Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Do you live your life planning your next move? I do.

We move often enough that my friends check to make sure where we are before sending Christmas cards each year. They only pencil in our mailing address because they know it’s bound to change.

You can imagine their surprise when we actually managed to be in the same place for the third Christmas in a row. (To be fair, we’ve only been here for a little over two years – we just happened to arrive right before Christmas 2015).

But yeah, I’m ready to move again.

Last year, I satisfied the urge by moving all the kids. Parker and Anika moved upstairs, and Kira, Louis, and Hallie moved downstairs. But unless I’m willing to give up my room (I’m not – it’s closest to the downstairs bathroom and the only room with a closet – our house is 200 years old), there’s nothing left to rearrange.

If I can’t move, I can at least help someone else get through their move more easily – since for some reason, no one seems to enjoy it as much as I do. These 5 tips can make planning your next move easier:


Most of us live in the midst of clutter and accumulated items that we may no longer need, want or use on a daily or even a yearly basis. By getting rid of some of these unused items, you can free up valuable space inside your current home. The process of reducing clutter can streamline cleaning and organizing to a considerable degree; additionally, discarding or donating unwanted items now can help to reduce the work necessary when it is time to move to a new home. When we were moving back to New York from Utah, we spent a great deal of time getting rid of stuff and simplifying our lives. When we finally rented our ABF trailer, we only needed 10 feet of space, compared to the 18 feet we needed when moving there two years prior.

Pack Sooner than Later

Pack what you can live without as soon as you can live without it. We packed:

  • Seasonal clothing as soon as we didn’t need it
  • Books, movies, and music we had to keep but could live with being in boxes for a few months
  • Collectibles and home decor

In many cases, as we started packing, we were able to ask ourselves one last time if we really needed the thing we were planning to haul with us again, and often got rid of even more stuff.

Recognize that Some Things Are Easier to Repurchase than to Move

Especially if you are paying for a moving truck and trying to minimize the space you must pay for, consider what takes up a lot of room that might be easier to just repurchase when you arrive at your destination. Dining room tables and chairs take up a lot of room on moving trucks, but typically can be replaced at a reasonable price compared to the space they use on the truck. We almost always ditch dining room sets and worn out or well-used furniture pieces. This last time we moved, we even ditched our shelving units and bought new ones from IKEA that we left in the box until we arrived.

Inventory and Photos

If you’re paying someone else to do the moving for you, it’s a good idea to snap some photos of items before they’re loaded just in case they are damaged. And for sure make an inventory of everything being loaded onto the truck. We always do our own loading and use ABF trailers. They drop the trailer, we load it and lock it, they pick it up and drive it across the country for us. It’s cheaper than a full-service move (because it’s a hell of a lot more work) but it’s a good way to not have to drive the moving truck yourself (been there, done that, too).

Pay for Muscle

Four times we moved cross-country and did all the work ourselves, packing and loading. I don’t mind packing, but the older I get, the less I like doing the loading. This last move, we hired local loaders to come pack up most of the house and load up the truck for us. They made fast work of it, getting most of the stuff out of the house that would have taken us days to do in only a few hours.

By taking a few simple steps to prepare for your next move now, you can streamline the process and ensure that your relocation efforts are successful and less stressful whenever your big day occurs.

As for me, the next time I move, it will likely be with not much more than I can carry in a backpack and suitcase. That’s the goal anyway.