The most important part of moving day is making sure that everything is ready to go before the movers arrive. It can be a daunting task to sort through and pack up all of your belongings, but these 17 tips and tricks will help you stay organized through the process and ensure your stuff all arrives in one piece.
1. Use the Right Size Boxes
Heavy items like books, dishes, and small appliances should go in small boxes, so that they aren’t too heavy to lift and don’t break. Use bigger boxes for lighter items, like linens, pillows, lampshades, board games, and clothing.
2. Wrap Fragile Items Individually
For anything fragile, you’ll want to first line the bottom of the box (consider using dishpacks because they’re double walled) with packing paper, so as to create a protective cushion. Each dish or vase needs to be wrapped in paper individually, and then, if stackable, wrapped in small bundles of paper or bubble wrap. Whatever you do, don’t wrap an entire stack of dishes and then put then in a box as that leaves them very susceptible to breaking during the move. And yes, you can use newspaper; just know that the ink may rub off your belongings, which is why most movers recommend packing paper.
3. Fill the Boxes Completely
Fill the box to the brim (even if that’s just with more paper), so the box doesn’t cave in or get dented while being moved. But keep in mind that no box should weigh more than 50 pounds (though around 30 pounds is even better).
4. Pack Everything That Fits in a Box
It may sound like a lot of work, but if it’s small enough to fit in a box, it needs to go in a box. That includes appliances like microwaves and toasters. Items like vacuum cleaners and stepladders, however, don’t need to be packed.
5. Build Up Layers
The heaviest things should go on the bottom of the box, medium weight things in the middle, and the lightest on top.
6. Use Sandwich Bags to Keep Parts Organized
Screws and parts should be put in clearly labeled sandwich bags. Use one sandwich bag for each corresponding item and then tape the sandwich bag to the back of it. Same goes for cords, which should all be wrapped and clearly labeled.
7. Take Photos of Electronics Before You Disassemble Them
That way you’ll easily “remember” where all of the cords and wires go.
8. Color Code Your Boxes
Use big stickers or packing tape in different colors (red for living room, blue for kitchen, pink for bedroom, etc.) to distinguish which boxes are meant for which room. Put the stickers on three sides and the top of the box so you can easily see which room the box belongs in.
9. Create an Inventory
Give every box a number and then create a corresponding list of the boxes content and which room it belongs in. Not only will this help you prioritize and stay organized when you unpack, it also means you’ll know right away if a box is missing. And you won’t be announcing to the world what’s in each box.
10. Label Your Boxes on the Side
If everything is written on the top, you won’t be able to see what’s in boxes that are stacked.
11. Don’t Mix Stuff from Different Rooms in Boxes
It may be tempting to use your sweaters to cushion the box of dishes the belong in the kitchen, but ultimately, it will just make packing and unpacking that much more time consuming.
12. Pack Room by Room
If you can, pack one room at a time as it will keep you the most organized and allow you to be thoughtful about what you take with you. In addition, unpack each room one at a time to make the task feel more manageable. Start packing with the rooms you use the lease and unpacking with the rooms you use the most.
13. Decide What to Do with Your House Plants
If your move is over 150 miles or if you’re crossing state lines, your movers may not be able to put your plants in the truck due to federal guidelines. This means you’ll either need to bring them in your car or find them new homes.
14. Use Wardrobe Boxes for Clothing
Built-in racks mean your clothes never have to leave the hanger and will arrive mostly wrinkle-free. However, don’t use this as an excuse to be lazy; you’ll still want to be sure you plan to wear every single item you pack within the next year.
15. Make a Plan for Art and Antiques
If you can, have your art and antiques appraised before the move and document them with photos. Then, make sure you have a clear plan with the movers about how these items will be moved, including how they’ll be wrapped, any special handling requirements, etc.
16. Ask Movers to Help Pack Electronics
Even if you’re doing most of the packing yourself, you can arrange with your movers ahead of time to have them help with items like TVs and stereos. They’ll know the best way to pack these items so that they arrive without any damage.
17. Consider Having the Movers Pack Everything for You
There are some definite advantages to having the moving company pack up your belongings, the biggest one is that they do it all in a day so the disruption to your life is minimal. If you do go this route, it’s important to get an estimate up front because the downside is that it is going to cost you quite a bit more. Removing that stress of packing may very well be worth the cost; that’s just a decision you’ll have to make.