The holidays are usually a pretty hectic time for most people. Between shopping for presents, attending school functions and work parties, and getting the decorations all untangled, it can feel like you are just constantly rushing from one event to the other. It’s a tough time to be uprooted and to feel like your life is in flux. But what if you happen to be moving during the holidays? How can you fit in such a huge endeavor and still enjoy your normal festivities? It’s not like you have loads of free time.
Don’t worry; moving during the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to turn into a Grinch this year – not if you’re well-prepared. To ensure that your upcoming relocation is as merry and bright as possible, I have a few tips for moving during “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Don’t forget to figure holiday traffic into your moving plans. The roads will be full of holiday shoppers and travelers. The busiest brick-and-mortar retail shopping day of the season is actually “Super Saturday,” aka the Saturday before Christmas Day. In fact, the entire week leading up to Christmas is jam-packed with last minute shoppers. The Holidays are also some of the busiest travel times of the year. It’s probably best to avoid moving on these days, if possible. At the very least plan your route to avoid malls, highly trafficked retail areas, and major thorough fairs. Stick to more local routes. Even if you have to drive a few miles further, it will be worth missing the traffic while driving a moving van!
The key to being successful at anything is to organize what must be done, and when it needs to be done. I suggest writing down ALL your holiday must dos (the office Christmas party, the kids’ school play) as well as holiday wants (like taking an evening to drive around and view light displays).
From there, pick designated days that will be devoted to packing your current home. On those days, turn on a Christmas show for the children, and start to tackle the packing.
First, start as early as possible preparing for the move. A few weeks before your closing date, go room by room finding all the things that won’t be moving with you – clutter or rocks the kids collected, or your broken vase you keep think you’re going to fix someday. Donate these items to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, post them on Facebook or garage sale websites. Moving is a perfect time to de-clutter!
Then choose a location to stage all your boxes. A garage, if you have one can be a perfect location. Once again, go room by room packing up all the non-essentials. Get all your books packed. Pack all your off-season clothing, pull down everything from the attic, extra bedding, etc.
But don’t pack all the Holiday decorations! The holidays are a time to celebrate and even though you are moving, that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate at all! There are lots of festive Holiday decorations you can do that don’t require tons of time or elaborate set-up. Depending on how close your moving day is to Christmas, you may want to wait to put up a tree until you are in your new home, or you can put it up but not put up all your ornaments. This is a great year for just lights on your tree, a wreath on your front door, and few of your favorite holiday items.
Make sure to pack your Holiday decorations that you will want to display immediately in your in new home in clearly marked boxes, so you can unpack those boxes first and make your new home festive.
Don’t skip family traditions when moving. Don’t let the stress of what you have to do ruin the fun you usually have – get out and enjoy the holidays! Stick to the list you made earlier of all your Holiday must do’s and wants. Carefully fitting in the fun family traditions doesn’t mean you can’t make a few changes. Instead of a big home-cooked meal; go out to eat with family and friends. After all it’s all about the people you’re with, not the food. Or move the dinner to another family member’s house this year. Bring a dessert from a nice bakery or a bottle of wine. Help with the dishes. You can cook the family meal next year in your new home.
Make sure to plan for intrepid weather. Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather on moving day. In this part of the country, holiday season can mean cold – sometimes frigid – temperatures. From icy roads to white-out blizzards, there could be dangerous winter weather conditions, posing serious challenges for moving. To ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible, make sure you have proper supplies and winter-ready garments to deal with treacherous conditions. Boots, hats, gloves, shovels and salt may be necessary. Pack your belongings in as many waterproof plastic bins as possible. Watch out for slippery sidewalks and stairs. And don’t forget to have your heat and electricity turned on in your new home before you arrive.
When you reach your new house, don’t stress to unpack everything – take time to enjoy the holidays! Kick back and sip some eggnog. You’ll have plenty of time to unpack in January.
By Bonnie Marlow, Realtor, Cisco Realty