I have moved so many times in my life! It can be frustrating. The last few times though have each been better than the time before, and we're planing to move again in about 3 months. I'll tell oyu how I'm planning to manage it.
Like everyone says, I'm starting now. The less crap you have to move the more organized it can be. I have a bunch of good boxes left from last time. They are the small size from u-haul. Very sturdy. The size they recommend for books, dishes, heavy stuff like that. I like this size as it keeps the boxes manageable and uniform.
Also, about color coding hte boxes. This is so helpful, last move was the first time we did it. We bought a pack of moving tape at u-haul when we got hte boxes. They come in all differnt packs depending on how many rooms you have. It's the size of clear packing tape but in different colors with room names written on it. Like a roll of bright yellow tape that says kitchen-kitchen kitchen all the way. We used the stronger clear stuff to close the boxes then put a strip of this stuff around it. Very helpful, as it make sitself obvious. Your helpers won't be asking you every 2 seconds what room a box goes in, and they won't be wasting time reading the boxes. Just a glance and -oh, green and says master bedroom. Very easy.
This is in addition to marking the contents on all sides of hte box-that's to help you unpack.
I'm starting in my spare room-aka the pit of despair, lol. Always have bags or boxes handy, marked well, for donations. We know we are not having any more childres so all outgrown baby cloths, unneeded toys and things are all going out. Books are being packed by category(computer programming by language, scary novels, classics, craft/home reference, etc..) so that when we unpack they will have some sort of order(we are book freaks. It's disgusting really how many books we insist on keeping).
Any craft supplies I don't have a specific plan for are going away. All pictures and frames and albums are being packed together. Better to live with bare walls for a while and know exactly where it all is when we're in the new place.
As I'm still trying to lose some pregnancy weight, the second I notice something is too big it goes out. That way when my clothes get too tight I know I have to buckle down and get back into excercising-no back-up wardrobe in bigger sizes. I allow myself one duffel(sp?) bag of clothes that are still too small.
For ds's too big hand-me-downs(we get lots of handed down clothes), I only keep the best of the best that I really like and one box per season. The rest goes to charity to help other families.
When packing, like goes with like. All curtains together. All christmas specific decorations/wrapping stuff/etc.. in a box together. Dh's misc cord and computer parts together(he is a packrat geek extrordinaire!).
Set dates with yourself to get to the thrift shop or charity of your choice. Go at least twice amonth between now and moving day. Or schedule pick-ups. I always work better and faster and get rid of more when I have a deadline.
When decluttering ask yourself things like:
when did I use htis last?
does it make me smile?
why do I have more than one?
could another family need it more than we do?
do I actually wear it? doe sit fit? will it ever fit again? and still be in style then?
does it make me feel guilty?
do I really want it badly enough to bother moving it?
Someone around here has posted a better list, but if oyu can just get oyurself into that kind of a mindset it can work wonders. Like when I realized I had 3 can openers! Who on earth needs that? So I kept my favorite and freed the other two to charity where they will find new homes where they'll actually be used and help other families.
With 6 months to plan you've got plenty of time to do it really well and as organized as any move can be
Just start now, go at a moderate pace so you don't burn yourself out and give up, and be ruthless. Good luck!
And watch for my freaking out thread in a bout 2.5 months about how ohmygod we're moving next week and nothing is ready and i have atoddler and I'm losing my mind and where did all this stuff come from who wants to join me in a bonfire and just go live in a tent