You have decided to move, now you need to figure out how to manage both ADHD and packing. Moving to a new location can be exciting and fun. Planning and packing well for that move, though, might not be so much fun.
Moving anywhere can cause significant stress. Packing and moving involves so many small details that many of us, especially those with ADHD, may get overwhelmed by the thought of it before anything goes into a box. Having to manage ADHD can cause enough stress as it is. We don’t need any added stress from moving to make things harder.
Moving, in a lot of ways, involves a complete change of home and everything you know. Changing everything means you have to start over all over again. This means new people, new places, new locations, and new routines. To get to a place that you can find comfort in starting over, you really need to handle the packing well to begin with. Packing done well can make the important difference between starting over on the right foot and starting over with a disaster.
In this article, we look closely at the elements of what it takes to manage ADHD and packing well. The ultimate goal should be to have you set off on the right foot no matter where you go. Use the tips and strategies outlined here to get you headed in the right direction to arrive just how you need to at your destination.
#1 Make an Assessment of What You Have and What You Need
Before you can start with any packing, you need to first take a long honest assessment of what you have and what you need. Success with ADHD and packing depends on you not overly stressing yourself out. When it comes to moving, the number one stressor can be the amount of stuff you have and finding how to get it from point A to point B.
Moving presents enough challenges as it is, you don’t need to overcomplicate things by taking things you won’t need. Before you put anything into a box, consider where you plan to move to. Are you moving to a smaller house or apartment? Will you even be able to take much of what you currently have?
Moving provides an excellent opportunity to clear the clutter. After you answer questions about the space you plan to move to, start thinking of what would be most useful in your new place and what would be least useful. Make a list of things that you absolutely need and make certain that you keep those for your packing list. The other items you can put on a separate list or start moving into boxes or empty rooms with the understanding they won’t go with you.
Making an assessment early leaves you with a game plan when it actually comes to packing. Having thought through things, you then will be able to tackle ADHD and packing more efficiently. You also will help to eliminate some unnecessary sources of stress.
#2 Get Rid of Anything You Can
After making an assessment of your things, your next step with ADHD and packing should involve getting rid of stuff. You should now know what you absolutely must keep and what you won’t need at all. All the things that you won’t need, you need to start getting rid of sooner rather than later.
The sooner you get rid of things you don’t intend to pack, the sooner you can get on with your actual packing. With clearing out items you don’t need, you create more space in your home to move things around and put them in boxes. Also, with clearing out the stuff you don’t need, you can get a clearer picture of how much stuff you plan on taking.
For getting rid of your items, you should try online resources like craigslist or a community or neighborhood message board. You can try to sell or give away items. Just remember that with selling items, you probably need to give yourself time to advertise and find the right buyer. For anything you can’t sell or give to friends or neighbors, consider donating items to Goodwill or similar local charities. Anything not worth giving away should be thrown away.
#3 Make a Moving Calendar
The secret to ADHD and packing involves staying on top of all the moving pieces. The first moving pieces involve assessing what you plan to keep and getting rid of the rest. Ideally, you would complete this step a month before you move down to a week before you move. To make sure you hit this and other deadlines, though, you really need to make yourself a moving or packing calendar.
A packing calendar posted in plain view in your home can provide a constant reminder of what you need to accomplish. For your calendar, you should start a month or more out from your move. You then need to put on your calendar things you want to have accomplished by each deadline. Things you can include might be getting rid of all the things you don’t plan on taking, booking a moving truck, and what rooms you plan to pack up when.
A packing calendar not only helps you stay on track, it also helps you organize your thoughts around what you have left to do. You should really invest a good amount of time and effort into making your calendar. Consult online for ideas on what to include. Talk to close friends who have recently moved and ask them what was important for their move that you need to stay on top of.
#4 Get Packing Supplies Well In Advance
Not only do you need to make a calendar well in advance, you also need to go ahead and buy packing materials. After all, you will never get anywhere with ADHD and packing if you don’t have any supplies. When it comes to packing, you need to focus your attention all on getting things into boxes in order to get them moved. What you don’t need to get distracted by then is constantly having to run back and forth to the store to get more packing supplies.
As soon as you know you have to move, you need to sit down and list out all the packing supplies you need. For ideas on some things that might be useful, you can consult the suggestions at this link or in this article. After you have a list made out, you need to go to the store and buy your supplies and then store them in your house to use as you start to pack. In case you get too many supplies, keep your receipts so that you can return what you don’t need.
