Marie’s Guide to Moving
Tidying your current home is the most important thing you can do if you are preparing to move – don’t wait to do it until you’re in your new space! I expand on this advice – and offer more tips – below.
I believe that all houses are connected by some kind of network – the house you live in now will lead you to your next one. When you tidy your living space properly, it announces to the network that you take good care of your home – and this attracts another one to you! So when people ask me whether it’s better to tidy before or after moving, my firm answer is always, “Before!”
Once you’ve found your new home, picture the life you want to lead in it. Look at photos of the space and imagine it decorated with your joy-sparking items. What art is on the walls? What food is in the pantry? See yourself inhabiting your new home – conjure up specific moments throughout the day and imagine how you’ll feel. Visualizing will crystalize what sparks joy for you – you’ll feel a profound sense of connection to your new home before you even move in.
Know Your Limits
Having a clear vision of your future self will make decision-making and packing easy. Also crucial? Knowing exactly how much space you have to work with. If your current couch sparks joy but won’t fit in your new living room, you’ll have to let it go with gratitude. Resist putting items that won’t fit into storage – the goal of tidying is to live with items you love, not to relegate them to dark corners to gather dust indefinitely.
Pack by Category
Packing items by category lets you see everything at a glance – now is the time to get rid of duplicates, items you don’t use and objects that no longer spark joy. Follow the same order as you would for tidying – clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and sentimental items. This saves the hard stuff – your love letters, baby photos and bowling trophies – for last, when your joy radar is strongest.
Nest Boxes in Boxes
Instead of jumbling items together in a big box, pack them by sub-category into shallower boxes and lids. Flex your Tetris skills to nest them into a layered grid.
Master the Fold
Fold clothes like origami to save space in your boxes and bags – these are the basics of the KonMari folding method:
1. Fold both edges of the garment toward the center to form a rectangle – tuck in any sleeves or excess fabric.
2. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise.
3. Fold this in half or thirds
At the end you’ll have a compact rectangle that stands up on its own. If your clothes are already folded this way, you’ll find it’s a snap to transport them from drawer to packing box. Watch a folding demonstration here.
Don't Order In
To minimize food waste, use what’s in your freezer, fridge and pantry in the weeks leading up to your move. This is mindful consumption in action – part of the halo effect of tidying.
Say Goodbye With Gratitude
On your last day in your old home, thank it for housing and protecting you. Walk throughout the space and give it a proper send-off. I like to burn incense to cleanse the space and prepare it for its next inhabitants.
Greet Your New Home
The first thing I do when I visit a client is to greet their home – a custom based on the etiquette of entering Shinto shrines. I do the same when entering a new home of my own. To greet your home, kneel on the floor in the center of the house and introduce yourself to it – aloud or silently – and thank it for protecting you.
Listen to Your House
Don’t rush to fill your new space with items you think you need. Instead, live in it for a few weeks – or even months – as you learn its ins and outs. Your house will tell you what it needs and where to put it.