Tips for Packing to Move
Essential Packing Materials
- Furniture pads (old blankets and towels work)
- Felt-tip markers and labels
- Handtruck and/or dolly
- Packing paper, bubble wrap and packing peanuts
- Scissors and utility knife
- Plenty of boxes of all sizes
- Special clothes boxes for hanging clothes that need ironing
- Dish boxes with special dish padding
Your First Night Box
- Scissors, utility knife, pencil and paper
- Instant coffee or tea, soft drinks, snacks.
- Paper plates, paper towels, plastic silverware
- Tea kettle, shelf liner, coffee cups, trash bags
- Soap, toilet paper, towels, toiletries
- Food, bowls, toys and leashes for pets
- Childrens toys and comfort items (blankie, teddy, etc.)
- Chargers for cell phones and PDAs
Start a box for garage sale/donation. As you pack each group, have the box nearby to drop items in. This is easier than trying to go through the entire house sorting, then packing. If you haven't used it in the past year and there is no sentimental attachment, get rid of it. You're never going to use it.
Avoid the temptation to fill a box with extra items laying around; this makes unpacking very difficult. Only books go in book boxes. Only games go in the game box. That way, you can unpack one box at a time and save nonessentials until you have the time. Otherwise, your floor will be filled with half-empty boxes that you've opened looking for a specific item that you can't remember where you stuffed it.
When you pack liquid items (olive oil, windex, shampoo), use a large plastic bag inside the box. Seal the plastic bag with a couple knots, then the box. This way, if it leaks, it doesn't ruin the box or get into other boxes.
Use towels, sheets and other linens to pad breakables. This saves money and gets those packed too. After you run out of these, bubble-wrap is the best form of cushioning. It doesn't leave marks like crumpled newspaper, make a mess when unpacking like packing peanuts, or require as much to properly cushion as packing paper does.
- Pack all books and magazines throughout entire house. Label by book type - fiction, children's, etc.
- Pack collections together: china, figurines, sports memorabilia, games, cds, dvds, children's toys, etc. Use nonessential linens for padding.
- Collect all knicknacks throughout entire house. Pack together. Use nonessential linens for padding.
- Collect all paintings and wallhangings throughout entire house and pack together. Only purchase special picture boxes for larger items.
- Move to the garage. Pack items by groups: hand tools, power tools, gardening, sports, etc. Be careful not to put too much into boxes. Tape large items (rake, shovel, etc.) together with duct tape or similar.
- Time to pack clothes. Set aside two weeks of clothes, including work clothes and a fancy outfit along with suitcases to put them in. Pack everything else separated by individual. Folded clothes go in boxes. Use large garbage bags around a dozen hanging items and duct tape the top of the hangers together. Pack ironed clothes in special clothes boxes.
- In the kitchen, set aside a few daily dishes (one frying pan, one set of dishes per person, one casserole dish, one mixing bowl, one cookie sheet, etc.) Pack everything else by group. Remember to avoid filling empty spots. Tucking the measuring cups in with the mixer sounds great, but if you don't label it accurately, you'll have a dozen half-unpacked boxes in your kitchen for weeks as you dig for things.
- For dishes, purchase special dish boxes that have foam sleeves for each item and cardboard separations inside. The expense is worth it because of the amount of time you save and not having to replace broken dishes.
- In the pantry, box up all drygoods that you will not use in the next couple weeks. Check expiration dates before you pack them.
- In the home office, follow the same process. Pack all files in one box. Pack all supplies that aren't used daily in one box. Wait until the last to pack daily use items in a single box, which you can unpack first.
- Bathrooms, dresser drawers, nightstands, junk drawers. For these, do not pack by type of item. Pack by location. Everything from one nightstand goes in one box and is labeled with it's provenance: Joe's nightstand. Everything from under the master bath sink goes in one box labeled 'under master bath sink.' Items like this are going to go right back into the nightstand or under the sink in the new house, so you don't need to label complete contents.
- Pack electronics: computer, dvd player, etc. Pack the cords for each item with the item itself. Be careful about padding these, since a lot of moving companies will not cover them if they are broken.
- By now, you should only have a few items out in each room that you are actively using. Wait until just a couple days before to pack these, and make sure you label the box with every item in it. Put a huge star or smiley face on each side and the top so you can easily spot them. These are the boxes you want to unpack first.