Organization Day

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After yesterday’s indulgences, all I wanted was to spend the night at home, drinking lots of water and eating healthy food.  :)  We got halfway through the movie Invictus, but then our cable crapped out, and we just ended up going to bed early.  Not that I was complaining!


Dinner included a bowl of stir-fried peas, corn, and zucchini:

And a PB sandwich:


This morning, I woke up HOURS before everyone else (we had four friends spend the night) and killed a few hours finishing a trashy chick-lit book in bed (“One Fifth Avenue” by Candace Bushnell).  It was mildly interesting, but way too long (over 500 pages of gibberish) for the genre. 


I quietly snuck into the kitchen around 8:30 AM and tried not to disturb my sleeping friends while I made breakfast:


A Chobani plain yogurt mess of 1/2 cup raw oatmeal, pecans, and flax:


Plus melon:


And just as quietly as I snuck into the kitchen, I grabbed my purse and keys and headed out the door to go grocery shopping and hunt for cardboard packing boxes.  We move to Charlotte, North Carolina in exactly two weeks, and I’m getting a little anxious about packing all of our stuff and moving into a smaller apartment (we’re losing about 100 square feet, mostly in storage areas).


The plan?  Today is Organization Day!


I NEED to organize a few closets in advance or packing is going to be insanely hard.




Plastic tubs should help! Right?


Does anyone have any moving tips for us? How can we make such a big move easier?  We could use some extra help and fresh ideas!



  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 13, 2010, 11:58 am

    I wish I could help you, I’m on the same situation as you!

    Maybe one trick I could give you: If you have to put furnitures into pieces or if you have any screws, hooks, things to fix stuff on the walls, I suggest you put them in separate ziploc bags with a label on them explaining what it is.

    • Kristina June 13, 2010, 12:05 pm

      I do this too… then tape that baggie TO the piece of furniture, if possible 🙂

      • caitlin June 13, 2010, 4:26 pm

        oh man, excellent idea. i always lose screws!

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 13, 2010, 11:59 am

    Get giant ziploc bags! You can put sooo much in them and reuse them for trips/vacations too.

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels June 13, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Invictus! You should definitely watch the end of that it’s so good . . . the whole Matt Damon with blond hair thing doesn’t hurt either.

  • Aimee June 13, 2010, 12:03 pm

    Liquor stores! They have a million empty cardboard boxes that are stable and strong– for free! Just ask… I’ve moved twice in a year and both times they’ve been more than willing to just give them to me for free.

    Label everything SUPER well. Try not to let too many boxes become just “odds & ends” things– they’ll get super frustrating to sort through when you just want to be DONE unpacking.

    Be completely ruthless in what you bring. Most knick-knack-y stuff (cheap photo frames, four different sets of coasters, tons of GladWare plastic containers or whatever) are more of a hassle to pack and move than they are to replace cheaply upon your arrival.

    • Kristina June 13, 2010, 12:06 pm

      I LOVE liquor boxes… super strong AND… perfect size.

  • Kristina June 13, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Make separate boxes specifically for things you will need right away, one for you and one for husband. 🙂

    all boxes will be overwhelmingly the same when you get there… we had a number system with a spreadsheet to exactly whats in the box, and then you can just write the # and area on box. 🙂

    move as little as possible, this I know you already are doing.

    try to relax and have fun 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 13, 2010, 12:05 pm

    Good luck packing!! It’s definitely stressful. Something that really helps me whenever I’m moving in and out of my home and dorms is just throwing away everything I don’t need. Ask yourself if you care enough about it to pack it, move it, unpack it and find a place for it- it’s a great time to purge old stuff!

  • Matt June 13, 2010, 12:05 pm

    Make it easier: get rid of that shiz!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 13, 2010, 12:06 pm

    I know UHaul sells boxes for CHEAP. That is where my roommate and I got ours. I got 9 boxes for less than $20.

