Let's make moving and packing FUN again
September 10, 2016 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Please help me not crash and burn. Because of reasons, from today until next weekend I will be doing most of the packing and moving into a new place across town. Moving and packing tips are always helpful, but what I really need are tips to keep me motivated, energetic and productive while avoiding burnout.

The last two times I moved, I had it a little easier because 1) friends were available to help me (everyone's schedules are weird this time around), and 2) I was moving from one apartment to another inside the same building.

This time I'm moving across town to a place where I have this entire weekend, week and next Saturday to gradually move my stuff in. My partner, friends and family all have scheduling conflicts, so with the exception of tomorrow and possibly Wednesday, I'm going to be finishing up the majority of my packing and hauling of my things across town on my own. I have a medium size SUV and may be renting a Uhaul later this week for some of the big things that either won't reasonably fit in my SUV or would probably get damaged if I tried to fit them in (mattress, dining table, a few large shelves, 60" TV).

I think I'm getting a little overwhelmed just looking at everything. It's not really that bad, but it's "the little stuff" that kills you. I have moving boxes, plenty of cling wrap, bubble wrap and butcher's paper (to use like newsprint); I already boxed up and moved my books (which took up about 25 medium size boxes), my breakable tchotchkes, and am currently filling up liquor bottle boxes with all of my vinyl records. After this I need to get all of my craft room junk boxed up, then move on to whatever is next... probably dishes/kitchenware, but I'm worried about packing something I still need to use and ack! It's all terrifying me.

So anyway, I recognize a lot of this drama is in my head and I'm making myself anxious by not breaking things down into small tasks... but since I don't really have as much help from friends this time around, I think I'm looking to Metafilter for encouragement and reassurance that I can figure this out, do it and still survive.

I'd hire someone to help me, but I don't really have the money in my budget (and what money I do have I need to save for the Uhaul rental).

I checked out this thread, that thread, as well as this one, this one and a few others.

The packing tips in those threads are incredibly helpful, but I think what I'm still missing is how to "whistle while I work." Moving sucks, but I'd like to minimize that as much as possible and try to keep my mood elevated. Right now, my motivation is pretty low while I sit on my couch staring at all the stuff that needs to be done.

Just to clarify the time I have available for packing/moving: Tomorrow I have a commitment at 2pm that I can't break, so while I have someone to help me move big stuff tomorrow, I don't know that it will be the best day to get a Uhaul because of that awkward mid-day break where I won't be able to pack/move for a couple of hours. I also work Monday, Tuesday, (probably Wednesday- trying to see if I can get that day off since I'd have someone else available to help me move the biggest stuff), Thursday and a half day Friday, so the only full days off I have for certain are this weekend and next Saturday. This past week I was so burnt out after work I didn't feel like doing much packing after I got home; I'd like to avoid that again this week.

tl;dr: What are some morale boosters I can use while packing and moving? How can I break this down into steps that are easy for me to digest on my own? How do I avoid anxiety and burnout while moving (mostly) on my own?
posted by nightrecordings to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Can you put music on speakers while you work? Maybe a playlist or online-radio station with dancing/pop/whatever-makes-you-happy music. Also, start the day with a good breakfast and a big coffee or other source of caffeine. Be prepared with more coffee and a snack around 4 to 6 hours so you don't have a sugar and caffeine crash. Good luck.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 7:33 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

You wouldn't think it, but for some people, marijuana can keep you in the zone and really focused on the task at hand and making the task seem less bad than it really is.
So I've been told.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2016

Something nice I've done in the past that has worked surprisingly well is to record a time lapse video of the packing. I used software for my laptop (an OS X app called Gawker, but I don't think it works today so you may need a different solution) which takes a frame every 30 seconds and combines it into a video. Stick the laptop in a high up corner with a good wide view of the room and get to work.

This has a number of positive effects. Firstly, it gives a great sense of your progress being recorded, which I find quite motivating. Secondly, it just makes packing more fun - every now and then you can do something creative, like poising stuffed toys somewhere amusing or creating a stop-motion animation of chairs dancing with each other.

I've used this technique a few times and found that the benefit far outweighs the small amount of effort it takes to set up.
posted by simonw at 8:14 AM on September 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

I love packing. To me, it's more of a game than a chore. I pack while watching shows like Clean House or Law and Order, something easy to dip in and out of. I also drink enough to be happier than normal but not even tipsy, makes it a little more interesting.

First, take all of the misplaced items in your house to their homes. Then go to an 'area' in your house (computer desk, entertainment system, bathroom, pantry, etc). Put all of one sort of thing in a box (plates and silverware, stationery, etc). If the box has more room left in it, put another type of thing in the box from that area. Continue until the area has been boxed. Don't put one area's things in with another. Your goal is to have the fewest number of boxes that are still of a reasonable weight.

It sounds like you should go ahead box up everything except your kitchen, bathroom, and enough clothes for the week now.
posted by Trifling at 8:16 AM on September 10, 2016

Do you like podcasts or audio books? Sometimes they can distract me from my anxious thoughts so I can actually get stuff done.

I'm really impressed with what you've completed so far. I like the way you've broken it down into books, knick-knacks, etc. Rather than looking at all the things, why not keep on in that vein. Select your clothes for the next week and pack everything else. The craft room sounds like a really safe place to pack because while you might miss crafting you can do without it for a week or so.

As far as not packing things you are going to need, a while back I posted a question about what to unpack (or buy) first in a new home. You could reverse-engineer that to start a list of things to pack last.

Also, I wouldn't be above pleading for friends to come over and help me pack.

Good luck. Packing is one of my least favorite things in the world, but it somehow always gets done.
posted by bunderful at 8:23 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're moving over the course of a week you are allowed to eat out/use disposable plates/cutlery and pick up take out as often as required, especially if it helps you get over worries about packing up kitchen stuff you may still need!
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:49 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Try using a timer - work 20 mins, break for 10. Or 45/15, whatever works for you. It's surprising how much you can do when you break it into timed segments; it seems less overwhelming than space segments. You can use some of your breaks to check out Unfuck Your Habitat - it's not moving-related of course, but it's really encouraging to see what other folks can accomplish.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 8:49 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Can you break it down to component steps? I'm in the middle of moving (internationally, and with like two suitcases) but that's really helped cut down on the feeling of being utterly overwhelemed.

Otherwise, seconding the idea of a timer. Also, pack a suitcase of things you will need over the next week or so and live out of that - that way you don't have any, 'crap, I don't have X!' anxiety.
posted by Tamanna at 9:11 AM on September 10, 2016

Be sure to plan for meals and bedtime ahead of time so that you're not faced with another wall of work when you're hungry and tired. Stock up on things that will be easy to prepare, like frozen pizzas. My first evening in the condo I used to have I still had some energy left, so I decided to work for a few more hours. But before I did that I made my bed, laid out my nightgown, and put my toothbrush, toothpaste, facial cleaner, etc. by the bathroom sink so that when I hit the wall it would be very easy for me to get ready for bed.
posted by orange swan at 10:50 AM on September 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Every day, sometime towards the end of the day, spend at least 60 seconds consciously reflecting on what you got done that day. There'll be an impulse to think "but there's so much left to do!" Yes, but, still, take the 60 solid seconds to reflect on your achievements. That'll help a bit.
posted by brainwane at 3:34 PM on September 11, 2016

« Older So confused/indecisive about work and career as a...   |   Mom + bus trip + 74th birthday = what gift? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.