You’re ready to move, you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there – you just have to prep yourself for the move by packing. If you’ve never moved before, just know beforehand that packing can be one of the most frustrating parts of your move, but by staying organized and taking things one step at a time, you can avoid some of the frustrations associated with this necessary element of moving.
Before you even think about packing your first item, it’s recommended that you get organized; get a plan, get supplies and have everything that you need in front of you before you start with the packing process. It is also a wise idea to pack early; packing all of your belongings last-minute will cause a great deal of headaches and confusion, not to mention it’ll add stress to the already hectic situation.
There are the obvious packing supplies that you’ll need: boxes, packing tape and “filler” (packing peanuts, bubble wrap, et cetera). Then there are the less-obvious packing supplies such as a good permanent marker, colored stickers, a notebook and a pair of scissors or a safety knife.
Boxes – be sure that you have enough boxes to hold all of your belongings. It’s better to overestimate the number of boxes that you will need because it’s just a hassle to have to run out last minute to find more. Also, since your belongings will vary in size, weight and shape – you will need to grab a variety of boxes to accommodate your belongings; often overlooked but especially handy are garment boxes.
Padding materials – Bubble wrap, packing peanuts and even crinkled up newspaper can help you protect your belongings in transit.
Marking materials – Often times overlooked, a black permanent marker or a colored sticker system can save headaches and time spent digging for specific items both for packing and unpacking.
Pack one room at a time
When you’ve arranged your boxes and packing materials, it’s recommended that you work on packing one room at a time, this can be a real timesaver when it comes to unpacking at your new destination.
Labeling your boxes – While it’s always recommended that rooms get packed together (bathroom items get packed with other bathroom items, for instance), a competent labeling system will help you to find your belongings easily when it’s time to “undo” the packing. Mark both the tops and sides of your boxes the name of the room that the items belong in and specifics as to the boxes contents. For instance – “Julie’s bathroom items” is generally better than labeling a box “bathroom” when both Julie and John share a bathroom.
Color-coded “stickering” your boxes – This is considered especially important if you’re using a professional moving company, a color-coded sticker system can help expedite the unloading process. As an example, you can mark all of your bathroom items with a green sticker. Once you arrive at your new home, simply put a green sticker on the bathroom door – this way all of your items are dropped off in their proper location.
Packing valuables, pictures and important documents
When you have important belongings such as passports, vehicle titles, family photographs, small valuables and the like, you should keep such items on your person at all times; avoid packing these belongings with your other items if at all possible. This rule of thumb holds true regardless of whether you’re hiring a moving company or you will be doing the move on your own; if you can’t afford to lose it – keep it on you at all times.
Now, there may be cases when you can’t keep a valuable item in your lap for the entire trip – a secondary consideration is to pack such items in a box with sheets or pillows in it, well hidden and well protected.
Packing Heavy items
Heavier items should be kept in smaller boxes to help keep the weight down. For example - books, miscellaneous tools (if you don’t own a toolbox) and even reams of paper their toll on you physically; keep the weight of individual boxes to a minimum by packing heavier items in small boxes.
Last minute packing
The day of your trip you will want to put together a “last minute” bag that will contain items such as necessary toiletries, a fresh set of clothing, pillows or blankets, aspirin and maybe even a few dishes. These items should be towards the back of the moving truck (or even inside your vehicle) so that you have immediate access to them if you happen to need these items on the road or as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Packing can be cumbersome, but if you plan ahead, get started early and use a systematic approach for this task, you should be able to make the whole process a little bit more tolerable.