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Moving Soon? Packing Tips For Moving

Sidney Richardson9-minute read
August 06, 2021

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How To Prepare To Move

One of the best ways to prevent moving headaches and mishaps is to prepare well in advance for your move. While you won’t be able to predict every possible thing that could go wrong during your move, making a plan for the things that are in your control can help you be better prepared if things do go awry.

Here are a few tips to help you get ready for an upcoming move.

Create A Moving Budget And Checklist

If you’re not sure where to start when tackling your move, try creating a moving checklist to make sure you accomplish (and remember to pack) everything you need. A moving checklist doesn’t need to be complicated – just include details that will be helpful and relevant to you. Things like what you need to pack, when you need to call or go online to set up or transfer utilities, etc. can be useful reminders.

It might also make sense to make a budget for moving, especially if you’re traveling a long distance. Coming up with an estimate ahead of time for what you expect to spend on the costs of travel, moving services, packing materials, etc. can save you any surprises once the move is in motion.

Hire Professional Help

Whether you’re relocating across the street or across the country, you’ll likely need some help moving your belongings to your new home. If you won’t be moving with the help of friends or family – or you just need some additional assistance moving all your stuff – it might make sense to hire professional movers.

Professional movers can do anything from simply providing extra muscle to move your boxes and furniture to full-service moving experiences where they’ll even pack up your things for you. Regardless of what level of service you’re interested in, if you’ve decided to work with movers, you should plan on finding and booking a moving company at least 8 – 12 weeks in advance.

When choosing a company to book, you should also watch out for red flags and make sure you’re trusting your belongings with a reputable company. Ask friends and family if there are any moving companies they would recommend and always read online reviews. You can also check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website to confirm the company you want to work with is a verified mover.

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10 Packing And Moving Tips

Once you’ve put a plan in place for what needs to be packed, scheduled and considered, the time has come. Here are a few of our tips for packing your belongings to make sure your stuff makes it to your new place in one piece.

1.     Pack Similar Items Together

While it can be tempting to just start throwing everything into boxes with no rhyme or reason, this method – while fast initially – will make unpacking later a dreadful process. To make unpacking an easier task for future you, pack similar items together and label boxes. With each box sorted and labeled, it will be easier to determine what boxes need to go where once they arrive in your new space – and you’ll save yourself the trouble of losing something that you know you packed, somewhere. Basically, if a box says “sweaters,” there shouldn’t be a beach towel in there.

2.     Put Together A “First Day” Box

While you should sort everything, it is also a good idea to set aside a “first day” box for essentials. Rather than dig through all your boxes looking for a toothbrush once you’re at your new home, pack a box with things you’ll need right away once you get there. Think of it as a box of things you’d need if you were going camping or staying a night somewhere.

Toiletries, a fresh change of clothes, a phone charger and anything else you might need during a regular day are good things to pack in this box. If you’re packing liquids, make sure they’re in sealed plastic containers so they don’t leak on any valuables that might also be in this box.

3.     Use Sturdy Boxes

If you’ve hired full-service movers, you won’t have to worry much about the boxes being used to transport your things – but if you’re packing yourself, consider the containers you’re using to pack. While it’s more friendly to the environment (and your budget) to use secondhand boxes and bins to transport your belongings, these boxes may not be the sturdiest.

Make sure to examine all your boxes before putting anything in them. You should also be careful not to use boxes that are too large and may prove difficult to carry or stack. While a box filled to the brim saves space in a moving truck, remember that you still have to lift it.

4.     Label Boxes With Specific Details

As we mentioned earlier, you should label all of your boxes based on the contents. Simply jotting down ‘kitchen’ or ‘bathroom’ on a box can be useful when trying to figure out where a box needs to go, but if you really want to be efficient, try using even more specific labels – like “plates and cups” or “winter clothes.”

This will help you determine not only where you need to take the contents of each box, but also when it needs to be unpacked. Specific labels will be useful when trying to find items you might need right away as opposed to things you can save for last in the unpacking process.

5.     Carefully Wrap Your Breakables

To prevent all of your dishes, glasses and other breakables from shattering during your move, be sure to carefully wrap them. Each item should be secured with bubble wrap or paper stuffing and preferably individually wrapped and not directly touching any other objects.

