Organization is an important skill for an administrative professional. Not only are you expected to keep yourself on track; you’re also responsible for making sure your executive stays organized. Those skills are especially useful during a move!
While every move is different — with its own set of logistics, challenges, and requirements — the following tips can help make the process a bit more organized and a lot less stressful!
Make a Moving Binder
I start every move by creating a three-ring binder to keep everything organized and portable. My moving binder was my best friend throughout my move from Iowa to Indiana. I took it everywhere, and I still have it today. (In fact, a lot of the tips you’ve been reading this month came directly from my trusty binder!)
Your binder doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does have to be functional. Your sections will depend on your specific circumstances, but some of my favorites to include are:
- Checklists and schedules
- Appraisals and/or loan documents
- Important contacts
Make sure everything is filed away immediately. The chaos of moving often leads to things being misplaced, and knowing everything you need is in the binder is reassuring throughout the process.
Set a Schedule
Like it or not, moving is going to consume a ton of your time. There’s the planning, packing, loading, and unpacking — not to mention the innumerable details that go into setting up utilities, notifying people of your new address, transferring records, etc. Trying to do this all haphazardly is a recipe for disaster.
Set a schedule. Break your tasks down into smaller pieces so they don’t seem so overwhelming, prioritize them, and decide what you’re doing and when. Be honest about how many free hours you have in your day, and don’t forget to take a bit of time to relax and decompress.
When you set a moving schedule, everything gets done on time, in an organized fashion, and you don’t have to worry about last minute “I forgot to…” brain fogs.
As an admin, “I’ll do it myself” is practically a mantra. But now is not the time to go it alone. Whether you’re organizing an office move or relocating your family to a new home, you’re going to need some people on your side — but you must communicate your needs, timelines, and preferences effectively.
Remember your moving schedule? Copy it. Use a different colored highlighter for each member of your family or team, and make a color-coded “who’s doing what” chart. Check in regularly to make sure deadlines are being met — but remember, this is probably as stressful for them as it is for you, so be kind to each other!
Mind Your Packing Particulars
Packing is a pain. Unpacking boxes that have been packed or labeled incorrectly is even worse.
Do yourself a giant favor and invest in high quality boxes. (Pro Tip: Some moving companies will allow you to rent boxes instead of buying them outright; others will buy them back from you after your move for a partial refund.) Quality boxes will secure your belongings better, and are easier to stack and transport.
Label all sides of the box, rather than just the top. This makes it easier to identify the contents at a glance.
Speaking of contents, be specific when you label. It’s no fun digging bleary-eyed through 20 boxes marked “kitchen” at 7 a.m. on your first morning in a new home or office when all you want to do is find the coffee pot!
There are plenty of good systems for labeling. Some people prefer color-coding labels according to the contents. Others advocate for a full “box inventory,” wherein each box is assigned a number, which corresponds to a written list of the contents. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you have a system that works for you!
Organize as You Unpack
By the time you reach the unpacking portion of this journey, you’ll likely never want to see another moving box as long as you live. The tendency is to get everything out of sight as quickly as possible — even if that does mean hiding things in closets, or piling books on the shelf regardless of your previous categorization.
This is a big mistake! If you organize as you go, it’s done — you don’t have to worry about it anymore. If you don’t, you may have the unsightly boxes out of the space, but you make your job twice as hard because you’ll have to go back and fix it all.
Staying organized during your relocation process is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself! And I hope these tips help you to do just that!
© 2016 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.