Downsizing/Moving/Relocating In Your Twenties

Since moving out of my parents house after high school graduation I’ve moved in and out of 3 dorm rooms, a friends apartment, four of my own apartments and I am currently house sitting for the summer so I will have to move again this fall.  As a child my family moved four times between two states.  On top of that I’ve always been one of the family members that got suckered into helping other relatives pack and move.  By the age of 23 I’m not afraid to say I’m almost a professional at relocating! As a kid, when we moved, my Dad would always take on what my Mom and I call “The Pitch It Mentality” which basically means unless you really, really, really need it throw it away. For a young girl that’s kind of traumatizing but after my first solo move I jumped on the “Pitch It” bandwagon. I’m not saying you should get rid of everything you own every time you move. I am saying that moving is a great time to sort through your belongings and downsize a little. Sorting and choosing what to keep and what to get rid of is the hardest part, especially for those of us in our twenties doing this on our own for possibly the first time. So, I decided to whip up a few suggestions that I have found super helpful in my semi-constant state of relocating. That’s all these are, suggestions.  Tips that I’ve learned from experience, sometimes even the hard way that I want to try and help others like me avoid if at all possible. So here we go!

  1. Keep 2 sets of bedding (sheets, pillow cases and comforters) They take up space but it’s worth it to have clean ones when you do laundry or something happens to the other set.  If you want them to take up less room use the sheets and pillow cases to pack dishes in.
  2. Blankets!  I’ve slept in hotels, tents, pickups, cars, on couches, in horse trailers, on cots, on the ground, on the floor and one thing I can say with absolute certainty is this; IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THE BLANKET KEEP IT!  Keeping blankets you bought on high school trips, got for birthdays from grandma or friends, etc. are great for physical and emotional comfort. You can layer blankets for a little extra padding if you’re sleeping someplace uncomfortable, obviously they keep you warm and again use them to wrap breakable objects such as dishes, pictures and mirrors.
  3. Speaking of dishes. There are a lot of kitchen supplies that are going to seem like necessities but really there are only a handful of things I suggest always keeping when you relocate. Keep a pot large enough to make spaghetti in. This way you can make and/or heat up quite a variety of meals in just one pot no matter how much food you make. Silverware; keep at least a handful of forks, spoons and knifes including one sharp knife. A working microwave can be fairly cheap but it’s not a bad idea to keep the one you have if it works well. Microwave meals are cheap and easy.
  4. Warm clothes. It doesn’t matter if you live in Alaska or Arizona keep a good heavy jacket, a pair of gloves and a warm hat.  They don’t take up much room and it’s better to have them and not need them then to need them and not have them.
  5. Make three piles when sorting through your clothes: Yes, Maybe and No. As soon as you’re done sorting donate or throw away the no pile, don’t give yourself time to re-think. Pack the yes pile in your travel bag; the bag you will be living out of while on the road or the first few days of living in your new place. Leave the maybe pile out while you pack and if you need some extra padding or have a few extra inches go ahead and pack it with something from the maybe pile. Do this until everything is packed and if the maybe pile is gone AWESOME if not donate or get ride of the rest.
  6. Try to sell anything you aren’t taking with you and price it cheap.  You will get extra space and extra money and you’d be surprised what people will buy if you’re willing to negotiate on price.
  7. Keep or get a small cooler, there is nothing wrong with taking perfectly good food with you or at least keeping extra snacks and drinks ready while travelling.
  8. Don’t be afraid to keep something just because.  I keep an old DVD/VCR player I’ve had since high school because I have a collection of Disney VHS tapes stored at my parents house and it’s nearly impossible to find a working VCR player these days. (Showing my age I know)
  9. Take your time!! Try to avoid being rushed if at all possible. Go slow, think things through, don’t rush yourself.
  10. BE ORGANIZED. Now everyone’s organized is different and that’s ok as long as it makes sense to you! I pack all my hoodies, jackets and vests in a large duffle bag, shoes and “maybe” clothes in a smaller duffle and then I keep my rolling suitcase and backpack empty for my everyday clothes. Then there’s my odds and ends like my guitar, my bead loom, gun cases, my saddles and other tack. For household related items I use 4 large storage totes.
    1. Kitchen
    2. Bed/Bath
    3. Books/Movies/Electronics (I also keep my little flat screen tv and it’s box to store cords, remotes, Wii etc.)
    4. Miscellaneous Household Items (Basically the left over stuff from the other three totes)

Bonus: Remember that if you’re doing this on your own that you’re doing it for you! So, listen to yourself. If your mom tells you to keep the crock pot she gave you but you haven’t used it at all put that puppy up on an upcycle site for sale $20.  If you have a pair of red cowboy boots that you only wear once a year but you can’t stand to part with them keep them! Roll up your socks and shove them inside the boots and use the space. This is your adventure and it’s up to you how you take it!


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