A notorious symptom of ADHD is being easily distracted. With packing, many things can upset your focus. What you don’t want, however, is you losing your focus with having to constantly go back and forth to the store. With getting your packing supplies all at once, you help yourself eliminate distractions even before they occur.
#5 Pack in Phases
Now that you have your calendar and packing supplies, your next step in managing ADHD and packing involves packing your things in phases. Most of us can’t pack everything we own in a matter of a weekend. We need more time and more thought than that. To put in the care you need to pack well, you need to plan your packing out in phases.
More than likely, you’ll want to start your actual packing the week of or the week just before you move. With packing in phases, you can either pack different rooms at different times or categories of items. For rooms, you simply pick a room and start packing things that you don’t need until you get to your new place. For categories of items, you can possibly start with items that you rarely use or books or pictures. You would then go through each room and put these categories of items into boxes as you go.
Packing in phases helps you spread out the chaos that ADHD and packing will undoubtedly become. No matter how meticulous you try to be about packing, you still will find that things get out of sorts very quickly. Packing in phases at least helps manage the packing in smaller spurts.
#6 Make Your Moving Day Plans
Now that you have done most of the prep work leading up to moving day, you need to make sure that moving day actually goes well. An important part of ADHD and packing involves ensuring that you have your moving day plans laid out. Even if you are just moving within town, you need to know when and where you need to be at the right times.
For planning your moving day, you need to think of all the little things that need to happen. If you have most everything packed up in your truck the day before, have a checklist of the final things to go before you walk out the door for good. Part of the plan should include 15-30 minutes of a final walkthrough making sure to go through every room for any last items. The last thing you want to do is get to your new place and one or two months’ later realize you left a whole drawer of kitchen utensils behind.
Also as a part of your moving day plans you should include 30 minutes to an hour for final cleaning of all rooms. You should try to clean everything well as you pack up each room. On the final day then, you need to include time just to make sure all the cleaning is finished. If you rent your place, this can be particularly important in getting your full deposit back. After cleaning each room, take a picture of the empty clean room to save just in case you have any issues from your landlord.
The final step in leaving your old place for good should involve locking up and giving back your keys. Make sure you put in some time to stop by the landlord and finalize the moving out.
#7 Have a Strategy for Unpacking at your New Place
The next step for ADHD and packing involves what you do when you arrive at your new place. Planning for packing up and moving to a new place must include a focus both on what you leave and what you go to. To complete your packing plan, you need to know the best way to unpack at your new home.
Some of this goes into how you put your things into your moving truck. In order to unpack well, you need to put things strategically into your moving truck so that you can get to them in the order that you need. Think in terms of rooms that you want to unpack and in what order. Then, when you put things into your moving truck, organize boxes by the order that you want to take them off the truck and unpack them.
With a strategy on how you unpack, you can maintain organization from your old home to your new home. This way you can move boxes and items into the right rooms in the right order without having to guess or wonder where your stuff ends up in the new home. Having an unpacking strategy sets you up for a good start towards settling down in your new place.
#8 Make Sure to Take Time to Reflect and Enjoy the Transition
As a final note for ADHD and packing, you need to make sure you don’t get so caught up in packing and so stressed that you forget to reflect and enjoy the transition. Moving can be hard and stressful. Packing up and moving to a new place, though, also means the start of a new adventure and the close to an older stage in life. You need to reflect and celebrate these transitions when you have them.
Our lives typically run from one thing onto the next. Especially for those of us with ADHD, we struggle sometimes to slow things down and enjoy the moment. If nothing else reminds us to stop and reflect, moving homes should do that for us.
In the midst of packing and moving, set aside some time, whether it be an hour or an evening, to remember the times you enjoyed in your home. Think of how you have grown and changed since the last time you moved. Think also about the new opportunities you have ahead of you.
Life gives us changes. As long as we live, things will always change around us and in us. Use a chance to move as an opportunity to really recognize the ways you have grown and will continue to grow personally.
Make ADHD and Packing a Cinch by Planning Ahead and Staying on Target
Most of the strategies for ADHD and packing outlined here can be summarized simply by saying to plan ahead. Most of us would not say that we see ourselves as expert packers. The reason we aren’t great packers is because we don’t do this all the time. Most of us rarely pack at all. Since we don’t have the practice, we need to make up for this lack of experience with thorough planning.
Packing well depends on great organization. Again, for many of us with ADHD, organization just doesn’t always work well. You can make it work for you, though, through careful planning in advance and staying focused and on task throughout the process.
If you have a big move coming up, keep this list of strategies close by. Use these tips and ideas to help make your next packing and moving project go more smoothly than you ever could have imagined.