Moving Day, Moving Tips and Settling In

It was a good day to buy a house.

I’ve been telling various family and friends for a while now that I would post more pictures of our new surroundings. It’s time to make good on those words.

Mt Hood greeting us to the new hood

We left Lucia with Grandma and Grandpa to go sign papers and get keys on closing day. We found ourselves with hours of waiting time in between so we took advantage of the day in Portland all to ourselves. We leisurely explored our new city including this nearby park with stunning views of Mt Hood, Mt Saint Helens and about 5 other mountains (on a clear day).

Mt Hood
Mt Saint Helens
Good words to contemplate on the day we were buying land, and the house, air and water that came with it.
Getting the keys right there on our new front porch from our awesome realtor Brad! If you’re looking for someone in Portland, check him out at Living Room Realty. And if you forgot I was pregnant well then there is the proof.
Let the moving fun begin! (Can you hear my sarcasm?)

After moving all our stuff from various places– and to storage, to garages, to the moving van, to storage again to another moving truck– we’re over it. This time I actually jotted down a few helpful hints for myself because I hope that by the next time we move it will have been so long that all the tedious details will have been long forgotten.

My Moving Tips: planning, packing, moving and unpacking

  1. Clearly label boxes with room destinations or unique items so you can unload right into the correct spot.

    • Even if you don’t know exactly what your new place will be like, unloading and unpacking is sooooo much easier if things end up kinda, sorta where they need to be.
    • I was fairly detailed when labeling if there was a random unique item. I found it much more helpful to know that the box contained the food processor and blender rather than just “kitchen” stuff or knowing that this box had our wedding albums in them helped with where that box ended up all along the journey from apartment to storage to house. It only takes an extra few seconds but is worth it!
  2. Take the time to wrap up furniture: smaller items in moving plastic wrap and larger ones with blankets then plastic wrap.

  3. Moving supplies are expensive! Probably need to buy moving plastic wrap and some bubble wrap like I did from Home Depot but other cheaper solutions: free boxes from Craigslist, my own blankets (that could stand to get banged around) instead of costly moving ones and garbage bags for pillows and other fluffier/lighter items.

  4. For cross-country moves or otherwise I would highly recommend

    • You pack up the stuff yourself, lock it and they deliver it via ABF freight. They were highly efficient, always on time or early for pick-ups and drop-offs, cheaper (you pay for only the space you use) and hardly any damage to our goods. Plus you can get an easy quote, secure your reservation without a deposit and even cancel for free if need be.
  5. If possible, clean the new place before bringing new stuff into it.

    • Cleaning the floors, floorboards/moldings, kitchen and bathroom is so much easier before all the boxes take over. Come moving day you’ll spend way less time cleaning and more time unpacking.
    • Of course the floors and such will get dirty again on moving day but at least you know that all that dirt is your dirt (which for me means easier to put off cleaning for a little while:).
  6. If using a rental truck, call the company to confirm details the day before. We learned this one the hard way!

    • In a perfect world, when you rent a 24′ truck from Budget, they give you a 24′ truck and not a 16′ one. But apparently they only guarantee the price of that size truck if its available and they don’t actually guarantee the right size truck you reserved. The local office had no power to amend the situation, just kept telling us to call the corporate office. Oh, so the corporate office is going to give us a free truck to help with the rest of our stuff? Not so much.
    • For us this meant having to take an extra trip with the smaller truck because there was no chance of getting a bigger one. We had no idea that this was how Budget operates. I guess we lucked out since we were only moving a few hours away but I can’t imagine if it were going to be a longer haul. Maybe just don’t use Budget and check the policies of your rental agreement before moving day.
  7. If moving from close by, take a load of essentials in the car.

    • From our old place, I bagged up our cleaning supplies, some kitchen basics like coffee, spices, condiments, pantry staples and foil/plastic wrap and some snacks. Might as well throw in the phone chargers, paper towels and maybe some other paper plates and such for those first few meals. Its nice to have them on hand right when you get to the new place.
    • When you’re sick of packing, it seems so easy to throw this stuff away or leave them behind but it’s simple to stuff some basics in the car. It saves time and money on an already crazy moving day filled with adding up little costs. One less thing to do and one less trip to a store can make a difference in overall sanity.
  8. Set up the ‘skeleton’ of the room before your moving help leaves and before tackling the little things.

    • Start with the big items, getting them into place first and with the help of others who are already there helping you move. Even if it takes a few tries to get it right, it’s easier to do before everything else comes flooding in and takes over.
    • Don’t just recreate your old space. Boring. Part of the fun of moving is to see your old stuff in new ways. Notice new things accidentally next to each other and use that to build inspiration for seeing your belongings and their colors in new ways in your new spaces.
  9. If you plan to paint, do a little colors pre-thinking but also be flexible once you see your things inhabiting the space.

  10. Set up a give away box while unpacking.

    • I have found this helpful even when I feel like I have gone through and gotten rid of unwanted items in the packing process, especially after not having seen most of my belongings for a while. Every time I thought “why did I even pack this up?”, “where should I put this? I don’t even really like it” or “I’ve been doing fine without this”–into the box it went. And out the box went to be donated to our local non-profit org supporting resale shop. It feels good not to start out a new house with unnecessary clutter.
  11. Use the kitchen a few days before deciding where everything should go.

