Although I enjoy house hunting, the actual packing and moving is as fun as pulling teeth (if not less). For some reason this task usually falls on me – or most of it does, from disassembling furniture to filtering out most of my things before the move. This is definitely what nightmares are made of, but here are a few tips to make it a little more bearable:
1. Gather all required packing supplies and moving boxes of different sizes.
You will need different sizes of strong moving boxes to pack items of different sizes. Make sure you purchase good quality packing materials and strong moving boxes or cartons; consult a professional for recommendations. Also, consider acquiring:
- Moving boxes of different sizes
- Bubble wraps
- Wrapping sheets
- Newspapers, blank newsprint paper
- Scissors or a retractable knife
- Heavy-duty packaging tape
- Marking pens
2. Make a spacious packing station at your current residence.
Wrap each individual item properly with enough layers of wrapping sheets or bubble wraps, if necessary. Place items inside a box with extreme care in the correct position to avoid damages. Heavier items should be placed on the bottom and lighter items should be placed on the top inside the boxes.
- Pack heavy items such as books, toys, etc in a small box. Don’t overpack boxes until they are bulky and may break.
- Pack fragile or breakable items with extra care and attention. If required, use more layers of wrapping sheets or bubble wraps to wrap such items.
- Use wadded newspapers or crushed papers to fill empty spaces of boxes or cartons.
3. Make sure to pack everything that belongs in a particular room together in a room labelled box.
It also makes unpacking easier once you get where you are going. Start packing one room at a time, packing smaller items first to get them out of the way. Mark and tape each box so you can find everything when you unpack.
4. Pack an “Open First” box.
This most probably will include the items, which you have been using until the date of the move. It may also be useful to add items such as dish soap, a sponge, a roll of paper towels, Kleenex, a couple pens, scissors, plastic/paper plates/forks, a bottle opener, bath towels for each family member, one pot, one pan, one plastic stirring utensil, an extra box cutter, etc. Think about small handy items you might want access to before you unpack all boxes. Keep in mind, people will need to wash their hands, eat, and shower long before you are done unpacking on the other end of the move. Also, toss in a sugary treat such as Lifesavers or hard candies in case anyone gets hungry or low blood sugar on move-in day.
5. Pack a suitcase or box for each member of the family several days in advance.
Include a personal-sized bar of soap, new toothbrush and toothpaste, towel and washcloth, disposable razor if needed, some ‘relaxing’ clothes (sweats or something similar) and two complete changes of clothes, and anything else you know each person will need during the first few days (while everything else is in boxes). Keep these boxes or suitcases in a safe place where they will not be mixed in with everything else, perhaps in the car or even farther away (work or a neighbour’s house). Bring them with you in the car.
6. Create a “Moving File” with important paperwork you will need throughout your move.
Include in it: moving truck reservation, moving helper payment codes (if applicable), pet veterinarian records, cash for movers tips, hotel reservation, contact information for important people (realtor or property owner), and any important documents you could need before you have the chance to unpack. Keep this file in a safe place, such as in your suitcase, where you will not accidentally pack it in a box.
7. Clean out the kitchen.
Toss away junk and only box things that you use. Use your kitchen food storage containers for all loose things you find as you empty drawers from the kitchen, desks, or table drawers. Do not forget to look inside the dishwasher. Label boxes according to contents and rooms they belong in then securely close or tape them. Use various sized bags for the same purpose. Add a sticky note inside each bag noting the contents like “stereo cables” and “pens and pencils”. Place all containers and bags inside a larger box labelled appropriately with room and content.
8. Begin taking apart any large items and placing all hardware in double-thick Ziploc bags, according to contents and room.
Keep all bags in one box with the proper tools — allen wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. This will make it easier to put everything back together when you have moved in.
9. Stack the boxes when finished filling, taping, and labelling them.
Try to keep them stacked in the rooms that you have finished packing. Keep all power strips and extension cords and grounded adapters in one specific box; they will be much easier to find later. Clearly label the hardware box and the extension cord box. Consider spray-painting both boxes bright yellow or red. Place all the screws or bolts back into an item after it has been taken apart. This way, you can connect the bed or put the lampshade back on immediately instead of searching for them.
10. Check each room.
Remember, that when the truck has been filled, and the movers tell you that they have everything, to check out each room to make sure that nothing has been left behind. This is your own responsibility. When you are certain that each room is clean, then it is time to shut the door and leave.
These are just some of my go to tips, but I would be curious to hear if there are other helpful tips out there, shoot me a comment if you have one.