Packing to move

Just thought I’d share with you some general tips on how I like to be organized when I move.

I actually don’t mind moving. I’m pretty organized and I don’t have a lot, so things are a snap for me, but I can understand it can be overwhelming for some.

1. Purge and Clean

Assess what you own.

Start donating, selling or giving away things to friends and family so that you have less to pack when you move.

In fact, you should be doing this even if you aren’t thinking of moving today, but if you know you are going to move sometime.

2. Essential Box of Stuff and a Personal Suitcase

This is something I always do. I pack a small bag or suitcase for myself (or for each family member in your case) in advance.

I put the following basics in there that I may need for the first couple of days:

  • Soap & Soap Dish or a little washcloth
  • Toiletries I need — this can be added at the last minute
  • Comfortable set of clothing like sweats I don’t mind getting dirty
  • 2 complete changes of clothes (in case you sweat/get dirty and have to go somewhere)
  • Pajamas
  • Bath towel and Face cloth

I set my suitcase in one side so I don’t mix it with anything else, and I bring it with me at all times just in case a box gets lost, damaged, or I just don’t have time to root through the boxes to find a bar of soap.

3. Begin packing out of season things

Things like Christmas lights, coats, garden tools or anything you don’t need can be packed ahead of time, then donate any unused items.

4. Packing the Kitchen

Only box the things you use. If you have Tupperware containers or other food storage containers, put them to good use by packing smaller, loose items in them to keep them organized.

Don’t forget to check the dishwasher before you go.

5. Packing the rest of the rooms

Each room should have their own room-labeled boxes.

And smaller, same-sized boxes are easier to stack and move than a bunch of different sized boxes.

You can obtain free boxes by going to your local grocery store and asking for the boxes they use to pack soap or fruit in. Take ’em for free.

Or if you want to really buy boxes, then think about those big, heavy duty plastic storage bins.

Not only are they really awesome for moving (I have 4 myself to use for books and what not), they have handles on them, and you can use them for many purposes afterwords.

You could label them with tape later, and keep awkward items like skates in them so that they’re all in one spot, or winter-only items like mitts or earmuffs.

You might also want to consider numbering your boxes. Like: Kitchen 1, Kitchen 2, Kitchen 3, so you can spot which ones are missing.

Mark and tape each box with paper packing tape so they’re easy to rip open (NO DUCT TAPE!)

Start and finish each room at a time, packing smaller items FIRST, and stacking them neatly in a corner by the door.

For Packing Material

Towels, washcloths, socks and blankets are awesome for fragile items. You can stuff fragile ornaments into socks for example.

Don’t waste your money in bubble wrap or styrofoam. It isn’t biodegradeable, so try and find alternative items like plastic bags with air in them to be used as pseudo-balloons.

For Clothing, Towels and Non-Breakables

I use trash bags. Clothes that don’t wrinkle easily (I do not recommend this for suits), are folded and neatly stacked in the bags.

Label them with a piece of tape so you know if they are clothes or towels, and so that you don’t toss the bag by mistake!

Fill them 1/2 to 3/4 full so that they’re easy to carry for anyone of any size.

These bags of clothes are also handy to use to cushion large pieces of furniture so that they don’t get chipped.

Packing Books

Pack the heaviest books on the bottom, and try to put lighter items on top that take up room like purses or shoes so that you can distribute the weight instead of packing ALL the books into ONE single box.

Use many boxes, but spread out the weight.

If you must only use one box for books, use a small box.

For Cords and Remote Controls

Keep all power strips and extension cords and grounded adapters in one specific box; they’ll be much easier to find later on.

If you have cords or other small sized pouches or bags, separate each set of cords and add a sticky note instead of taping the bags with notes on what the contents are: Stereo cables, Laptop cords, and so on.

You may think you’ll remember what each set of cords are for, but you won’t and will get frustrated if you toss it all in one box.

For Hardware/Tools

You have to clearly label the hardware and extension cord boxes, maybe even spray paint them yellow or red so you can find them easily.

The other tip is to keep the box of hardware and tools in ONE central area so everyone can find it. Don’t try and carry it from room to room.

For things in dressers

Keep them in there, and tape the drawers after you’ve gone through and purged what you don’t want to keep. If there are breakable items like perfume bottles, wrap them in towels and pack them away, or keep them in the dresser but well cushioned.

What to pack LAST on your truck

Cleaning supplies. If you use any. Or you can put them in your Essentials Suitcase, but you will need them last after everything has been shifted off the truck into teh home.

If you can, bring a couple of tupperware boxes and some of your non-fragile cups, and use them to eat out of, store food in, or use when you’re moving and ordering Chinese take away.

I don’t like disposable plates, cutlery or plastic cups, so I have actually just used my tupperware dishes as plates or bowls, and I just snap the lid on to finish it later if I have left overs.

Non fragile cups are like those hard plastic cups, or steel water bottles that can hold liquid. You just need something to drink out of.

As for cutlery, I have 3 sets of hard plastic cutlery that I use and re-use every single time I travel somewhere and am caught in a hotel room without cutlery trying to eat food out of a takeout box.

I don’t toss anything.

4. Disassembling furniture and lamps for example

Keep all bags in one box along with the proper tools — allen wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. This will make it easier to put everything back together when you have moved in.

Once you take apart something, either put all the hardware into thick, zippered bags according to each piece of furniture or room, and/or put all the nuts and bolts back into the furniture after it’s been taken apart.

This way, you have everything in one bag attached to the bed you just took apart, and you know where each screw or bolt goes.

For Mirrors or Glass Panels

As for mirrors, or anything with a pane of glass, use masking tape to make a large “X” on them so that it will prevent them from shattering from vibration and help contain as much broken glass as possible by sticking together to the tape if it does happen to break.

Think about removing the glass panels completely if you can, label them with tape for where they go and with an arrow of what side or face up, and cushion them between blankets.

5. Make arrangements

Go and look at what you have, and figure out what size of truck you need, how many trips you want to take, how far you are driving etc.

Check their pick up and drop off points, so that you are sure that you won’t be renting a truck and then having to drive an hour away just to return it with no way of getting back home.

And AS SOON as you know what date you will be moving, reserve the truck. A week before you’re moving, call and confirm.

This is also a good time to gather the people who are going to go with you, and figure out if you need to make reservations for hotel rooms along the way while you’re getting there, what you need to pack to eat if there aren’t restaurants in the area and so on.

Anything else you’d like to add?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.