Let's face it. Due to the sheer amount of "stuff" we survivalists accumulate, moving home is a rather large feat. I hope I've just done my last move ever, as we shift to a relatively isolated farmhouse sitting on 16 acres of natural bush-land. There's a nice little spring, plenty of forest, and lots of deer and elk that wander in from the national park behind us.
It's paradise on earth. At least for us, and I hope I never need to move again.
Because we survivalists have far too much stuff.
I hadn't realized just how much I had accumulated over the last few years, but having to pull everything out, box it all up, and get it from one place to another was a massive undertaking. Plus, I wanted to keep most of my survival gear under the radar, so I packed these supplies up myself.
Now I have moved house a number of times, lived abroad, and am now more than happy to settle into our new home and live here for the foreseeable future. Giving my daughter a wonderful lifestyle to grow up with, as we spend our time pottering around our sustainable homestead.
Here's how I made our move a little more manageable:
Sort out your supplies
The first step was to determine what furniture and belongings were actually going to make the move with us. So we pulled things out of cupboards, took a hard look at our furniture, and decided to put a bunch of things out at a yard sale we held over a following weekend. We were a little brutal, but the question I asked with everything was "how hard would it be to replace this after the move, and what's it going to cost me?" We ended up raising a couple of grand and got rid of a whole bunch of clutter that wouldn't be needed in our new home. Which was great as it also meant we wouldn't need to box these items up and move them.
Clean out your stockpile
Now for me, I like to think that I'm organized but there's a big difference between my stockpile and those highly-organized preppers you see on the internet. I took this chance to go through everything I've collected over the years, and give it a good clean out. In addition to tossing anything that had expired or was no longer working, it was a great chance to:
- Take stock. I took a notebook as I went through everything, and wrote down everything that I had in my stockpile. When I tallied the numbers, I realized that I was actually lacking a few key items, and I needed to add a few more things to my next big shopping list.
- Get updated. Take a good hard look at all of your gear, and if there's something that needs to be updated for safety reasons do it. But be careful, if what you have still works and does the job, don't worry about it.
Box up your survival items
Moving home is a major breach of operational security. As removalists or even friends come through your home to help, it's logical they're going to see everything you've been stockpiling. And for me, I didn't want random people knowing the extent of my preps. So I dropped by the removal company a couple of weeks early, and purchased a bunch of moving boxes. Then I simply packed my survival items myself over the following days, labeling the boxes with generic topics like "Basement," "Storage," and "Garage." The removalists didn't even question these, and the best part was no one except myself got to know the size of my survival stockpile.
Create your "box zero"
It's inevitable that things are going to get lost in the move, even if just temporarily. But you don't want to be frantically opening box after box to find a plate to eat dinner on, or a towel to shower with. So build a box zero. Ours is basically our camping gear (inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags), a picnic set, a small folding table, toilet paper and other bathroom gear, along with a bunch of towels and bedding, and some basic cleaning gear. Oh, and the kettle and a bunch of instant coffee. Box zero goes in our car, and it's the first thing that gets unpacked in our new house. That way, we've got the basics we need as soon as we arrive, and a hot cup of coffee in our hands in minutes.
Manage the move
We sent the majority of our belongings with the removalists, it was easier this way, but there was a few things to consider during the move, with our family bundled in the car and a drive of almost 800 miles to complete. Of course, I've got my emergency car kit in the back, a trusty can of pepper spray I carry everywhere, along with our box zero of supplies and a couple of smaller bags with clothes and everything else we need for the drive. I did a quick check of the water and oil in the car, and basics like never letting the tank drop below a quarter full are just smart choices to make on the road.
If you need to stop overnight make sure any gear that gets left in your car is secured, or properly locked in a trailer. I'd also recommend getting an alarm for the cargo area of the trailer, so you're alerted if anyone actually manages to get this open.
Getting settled in
For me this is the fun part. With a coffee in hand get your box zero unpacked, and take stock of your new place. Try to imagine where everything is going to be put, and if you have the time do a quick run to the supermarket before the removalists arrive. Buy ready-to-go food like muesli bars, or even a couple of frozen pizzas so you're not stressing about cooking while everything is being unpacked. Give the cupboards a quick wipe out before you start packing things away, and now it's just a matter of finding a home for all of your belongings.
The one thing I will recommend at this stage is to consider how you're going to organize your survival stockpile. You've got a wonderful opportunity to get things in proper order as you're putting your supplies in place, which will make your life far easier in the years to come.
Moving home is a big event, but it doesn't need to be a disaster. Though I do have one final piece of advice. Be ready for things to go wrong. Problems happen, so don't let it stress you out. Perhaps you get a flat tire and need to change it on the side of the highway. Just take a breath. Be patient, and get it swapped over. Having just done a move myself, once you're all settled into your new home you'll look back and it'll all be worth it.