Dear Kathi
Next month my family will be relocating to Florida for my husband’s new job. I have 2 children and have already begun packing. I read your column a few weeks ago and wanted to ask you for specific advice about packing and staying organized while we relocate.

Maria, San Marcos


There is never a better time to streamline and simplify your life than during a major transition. You are in a golden spot to weed through your possessions and eliminate the items that you don’t really need or love. You deserve to start clean. Alleviate the headaches associated with too many possessions. Create new space in your life and release the old possessions that no longer serve you.

Think about these rules of thumb when deciding what to toss or pack during this process:

• you forgot you had it until you re-found it while packing

• you haven’t used it in the past year

• your children stopped playing with it months ago

• It has seen better days and/or is broken

• you never really liked it but it was a gift from a dear friend or relative

• it no longer reflects your lifestyle

• no one will miss it when it’s gone

• it’s labels indicate that it is expired

• it came with the house

Keep in mind that each item represents time spent packing and unpacking. Even if your move is completely facilitated and subsidized by your husband’s employer, you are still responsible for assigning a space for each possession within your new home.

Gather all kitchen items from around the house including the casserole in the garage, the BBQ set out back and the waffle iron stuffed in your hall closet. Get the picture? As you pack each item, wipe it off, make sure it works and, if it passes all of the rules listed above, pack it for the move.

Collect items from each bathroom and group them together. This provides an opportunity to see the enormity of your collection and will help you decide to pack or purge.

Group, separate and classify your book collection. When your books reach their new home, they will be organized and ready to begin anew in their respective rooms. Pack them into smaller boxes so that you can move them around yourself if necessary.
If you are in charge of packing for the move, pack like a professional. Gather boxes, packing material, packing tape and large felt tip markers. Label each box on the top and sides with the final room destination.

Use large boxes for lightweight items like linens. Use pillows and towels to protect your fragile items within boxes. Place heavier items in the bottom of the box.

Realize that when you move across the US, movers rarely keep pace with your travel agenda. Your furniture often lags behind 3-7 days after you arrive. Pack enough clothes and toys to keep your family comfortable for up to two weeks. You might need to stay a few nights in a hotel or your new home before your furniture arrives.

Pack these items to move with your family (not the moving company):
pillows, a small blanket, a week’s worth of clothing for each family member, books, magazines and games, hearty snack foods, your personal address book, stamps for the kids to mail postcards, pen and notepad, mini-first aid kit and a personal hygiene kit for each family member.

You will have a brand new space when you arrive in Boston. Take advantage of this opportunity to create a fresh look. Give yourself permission to give up the items that no longer fit your taste. Let loose and toss the old shower curtain. Buy new décor after you move. It is invigorating and healthy to create new beginnings. Have fun!

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]

San Diego Professional Organizer