As a pseudo-expert of do-it-yourself moving for the city dweller, take it from me (someone who has moved twice in the past year) that how you organize yourself in the beginning will dictate how successful and smooth your actual move will go. Some rules of thumb are listed below in no particular order.
Recruit your loved ones. Yes, if you're going the DIY route, you will indeed need to call upon some friends and family members and cash in on some owed favors. The more the merrier. The very strong ones can do the heavy lifting, and the more petite ones can keep an eye on your van/truck and/or make sure your boxes/items goes to their designated rooms. It really helps to have all your kitchen items in the kitchen and not in your bedroom, for example. Do make sure everyone is happily hydrated and fed lots of food. Moving is seriously tiring and wears you out big time. Especially if you're moving during the warmer months, drink as much water as possible.
Label your boxes clearly. Writing something like "Odds 'n Ends" really will not make any sense to you when it's time to unpack. Just writing "Fragile" on the box will not help you find the glasses and mugs you're looking for. And writing "Very Important" will give you no clue what is so very important inside. Instead of writing "Craft Supplies" go with something more specific like "Acrylic paints, brushes, note pads, pens and markers". Instead of writing "Clothes" put "Favorite tee shirts, jeans, socks". Anyhoo, you get the idea.
|J Davis Studio|
Pack yourself a suitcase. Pretend you are going away for a week and pack yourself all the essentials like clean clothes, toiletries, a few accessories, and clean towels. Otherwise, you'll wake up your first morning in your new place wanting to take a shower when all you can find is one small wash cloth and your boyfriend's shampoo. If you have everything together you won't have to rummage through every box searching for ear swabs and clean underwear.
Pack your items with care. Go crazy with bubble wrap, that fancy mover's saran wrap, packing tape, and please don't cheap out on boxes. I once thought I could be all eco-friendly by reusing paper bags from the supermarket for a lot of my things, and well, that is not the way to go. Bags rip, things fall out, your things get dirty/lost, and packing up your moving van/truck is a nightmare. Basically, your friends and family members who are helping you move will want to ring your neck and will never want to help you again. If you don't go the extra mile by packaging your fragile items the right way, they will arrive to your new home broken/scratched/ruined. And let's face it, everyone just wants to get the move over with and they will not handle your boxes with the utmost care. Expect things to fall, get crushed and bruised... something always does, but you can prevent most of the damage by protecting your goods.
Start fresh by being clean. When unpacking your boxes, refresh all your decorative items as you go along so you're not bringing dust bunnies and dirt from your old place. Rewash all your glassware, plates, utensils, pots 'n pans, etc. before you use again. Make sure all your cabinets, floors, toilets, sinks, etc. are sanitized (even if they look clean or the super/real estate agent said it's been cleaned) -- you do not know who lived there before you and you do not want to get all cozy with someone else's grime. And open your windows for some fresh air! Nothing helps clear the air like, well, the air... ;)
Purge! This is your opportunity to streamline your possessions to your most favorite and/or essential. Old papers -- who needs 'em? Books you'll never read again or even read for the first time -- donate to your local library. Dead weight takes up your precious living space and the more stuff you have, the more dust that will be collecting by just sitting there. I know, sometimes it's hard to get rid of old birthday cards from your grandmother or clothes that simply don't fit you anymore, but in order to start a new, lighter new you, I implore you to trash, recycle, donate, sell, or giveaway things you know you really do not need or want anymore. And just think, for every few old things you get rid of, an awesome new thing that you simply adore will come in its place. :) Out with the old, in with the new...
Be well fellow movers, I wish you luck and a major congratulations for starting afresh!