I recently moved my wife and four kids 1,700 miles to the desert.  


Let me rephrase that to give you a better picture of what actually happened:

I stuffed 4 children, aged 9 and under into my minivan.  I then drove said minivan solo through scrubby Midwestern scenery (it's not actually scenery, in case you were wondering), a snowstorm, and 105-degree heat.  When we arrived, it took more than 2 weeks for our items to arrive, and in a condition that was less than perfect - to be generous.  

Light Blue Tape on items we'll use this year

But the preparation that my beautiful wife and I did before we left Kansas made things much easier once we unpacked our belongings in Phoenix.  You see, we're just going to be renting a small house for a year or so until we figure out what in God's brown sand we're actually doing here.  So we'll be leaving about a third of our items packed up for storage.  No point in packing, un-packing, re-packing, and unpacking is there?


Words like...

  • Fragile
  • • Glass
  • • Very Delicate Computer, Please For The Love Of All That Is Holy Be Careful!

...are but mere suggestions for certain Orange Moving Companies.  Knowing this, we knew that less important words like "Storage" or "Unpack" would be ignored even more.  

Fl. Red Tape shows boxes that will hang out in our garage this year



So we labeled the outside of our boxes with either Light Blue Color Code Tape, or Fluorescent Red Color Code Tape.  Just a simple strip on the outside of each box, along with a quick scrawl about which room it goes to allowed us to quickly and easily figure out where the different boxes go.

While it's not a perfect system (I would have preferred a spreadsheet with a check off button once each item made it to its final destination) it made a moving process that was insanely frustrating just a little easier.  

 

Update from September 2019

The Illustrious "Moving Buddy"

Sometime after Andrew picked up his roots and attempted to plant them in the desert sands of Phoenix, Patrick also decided to move. A combination of these two events eventually led to a product we know today as Moving Buddy. Moving buddy is a kit of labels and tapes in multiple colors that helps speed up the moving process with some organization. The process is simple; assign a color to a room in the old house and tape up those boxes with that tape (you can still write on the tape to provide details or list contents). Then in the new location, decide which room corresponds with it, put some color coding tape to mark it. With this system, the majority of your stuff finds its way to its new home quickly, without mom needing to micromanage with a bullhorn. Possibly the biggest plus of moving buddy is that you can use any leftover tapes or labels for other things and not have useless imprinted stickers lying around. Now practically anyone can help you move, and they don't even need to know how to read. Little brothers and sisters can help by just following colored arrows made with tape. Here in Kansas, we have an expression about following a yellow-brick road. Moving Buddy brings a whole other meaning to that phrase and can be a big help if you move away and find that you're not in Kansas anymore.