If you are moving yourself, these tips for packing will make the experience easier. Save your stuff and your sanity from damage by utilizing the wisdom of experienced movers.
Personally, I've moved 16 times in 25 years, but I’m not just drawing on my own experience. I've collected treasures of moving wisdom from around the web. I hope you find them useful on your next move.
Before you pack it's important to purge. We purge both before and after every move. That’s not necessarily our intent, but it always works out that way. No matter how thorough we think we've been, some stuff always slips through the cracks.
Purging can be achieved naturally as part of the packing process. As you sort through things to put them in boxes, consider each item carefully. Do you like it? Do you use it? Do you want it? Do you need it? If the answer is no, then the item should go (away, that is).
Purging as you pack will help to lighten your load and preserve precious space in your truck.
If you are moving, you are obviously going to need boxes. Just any old box will not do if you are going farther than across the street. You need good, sturdy boxes with tops that close. If you are purchasing boxes, you'll find a good selection of the preferred sizes here.
Good places to
obtain boxes (and possibly other packing materials) include the following:
materials to stock up on include:
Here are some of my favorite tips for packing:
Color Code Boxes: The folks at Hire a Helper suggest color coding boxes according to room using Washi Tape – a different color tape for each room and creating a packing key to keep track of which room is represented by which color. Others suggest colored duct tape, but I prefer this pre-labeled tape designed specifically for moving. Each roll is a different color and bears the name of a different room of the house. You can even purchase sets for 2, 3 or 4 bedroom homes.
Label: Another great tip comes from Anna at askannamoseley.com who uses brightly colored printed labels on her boxes (try these florescent color coded moving labels). In addition to making labels for different rooms in the house, you can create or purchase instructional labels such as ‘fragile’ or content labels such as ‘books’, ‘toys’, and ‘décor’. This saves time having to write the same information over and over again on multiple boxes.
Put Together a Supply Basket: Chelsea at Pink Lips & Teaching Tips recommends creating a packing supply basket. Fill a plastic tote with all the items you need to pack boxes: Sharpies, labels, scissors, tape for boxes, a screw driver, zippered baggies, a utility knife, etc. Carry your tote with you from room to room as you pack and you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.
Source: Pink Lips & Teaching Tips
Pack a First Night Box: Pack a box or two with all the essentials for your first night in a new home. This particular tip has been emphasized by numerous tip-givers around the internet, but I particularly like this list provided by AAA Movers because you can check off items as you pack them. I would add a basic tool set to the list they provide for putting together beds, etc. Label your first night box with a bold, bright color so that it’s easily identifiable among the sea of boxes, or use a clear bin to house those items so that it will stand out amongst the cardboard.
Once you've gathered supplies and established a system for organizing your move, it’s time to start packing. Here are some resourceful tips for making sure your stuff arrives unharmed and is (relatively) easy to put away.
Sheets, towels, tablecloths, cloth napkins, dish towels, pot holders, blankets, pillows and clothing can all serve as cushion for your breakables.
Got a little hole in a box that’s too small for anything? Fill it with a pair of socks or a rolled up dish towel. Stuff kitchen knives inside mitten-style pot holders for protection. Wrap cookie sheets and muffin tins in pillow cases. Stuff boots with socks to help them hold their shape. Using what you have to cushion the contents of your boxes saves not only space but also money.
Lilly from Listotic recommends packing heavy items like books in rolling suitcases. Instead of lifting the heavy items you can just roll them onto the truck!
While I like this idea, I do feel the need to add a note of caution. The contents of a suitcase shift dramatically between lying flat and being rolled around in an upright position. Books are delicate. Bindings can easily be broken or pages damaged as they float around inside a suitcase. If you plan to pack your books in a suitcase, be sure to pack clothing around and between them to prevent damage. Or use the suitcase to transport other, more durable or malleable items and pack the books in small boxes to keep the weight down.
Save space and protect small stuff by packing it inside bigger stuff. Fill your crockpot with spices. Fill your laundry hamper with pillows. Use buckets, laundry baskets, trash cans, and other containers to transport smaller items. Look for items or combinations of items that fit snuggly and don’t rattle around inside the container. Movement equals damage in a move.
Instead of removing hanging clothes from their hangers and packing them in boxes, wrap a large plastic trash bag around several hanging items as Tiffany Lo of Buzz Feed recommends. Not only will this protect your clothes from dust and damage, it will also save space in your boxes, and save you tons of time. Just don’t overstuff the trash bags. Clothes should fit comfortably inside in order to prevent the bag from tearing.
Try laying trash bags of hanging clothes inside empty dresser drawers, cedar chests or other case goods on the moving truck to further protect them during transport.
A great way to save time and effort when moving is to ship the contents of drawers in zippered plastic bags. This keeps items together that belong together making unpacking easy. It also prevents small stuff from getting lost amid the jumble of crumpled paper. Do this with kitchen, bathroom and desk drawers.
Another good trick is to wrap certain items in stretch wrap or plastic wrap to hold them in place. Leave silverware in its tray and wrap the whole tray. Wrap plastic drawers and other small containers to seal them up so their contents don’t spill out in transport.
Make sure all your boxes are completely full. Partially full boxes crush easily (along with their contents). Stuff wadded up paper or linens in to fill the empty spaces and help your boxes hold their form.
If you don’t have access to the gigantic mattress boxes that movers use, a good alternative from Lilly at Listotic is to wrap fitted sheets around both sides of your mattress (top and bottom) to protect it from dust, dirt, and potential damage.
Photograph electronic hook ups so that you can easily remember how to recreate them at your new home. This tip was particularly helpful for us when my husband (the one normally in charge of setting up electronics) was in Iraq.
The work doesn't stop when all the boxes are full. Arranging items on a moving truck is an art form. By imitating the practices of professional movers, you can increase the likelihood that your things will arrive undamaged at your new home. For a great resource on loading a moving truck visit U-Pack’s Loading Tips.
Put these tips for packing to good use on your next move and make it your best move ever.
Click here to return to Organize Your Move.
Click here to return to Step-by-Step Declutter.