You’ve sold your house, and you’re ready to move on to the next home of your dreams. Or perhaps you’re moving from an apartment to your first home. Or maybe you’re downsizing from a large home to a smaller abode. Whichever the case, it’s time to pack.
Just reading that last line solicits a collective groan from the masses since few people truly enjoy the process of packing for a move. If you do it often, you may have gotten better at it, but – chances are – you still don’t like to do it.
So, what advice do the experts offer in order to make the packing process less painful? The trick, most agree, is staying organized and having a plan.
“Ugh, I hate plans,” you might be thinking, but those in-the-know suggest that a plan which starts as far in advance as possible can keep you calm and will have you ready to go long before moving day rolls around.
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t wait until the last minute – Start early! We’re not talking two months, though you may be able to pack some seldom-used items that far in advance. Starting two to three weeks before the move seems to work best. Begin by gathering the things you’ll need, like boxes, bubble wrap, newspapers, and other everyday packing items.
- Put aside an area of your house as a packing area – Do you have a room you can designate as the “packing room”? Or even part of a room? This is ideal as it will help keep boxes and other items out of high-traffic areas. Keep everything you need in there, including not only containers but also things such as newspaper, string, markers, tape, etc.
- Don’t buy boxes – Stores are always tossing perfectly good boxes. Find out when the trash goes out at your local supermarket or liquor store and be ready to nab them. Also, check with your local U-haul store. Some have “give-a-box, take-a-box” programs where those who are finished moving can leave their gently used boxes for others to use. Then, when you’re done, you can do the same for someone else.
- Leave chests and dressers full – There is NO reason to cart empty dressers and other pieces of furniture! All that empty space can be put to good use. If you’re worried that what’s in them is too heavy, take those items out and replace them with something less hefty. Also, remember to pack empty suitcases with things you’ll be moving to your new home. In other words, use every available space.
- Use trash bags! – Not everything has to be packed in boxes, dressers, chests, and other rigid containers. Trash bags are ideal for items such as comforters and other large bed linens, towels, and other non-breakables that squish. These are perfect for filling odd-sized empty spaces on trucks or in automobile trunks.
- Speaking of soft items… - You can also use blankets to wrap breakables or fragile items, including artwork, mirrors, glass tabletops, lamp bases, and such. Be sure to tape them tightly, however.
- Label, label, label - You can never do enough labeling! Be sure to write on several sides of your boxes, not just the top. This way, you can identify where they go immediately. You can also craft some sort of system with stickers if that’s easier; i.e., the yellow dots go in the kitchen, or the pink bunny sticker boxes go in your daughter’s room. Just be sure to jot down which stickers correspond to which room, in case you forget!
- Be ready! – Most of all, be sure EVERYTHING is complete before your mover arrives. It’s no fun for them – or you – if you’re still stuffing things in boxes when they knock on your door. Understandably, you’ll have a few last-minute items to pack – like bedding – but get up early and be sure that’s done immediately. Better yet, stay at a hotel the night before the move, if possible.
Need more tips on moving? Check with your realtor for names of good movers in your area or for other suggestions as to how to make your big move go smoothly.