There are some boxes made specifically to hold glasses and other breakables that you could seek out, though regular boxes or bins with lots of wrapping and support work just as well. Consider using towels or reusable cloth grocery bags to pad the space between fragile objects.

6.     Invest In Vacuum Storage Bag 

If you invest in vacuum storage bags, you can save a lot of space while packing. These bags allow you to store items of clothing, blankets or duvets inside and then vacuum out any air to reduce the amount of space the items take up when packed. Your clothes might come out a little wrinkled, but it may be worth it to cut down on the number of boxes you’ll be moving.

7.     Plan Ahead Before Unplugging Electronics

If the area where your TV, video game console or computer rests looks like a mess of tangled wires, take a picture of what is plugged in where before unplugging and packing away your electronics. This might seem silly, but when you have to put everything back together having a photo reference can be helpful and can prevent you from forgetting what cord goes with which electronic device.

8.     Consider What Items To Leave Behind

You may not want to bring everything with you when you move. When packing up, especially in a garage or basement, you might come across things you won’t reasonably have any use for in the future. Old paint colors, yard tools, etc. might be things you could leave for another homeowner or find another way to dispose of before heading out to your new house.

9.     Utilize Suitcases

Rather than just storing them with your other belongings, utilize suitcases and other travel bags to pack items inside. Since they’re typically on wheels, suitcases and other travel bags can make transporting your stuff much easier than it would be if you had to carry another box.

10.  Pack A Cooler

Moving is an exhausting endeavor. Along with your first day box, pack yourself a cooler with refreshments and snacks to keep you going while you unload and unpack boxes. A quick snack or drink of water can be a lifesaver when everything else that you could usually find in your kitchen is packed away.

Ready for a change?

Connect with top-rated pros today on HomeAdvisor.

4 Packing Tips For Moving In A Hurry

While it helps immensely to give yourself the time to pack and plan for every aspect of a move, that’s not always an option. If you have to move in a hurry, don’t panic – you can do it. Here are four things you should think about while trying to pull a last-second move together.

1. Get Everything In Order 

While trying to get everything moving all at once can be extremely overwhelming, don’t stress – make a checklist. There are a few things of importance you should tackle first, namely finding a moving company if you need one. Generally, you should book a moving company 8 – 12 weeks in advance, and without that time, it may be difficult to find good and reputable movers. Ask family and friends for movers they’ve worked with in the past – or just rent a truck and do it yourself.

You should also make sure your utilities and other services are transferred or in order before you forget. Making sure your water, electrical, internet and other services will be all set for you to move in is crucial and not a step you want to miss.

2. Ask For Help

Moving, especially very quickly, can be a monumental task. Ask family or friends if they’re available to help you out, especially if you won’t be working with a moving company. An extra set of hands can speed up the packing and unpacking process astronomically, so it’s a good idea to find some helpers if you can – and don’t forget to thank them for their assistance!

3. Get Rid Of What You Don’t Need

Like with any move, you should take this opportunity to donate or throw out anything you don’t necessarily need anymore. This will lower the number of boxes you have to move and make sure you’re not moving clutter to your new house. While it might seem like an extra step that you don’t have time for, getting rid of extra clothes or items can save you time packing and unpacking in the long run.

4. Don’t Think Too Hard About Packing

With lots of time to pack, you should always try your best to sort items carefully so you can unpack more quickly later. If you have to move very quickly, however, it’s OK to throw that out the window – just put everything where it fits. You should still be sure to carefully wrap anything fragile, of course.

Unpacking when all your items are boxed somewhat randomly will definitely be time consuming – but if you’re on a tight time frame, you may not be able to afford to carefully sort every item you own into specific boxes, and that’s OK.

The Bottom Line: Start Packing As Soon As Possible

Moving, whether you’re heading to a new home a few states away or just a town over, can be a very stressful experience. If you plan ahead, keep your cool and make sure you’re keeping a list of your priorities, however, it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Take it one day at a time.

For more moving resources, check out our guide to what to do first in your new home.

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    Sidney Richardson

    Sidney Richardson is an intern writer covering homeownership, mortgage and lifestyle topics. She is a senior at Oakland University pursuing a degree in journalism and advertising.