Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Houston has the worst packrats. Here’s how to make moving easier – Houston Chronicle


We really shouldn’t be surprised that Houstonians are packrats, living large and filling our big homes with more and more stuff.

Bellhop, the moving company that began 11 years ago to help college students move in and out of dorms and now operates in 31 states, evaluated 55,000 moves last year and determined – based on the quantity of stuff and amount of time it took to pack, move and unpack – that Houston has the worst packrats.

Of Houston customers, 41 percent needed two or more trucks and it took an average of 897 minutes – almost 15 hours – to move them. Orlando placed second, and San Antonio came in third.

THE BID: Can you guess the price of this 6,000-square-foot Clear Lake home?

Bill Chase, Bellhop’s chief marketing officer, said that most of their moves are people moving across town, and the average move will fill a 26-foot truck.

We asked Chase and two professional organizers – Lisa Giesler of and Gayle Goddard, the Clutter Fairy – how to make your next move simpler and less expensive. Here’s their advice:

1. Planning and preparation

The longer you’ve been in your home, the more stuff you’ll have and the more time you will need to plan, purge and pack. Know when your heavy trash pickup day is, or contact a thrift store for a pickup if you’re not giving things to family or friends or selling it yourself.

Goddard said that for a standard, two- to three-bedroom house that you’ve been in 25 years, you’ll need at least a month to sort through what you have.

“However long you think it will take, multiply it by three,” Goddard said. “You won’t get it done in a week, so give yourself lead time – as much as possible – and start early. If you get done early, awesome, but I’ll bet you won’t.”

Giesler reminds that you need to anticipate the storage space in your new home as you clear out of the old one. Will you have the same number of drawers in your kitchen? How many pairs of shoes will your closet hold? 

2. Purge/let it go

This is the hard part. Both Goddard and Giesler said they act as negotiator in the keep it vs. toss it dilemma. 

If it’s a keepsake you never use and don’t really like, take a picture of it and say goodbye. Someone else might love having it. 

“The longer since you’ve interacted with it – sometimes it sounds like no one even touches it – I ask if it’s just a keepsake, is it worth giving up space in the house to keep it? Does it need to be part of your life?” Goddard said.

If you use it regularly, keep it. If it’s your kids’ elementary school sports equipment or art projects and now they’re 40 years old, let it go.

“Everyone has keepsakes, but you don’t need all of them – you just need a representative sample. You don’t need 17 bats. Keep two, and only if you’re going to play ball at the next family reunion,” she said.

Duplications are another obvious purge. You might be surprised how many corkscrews, can openers and …….


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