The Sandwich Generation Moves – Part 1

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Daily Living Made Easier

Today found me standing in line at the post office, on their self-proclaimed busiest day of the year. While waiting for 45 minutes, I had time to listen to a couple of the conversations around me, all the while multi-tasking by deleting text messages I no longer needed in my smart phone.

One conversation I heard dealt with a father who sounds like he is also a member of the Sandwich Generation. The speaker commented, “What with moving children in and out of college and home, and helping his mom move, he’s always moving someone.” I could certainly relate. In the past seven years, between my children, my friends, my parents and myself, I’ve helped with moving projects more than 15 times. That’s a lot of moving! Whether you move a lot, move a little, or help an elderly parent or child move, here’s a good checklist with tips we learned along the way that can be helpful. It’s too late to share them with the people in the post office, so here they are for you instead.

New Beginnings: Find the new house or apartment and set the moving date.

Utility Companies: Call the current utility companies to cancel service. (Once you’ve gotten settled, it’s a wise idea to call back and confirm that all the cancellations went through smoothly so you don’t wind up paying a double bill.

Call the new utility companies to start service. If you’re not sure who they are, ask your real estate agent or apartment manger. They should have a list. If that fails, go to the website for the city you live in. Utilities may include some or all of the following: Gas, Electric, Water/Sewer/Garbage (This may entail one or two companies), Cable, Internet, Phone (these may be 1, 2 or 3 companies).

Start packing. Find free boxes from your local grocery or liquor stores, Freecycle, or Craig’s list . If using Craig’s list, select state, city, then enter moving boxes or packing boxes into the search box on the left with the “for sale” option showing. The last page shows available items and it also has a drop down box “all for sale/wanted” which you can then change to “free stuff.” For my area, that took a list of 66 items available down to an easier-to-read seven items available.

Label as you pack: I like to use Sharpie Markers and list the room the box belongs in, along with highlights of what are in the box. Another good idea my daughter liked was to use color-coordinated stickers. All the blue stickers were for the living room, the green stickers went into the kitchen, and so on. Whichever plan you use, be sure to clearly mark what boxes need to be opened first in each room. That way you shouldn’t wind up late at night with only boxes of books opened, unable to find sheets, blankets, and pillows. I like to use big stars and/or OPEN FIRST in big letters on those boxes.

Be sure to carefully pack all financial papers, checks, etc. together and mark them in such a way that you know what they are, but strangers wouldn’t. With identity theft such a danger, this is vital.

Weed and Clean: As you pack, take the time now to weed out items you no longer need. It’s a lot easier to dispose of them before you move, rather than after! Be sure to shred any papers with important personal information. If there isn’t time for a yard sale, you might try Craig’s List for items you want to sell. I’ve never used it but others in our family have and really liked it. For giveaways, many thrift stores will pick up. My personal favorite is Salvation Army. Other options include neighbors, your church, Freecycle, and you can even use Craig’s List for giveaways.


for Part 2 of this article.

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    • Bob
    • December 16, 2008

    These are all fantastic suggestions. Moving is such an enormously hectic time, that it’s important to have some sort of checklist handy of what you need to do, so nothing is forgotten.

    I would like to add a suggestion on the moving boxes. While those are all fantastic suggestions on where to get boxes, I tried those same places and found myself still needing boxes. The answer came to me on Jen Mecca’s Pottery Blog: Their moving kits took all the guesswork out of what I was going to need, and had everything from boxes to tape and markers, and was cheaper than going to a retail store to buy the boxes I still needed. Delivery came by UPS, and was thrown in for free. It was one less thing on my mind. And really, isn’t that the kind of thing you want to happen when you’re moving? Oh yeah, and they’re previously used boxes, so it’s all eco-friendly. Just a win-win situation all around.

    Great job on the suggestions. I’m sure they’ll save everyone who sees it a ton of time and trouble!

    • Kaye
    • December 16, 2008

    Hi Bob, Thanks for writing. I took a look at their website and it looks great! Reasonable prices, free shipping – it looks like an excellent resource for moving, especially for those of us in the Sandwich Generation who find ourselves short on time! Thank you 🙂

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