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please June 13, 2010, 12:06 pm

    Definitely purge as much as you can before packing instead of waiting to see what will and won’t fit into the new house. And pack things methodically so unpacking can be a breeze. Good luck!!

  • Matt June 13, 2010, 12:06 pm

    Hey that was Kath using my name!

  • Kath June 13, 2010, 12:06 pm

    OOPS!! I was still logged in at Matt!!! And he just noticed!! So random.

  • Katie @ Two Lives, One Lifestyle June 13, 2010, 12:07 pm

    I think you’re on the right track, starting early and organizing things as you go! Set a box aside for things to donate and that could help purge some things you never use but are still in good shape.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 13, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Plastic tubs, IMHO, are life savers, so good for storage!! 🙂

  • Katie - Life Discombobulated June 13, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Get rid of AS MUCH STUFF AS POSSIBLE before you start packing!!!

    You might like this video:

  • Baby Blue June 13, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Color code your rooms with colored index cards and then put a colored sheet of paper on the door of the room that the item goes in.
    Ex,- Pink room- pink index card.
    You can label your furniture and boxes this way and then the movers know where to put it without constantly asking you.
    (Hint- run out of colors? Add numbers.)

    • caitlin June 13, 2010, 4:27 pm

      awesome ideaaaaaaaaa! i wish we had movers though 🙁

  • Effie June 13, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Being that I am doing exactly the same thing, I’ve used boxes from both the liquour store and U-haul. Also Public Storage has boxes as well. Definitely get rid of things as you go along, makes it much easier on you to unpack. Clear containers are great for packing things that you know will stay in storage once you move. I keep all my teaching things in those so I can easily access them but I don’t have to unpack them each time.

  • Deb June 13, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Save newspapers, magazines, anything you can use for packing material. Also use your towels to wrap breakables. Don’t get hung up on detailed labeling of boxes. Keep it simple such as “Mom’s closet”, “master bath”, etc. It takes longer to list everything in the box than it does to just open it on the other end and peek in!

  • Helen June 13, 2010, 12:17 pm

    I know you aren’t taking your furniture so that’s a big worry that you won’t have. You need to be really ruthless with what you actually need and what you can live without. When you do pack, label the boxes quite simply – eg. bedroom, kitchen – then you can just dump them in the relevant room at the other end to unpack at another time.
    Your breakfast looks delicious, I love yogurt bowls and raw oatmeal especially.

  • kat June 13, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Look on craigslist for people giving away boxes- there is no reason to shell out cash for decent boxes!

    Also pack a box with toothbrushes, two bowls, two forks, two spoons, etc and put your dogs beds, bowls and a few days dog food in there so if you can’t find those boxes, you at least have an “essentials” box.

    And definitely purge, purge, purge! If you haven’t used it in a year- toss it!

  • carla June 13, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Lowes and Home Depot have the cheapest boxes by far!

  • Erin June 13, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Label your boxes really, really well. My mom made me list specific items inside the box as opposed to just saying “Garage stuff” or “Office stuff”. It really helped me find random items.

    Also, label what room or closet you think want the box to go into at your new place. Thinking about this ahead of time cuts down on some of the craziness when you get there. If you can’t think of where it will live in your new place, think about whether or not you really want to take it.

  • Run Sarah June 13, 2010, 12:41 pm

    If you haven’t used it in a year, toss it! I am a huge packrat and force myself to toss things I don’t need, no matter how painful. You end up with a lot less to pack! I have in a tiny apt (less than 700 sq foot) with my hubs so we have to be ruthless with stuff!

  • Wei-Wei June 13, 2010, 12:41 pm

    I agree with Matt/Kath – this is a great opportunity to donate or do some spring cleaning! I bet you’d be surprised at a lot of the stuff you hoard… but maybe hit up a few furniture stores or something and ask them for spare boxes. I’m sure they’ll have lots! (By the way, take a tip from Kath and KEEP your boxes after you move!)


  • Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happiness June 13, 2010, 12:49 pm

    There are some great tips here so far!
    I second the Ziploc storage containers – they are AWESOME for transporting / storing clothes, bedding, etc. I think there’s even a way to make them space bags if you rig a vacuum hose in the corner? These will probably be great for you with the long distance move!
    Also, make sure to put all of your important papers / bills / stuff you’re going to need right away either in a brightly colored folder and tucked inside large purse or backpack. When I moved recently I lost track of some very important, urgent things like my friend’s wedding invitation 🙁 Keep the stuff close by and in the brightly colored folder, and you’ll be all set.

  • jenny June 13, 2010, 12:54 pm

    plan meals that can clear out your cabinets/fridge ahead of time! No use wasting food, and it’s not worth packing to bring with you unless its spices/expensive foods 🙂

  • Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary June 13, 2010, 12:55 pm

    I’ve moved a TON. The way I keep from getting overwhelmed was to pack a section of the house at a time, purging things as I go. I never just pack it all, always go through everything and make sure everything that goes into a box is something I actually use/ need. Then, label the outside of the box in detail. That’s probably the most important part. So when you get to the other end, you know exactly what’s where, even though its in a box. I also number the boxes and have been known to have a master list on my computer of what’s in box #1, #2 etc etc… Makes it REALLY easy to tell if you’ve lost anything in the move. I always pack an overnight bag with all the things I’ll need to get dressed and showered for a few days so I don’t have to open and dig through big boxes just to get cleaned up…

  • Cassie @ Tasteful Tales June 13, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I am a teacher packing up my classroom right now so I feel your pain! Organization is the key to any move! Not sure if you have any dollar stores by you but I found bundles of five boxes for a dollar at a few dollar stores and they have packing tape as well. Also I agree with a few of the comments about labeling being key to a successful move. Staples also has paper filing boxes for around a dollar too.

  • MLT June 13, 2010, 1:04 pm

    It’s overwhelming no matter what. I think the best thing you can do is look at this in a positive light- a chance to purge absolutely everything. Pretend you’re moving into a space 400sq feet smaller- what could you live without? Also, really specific labels are very helpful! Good luck!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) June 13, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Before you pack something look at it and ask if you need it. If you don’t then don’t pack it…donate it. Take only the stuff you really can’t live without.

  • Runeatrepeat June 13, 2010, 1:25 pm

    I just found a pack of boxes from Costco for $50.00 – I think it’s 20 boxes plus tape.

    • caitlin June 13, 2010, 4:27 pm

      awesome!! thank you!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is June 13, 2010, 1:33 pm

    My only moving tip would be to get rid of everything you can, and things you don’t think you REALLY need!

  • Lauren June 13, 2010, 1:35 pm

    It’s all about essentials! Separate things into piles: keep, donate, sell, trash. In the past year I’ve moved from New England to Texas, and Texas to Colorado and the only way to do it is to DISCARD non-essentials. Minor things can be replaced and its much easier to unpack/start over somewhere new.

    Happy Moving! 🙂

    • Lauren June 13, 2010, 2:36 pm

      Oh random thing I forgot to mention, Ive realized that packing clothes/soft things in heavy duty trash bags saves SO much room bc they can be compacted to fit random spaces in the car/uhaul (I only ever took one car and a rental car so space was an issue). Hope that helps!

  • Kate June 13, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Space Bags are fabulous for clothes, linens, towels, etc. Fill them up and then vacuum all the all out of them. They become half the original size, only problem is they get really heavy when compressed.

    Also, I love packing books in the reusable grocery bags. I have a bunch from race goody bags and I just fill them up with books. The handles make them easy to transport, but the down size is if they tip over the books spill out.

    • caitlin June 13, 2010, 4:28 pm

      I think I’m going to order some of these… we have such limited space in the new apartment and so many linens. It would be really helpful!

