Posted on October 18th, 2014
Get Rid of Things
Before you even start packing, you want to narrow the amount of things you have to pack. 6 weeks or more before the move, go through the house and eliminate things you aren’t taking with you. Try to get rid of anything you don’t use. Throw out old clothes, books you haven’t read in ages, anything that’s been sitting around and is only going to continue sitting around in your new place.
Even if you need time to plan a garage sale or find somewhere to donate these items, set them aside as you start packing so that you don’t waste time and space packing them.
Gather Your Supplies
Collect all of the packing supplies you will need ahead of time. The last thing you need is to be running to the store for something else every other day while you’re trying to organize a move, so collect boxes of every size, padding supplies, wrapping supplies, tape, scissors, labels, and markers, so that you can wrap, pack, and label everything all at once.
Getting some boxes from local liquor stores that have dividers in them can be helpful – they are great for transporting kitchen liquids such as oil or vinegar, as well as alcohol. Using boxes that are designated for certain items, such as wardrobe boxes, can be helpful as well.
Make a space to pack. You’ll want some room to work with, so an open room (maybe one you’ve already moved the furniture in) will be best. Keep your supplies in this room, and make sure there’s an area to leave boxes once they’re packed.
Put labels up in different areas of the room labeled for the rooms in your house. Have a ‘living room’ section, a ‘dining room section,’ etc. Once everything is packed you’re going to want to keep it separated by room, so having a designated area for each room will make this easier.
Try to utilize as much space as possible. Use clothes or towels as padding, to save on space as well as on bubble wrap. Pack items that are heavier on the bottom, to avoid breaking lighter items. Be sure to wrap fragile items extra well, and to mark the boxes prominently so that whoever moves them knows they’re fragile. If boxes do have empty space in them, wad up newspapers to fill in this space.
Make some extra space for yourself by filling every container with items to move. Fill laundry baskets and hampers with clothes, and put loose kitchen items inside Tupperware. Keep extension cords and power strips in their own separate box, since you’ll need them in a variety of rooms.
When packing, put heavier items in smaller boxes. This ensures that you’re able to move everything that you pack. If you have or can find boxes with handles, reserve these for heavier items (beer boxes make great boxes for packing books, since they have handles on each side and are fairly sturdy). Be careful not to over-stuff boxes, as they can break. When closing boxes, always tape them. Folding boxes shut by cross-layering the top flaps leaves the top less stable, and makes it more risky to stack boxes as you move them. Always use packing tape, not duct tape.
Pack items by room. Start packing one room at a time, and try to avoid putting items from multiple rooms into one box. As you pack each room, go through your things again and make sure that everything you’re packing is something that you use. This makes unpacking easier, as you can take each room’s boxes into their designated space. As you finish packing each room, go back and search the empty room to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. On moving day, go through the house one last time again to check each room and any closets for forgotten items. While packing a room, if you come across things you know you’ll need before the move, set them aside, and create a box for them. Leave this box open in the middle of the packing space, so that you know where to find these items, but you can still be finished packing in the rooms they came from.
As you take apart larger items, put the hardware into Ziploc bags and label it with the item it goes to. Put all of the hardware into a box with tools, so that you can put everything together with that one box. Keep this box in a central place, and make it one of the last things you put onto the truck, so that it will be one of the first things to come off, and you can find it early on in the unloading process. This will allow you to put together furniture items, such as your bed, while boxes are still being taken off of the truck.
Along with the hardware box, pack a box of things you’ll need right away, like scissors, toilet paper and paper towel, toiletries, and a few kitchen items you might need to cook before the whole kitchen is unpacked. Packing these items in a clear tub, or in a box that is a different color, can make it far easier to find, and can make getting to them during unpacking much easier.
As you fill each box, label it with the room it goes into in large letters. Underneath, list the items that are in the box. Stack items by room in your packing area, so that each room is more or less together. You may want to color code the boxes by room, in addition to labeling them with the room name, or at least mark the boxes that need to be used first, such as your hardware box and your box of essentials, with a splash of color to distinguish them from the mass of brown cardboard.
Numbering boxes in addition to labeling them can be a useful tool. If you know you have x number of boxes, then it’s easy to tell if one is missing, and it also makes it easier to give your movers an accurate number of boxes.
Arrange Your Packing Area
Set things up in an order that makes sense for things to go onto the moving truck. Try to put fragile things in one area, and double-check that they are prominently labeled. Make sure everything that you need right away is stacked somewhere that it can be put onto the truck last.