Tips on Packing
Use these simple tips on packing to keep the joy in moving to your new home:
- Start early — as soon as you know you’re moving, start setting aside time to pack non-essentials. Don’t expect to ever ‘want’ to pack, schedule it into your calendar like you would any other important event.
- Don’t underestimate your stuff — Even a small bookshelf in one corner of even one room that’s decorated with knickknacks and a few books can take an hour to pack. Books are heavy and you’ll need to break them up into smaller boxes; the more boxes, the more time it takes. Small items that you don’t even think about have become nearly invisible to you; that is until you have to wrap them in newspaper or bubble wrap individually.
- SWEEP through your house before you start packing — what can you find that’s old, broken, useless or ugly? Don’t pack it when you can donate it and let someone else store it in their home. That leads to . . .
- Don’t pack it if you don’t need it - Peter Walsh is a professional organizer with a great book called "It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff". Why pay to move stuff to a new house if you’re not getting any value from it now? Will you pay someone to move it or carry it yourself only to unpack it at a new home and decide you don’t really need it?
- Establish Staging Areas — Clear unused or less frequently used areas of the house (preferably on the first floor and close to the door) for completed packing boxes. If your car can be stored outside for a few days, use the garage as a staging area to speed organizing and moving.
- Start in the Attic and Basement - Seasonal or storage boxes in the attic or basement weren’t packed for moving. Don’t assume they’ll survive the journey by truck or van; check these boxes or containers and repack if necessary. If they’re ready to go, try moving them to the staging area. Emptying basements and attics can save a few trips for the movers and save you labor costs.
- It’s not all FRAGILE — Maybe some of your friends have shared their own tips on packing but, contrary to what they’ve told you, marking ALL your moving boxes ‘fragile’ to assure safe handling runs the risk of having NONE of them treated carefully. Separate the fragile items in one corner of the house and be realistic in what can survive whether you’re hiring professionals or moving yourself.
- Find the Whale — what piece of furniture will the toughest to move. Do you have an oversized buffet, a wrought iron replica of the Statue of Liberty, or a huge piece that was built INSIDE the house because it wouldn’t fit in any doors? Find out what the challenges will be and plan to deal with it now — before you have a bunch of people stuck behind you and a baby grand piano on a narrow stair way. One more tip on packing, now that we’ve mentioned pianos: hire a special moving company for pianos, heirlooms and one of kind pieces. Peace of mind is worth it.
- Time is Money — If you’re paying movers to move you they’ll pad all the big stuff but it takes time and time, especially where movers are concerned, is money. Check with local rental stores for moving tape, padded moving blankets and specialized supplies. If you’re moving yourself then you’ll need these supplies anyway but don’t wait till the day you’re moving. Stop by and ask them for any tips on packing they might share; most have brochures ready for you!
- The best of all packing tips for moving yourself: AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS. There are so many dangers that even the hardiest homeowners can face that spending the money for professional movers may actually be a bargain. Suppose you pull a muscle because you’re lifting too much? Do you have enough help to make up for you not being able to help? If you lose a few days of work what’s the cost? If you can't help unpack at the new home who will?
Here are some sites we like with more tips on packing:
About.Com, Top 10 Packing Tips
United Van Lines' Packing Tips
Mayflower Movers' Packing Tips
And one last in this ‘tips for packing’ list:
Keep in mind that the reward at the end of all of your hard work is a new home!