Moving Without Changing Your Address

I sit amid packed boxes and empty walls.  We are moving this week, but our address won’t change.  We’ve been in our home 7 years now, and although I keep things fairly orderly and do an annual deep-clean, residual stuff has shifted into the cracks.  To help my home reclaim its tidy newness, I’m stepping up fall cleaning and staging a move!

In order for a faux-move to be productive you have to get into the  mindset: Imagine yourself in a new, squeaky-clean house with your scaled-back belongings dusted and organized pleasingly on your shelves.  Before moving in, you’ve cleaned the carpets and removed scuffs from the walls.  Windows sparkle, and crisp clean curtains flutter in the breeze.  Now–with that image in mind, make it happen.

First gather your supplies.  Because you are “moving without changing your address” you can move one room at a time, but you’ll still need 10-30 boxes, as well as packing tape, cleaning supplies a carpet cleaner, spackling paste, hammer, screw driver, and other basic tools.

To keep the thoroughness of a true move while moving one room at a time, I suggest removing everything–absolutely everything–from the room first.  Box it, stack it, but get it out.  Take down curtains, drag out the bookcases, and remove anything not bolted down, then scrub everything left in the bare room.  If you’ve ever moved into a previously-owned home, you know that “other people’s dirt” always seems grungier than your own. Look at the room as the “new owner”. and purge the “other people’s dirt” from every crevice–from light fixtures to the heat vent, scrub every inch.  Wash blinds, windows and cabinets, remove scuffs from walls and repair anything you can.

Now that the bare room is spotless, carefully begin sorting and cleaning items to put back.  Toss any items unworthy of your new home.  Dresser drawers should be wiped out and given clean lining papers before neatly refolded clothes are put back in.  Torn book covers should be taped before being replaced on their shelves. Keep a Good-Will bag handy for donation items.

This 7 year “move” is more intensive (and much more hassle) than regular fall cleaning–but it pays off.  For a regular deep clean, I’ll start at the top of the room and clean downward, replacing items as I’ve cleaned them and cleaned their space.  Because I’m putting things right back in their old footprint, it doesn’t inspire as much decluttering as sorting a vast sea of boxes from the whole room all at once.  With my usual fall cleaning it’s easy to just put everything right back it its old footprint.

The “moving day” method is exhausting, heavy, time consuming work.  If you’ve moved in the past few years, you don’t need to be this extreme, but is a great way to deep clean after 5-10 years in the same residence.

At this writing, I’m half way through the house.   A few smaller rooms I’ve been able to move in a day.  Most rooms are taking two days; one to pack up and move out, then another day to move back in.  If I survive, I’ll report back next week from my “new home”!  Until then, go tame some chaos!

(Article cross-posted from my Taming the Chaos weekly feature on the HSB Front Porch)

~Domestic Chaos tamer and homeschool mom of 5, Dell writes about home, heart and hearth.~

Taming the Chaos: Dell

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