So here we are at home (when we did not expect to be returning to this house) and unpacking parts of two storage units. Since we did not think we would be back and unpacking just parts of the storage for the basic things to live for six months or so (until we relist the house in the Spring), we did not pack with that in mind. Now we have to sift through many boxes with just words like “kitchen” or “desk” written on the sides, not knowing if that rice cooker is in this one or not. This is leading to a lot of lifting and shifting at the hot and stuffy storage unit.
Plus I have my craft studio to unpack. All those paint brushes, pens, paper, paper crafting tools and embellishments. So I am taking my time and reorganizing , labeling and purging everything that emerges from the boxes. I have them stacked up in the empty living room while I sort everything.
I will be having another craft supply sale sometime this Fall when it is done.
So here are some lessons that we have learned the hard way for people who are packing up their house to sell before leaving on a senior gap year.
- Start packing early. You need more time than you think.
- Purge when you can while packing. You will have to pay for storage and many things are not worth the storage fees.
- Label your boxes in a way that clearly shows what is in it. Instead of “kitchen” label “kitchen utensils, knives, can opener”. This makes it much easier to find important things like a can opener. Pack like things together.
- Pack important things that you might need in the front of the storage unit; just in case, like us, you have to do a partial unpack to live in a smaller place or your home again. This actually happens semi-automatically, as those things are likely to be stored last, and thus right inside the door.
A note from Dave: we actually started early with our packing, and the first 30 boxes or so had clever little computer-printed stickers with their contents, and I had a spreadsheet listing them all and their major contents. However, it turned out that these were the things we packed first, and that means they were things we most easily identified as “not too important” in the last three months before leaving. And of course, that meant they’re waaay in the back of the storage unit. As the packing rate quickened, there seemed not to be time to do this … but it would have helped, and had I imagined a “partial unpack” I would have found a way to do it.