Once your home has been successfully decluttered, create broad categories for everything you need to pack. The easiest way to create categories is to start with the main rooms of the home.To get further organized, consider creating an inventory of your belongings. An inventory will help you quickly locate items as you need them.
Label everything and take photos of electronics. Package screws and bolts from furniture into ziplock bags and label them. Color code moving boxes by room and pack and unload one color at a time.
Separate out one box in each room for personal items – the things you might need during the first few days or weeks at your new home. A set of clothing, toiletries, electronics – anything you can’t live without. Pack these boxes on the truck last, so you don’t lose track of them.
Crumpled newspaper, bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard will help prevent your fragile items from breaking, but just about anything can be used to pack breakable items. Utilize dish towels and even paper plates to create buffers. Remember, crystal, china, ceramics, and keepsakes need to be carefully packed with lots of padding. Pack these items in smaller boxes with appropriate packing materials and labeled as fragile.
- Pack plates and bowls in vertical rows instead of stacking them directly in the box.
- Invest in dish packs that are thicker boxes that are specially designed for breakables.
- Leave at least a two-inch space for packing materials on all sides of the box including the top.
- Put heavy items, like books, in small boxes; light items, like linens and pillows, in bigger ones. (Large boxes packed with heavy items are a common complaint of professional movers. They not only make the job harder but also have a better chance of breaking.)
- Put heavier items on the bottoms of boxes, lighter items on top. And if you’re loading the truck yourself, pack heavier boxes first, toward the front of the truck, for balance.
- Don’t leave empty spaces in the boxes. Fill in gaps with clothing, towels, or packing paper. Movers often won’t move boxes that feel loosely packed or unbalanced. It is a good rule of thumb to keep your largest boxes to no more than 50 pounds.
- Don’t use boxes from grocery or liquor stores if you plan on storing items. These boxes can be infested with insect eggs, mold and unwanted pests. If you’re moving a large household, it’s best to buy your moving boxes new to ensure they are sturdy and won’t fall apart mid-move.
- Label each box with the room it’s destined for and a description of its contents.
- Save space when packing clothing, often one of the most time-consuming elements of packing. Save as much space as possible with clothes because excess clothing can take up most of the moving truck if you’re not careful. Pack hanging clothing in garbage bags by cutting a hole on top of the bag then placing the garbage bag over a grouping of hangers. Rolling rather than folding clothing saves space.
- Tape boxes well. Use a couple of pieces of tape to close the bottom and top seams, then make a couple of wraps all the way around the box’s top and bottom edges where stress is concentrated.
- Using a wool string “hack” makes all the difference when it comes to unpacking. You will be creating a pull tab that you can use to open moving boxes without scissors or box cutters. Simply place a piece of wool string on the center of the closed box flaps, leaving excess on the sides. Tape over the string and seal the box with moving tape, but be sure there is a small piece of string left not taped on the end.
- Tools, painting equipment and cleaning chemicals should be packed together in clearly marked boxes. You may want to use plastic totes to prevent messy or dangerous leaks.
- Pack bottles and medications together and keep them separate from other belongings.
- Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box. It will make your packing quicker and your unpacking a lot easier.
- If you’re moving expensive art, ask your mover about special crating. Never wrap oil paintings in regular paper; it will stick. For pictures framed behind glass, make an X with masking tape across the glass to strengthen it and to hold it together if it shatters. Then wrap the pictures in paper or bubble wrap and put them in a frame box, with a piece of cardboard between each framed piece for protection.