We move frequently.
If you are a military family, you probably relate to that first sentence well and giggled a little. This article is for those frequent movers or not so frequent movers who are trying to make the best of it and not tackle the project willy nilly. It’s written with Lincoln Housing at Camp Pendleton, California in mind, but is certainly relevant to anyone living in a rental.
■Start Early. Start planning and putting thought into the move at least a month prior to packing day. Don’t wait until a week before the packers are coming to start collecting your thoughts, boxes, and planning the move. If you only have a week left and you are just reading this article, bless your heart. You are going to have to work very fast or you will not be ready come moving day.
■Get Organized. Because of The Planner – namely, my husband- we are pretty well organized all the time. If you are not, I recommend that you spend a few weeks trying. Put all the packing tape in the same drawer, for instance. Get little cheap containers and try to put items together. Use ziplocks in childrens’ bedrooms to organize toys.
■Put Away Hardly Used Items. If you rarely use something, go ahead and put it nicely away. If you are boxing yourself, then by all means, get some boxes and start packing. If a moving company is going to move you, being organized will make unpacking and arranging the new home much easier.
■Fix Things. If you’ve got some small damages in your home, get those fixed right away. Do not procrastinate on those items. Once you know you are moving it’s time to take action as some fixes SEEM simple but are time consuming. If you wait too long you may end up paying Mr. Fat Pockets three to five times more money than if you’d fixed it yourself. One item in particular that we had fixed was a very big red marker stain on the carpet. No amount of cleaning was getting it out so I bleached it and hired a professional to dye it back to the original color. I don’t really recommend this process as it cost us $110 for a little bitty spot, but we have only been in the house a little over a year and the carpet has a 5 year lifetime. If we’d left that spot we might have had to pay hundreds to replace that carpet.
■Clean, Clean, Clean. We had a pre-inspection and the gal said my house was lovely and complimented me on my housekeeping skills. I’m thinking ok, but you aren’t the actual inspector! Later that week we were talking to some friends who just moved out, and they got dinged for over $1300. It seems at pre-inspection they don’t tell you that they may check the carpets for urine stains with a black light! Pretty shady, right? As awesome as it feels to hear that you are a great house keeper, don’t forget that someone else will probably do the actual inspection. Clean your house from top to bottom before you leave. Don’t let Mr. Fat Pockets force you to pay for something that you could have taken care of for much less money.
■Carpet Black Light Inspection: If your landlord is going to black light inspect and you have pets that peed on the carpet, you’re probably out of luck. I could NOT get the pee out. Believe me, I tried. I followed the directions to the letter and tried the following products with NO luck: Urine Gone, Nature’s Miracle, Spot Shot, WD-40, vinegar and water, boiling hot water, and detergent. I did not try Urine Out Powder and if I had it to do over again, I’d certainly give it a go. I ran out of time on the other products. Don’t waste your money paying a professional to clean the carpets, they don’t care and charge you anyway.
■Think Ahead: Not only do you have to get organized, clean the house, and fix things, you also have to think ahead to the travels and new living arrangements you face. If you are going to be living in a motel for a month or more, planning for that and packing appropriately will save you lots of money and hassle once you are on the road. We like KOA cabins, since they are more often than not, pet friendly, and honestly since they are made of wood and simple plastic covered mattresses, I feel they are cleaner too. No carpet, bedbugs, etc. The downfall to cabins is there’s no bathroom in the room, but they are a short hike down a path, with hot showers to boot. They are generally cheaper than hotels and much more fun. If the weather is decent you could even opt to camp in a tent but you’ll need more gear.
■Good luck on your journey and Semper Fi!