  • Amy @fordgredial June 13, 2010, 2:15 pm

    Having just moved for a 3rd time in around 21mths (areas as well house) my top tips would be:

    1. Buy proper boxes (we used must be similar US sites) and chose more small boxes over fewer larger ones. These makes sure you don’t overload so they are managable as well as not falling apart

    2. Label, my inner Monica shined and oh did it pay off! I wrote on each box roughly what was in it and where in the new house it needed to go as well as ‘fragile breakable’ where appropriate.

    3. If you don’t love it or it doesn’t add to your life in some way do you need it? Especially items you forget you own! I cleared through as we packed and also as we unpacked.

    That’s all I can think of for now…

  • Amy @ Amy Starts To Run June 13, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Get rid of stuff! If you haven’t seen it in years and won’t miss it, give it away. Don’t wait til the last minute so end up with boxes with random stuff shove in it. We have several of those boxes that we still haven’t unpacked. Maybe I should give them away, heh!

    Good music or tv on the background make packing a bit more bearable too 🙂

  • Meryl June 13, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Ah! we just moved from NC to Colorado a few months ago and my best advice is: if you don’t have to have it, don’t take it!

    We split the packing up into two rounds and gave/threw away as much as we could possible part with the first time around.

    Then, a week later we went through the boxes again and gave/threw away even more things that made the cut the first time.

    When we got to Colorado and started unpacking, we gave/threw away even more! moving to another state is such a great opportunity to simplify your life. We have much less “stuff” now and it is so refreshing!

  • Katie @ Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Journey June 13, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I am sooo glad you posed this question today. I definitely benefitted from reading the responses. My husband and I are moving cross country 2 weeks from tomorrow. I haven’t quite started to freak out yet but I know me and I know its coming…

    Good luck on your move!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit June 13, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I think you have the right idea, organize your belongings ahead of time, give yourself PLENTY of time to pack, and have more than enough boxes ready! Good luck 🙂

  • Little Bookworm June 13, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I hope Organization Day goes well!

  • Mindy June 13, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Ditto everyone who said get rid of the stuff you don’t need and LABEL your boxes well!

    Good luck with organization day!

  • Elaine June 13, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Check out the home page. There you’ll find a link to moving tips which contains lots of info that you will find very helpful.

    • caitlin June 13, 2010, 4:29 pm

      Are you confused by the Fly Lady website? I find it ironic that it’s all about organization but I cannot figure my way around her site!

  • Diana(mymarblerye) June 13, 2010, 3:26 pm

    “let it go” if you haven’t used or worn it the past year then you aren’t going to! Throw it away! Unless it’s a handmedown baby carriage 😉

  • samantha June 13, 2010, 3:41 pm

    I use the liquor store boxes as well. They are great because they are so strong and some of them have dividers, so they work well for glassware, etc. Also, lots of people post their moving boxes on freecycle. You can actually get U-haul boxes for free on there lots of the time. I am a serious labeler as well. It makes it so much easier to find stuff when you get there.

  • Katherine June 13, 2010, 3:57 pm

    SPRING CLEANING! good luck

  • Julie June 13, 2010, 4:12 pm

    I have moved 8 times in the last 6 years and 2 of those moves were cross-country. My biggest tip is when the move time actually comes, put your clothes in garbage bags. I sorted my clothes that are out of season first and put them into black bags, for instance. Then when it was moving day I packed a suitcase with essentials and put the rest of my clothes into white bags that were current. The clothes stay clean in the bags and they are great to pile up on top of things or smoosh between other things to stablize pieces of furniture in a moving truck.
    Also, more boxes may seem daunting, but there is nothing NOTHING worse than packing boxes that are too huge and too heavy. Use smaller boxes and pack things by rooms and of course label. I always reserve at least 2 boxes for all of the junk that is in a drawer or under a desk that you forget about. I put all the junk together and sort it out later.
    Good luck!

