Tips On Moving And Packing

Whether you are a home buyer or seller, these tips will make your move a little less stressful

So, you’ve sold your home (or purchased your dream home). Now comes the fun part, moving to a new location! Here are some general tips and ideas to keep in mind when preparing to move yourself and your possessions.

Select a Command Center

Pick a place in your house that is centrally located and has some free space. Use this area to organize all of your packing materials and lists. Instruct everyone that is helping with the packing to put the items they use back in this area when done. This will minimize the amount of time people will spend looking for items like tape or pens.

Make a list

Do yourself a favor and write everything down! Before you pack even one box, create a simple record keeping system. Print out a list of numbers with a space to write the general contents, or have a spiral-bound notebook for the job. With every box you load, write the corresponding number on the box then fill out the space on your sheet with the contents. Now you have a quick reference guide for identifying each box and it’s contents.

Have plenty of supplies

Take a look at the number of rooms in your home and the amount of items in each and estimate the number of boxes you will need. Now DOUBLE it! Once you get in the groove of packing you’ll agree there is no such thing as too many boxes. Don’t worry about having unused boxes afterward, they can be returned for a refund (depending on where you purchased them from).

Some extra-frugal people get the idea of using boxes left behind grocery stores or large retailers. This is very hit-and-miss and the amount time and gas you waste trying to save money will most likely more than be made up by making one trip to a place that sells boxes. Plus, they’re new, so you know they will be strong and not pre-damaged.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you use really large boxes, there won’t be that many to move, right? WRONG! Buying large boxes and stuffing them full makes them very heavy and difficult to move. Large boxes do have a role, and it’s not a bad idea to get a couple when purchasing your general purpose, smaller boxes. But don’t go overboard.

Some additional supplies you will need:

  • Packing tape
  • Newspaper (for wrapping glass and fragile items)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Sharpie pens

Return any unused supplies after the truck is packed.

Utilize wardrobe boxes

These tall boxes are perfect for bulky, lightweight items such as comforters, pillows, and blankets, as well as clothes that need to remain hanging. Most of these boxes will have a lightweight metal bar along the top for hanging items. Use this sparingly as overloading it will cause the bar to move downward, ripping the sides of the box.

Since these are large boxes, it may be tempting to load the bottom parts with heavy things. Since our goal is to keep like items and rooms together, the bottom should be used to store light weight, clothing related material like bed sheets, comforters, and towels.

Other closet and clothing items

Things like shoes, sweaters, belts, and jeans should be placed in re-usable shopping bags or your luggage (see above).  You might even consider placing bulky sweaters and such around the shoulders of the clothes in the wardrobe box. This helps pad the otherwise un-reinforced sides and protects the hanging clothing from damage and such .

Color coordinate

For extra credit, you may want to use something like colored stickers or colored pens to identify boxes that are from the same room. For example, use black for the kitchen, red for the living room, and pink and blue for the kid’s rooms. This lets the movers (professional or friends) also know where to place the boxes when they are brought in to your new home.

For larger rooms, you may want to designate an area where all of the boxes will be placed, like a corner or center of the room. This allows you more free space to unpack without having to constantly shift a pile.

kitchen mess, dirty dishes needing to be washed and piles of washing-up

Keep things together

Keep chargers with the appliances, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes. this ensures that when the items reach their destination and are unpacked, you have all the accessories and attachments with that item. You should keep larger corresponding items (such as a cable TV cord) in resealable bags, and tape these to the underside or back of the item. As a backup, have a “Parts Box” open in your central command location and use it to store cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items or furniture.

Pack ahead

Spend a good portion of time prior to the move pre-packing. Not only start getting things ready and organized for moving day, but start packing sections of rooms that are easy to do in a short period of time. Of course, you should only pre-pack items that you do not plan on using before you unpack at your new residence.

Consolidate cleaning supplies

Before packing the underside of your sink, keep out some general cleaning items out that you can use to do last minute wipe-downs or cleanups. Since these will be some of the last items packed, you should place them in an empty wastepaper basket or bucket. That way if there is any leakage during the move it is inside a container and hopefully will not spread to other items or boxes.

Use your handbags, shopping bags, and luggage

Like I said earlier, use your luggage and duffle bags to hold clothing, sheets, towels, and paper goods. Suitcases are great for moving these types of items because that’s what they’re designed to do… store clothing and related items in multiple pockets and crevices.

Keep your valuables safe

If you are able to, it’s a good idea to keep valuables like jewelry and small antiques with you during the move. Not only does it ensure they don’t get lost, but keeping them with you means you’ll keep an extra eye on them. You might also check with your homeowner’s insurance to see how you are covered during the move, and if you need additional insurance from the mover. Be sure and pack receipts for those items in case you need to file a claim later on after the move.

Keep important papers with you

Along with your tangible valuables, it’s important to not lose sight of  valuable paperwork and pictures. These can include birth certificates, school records, contacts, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, Realtor® info, maps, and more. Don’t just throw these in a ‘General’ box, keep them with you or in sight.

Moving may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but planning ahead will go a long way toward making the process somewhat enjoyable.

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