Moving can be a really overwhelming process, particularly when it comes to packing all of your stuff. By planning in advance and packing strategically, you can remove a lot of the stress surrounding the process.
Here are 39 tips to make packing for your move easier.
- The first thing you need to do before you even start packing is to declutter. Get rid of any items that you don’t want or need. Luis Perez, a moving and storage expert on 5miles, says to ask yourself three questions: “‘Does it improve my life?’ ‘Does it hold sentimental value?’ ‘Would it be hard to replace?’If the answer to those questions is no, it’s time for that item to go.” Decluttering will make your move lighter and easier overall.
- Pack similar items together. This will make the unloading and unpacking process much quicker.
- It’s important that you pack each box correctly to decrease the chances of damage to your things. According to Perez, “make sure that the box is full to the top and there’s no gap that will allow items to move in the box or for the top of the box to crush.”
- Start packing as soon as possible. Start by boxing up less frequently used items and stacking them out of the way. Save your most-used items to be packed last. Have everything packed before moving day and keep a small suitcase out for your last-minute items.
- Pack a “first day” box – include anything you might need immediately upon moving in.
- While it can be a great budget saver to receive secondhand cardboard boxes, don’t just use any old box. It’s not worth the financial savings to use damaged boxes that break under the weight of your stuff. Examine all boxes and only use those that are still sturdy.
- Stick to small- and medium-sized boxes. Large boxes can quickly get too heavy to carry or stack.
- You don’t always have to pack in cardboard boxes. Large plastic bins double as moving boxes and can be great long-term storage containers in your new home as well.
- Label your boxes well. If you list the contents, label it as more than just the room it goes in. For example, “kitchen” is not nearly as helpful as “plates and cups.”
- You can also label boxes with a color or number that corresponds to a list that you keep written down or on your phone.
- Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness,” has a unique idea for labeling boxes. “When you pack, put a heart on the boxes that contain the items that make you happy, such as your picture frames or your favorite apron. Then, when you unpack, start with the heart boxes first. This way you’ll be surrounded by the items you love most in your new home before you get to that ‘miscellaneous’ box.” This idea is great for sparking joy and making your new house start to feel like home.
- If you plan to hire movers, consider moving on a weekday. Having a flexible schedule could save you money. According to Marty Basher, home improvement, renovation and organization expert for ModularClosets, “moving companies are busiest on weekends so if you can skip Saturday and schedule your move for a weekday, you’ll be looking at a decent discount and avoid the craziness.”
- Even if you plan to move yourself, consider hiring help. Many moving truck rental companies have moving assistants available for hire. You may actually save money hiring helpers compared to paying for more hours of your rental truck.
- Whether you have friends or pay people to help you move, provide cold beverages so everyone stays hydrated.
- If you have someone helping you pack, be careful about the tasks you give them. If you have anything especially fragile, valuable or sentimental, you might want to be the one to pack it. Also make sure they’re using the same packing system as you to avoid confusion.
- If you’re moving yourself, invest in the rental of a dolly. It makes moving boxes go much quicker and will be easier on your back.
- Mike Glanz, CEO of HireAHelper, has a handy trick for packing glassware. “You should pack items such as pint glasses and teacups as pairs, oriented like shoes in a shoe box.” Wrap each item individually in paper and then wrap the pair of items in paper to keep them secure during the move.
- Have larger breakables? Glanz has a packing hack for them too. “Simply tape together a dish pack and a 3.0 carton or two 3.0 cartons one on top of the other, like a clam shell. Place the breakable item within the clam shell and fill it with paper stuffing.” Your large breakables will be super secure.
- Have oddly shaped items? Reusable cloth grocery bags are easy to carry thanks to their long handles and perfect for things that don’t box up neatly.
- Kate Hart of Fantastic Removals cautions against mixing glass in the same box as non-glass items. “Be extra cautious with glass as it’s one of the most fragile materials when it makes contact with another thick material such as metal or another glass object. I suggest using specialized boxes for glass when you pack glasses with thin walls.”
- Vacuum storage bags are great for storing and compressing large blankets, duvets or pillows.
- When disassembling furniture such as a bed frame, store all of the screws and bolts in a small plastic bag. Use packing tape to attach the bag to the bed frame so it’s easier to reassemble once you arrive in your new home. Make sure you keep the tool you need to assemble the bed handy for when you get there as well.
- Baskets are a great way to transport shoes. They allow you to see the contents and work well for oddly shaped footwear.
- Clothing can be packed in plastic garbage bags. These bags will be handy for filling awkwardly shaped empty spots in the moving truck.
- If you’re making a short move, consider moving dresser drawers full of clothing. You could even wrap them with plastic or a plastic bag to help keep the contents clean.
- Don’t waste your energy moving expired medications. Check every bottle before packing it and dispose of old medications properly.
- Pack any liquids inside sealed plastic bags or bins to prevent leaks from getting everywhere.
- Don’t forget to pack a travel toiletry bag in a place that you can easily access on the first night in your new home without having to unpack a ton of boxes to find it.
- Don’t move old magazines! Take this as an opportunity to donate or recycle them. If you must, tear out pages and keep them in a small notebook. Better yet, take pictures of any important pages and recycle the physical magazine. You can even use the old pages as padding for your fragile items.
- Plan ahead before unplugging your TV and electronics. Jenny Smith of How To Move To New Zealand says, “take a photo of the back of the appliance before you start ripping out the wires and leads. This will jog your memory when the time comes to put it all back together.”
- Smith also recommends packing one box exclusively with wires and remote controls. These light items are prone to getting caught up in packing material and accidentally thrown away, so packing them all together will help to prevent that from happening.
- Shelley Grieshop of Totally Promotional has a great idea to make moving furniture easier. She suggests adding Koozie®can coolers to the bottom of furniture legs. “The Koozies®will help protect your floors and furniture from scratches and could save you from having to lift items that could risk back injury.”
- Shoe boxes or similarly sized cardboard boxes are great for transporting smaller items like the contents of desk drawers. Smaller boxes get less overwhelming than a full-sized moving box full of loose paper and pens.
- Put heavy items such as books at the bottom of boxes with lighter items on top.
- Don’t wrap glass frames or mirrors with newspaper as the ink has a tendency to smear onto the glass. Instead, use plain packing paper, bubble wrap or towels.
- People use basements for a lot of different uses. If you’re someone who uses their basement for storage, take time to really assess if you can get rid of some items. If you have items in storage since your last move, you might be better off selling or donating them rather than moving them again.
- If you use your basement as a game room with large tables or furniture, determine if the new owner might be interested in purchasing your pool table, for example. It might be easier to leave it behind than to move it.
- You might not actually want to pack everything in your garage. Shelving, old paint colors and yard tools can be left behind for the new homeowner.
- Determine if you need any tools during your move such as for reassembling furniture. Set those tools aside and bring them with you in the moving truck.
Packing and moving is a really stressful process. These tips should help to make your move go smoother.
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