new home while you're unpacking and trying to get settled.
- If friends come to help they could put new shelf paper on the kitchen shelves while you're busy doing other things. I have 3 goals the first day we move in. 1). Beds  2). Eating and drinking utensils  3) Bathroom necessities such a T.P., towels and toothbrushes. If at all possible it's best to keep these boxes separated so you can find them easily.  If you have important medications make sure you take them personally in your own vehicle.
-Our pastor taught me to make sure every single item is in a box before the move. Make sure there are no stragglers.
-Feed your movers. Ex: Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken are both quick and easy solutions. My mom and sister were not able to help with the actual move this time but offered to be our rest stop. They made a wonderful lunch for the movers and gave us a warm place to rest.
-Save your movers backs by not packing too many heavy items in one box.
- Use your towels and sheets to wrap around your breakable glasses and dinnerware. Wrapping dishes in newspaper can leave them dirty.

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Living small' and our new home!

I'm entering my second year of LIVING SMALL and frankly I really like it. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would someday live in a home that was 10 times less in size.. I would have thought it unbearable. But, here I am and we're as content as can be! God has given abundant grace and we have found great peace in not only living with less but also with LIVING SMALL.

Here are a few things I like about LIVING SMALL:

  •  LIVING SMALL demands less of my time to clean which allows more time to invest in eternal priorities.   
  • LIVING SMALL forces me to make the most of the space that I do have. Our new little cottage has less storage than we previously had so it forced me to consider and evaluate each item I own (literally). That is a good thing because it helps me to narrow my priorities in what I own! Less stuff equals less to take care of.
  • LIVING SMALL helps to harness the shopping bug (a.k.a. GREED). I used to enjoy browsing the stores which generally ended up in another purchase. But no longer! I just don't have the room for anything else unless I get rid of something.  I honestly have lost all desire to window shop which in the long run is saving me money and helping me to live more comfortably on a very limited budget.
  • LIVING SMALL has helped me to focus more on my important relationships than on STUFF>

It's possible that someday we may LIVE LARGE(r) than we are living now but I believe that our lives will be forever effected by the drastic challenge of LIVING SMALL. At least I hope so!

So here is a tour of our new little cottage.

This is our main living space. Our kitchen is on the left.
 I've stored our canned food out in the garage in cabinets.
My 'office' is to the right of this picture in the lower left hand corner.

Same room just from a different view. The door straight back
is the laundry room which we share with our little lady plus
a bathroom. The hall leads to her home.
My 'office'. The closet holds half of our clothes. Our little lady
(Mrs. A.) has been gracious to allow us the use of an extra closet in
her home. I really think we could get by with this one closet if
we had to. Maybe I'll downsize our clothes this year.

Our bedroom. Our bed just barely fit. We had less than a foot
at the end but lots of space on the sides. Our BB (beloved pet)
sleeps on the pillow next to the bed.

We are also blessed with a 2 car garage which has helped tremendously. I've stored extra cleaning products along with canned foods, an extra fridge, large cooking pots and appliances and extra toiletries.
I'm determined that we COULD live in just the space given minus the garage and extra closet. We would just not be allowed the luxury of a stocked pantry.

We have everything necessary to maintain our household.. plus a little more. Isn't that amazing?