Thursday, April 10, 2014

To-Do List Before the Big Move Part I: Food

Moving is not my favorite thing in the world. It's not even close. I don't think it even makes my top 100 favorite things. But it is a necessary evil, and one that our little family will have to do in a few months down the road. Even though I hate moving, I've done enough of it in my college days from apartment to apartment to know a thing or two about it.

Since it is still up in the air which state out of three we'll be moving to and it's still relatively far away, I can't plan renting the truck, buying the apartment/house, or too much of the actual packing... and it's driving me nuts! So I've decided to make a check off list for things that I can do months in advance. This is the first in a series of blog installments that I'll be writing as we get ready to head out.

Food Inventory

Our family falls under the poor college kids category and so letting food go to waste really brings me down. It is really hard to move with all of your things when space is limited and food is perishable, so our plan is to leave the house with as little food as possible in tow.

Freezer/ Refrigerator 
The freezer is the spot where most the food goes to waste in a move. We'll be moving at least a couple states away, so bringing all that food with us is just not an option. This is our freezer/ refrigerator game plan:

  • Make an inventory of everything in the freezer/ fridge.
  • Throw away everything that has been in there too long or has freezer burn.
  • Create meal plans from now until a month before the move using as much of the freezer items as possible.
  • Don't buy any freezer items or long term fridge items (such as large bottles of condiments, jams, and yeast) unless you can fit it into your short-term meal plans
  • Keep freezer completely bare except necessities that will be eaten soon (chicken breasts, quick dinners for moving week, ice cream, etc.)
If it's getting close to moving day and we still have a lot of really good stuff, then we will give it to a friend in the area. I mean really good stuff. I'm not going to give away something that has been in there for so long that it would take weeks to thaw it out of the ice shell its developed. I'm talking freezer jams and unopened packages of ravioli or something. The other stuff should probably be dumped. If you weren't going to eat it, your friends probably won't want to either.

The pantry is a little different as far as planning ahead because the items can last longer in normal temperatures, so you can bring a lot of the stuff with you. But if push comes to shove, you'll probably want to use the space for your clothes or furniture rather than your food, so this is all about compacting things!

  • Again, make an inventory and create meal plans to use up a lot of the things in your pantry, especially hard-to-move items.
  • Cans are easy to pack, but they are very heavy, so include this on your eating list even though they are longer lasting food items.
  • In fact, try to eat everything you can and limit your shopping trips for more food. You don't want to use up all your space packing something like cereal. 
  • Use this time to get organized! Flour or sugar packed in their normal bags run the risk of being punctured and spreading all over everything else, so you could invest in some dollar store containers. (Or if you're cheap and have a baby like me, just use old formula containers)

Other Things to Do Months in Advance (not food related)
  • Collect and save boxes. Save everything that comes into your home in a box.  We have a nice pile of empty diaper boxes ready to be loaded. You can also ask nearby grocery stores for their extra boxes, or just go dumpster diving. This will save a lot of money in the long run, because, really, who wants to spend money on a cardboard box?
  • Start packing away your winter (or summer) clothes. 
  • Stop buying in bulk for cleaning, office, and kitchen supplies.

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