The average person in the United States moves a little over 11 times in their lifetime. That is a lot of packing, cleaning, and hauling around large furniture. Most people don’t find moving to be pleasant experience either and it usually ends with relief and the hope that you never have to do it again. Moving is an even more serious problem though for those who suffer from chronic pain. The stress from trying to organize everything and moving combined with all of the physical labor can be taxing to say the least. So how can you pack smarter and more efficiently to minimize that stress? Here are a few tips, tricks, and alternatives that will make you wonder why you haven’t been packing this way all along.
Step 1: Choose how to best move with your chronic pain condition
The best place to start your moving journey is to ask, how do I want to move all of my stuff? The answer can depend on all kinds of things like how far you are going, how much you are willing to spend, how much you are moving, and other personal factors that are specific to your chronic pain condition.
The do-it-yourself option is always popular, especially if you have some strong and generous friends. You can save quite a bit of money by renting a truck as long as you are confident you can manage it on the open road. Just keep in mind that you have to pay for other costs like rental truck insurance, gas, and equipment that you will need for the move. If you have a chronic back pain issue, driving may exacerbate the issue, depending on the distance you’re traveling. For any chronic pain condition, the DIY option may be unrealistic, unless those friends and family are really generous.
You pack and they drive
This service is almost exactly what it sounds like. A company will supply a trailer that you fill yourself with your boxes and furniture. Their professional drivers will then take it to your new home where you then unload it. A great way to save money if you don’t want to drive a truck as it is less expensive than a full-service mover.
There are two different kinds of full-service movers. The first will take your prepacked boxes and furniture, load it on a truck, drive it to your new home, and unload it for you. The second will also provide the packing service for you from start to finish. This is a huge time saver and it can be well worth the price tag especially if you suffer from chronic pain. You can also save a little money by searching for coupons and deals online.
Step 2: Prep for packing
For most of us, we will end up packing up the majority of our house ourselves before a big move. So the question becomes, what is the best possible way to do this?
Create a moving box
Have you ever been in the middle of a move and wondered if you packed your desperately-needed scissors or box cutter already? Having a cognitive condition like fibro fog could make this even worse. Having a single “moving box” will help you with this. Place everything critical to moving into the box (or whatever place works best for you). This can include everything from packing material to important documents such as:
- Bubble wrap
- Box cutters
- Pens and markers
- Labeling stickers
- Contact information (i.e. movers, realtor, etc.)
- Moving paper work or other documents
- Soap, medications, and snacks
- Extra clothes
- Extra cash
Double-check your supplies
Are you sure you have everything you need? Before you start packing, you want to make sure you have the correct materials such as various sizes of boxes, tape, padding, and the proper tools to disassemble furniture.
Taking pictures can save you time when you are trying to reassemble furniture or rooms in your new home. It will also help a lot with complicated electronics and you will have some great keepsakes from your old home.
Make peace with the purge
It is amazing how much stuff we all accumulate over the years. There is nothing quite like packing to teach us that it’s time to throw some of it out. Keep this in mind when you are packing up your home and remember that the more you throw away, the less you have to move!
Step 3: Master the art of packing
Now for the fun part. First, a huge stressor when it comes to packing with a chronic pain condition can be time. Make sure to start at least a week before the truck arrives (or up to one month if you’d like to do a little bit each day) so you don’t feel rushed and push yourself too hard in a small time frame. Create a packing station (preferably near the front door) where you keep all of your supplies. Make sure this area has lots of space. Here you can bring out all of the items you want to pack and easily box them up and store them for moving day.
Next, make sure when you are packing that you don’t leave your boxes full of air. It is always a good idea to use old clothes or towels, bubble wrap, or packing paper to fill in some of the large gaps in boxes, as this space is the number one reason items are damaged in transit. Always be careful to pack heavy items in small boxes and to wrap fragile items with more padding or stronger material such as bubble wrap. You can also use curtains, towels, rugs, or clothing to help pack up!
Be sure to pack a room at a time. It will be easier for everyone if each individual room is grouped together while loading and unpacking later. It is also always a good idea to label each box with a short description of what’s in it and what room it is going to. This can help a lot if you experience fibro fog or other memory-impairing symptoms common for some chronic pain suffers. A great way to make sure you don’t forget any boxes is to number each box as you pack them, plus you will know exactly how many boxes you have packed.
Finally, you should take apart large furniture and electronics. Make sure you carefully save nuts, screws, and wires in zip lock baggies so they are easy to find later. Label the bag with what they’re for, or tape them directly to the furniture or electronics iteam. It is a good idea to store them with the tools you will need to make the reassembling process even more streamlined.
How did your last packing experience go? Would this advice made a difference for you or anyone you know?