Summer brings warmer weather, vacations and often residential moves. As home décor experts, we want our clients’ homes to look polished. We thought we’d share our own tips for preparing to move and simplifying the process. There are some must-do tasks to make unpacking at your new home easier, so you feel settled in the next home curated for you. After all, moving to a new home is a great opportunity to start anew with updated furnishings and accents while ridding yourself of unused and outdated items. Here’s where to start.
CULL THROUGH YOUR COLLECTIONS AND EDIT
We’re not suggesting that you throw everything away, but the moving process introduces a great time to edit your belongings. Here are some things to either dispose of or donate to a good cause.
Artwork: If you’re holding onto art that hasn’t been hung in your current home, consider the fact that your new home should showcase all that makes you happy. Ho-hum art doesn’t address that requirement. As I said in a recent article in The Spruce, “Many clients have piles of framed art tucked into a guest closet. Most of it is faded, unimportant and uninteresting… There is no need to bring any of this with you unless it has extraordinary value, sentimental or otherwise.” Also, pinpoint which art will go in which room. That helps ensure that you’re only moving the pieces you intend to use.
Books: As seen above, we still enjoy using books in our design work. I recommend holding onto a handful of books that have pretty spines or book covers that can be woven into your décor on coffee tables or on bookshelves. However, there’s no reason to hold onto books that you’re no longer interested in or that you started but didn’t enjoy so you put the reading on pause. Take these books to a local bookstore or consider donating to a local library or senior living facility. As the motto goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
For instance, there’s no reason to move heavy books, especially your/your spouse’s college textbooks. The likelihood of you referencing those in the future is negligible, not to mention much of that information can be found online. Recycle or donate these. Has your novel collection grown over the years? I suggest only holding on to your favorites if you think you’ll really read it again. (As a side note: I barely get through my standard magazines and a book or two. Re-reading books seems like such an extreme luxury, I can hardly fathom it. As a child, however, I re-read most of my books. I practically memorized the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can’t recall how many times I read Little Women and several of the other Louisa May Alcott books such as Little Men and Jo’s Boys. That’s ironic because my mother tried reading Little Women to me when I was quite young and I didn’t like it. I picked it up a few years later and read it on my own. I remember crying my eyes out when Beth died and feeling resentful when Laurie married Amy. I shared my sentiments about the novel with my mother and she graciously never reminded me that I didn’t like the book at first. She just commiserated with me over the sad parts and enjoyed sharing a beloved story. We’ve also watched all versions of the movie together. Even though we went to the library and I borrowed books at school, I am sure the fact that I had books sitting on my bedroom shelves encouraged me to pick them up time and time again. Perhaps this is another consideration for those with young children. Make sure they have a place to store their favorite books. So treasured books stay. Books that you will pass down in time stay. Books you truly read over and over again stay. Otherwise, many of us can do some serious book purging.
Children’s Toys: I propose that parents encourage their children to go through their toys each October and donate any items that the kids have outgrown. This seems to be a palatable approach when parents remind children that the holidays are fast-approaching and some families need a little help. That said, an upcoming move is another good time to sort through kids’ belongings, emphasizing a fresh start. Throw away any toys that are past their prime.
Clothes: If you haven’t worn the outfit in more than two years and it’s not stained or torn, it’s time to donate. (I usually would set the timeframe at one year but since the pandemic curtailed much of our outings in 2020-2021, I’m being more generous on this for now.) I’ve also discovered that some occupations have moved away for traditional suits at the office. If that’s the case at your job or if you are working from home and need fewer suits, donate some business attire to non-profits such as Dress for Success (for women) or Career Gear (for men) — both in Houston.
Pantry Items Past Their Prime or Unused: If canned goods or other pantry items are expired, throw them away. This is a project that you can solicit help from a family member since most kids in elementary school and older can read and assess expiration dates with a little guidance upfront. If you haven’t used a kitchen appliance and it’s gathered dust in your pantry, donate it. There’s just no reason to move it. Similarly, go through your junk drawer and get rid of unneeded items. Most of us have a favorite spatula and notepad, so get rid of the extras that you don’t really need.
Window Treatments: Many are custom-made to your exact window size and your home’s décor. Some window treatments can be reconfigured for your next home, but do you have the same number of windows? Do you have the same noise and light concerns? Is there enough fabric to cover your next needs? Is it worth the investment to repurpose these or would you be happier with new window treatments? We can help you consider these factors and suggest if it’s best to start anew. Plus, window treatments are sometimes considered part of the fixed property in a home sale, so check your agreement before removing those draperies.
THINGS TO WASH OR TREAT PRIOR TO MOVE DAY:
Comforters and duvets typically aren’t washed as frequently as bed sheets. This is a great time to send these to the laundry for a deep clean.
Rugs that are in good shape and are good quality should be washed professionally at least every five years. Rugs often become heavily soiled so a professional cleaning is recommended and can add longevity to the piece. Remember: A quality rug is an investment and there’s often opportunity to place a favorite rug in a different setting in your next home. Reusing your good rugs is a cost-efficient way to decorate your new home while refreshing your style.
New Home: This may seem like a no-brainer, but have your new place professionally cleaned before you move in. With so much to accomplish during your move, relying on a third-party cleaning crew is worthwhile.
OTHER THINGS TO DO BEFORE MOVING DAY:
Arrange for dinner delivery. The last thing you need to worry about is preparing dinner on top of locating the box with the dinner dishes. Simplify your evening by calling ahead to have dinner delivered. If you’re still unpacking upon its delivery, supper is a good time for a break and a chance to reconnect with your family in the new digs.
Pack your charging cables for your must-have devices in your purse or move-day bag. Then, when you’re commuting to your new home or are unpacking there, you have those chargers within arm’s reach.
Pick up laundry from your local dry cleaner if you’re moving across town or further.
Transfer services to the new home or cancel and set up all utilities. This includes gas, electric, cable TV, Internet and the security alarm providers.
Welcome yourself home by placing a bottle of champagne in your cooling refrigerator with flutes nearby. You’ll appreciate the idea at the end of the day. If you have children, consider non-alcoholic spritzers or sodas. If it’s hot like it is in most places during the summer, cool off with popsicles that you placed in the freezer.
Of course, we help clients have their next home in prime condition before move-in day. The new house should be cleaned, painted and have all new fixtures installed whenever possible. This applies to both new construction homes and existing ones where you’ll want to add your own touch. (It’s always stressful moving into a home with contractors still finishing up.) Not sure you have the time to manage the new build or renovation? We can supervise key areas or your entire project through our design and renovation consulting or turn-key design services. You’ll revel in the luxury of a well-managed interior design project and appreciate a move-in experience that welcomes you home. Contact us for details.