...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.28.11 / Boxed In

Boxes are slowly but surely beginning to take over corners and rooms of our house.  I’ve been tackling packing in my own way going room to room, starting with the least used areas {i.e. guest room} first.  I haven’t been numbering boxes and then detailing specific items according to box number on a separate sheet of paper like so many people do.  Instead, I’ve just been writing a general one word description on the box like ‘decor’ and then listing each item in the box under the description word. For me, keeping track of a separate piece of paper with our entire home’s inventory seems daunting.   And when it comes to unpacking and looking for specific items, I’d rather just go straight to the boxes and find what I need.  But that’s just me.  There are probably a million different ways to pack for a move.  I’m just doing what feels comfortable and what I’ve done in the past.  This is my second time packing up our family and it worked well the first go around.

We bought our moving boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper off Craigslist from a family who had recently moved.  We have plenty – maybe even more than we’ll need – and they only cost us $25. I fully plan on reselling them once we’re all unpacked after moving into the Underdog in a few months.  I think we can make our money back.

Besides labeling each box by category or room with specific items listed beneath, I’m also writing ‘apt’ or ‘no apt’ on them. Since not everything that will eventually end up at the Underdog can fit into our interim apartment, we’ll have to store many boxes elsewhere.  I frequently find myself staring into the abyss contemplating ‘apartment or storage?’  I’m really trying to minimize what we take to the apartment just so I don’t have to turn around in 3 months or so and repack it all.  But I also want to make the apartment somewhat homey and familiar for the time that our family will be living there. So packing is taking longer than it would with a typical home to home move because I’m trying to decide what we will use or need at the apartment and what we can do without for a few months.

{How freaky does that reflection of a throw blanket look in the fireplace glass?  It looks like a sobbing tragedy mask.  Anybody else see it?  As you may also see, the kids aren’t stressed one bit by the whole packing thing.}

It’s amazing how quickly a home can go from show house conditions for selling purposes to complete and utter disarray for moving purposes in just a matter of weeks.  Our home is starting to look less like a home and more like a house.  Meaning it’s becoming more and more barren and sterile with each item I pack.  It makes me think of when we bought the house and how I saw this huge empty space that we could bring to life.  It’s been a kind house to us over the last 3.5 years. No major issues…just little cosmetic changes here and there that didn’t require permits {besides the man shed} or lead or asbestos testing before digging in. It’s been a good home for Handy Hubby to piddle around on acquiring more DIY know how along the way.  It’s been a good canvas for my design loving heart allowing me to experiment with interior design without hardly any construction dust. We’re very thankful that we got to live here and play around.

Thank you house!

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



As soon as I saw that reflection, I immediately zoomed in my computer! Yes, freaky!!!


are you taking the yellow barn door with you!? or leaving it?


I saw the face…super scary!!


We start packing up next week and I am completely overwhelmed. We only have a two bedroom apartment- I can’t imagine a whole house! Plus the emotions of leaving this space behind… Bleh. I am not looking forward to it…

Oh my goodness that picture with the face in the fireplace is creepy. Good luck with the packing I am sure things are getting crazy.


Bahahah that reflection in the fireplace is so creepy! I almost couldn’t look away! We are moving to Ohio in just about two weeks, and thanks to your blog, I already feel familiar with the state…I’m taking note of places in Cincinnati you recommend!


I have to share this moving tip, it’s the best I ever got – 2 colors of tape!

When I moved from a large place to a smaller temporary one I put a ton of things in storage. My uncle told me to tape everything that was going into storage with red, and everything I needed to go to the new micro-apartment in green. It’s a loud, visual symbol for the people helping you move. And it worked!

Also, I just moved back into a real apartment, and this time I didn’t color-code between basement storage and the apartment itself, thinking “oh, the label’s enough”. Talk about lessons learned – I had to drag about 8 huge boxes down three flights of stairs.


Kayla – The barn door is staying with the house. As much as we have enjoyed it, it’s dimensions aren’t appropriate for the Underdog {i.e. it’s too big} and the buyers want it to stay so that saves us some work from having to remove it and repair the wall. We’ll miss it for sure!


The different colors of tape idea is brilliant. I wish we had used that when we moved last week.

I saw the face in the fireplace and thought it was a Harry Potter doll of Dobby the house elf! Weird that it’s just a blanket!


VERY creepy. I can’t see it any other way…


No worries sista…I’m right there with you. We’re packing our current rental to move to ANOTHER rental and it’s going to lead to yet ANOTHER rental in a matter of months. I’m paring down as much as possible and finding it very daunting in the process. Of course, the rainy weather hasn’t helped or I would have pretty much been done moving the “definite” stuff by now. Oh well, eventually we will be done and unpacked, and enjoying our new digs.
Just remember in the end…it will all be worth it…;)


Oy, we moved so many times that the idea of moving (ever again) makes me a bit sick. I wish you the best of luck in the packing! Making lists, upon lists, and checking things off – that’s what always kept me sane. Your kids seem to be dealing well with the whole thing, which is super important.

O @ http://www.ordermatters.com/blog


I’m still unpacking from a move – and just hearing about you packing made me cringe. I am SO glad we are done packing. Packing is awful. However – $25 for boxes and packing supplies?! I moved a 2BR apartment and paid probably $150 in total for all of our packing supplies. $25 is a steal! But resell them? Thrice used boxes may not be in the best condition. We are just posting all of our boxes on the craigslist free stuff – they disappear within seconds; it is almost scary how quickly ppl come for them – but not as scary as that reflection in the fireplace! Good luck!


Ooooo scarey face in the fireplace next to sweet laughing boy.

On a totally unrelated topic: I thought of your Underdog when I saw this – specifically, the wall to the right of the entry door. http://www.acharmingnest.com/2011/07/mudroom-storage-reveal.html


honestly, I predict you will be pleansantly surprised by how little stuff you need to take to the appt. The space will be home because you will all be there. plus, 3 months goes by thisquick!
happy packing!


I’m so enjoying every story in your downsizing progress. Parts parallels my own somewhat. I’m in the process of downsizing our possessions in anticipation of an August move to Hawaii where my husband has been transferred. “Affordable” housing there isn’t so big. Whatever doesn’t get shuttled to the garage sale pile will be divided up into boxes (and furnishings) for Hawaii, boxes for 2 year storage and boxes that will go with my kids to college (gulp).
I’m really enjoying the paring down process. I’m not a pack rat by any stretch but I’m surprised by how many things I’ve been holding onto just because I haven’t been forced to really look at its value to us. My hardest decision is what to take with us and what to put into storage.
Thanks for posting your progress. It helps me to see this huge life change is an adventure.


Phew! I’ve just read your ENTIRE blog in about 2 weeks! Starting near the beginning. I feel like I know you guys…a little bit anyway. Thanks for sharing! I wanted the whole story about your decision to downsize and it is inspiring. No one does that! Good for you! Lots of us should follow your example. Keep your eyes on the goal!


Caro – That built-in storage is AMAZING!!!! Love it.


Haha, the reflection is the first thing I saw! Then his face almost looks like he could be running away screaming!


Ha! The first thing I saw in that picture was the creepy face! I was like, “WTH is that??” I know it’s a lot of work for you, but it’s fun watching others go through it! It’s a pretty nice apartment, really. Especially when it’s just for a few months. :)


Omg!!!!! That is something very strange.