    • Keep an open mind as to where items most make sense. For example, I think utensils should not go in the first drawer you see but rather wherever it is that you automatically reach for a spoon when you need a spoon and this can take a time or two to figure out. Think of when you’re at a friends’ place and that spoon you need is in like the 5th drawer you try–how annoying is that? I feel like this could be due to deciding a spot and sticking to it before actually living in the space.
    • Along the same lines, cook a few dinners to see where you reach for plates before you decide where to put them or use the coffee maker a few times to see where you reach for mugs.
  12. Here’s one last one NOT to do: it may seem like a good idea to wrap small breakables like candle holders in scarves, mittens and hats…not such a good idea if they break (learned this one from experience too).

And now some pictures of our house before we filled it to the brim with all our junk. I liked the house before moving in but I love it now that we’re here. I’ll have to add ‘after’ photos soon once we pull ourselves and spaces together a bit more. I hesitate to even put these up since they are void of the vibrancy brought in as we have begun to inhabit the space but here goes…

Front porch and yard


Living Room
Hallway looking into our room and Lucia’s room. I love the details: nice wood floors, crown molding, old doors and glass door knobs. It all reminds me of some of the old Chicago apartments we have lived in and the house I grew up in.
Our room
Lucia’s room
One of my favorite rooms. A room in the back of the house with windows galore and light flooding in means its the perfect spot to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a good book while Lucia is playing nearby.
Another room
What will be the utility room slash hallway-turned-mud-room. It doesn’t look super big or helpful but I am really excited about this space. Stairs leading to the basement, door leading to the back deck and yard.
Our small-but-more-functional-than-it-seems kitchen. I thought I was going to have trouble fitting everything in but due to all the shelving, an ample pantry in the back room, and the 2 large china cabinets in the dining room, I have enough room to arrange everything right where it needs to be, even with a little room to spare. Now just to do something about the ugly cabinet color. One thing at a time I guess.
Back deck
The backyard has heaps of potential for awesomeness but needs some love. We have been showering it with our love through weeding, trimming and laying of grass seed and we’re hoping to see the fruits of that labor not disappoint. Longer term plans would be to get in some veggie beds and berry plants, keep trimming away at unneeded plants/shrubs and get some more greens and flowers in there. It’s fun for Matt and I to dream up our ideal outdoor space together. You can tell that someone loved the yard in the past but its been a few years (and the gargantuan size of weed roots can prove it).
This is looking in from the street. Both front and backyards have many plants, trees and shrubs that provide privacy so we feel like we’re in our own little haven at home.

And then we went and ruined all those nice clean spaces with loads and loads (and loads) of stuff…


We had a great moving crew of family and friends. Thanks to all! Mark and Debbie even stuck around the next day to help us get some things in order.
After all the unpacking, there was only one lone bag of broken glass (and I have a lot of breakable items so I was impressed).
Lucia fell fast asleep after a long first day of playing, getting dirty, unpacking and running around at the new house. So fast asleep that even the bright flashlight shining directly in her face in bed didn’t keep her from drifting off quickly in her new bed.
Starting a new day, a new life in our new city.

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And so, day by day, life goes on whether you’re in a brand new place or an old familiar one. I love our new life routine now that we’ve had a few weeks to live it: Lucia getting up out of her bed in the morning to come snuggle with me, cooking in the kitchen, kneading bread on the pull-out cutting board just perfect for such a thing, eating at the table as a family, close-by parks, sitting on the back deck when it’s flooded with mid-day sunshine, hanging out in the front and backyards, exploring the one million new things in this city, sitting on the edge of the tub for Lucia’s bath time, new bedtime routines for Lucia in her own room that she has been lacking for the past year or so and going to bed content as the little guy in my tummy squirms about reminding us that he will soon be a part of the routine too.

The other large part of our current routine is spending gobs of time getting unpacked, arranged and organized plus starting on new projects around the house. For me, this involves many to-do lists. We have first taken on the backyard and the bathroom. We’ll have to get some before and after pics up soon of our latest projects. Matt has been super helpful to his pregnant wife who would love to do all things at once and get everything put together like yesterday but has to move a little slower than she would like. It drives me crazy having to stop projects short because I need help but such is life with a growing baby bump.

This is the everyday, ordinary, good stuff of life. August will bring us a rearranged normal with a fresh baby and new preschool to get used to so I’m soaking in the now, for now.

Here’s a few more pictures from our life since moving here:

At a Renaissance Fair. If you’ve never been to one, WARNING: the people who attend are deeply obsessed with living as though in medieval times. I wish I could’ve taken a million more pictures of all the people and their outfits but my camera died. Lucia had fun getting her face painted and doing the medieval kids activities.
Just sitting on some hay bales watching some jousting or something.
Working the May pole
Lucia was SUPER excited to run into Rapunzel and Aurora. Who needs Disney World anyway?
Bubbles, no actually, “medieval” bubbles. I’m told they’re better.
So happy to have my dad visit a few weeks after we moved in! Lucia hung all over him the few days he was here.
We took my dad to a favorite park after brunch and it was a perfect little Portland snapshot: tons of people out and about, an outdoor yoga class, hammocks and tight ropes set up between trees, a large family dressed in all white fancy clothes for what seemed like an all out May Day celebration complete with May pole and a guy making gigantic bubbles from some homemade contraption.
I mean, seriously, look at how large that bubble is.
First grill out night at home
My dad was glad to be a part of our first grill out, especially after we had him help put the BBQ together (and to eat at the table that he helped build for us back in Chicago).
Good times with Grandpa. We missed you, Mor Mor!
Me and my girl at Powell-Butte Park

Below we’re at one of our other new favorite parks. I love the natural play spaces made with logs, rope, rocks and stumps plus the large water/sand play area. Lucia absolutely loves playing here:

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Portrait of a happy girl after a long day of playing in the backyard dirt and collecting worms.

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