We’re moving again. If I’m counting right, this will be the 28th time I have moved since 1993. As a married couple, it will be our fifth since 2009, and technically there are six in there because we converged two households when we got married. At time of writing, I have not yet seen the house in person. I thought it could be interesting to post about the process of planning and organizing the move from a minimalist perspective.
Why are we moving again? In 2013, we moved three times in seven months, so one would think we’d want to put down deeper roots. When we rented our current house, we had a tight deadline, and every house we called about was already rented. The house we got had only been on Craigslist for 45 minutes, and there were two other families looking at it when we went for the tour the next morning. I filled in all the applications on my phone in the car while we drove back to Sacramento. We didn’t know the area well, and we figured we would stay put while we learned our way around and figured out our dream neighborhood. Now we know where that is. We’re excited about this move!
We’re downsizing again. Each time we have moved, the kitchen and garage have had half the storage of the previous house, meaning we’re at a quarter of where we started. This time, the garage will be bigger, but the rest of the house will be smaller. We’re in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1386 square foot house, built in 1961. The new house is 881 square feet with 2 bedrooms and one bathroom. ONE. BATHROOM. (When I was a kid, five of us shared one bathroom. As an adult, I’ve started to think that personal bathrooms are one of the secrets to a relaxed married life). This house was built circa 1930, and it’s extremely interesting to me how house sizes have inflated over the years, adding roughly 300 square feet per decade. In a sense, we’re going back in time. Not only will we have a vintage house, we’ll have a vintage commute, as my husband will be close enough to walk to work.
Okay, enough about the house! Let’s talk about moving!
Step One: We discussed what we wanted in a house long before we decided to move. (#1: No carpets. SUCCESS!) We agreed that certain things were expendable and would not be relocating with us. We assume that an international relocation may one day be a part of the career ladder, which is THRILLING, and thus gradual downsizing has been working well for us. It’s a mutual dream.
Step Two: We started looking for a house. This is the fourth one we tried. We called on the first day it was listed. There were 83 applications besides ours!
Tuesday: See link in Trulia email, forward to hubby, about an hour after reaching my parents’ house from the airport. He responds 7 minutes later saying he has called. Wednesday: He tours the house, while other rival renters are present, and takes 56 photos. Sends me the photos in our shared album, which I pore over. Fill out lengthy application, contact three personal references each, send Dropbox links and Contact cards back and forth over phone. Thursday: Supply credit reports, also doing mine remotely. Friday: Learn that we have the house! Give notice to current property manager. They respond with 12/19 move-out date. Saturday: Hubby buys some empty boxes. Sunday: He starts packing his office, filling five boxes.
I’ll be seeing the house and meeting the property manager to sign papers immediately after landing at the airport on Monday (day of posting). We are to receive the keys, even though technically we don’t take occupancy until the first. Note that this is Thanksgiving week.
Since the house is so close to my husband’s work, the plan is for him to take over a trunkful of small boxes each day. Then he can drive home as usual, pick me up, and we can unpack a second carload. This will allow me to have most of the kitchen moved in before we spend a night there, and we’ll be able to unpack many things (such as clothes) as we go. By the time we hire a moving van for the things that won’t fit in our car, the “fiddly bits” will be long gone. We can unpack and reuse boxes for multiple loads.
This is the plan. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will work out according to plan.
What we have going for us is that our current house is clean and we don’t have all that much stuff. The last time we moved, we had 100 boxes in total, and several of those contained only one item, such as a lamp or a comforter. We’ve unloaded a lot in the last two years, including about a third of my kitchen doodads, extra serving platters, redundant towels, furniture for rooms we no longer have, boxes of books, and all sorts of other things. I’ve made a concerted effort to pare down our pantry, winnow my wardrobe, purge the papers, and downsize the Dickens out of everything.
Most people wouldn’t want to move between Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially if they were in our situation, with a 20-hour round-trip drive coming up. There’s the weather. There’s the early sundown. I suspect, though, that if we were trying to move to this neighborhood in spring or summer, we’d never find a house. The market is too competitive. I’m excited because we’ll be able to start the New Year in our new home!!!
I will post once a week about our progress as we pack, move, unpack, deep-clean our current house, change our addresses everywhere, and adjust to our new home.
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.