  • faith June 13, 2010, 4:14 pm

    alot of places like coffee shops (sbux/caribou) get their shipments in on mondays and will save boxes for u if you ask. give them a call!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) June 13, 2010, 4:26 pm

    Whenever I move (which is often) I try to get rid of an much stuff as possible, then organize it depending on how I want everything set up in the new place. I am not the best organizer/packer and it is pretty much my least favorite task, so good luck!! Once you get there and are settled it will all be worth it, don’t stress!

  • Ali @ Vegan Booty June 13, 2010, 4:36 pm

    I move often, and I always tape a list of what’s in each box to the outside of the box–it usually takes me awhile to fully unpack, but as long as I have a reference guide to what’s in each box, I know where to find it! Good luck!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 13, 2010, 5:05 pm

    Definitely, definitely write what’s inside the box and what room it goes in. That way if you have people helping you, they don’t have to ask you where to put the boxes, and you don’t have to move them twice. Knowing what’s inside them makes it so much easier to unpack. I also usually make 2 special boxes- one that has the stuff that I would absolutely need to unpack right away, and another that sits out & open on moving day- you never know what little extras you’ll find!

  • Elaine June 13, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Fly Lady’s web site is a little confusing-but she does have a search box; just put in “moving” and up it pops; but after reading all these great tips, it may be a tad redundant. However, for the organizationally-challenged (moi), Fly Lady has the solution, if you can get past that confusing home page 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 13, 2010, 6:55 pm

    You’ve gotten me addicted to raw oat bowls! Pumpkin ones are the best!

    Good luck with organizing. 🙂

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt June 13, 2010, 7:08 pm

    Everything is labeled and in plastic bins. No boxes to bust open or get wet. Gross.

    I also make sure to pack up the things I use every single day into one box and put it to the side. That goes in last on the truck so it can come off first.

  • Ashley June 13, 2010, 7:14 pm

    I’m reading One Fifth Ave right now and it’s pretty boring. I am going to finish it but it’s taking so much longer than normal and the fact that its over 400 pages doesn’t help. What are you reading now?

  • Dynamics June 13, 2010, 7:18 pm

    I did not read everyone’s suggestions but there are mine. If you label per room and unload the truck and put those boxes right in the respective room really helps when you are overwhelmed. I used my washcloths and dish towels for wrapping my breakables. I have so many things in clear plastic containers to keep my closets organized. When me moved we ran out of boxes so we did not pack the clear containers, just put them in the truck. It was a lifesaver. One last suggestion…Pack your suitcase as if you are going out of town. That way you will have the necessitates if you do not have time to unpack the first day. A toothbrush and clean pair of clothes after a cold/hot shower is heaven. Make a bag of dog food for a few days for the puppies. okay, sorry for rambling. Have fun moving…

  • Mary June 13, 2010, 8:52 pm

    purge and donate as much as you absolutely can. Thats what I did when I moved last weekend to Raleigh NC. you’ll be happier in the end. 🙂

  • Stacie June 13, 2010, 9:13 pm

    When I moved I found an IKEA nearby. They have so much to choose from.

  • Suzanne June 14, 2010, 12:55 am

    There is no reason to pay for boxes at all! I definitely agree with the liquor store idea. Also, I have always gone to grocery stores (best time is late in the evening when they are re-stocking) and ask them for boxes.

  • Julie @SavvyEats June 14, 2010, 9:20 am

    Make a simple labeling system for your boxes, and label two sides and the top so you can easily figure out what goes where! I wrote huge letters indicating what room each box went in when we moved (K=kitchen, O= office, L= living room, etc), and circled a huge “F” on all fragile boxes. Helped a ton!

  • Allie June 16, 2010, 2:03 pm

    Number all your boxes! We did that and then created a word document with an inventory of what was in every single box. It actually didn’t take that much extra time. Fortunately, every box made it safely to our new home, but if they hadn’t, we would have known exactly what was missing so we could claim it with the moving company.

  • Caroline June 17, 2010, 7:38 am

    My brother used to work at Border’s bookstore and he said people would come in all the time to get free boxes that were originally used to ship books. It would be worth asking about!

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