If you are packing the boxes yourself, besides actually packing the boxes, you will need to decide what to PURGE and what to RECYCLE. If it takes X hours to pack the required number of boxes, it will take .4X extra to PURGE and RECYCLE.
A) A two bedroom/two bath apartment or condo without a garage may take 15 man-hours of box-packing, 6 hours of recycle and purging – a total of 21 hours.
B) A three-bedroom/two bath house with a garage will be more like 20 hours with 8 hours of recycle and purging—a total of 28 hours
C) A five-bedroom, 4000 square foot place in Alpharetta may be 28 hours of box-packing, 11 hours of recycling and purging—a total of 39 hours
Let’s say you live in the three-bedroom, two bath house with a garage; you’re doing the box-packing yourself and you’re looking at 28 hours of work before the Movers arrive. How are you going to get this done?
The penalty of not being completed in time, and getting rushed—is so severe—that it is worth it to go to extraordinary lengths to give yourself enough time.
My formula is to plan to be completely box-packed A FULL WEEK BEFORE THE MOVERS ARRIVE. It is not that big of a deal to live out of boxes for one week. When you get a surplus of boxes in all the appropriate sixes, you can live out of boxes easily. First you pack everything, and then you start taking stuff out as you use it during that last week. Once you take it out you can leave it out.
After you pack the kitchen you will have several dish pack boxes standing around, a few small boxes and a few medium boxes. You realize you need the toaster, so you take it out of the medium box where you have packed your small kitchen appliances, and then you leave it out until the last day before the Movers arrive.
When you need the laundry detergent, you take it out of the laundry box you have marked as having your laundry detergent. Depending on how often you do laundry during the week, you may even put the laundry detergent back in the box, or else pour the week’s amount or detergent into a Tupperware container.
Your clothes are either hanging in wardrobe boxes, or laying in 4.5 liter size, large boxes, or in luggage like you are going on a week-long trip. Clothes hanging in wardrobe boxes are very easy to access. The wardrobe boxes have a seam where you pull down the side halfway, and you can use them like little portable closets.
Since during a week, you only use a fraction of all the stuff in your house, you will be surprised how little you had to take out for the week. The day before the actual move, you just put the few kitchen items you have used during the week back into the dishpack boxes, and the same with all the other rooms, and boxes. Re-tape the boxes, and now you are ready for the Movers.
But how do you get those 28 hours of moving prep done? You will keep a time record, almost like you’re billing your time (See attached “Self Box-Packing Hour Planning” form. There is a sample form and a blank template). Since you need to be completed 7 days ahead of the Movers, and since in this example you have 28 hours of work to do—if you budget approximately 1 hour per day, and start 35 days ahead, you should be in good shape.
Now let’s talk about how working with the time budget. The first mistake people make is to think, “Oh no problem, I’ll just wait until the last two weekends, and I’ll do 14 hours each weekend. Wrong! Seven hours of box packing on all four prior weekend days is cruel and inhuman punishment, and you simply won’t subject yourself to that kind of torture. Instead you will feel the torture the night before when you are way-behind in box-packing and writhing with anxiety and fatigue.
The second mistake is to get hung up on the one hour per day allocation. This is not like taking your vitamin each day or your blood pressure pill, where you take exactly one pill per day, no more, no less. You are not going to pack exactly one hour each day. It will probably be closer to two hours every other day. But since you are keeping a written record, you will be able to track how close you are to the time budget. 14 days into your 35 day plan, you should have spent approximately 14 hours of purge/recycle/box-packing work.
When you follow this plan, when the Movers arrive you will be aglow with satisfaction and confidence instead of feeling like you’ve just experienced one of the worst days of your life.