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So I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I’d like to say I’ve been swamped and have had ZERO time for blogging but that’s just not true. Things have been crazy. Yes. We’re moving. I was gone for 26 days and now I’m back and have to be moved out in 7 days. And make up 4 swim lessons. And have 2 orthodontist appointments, cancel all our utilities, track down the mail that went missing while we were gone, sell a washer, dryer, fridge, crib, couch, and dresser, find housing at our new city 1800 miles away, attend a couple birthday parties, change our insurance, oh, and did I mention, pack our entire house. And still make sure that my girls have a great and fun summer. Whew. Maybe I am busy.

But we’ve all seen those bloggers that manage to take care of this and so much more while still keeping up with regular posts.

That ain’t me. I don’t multi-task. Never have. Don’t plan to start any time soon.

Instead, I’ve been trying to get all that done, especially the last item on my list.

As military peeps, we usually have our stuff moved for us. Some strangers come, cram our stuff into a meeeelllllion boxes, come back another day and load said boxes onto a truck. Because of a few things out of our control (actual some choices we made for our fam), that isn’t happening. We are doing it all ourselves. Packing it all up. Loading it onto a truck. Putting it in storage for 2 weeks. Loading it back into a truck. Driving it 1800 miles across the country. Taking it out of the truck (and hopefully straight into a house…please, please, please not another storage unit).

I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you, but we’re just not used to doing it ourselves. And, DARN, it’s expensive. Thank goodness my hubs knows someone that just relocated here and they’re giving us all their boxes. HUGE score.

So here is what I have learned so far as I pack up our little life into a bunch of little boxes.
packing 101 @ graceandjoygirl

1) Beg, borrow, and steal to get MOVING boxes.

Scrounging grocery stores for cardboard is all well and good for a local move, but if you’re loading your stuff up and carting it a long way, you want good quality moving boxes that will play nice (aka stack well) with each other in the back of the truck. We lucked out and found some people unpacking last week (not too hard in the military) that were willing to share, but I know Craigslist is a good option for free or cheap boxes. We’ll be putting ours on the “list” at the other end. For free of course. I don’t like to profit from something that was given to us for free. Karma and all that. One good deed. Do unto others. You get the idea.

2) Invest in a tape dispenser.

These are not cheap. But it is SAVING MY LIFE!!! If I had to keep track of scissors AND tape AND markers I’d go completely bonkers. This little contraption will be my best friend for the next few days. (By the way, the best price we found for packing tape was WalMart.)

packing tape @ graceandjoygirl

3) Painter’s tape is a wonderful invention.

I use this stuff for everything when I’m packing. To hold curtain rods together, to tape screws to the back of picture frames or bottom of tables, to hold drawers shut, etc. I know it’ll stick long enough to get where I’m going, but won’t be a nuisance to remove once I get there.

4) Keep plastic baggies handy.

This is along the same lines as the tape. Pack your zip baggies last. You will use them for all sorts of stuff. To keep parts together (screws and stuff) and to trap things you don’t want to touch or leak on other things (acrylic paints, candles, toiletries, etc.).

5) Save one box and label it PARTS!

Keep one small to medium box open that you put all the “parts” for assembling furniture in. You don’t want to dig for screws or remotes late at night when you just want to crash or watch some Golden Girls on Nick at Night after a long day of moving and unpacking. Load this box into the truck last. Better yet, put it in the front seat with you. It will be worth it and you can chat with it on the long drive Tom Hanks and Spalding style.

6) Wear pants or knee pads when packing.

packer's knee @ graceandjoygirl

This last one kinda stinks. It’s SUPA hot here. I mean, come on people, it’s Vegas. But if you don’t want “packer’s knee” from crawling around on the carpet while you load boxes, wear some pants instead of shorts. I will be rocking these sexy knees for the rest of the summer, thankyouverymuch, but you can learn from my mistake.

7) Let your kids help.

packing w/ kids @ graceandjoygirl

My small people are only 5 1/2 and 2 11/12, but you can bet I’m letting them help with the move. They are packing their own clothes, books, and toys and LOVE to label the boxes. Is the permanent marker a risk? Yes. Have we already sold the house and the carpet is only mine for 10 more days? Yes. (I kid. Sort of.) They’ve become pros at using the aforementioned tape dispenser and  are excellent at wrapping (not-too-precious) knick knacks. Does it take a little extra time to let them help? Yes. But its so worth it. We are turning their little world upside down and I want them to know that we’re all in it together. Plus, if you let them help for a little bit, they get bored pretty quick and off they go to find something else to do!

I’ve still got a few more days to go in this crazy adventure and maybe I’ll have a few more tips to add, but for now, I’m outta here to have a glass of wine and pack up the girls’ art supplies and playdough. I’m sure its the first thing they’ll ask to play with tomorrow morning.