Moving? Read This Guide To Moving (or Getting Rid of) Your Food.
It’s time to move houses and you booked a mover, packed the furniture and knick knacks, but what about moving your food? Moving food is a pain! There’s that awkward week or so before moving where you just don’t know what to do.
Fear not, you’re not alone.
We have tips to help you with moving that food!
Prioritize Your Food
Before you do anything, assess what you have and its value. That box of weird Japanese cookies that no one dares touch can probably go. The expensive balsamic vinegar your aunt gave you will be hard to replace, so keep that.
It doesn’t hurt to do an inventory of everything in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Now, go over the list with an eye to value and portability. Obviously, if you’re moving across the country, transporting frozen steaks won’t give you that romantic dinner you hoped for upon arrival. You can replace a half-empty box of cornflakes in a jiffy for a few bucks.
Items that you need to use or discard before your move include:
- Frozen items
- Refrigerated items
- Opened condiments
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Items that expire within the next few days
- As you look at all your food, you’ll have some items that you obviously want to keep. Set those aside. You can pack this food and move it, along with your furniture.
Once you figure out what is most valuable and needs to go with you, you’ll have food that is hard to transport. You’ll also find food that simply isn’t worth the effort. That’s what you’re going to be dealing with in the days leading up to the move and we’re here to tell you how.
Stop Buying Food
This point may seem a little obvious, but you may purchase something small for lunch thinking it’s only one meal. That’s a bad idea, because each item you buy is one less thing you’re getting rid of at home.
Skip buying food for at least a week before leaving and use up what is in your pantry. It requires getting creative, but it’s worth it when you have less to deal with later. Meal planning is your friend at this point.
Use Up Perishables
Everything that is already opened or will go bad needs to be gone by moving day. Whether you eat it or toss it or give it away, get rid of these things. This includes pretty much everything in your fridge.
Since moving is rarely a surprise, you have time to do a little meal planning! Design your last meals in your home to use up those perishables.
To meal plan effectively, you need to know what you have on hand. Refer to the inventory list you took at the beginning of this article. Pair off the foods that go together to create meals. If you have open pasta sauce, cheese, and potatoes, you can make nacho baked potatoes. Frozen ground beef makes a hearty meal when added to the potatoes and a salad on the side makes for less to pack.
Make a simple calendar for the days until your move. Now add a meal you’ve come up with, using only pantry items, to the calendar. You’ll want one meal for each slot, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For your last home-cooked meal before moving, try making soup. Heat broth and add everything that is still hanging around to it. My mother used to call this “clean the fridge soup” and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.
Throw a Party
While you might not want to try this if you’re struggling to pack in time, a farewell party is a great way to use up food. Not only do you get some quality time with friends, you eliminate a problem.
Dig out the frozen and refrigerated food and dust off the grill. Meat, fish, and seafood can all create a tasty buffet that your friends and family will enjoy. Add in the remaining vegetables from the fridge. You instantly have a smorgasbord of great food that means no moving food that will perish.
This is the perfect time to offload anything you want other people to take home, as well. Let them know in the invitation that they’ll be taking a can or box on their way home.
Donate, Donate, Donate
Take a good look at your pantry. Do you really want to lug all those cans and boxes with you? Probably not! Fortunately, there are tons of people who will take that food off your hands.
Food pantries and homeless shelters are often happy to receive non-perishable items. If you prefer, you can give the items directly to others. Talk to your local church about who might be in need of some extra nourishment. Some seniors may find it tough to get to the store, so you can save them a trip.
Contact your movers before you get too far into planning. If they’re part of Move For Hunger, they can actually take care of your extra food for you. It’s a good option if you prefer to let someone else handle the distribution.
Grab a Garbage Bag
So, you’ve eaten and donated as much as you can, now what? What do you do with the remaining odds and ends that no one wants?
You have two options. Pack the odds and ends and keep them kicking around your new house, or toss them. The second is your best option. Grab a sturdy garbage bag and dump everything that is leftover after packing and eating. This can all go to the garbage dump and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. After all, a new home is a fresh start and no one needs ten bags of food with half a serving left in them.
It might feel wasteful to throw food out. When you have already done all you can with the rest of the food, it’s best to cut your losses.
Moving Food You Still Want
You won’t want to get rid of everything, which means you need to pack it. Moving food can be tricky if the packages aren’t sturdy enough. For example, a bag of flour could burst if anything heavy is on top of it.
The simplest way to avoid issues is to put everything into hard plastic boxes. You can find these at any storage store and they work well to protect your food. The plastic will also prevent any spills from leaking to the other items in the moving truck.
If you must package food in cardboard boxes, make sure you seal everything first. This may require using zippered plastic bags to contain any leakage. Packing tape can also be helpful for keeping opened bags closed. Put tape over the tops of spice containers and salt and pepper shakers to stop spillage, as well.
Packing order is also important. Put your heaviest items at the bottom of the boxes. This prevents heavy items crushing the lighter and more delicate foods.
Keep in mind that glass bottles are more likely to break than plastic bottles. It’s best to skip them altogether, but you can wrap the bottles in newspaper if need be.
Your Last Supper
The final meal before a big move is usually a haphazard one. To make life a little simpler, plan to finish using up your perishables before this. Then, for your final meal, order takeout.
Takeout food lets you enjoy a fortifying meal without worrying about cooking. You’ll need your strength for moving the next day! It also allows you to pack up the last of your dishes and utensils. Everything you need comes with the meal.
When you are sick of leftovers and the pantry is empty, takeout will seem like a blessing.
Make Moving Day Easier
Moving food may actually be one of the toughest parts of moving (along with knowing how much to tip movers). It ranks right up there with sorting through your important papers, deciding which to keep.
If you have packed everything properly, you shouldn’t have too many issues with leaks and spills. However, be sure to label your food boxes in big letters. This makes it simple to sort them out so you can eat once you arrive in your new home. It also lets the movers know that the boxes contain food items.
Not going too far? If you are only moving across town, you can get away with taking a cooler along. Put that jar of opened caviar and a few condiments in it. We don’t recommend this for longer trips, of course. Make sure you add ice to the cooler!
Finally, be sure to have some packaged food and drinks on hand for moving day. You’ll get hungry at some point and it’s easy to grab a bag of peanuts or a granola bar to munch on. There’s no need to leave any of your regular food out. Just have a tote or small box with snacks to keep you going.
Once you’ve moved, it is time to unpack everything, including your food. If you’ve prepared well, you only moved the best food and are ready to start your new life with a clean pantry.
Prepare For A Smooth Start At Your Next Home
The first couple days after a move can stress even the calmest people out. You can plan ahead to make those first whirlwind days easier. Scout out new delivery restaurants by your new home on GrubHub, find some highly rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, and consider setting up food delivery if you can. If you’re a coffee lover/addict, consider a coffee subscription (Javaya is a good choice) and think about your home coffee brewing choices if you want to upgrade to a higher level off coffee happiness. For regular food delivery, check out InstaCart or Amazon Fresh to see if they service your area. Prep like this gives you one less thing to worry about after the move!