Packing to move OUT of a Tiny House is easy – just load up the back of a pickup truck or trailer. It can be done in less than an hour. Packing to move INTO a Tiny House, however, is the Olympic Event of Organizers (not to toot my own horn, but I think I deserved a silver medal).
Packing usually involves the following stages:
- Buy/pick up a bunch of boxes and enthusiastically start packing all the stuff you don’t need now, and probably won’t need EVER.
- Run out of boxes about the time you get down to packing the stuff you actually use and need.
- Realize the movers are DEFINITELY loading boxes faster than you are getting them packed.
- Start throwing things UNPACKED in the back of the truck, or in random containers, or in the nearest trash bin because who needs all this CRAP anyway?
- Move into the new house, set up the beds, and decide everything else in boxes can just wait until tomorrow, or next weekend to be unpacked (or, if you have a sufficiently large enough spare bedroom or garage, NEVER).
- Haul those unpacked, unopened boxes to the next house the next time you move (hey, at least it’s a few less boxes to pack!)
But when you are downsizing, these steps are not really functional (not that they really are functional anyway!) So this is what I did:
- Assess how much storage space I really had in my new tiny home (for example: Kitchen – 2 cabinets and 3 drawers; bedroom – 4 linear feet of closet and under bed storage, etc.) It is important to write this information down and take measurements. You really don’t want to ask a couple of good friends to move a dresser or a piano into a space where it won’t fit, and then ask them to instead take it to storage.
- Set aside everything that I wanted to take to the new tiny home that would actually fit.
- Go through the rest of our belongings and decide whether to sell, store, or trash them.
- Pack the things I’ve decided to store.
- On the night before the move, I packed the things I decided to take to the tiny house.
- Unpack. Within 2 hours of moving to the tiny house, I had all our belongings unpacked (because it was SUCH a tiny house!)
- Treat ourselves to something easy for supper and go to bed!
We did put some of our stuff into storage – mainly off season clothing, decorations, and some books and furniture. We really tried to downsize and sell what we didn’t see ourselves using in the new house. Two tips for packing things into a storage unit:
- Try to use the same size boxes – they stack better. We love Lowe’s boxes.
- Label what is in the boxes on at least 2 sides and the top.
When it was all said and done, we only needed a 10×10 storage unit for our extra household items as well as most of the tools for my husband’s business.
One more thing – I tried to assess what kind of storage containers I would need in the tiny house and bought those ahead of time. I bought 4 sliding under bed plastic boxes for our clothes, and then moved our clothing into those containers and started using them before we moved. When moving day came, I just had to load those babies up, and most of our clothes were done. I did the same thing with the one bathroom cabinet we had, loading our toiletries into the plastic tubs I was going to use there.
Moving is stressful, no matter the size of the house. But when it’s a small house, the stress of moving is a matter of hours, rather than days! (Thank goodness!)