Packing and Moving Tips

By: Julie Day
Markers, tape, and labels

Careful marking and packing can reduce moving stress.

Packing

  • Pack Rarely Used Items First: If you pack off-season and rarely used items first, you can start packing earlier, and get the hardest part (like the attic and garage) over while you still have energy.
  • Pack Like Items Together: Line up boxes like a filing system; and put items in their respective category. This strategy helps make sense of random items that collect in drawers and on closet shelves. And grouping things together allows you to answer questions like, “Do I really need this much Tupperware?”
  • Limit Miscellaneous Boxes: No matter how carefully you organize your packing, there will always be that inevitable last box containing a collection of assorted items. While it’s OK to have one or two at the very end, avoid labeling anything as “miscellaneous.”
  • Don’t Trust Your Memory: If your electronics setup is as complicated as the space shuttle, be sure to snap a photo or make a quick wiring diagram before unplugging everything.
  • Treat Hardware Like Gold: When you dismantle entertainment systems or furniture, take extra care that the hardware, cables, and remotes don’t get lost. Place accompanying items for each one in a labeled, sealed plastic bag. Then tape the bag to the item, or put all the bags together in one packing box. Securely wrap and tape dangling power cords.
  • Pack Safely: Use plenty of packing material to keep things from shifting and breaking. Bubble wrap and newspaper are great, and you can also make use of extra towels, pillows, and bedding. Be sure to leave out a stack of towels and blankets to pad furniture in the moving truck, or rent plenty of furniture pads.
  • Label Everything: Each box should be clearly labeled with its destination room and basic contents. You may want to color code each room or floor. It also doesn’t hurt to number each box, so you can be sure everything arrived.
  • Immediate Needs: As moving day approaches, think about what your family will need in the first few days in the new home. Pack a small suitcase for each person, as well as a priority box for each room. In particular, you’ll appreciate having a kitchen box with first meal essentials, a box with clean sheets and towels for each bed and bath, and a logistics kit with important paperwork, phone numbers, reservations, cell phone chargers, and checkbooks. Label these boxes carefully and keep them where they can be easily accessed.

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