Moving is a big job, no matter how hard you try, there are some things you just can’t get around. While there are inevitably some things that you can scratch from your to-do list just as quickly as you write them on, packing isn’t one of them.
Whether you’re moving to a studio apartment or a multi-room family home, packing is one of the most time-consuming parts of a move. Sure, you could hire a full-service moving company to handle the packing and unpacking for you. But if the experts aren’t in your budget, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it. We have some tips for efficient packing to help take away your packing pains.
A good packing approach begins way before it’s time to fill boxes. The more time you allow for preparation beforehand, the easier it will be to pack and unpack your things.
Start by putting together a timeline so you can stay on track. As you begin digging into your belongings, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Keeping a clear list on hand including dates will help you take things one step at a time.
Then, pull all of your things together. If you have an attic, crawlspace, garage, or overstuffed closets, it’s important to assess just what you have. We suggest sorting one room at a time to avoid burying yourself in your belongings. As you go through your things, you may find that some items have wandered into rooms where they don’t belong. That paperwork on the kitchen table or clothes in the living room can go right back where they should be.
One often overlooked but crucial part of packing and moving is downsizing. Many people try to skip this step, thinking they’ll save time and effort now and sort it out on the other side. Trust us: it doesn’t work that way.
Packing and hauling things you don’t want, need, or use will cost you, and that’s not limited to finances. The time and energy spent packing and unpacking things just to relegate them to a back corner of a closet are not worth it.
Give yourself time to sort through your things and divide them into piles to keep, donate, sell, and throw away. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Selling some of your things can give your budget a boost, but be sure to allow enough time to list them online and complete the transaction.
- Donating items to thrift stores, charities, churches, or other organizations is a great way to get right of used items. Some organizations will pick your things up from your home. Others require you to drop them off so check on policies and receiving times.
- When it comes to throwing things away, be sure to dispose of them in the right way. Chemicals, e-waste (like cables, computers, and batteries), paint, and machinery require special care for proper disposal. Check with your local garbage and recycling facility for more information.
Now that you’ve narrowed down the items you have, you can begin to make arrangements for moving day. A professional moving company can provide a detailed quote based on the amount of stuff you’re moving. Compare a couple of quotes from reputable movers, and try to book with enough advance notice to select your moving dates.
You’ll need moving supplies, and probably more than you anticipate. Make sure to collect boxes of multiple sizes, sturdy packing tape, packing materials like paper and bubble rolls, and markers for labeling. You may even be able to grab free boxes for your move at businesses nearby. Check with liquor stores, book stores, and grocers to see if they have boxes you can take.
Being efficient doesn’t mean being as quick as possible. After all, if that were the case, this article would have told you to simply throw your things in whatever box you can find and call it a job well done. But that’s not the best way to pack, nor will it give you peace of mind on moving day.
There are a few handy ways to save time and effort while keeping your things safe:
- Leave dresser drawers full. Depending on the size and weight of the dresser, you can wrap it with plastic wrap with the drawers in place, or remove them before wrapping.
- Leave clothes on their hangers. You can either wrap bundles of hanging clothes in a garbage bag with the hooks available at the top or use a specialty wardrobe box.
- Protect items with things you already have. Rags, towels, linens, and clothing make great options for cushioning and securing fragile items.
- Pack your kitchen using kitchen items. Spices, condiments, and small items fit easily inside pots or Tupperware boxes.
- Don’t forget your suitcases: they make great replacements for boxes. Suitcases are great for transporting items like shoes, clothes, or other things. Since they’re easier to move on their wheels, consider using suitcases for heavier items like books.
- Take photos of electronics such as the back of your television or stereo system, so you remember where to plug cables back into your new home.
- While you’re packing, take a photo of the boxes’ contents before taping them shut.
- Label. Label. Label. Be clear with your labels, and be sure to write on multiple sides and the tops of boxes.
While you’re packing, consider what you’ll need for your first night or two in your new place. Rather than hunting through boxes for your essentials, pack an Essentials Box. This box should include things like bed linens, pajamas, toiletries, medication, a towel, a set of dishes, and even the coffee maker if you like to rise with a cup. You’ll be grateful you separated out all of these things, trust us.