Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go in concert--while you're purging, you should be packing, also. If you're overseeing your move yourself, you are in charge of gathering all the packing equipment you need. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you've hired are all excellent resources for your supplies. If you purchase from your mover, ask if you can return any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a checklist to get you started:
Small boxes for books, heavy items, toys, appliances, fragile items
Medium boxes for the kitchen, accessories, lampshades, linens, shoes and boots
Large boxes for lamps, window treatments, pillows--items that are bulky but lightweight
Packing tape and tape guns
Newsprint, bubble wrap, packing peanuts or your shredded paper
Markers and labels
Small tools--screwdrivers, hammer, box cutter, scissors
Camera or smartphone
For a more extensive list of tools to make your move easier, click here.
Where to Begin
Last utilized, last boxed is the rule of thumb for the packing process—usually, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to go in boxes. Since you're boxing while you purge, start with the things that are easy to get out of the way in chests and cabinets; you can knock out several of those in an hour. When you've gathered enough for a donation or dump run, do not exit the house until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can use specific color-coded labels (blue for the kitchen, green for the master, etc.) or use masking tape with a heavy black marker; just be sure you label all sides of the box and note if it's breakable. A couple of minutes spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you can't lay hands on your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging helps you get organized, and so does cleaning out the closets, attic, and garage at the beginning of the process. You will need a storage area for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the best site as it's going to be nearby to the moving truck. Alas, the garage has to be free of clutter for this to work, so tackle this project early on—carve out at least a weekend for the garage purge. Once you have got the space cleared, sort your boxes so that the movers can get to them easily on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is correctly distributed and so that the first items that need to come off are the last put on.
If you're the sort of person who keeps boxes, you may now pat yourself on the back. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original packaging, you can re-use it. If not, put all of the cords connected to the device in a box--power cords, modems, power strips, instructional CDS--and label it all. Take photos of the cords before you pack them so that you can refer to the photos when you are hooking everything back up.
It's staggering how many things you use every day are very fragile. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little extra care when you are packing them. Wrap dishes and glasses in paper, and place the plates in the box on end like records. A layer of bubble wrap protects them even more, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Don't pack too much in the boxes of fragile items, and don't use oversize boxes for fragile things. Boxes from the liquor store work fantasticly for fragile things; they come in different sizes and may not have tops, so with a box cutter and tape you can customize boxes.
Do not just toss your lamps into boxes, remove the shade and harp and remove the bulb. The bases can be placed in a large box with the harp taped to the base, the shades can nest in another box, and the bulbs need to be packed separately (an ornament box is great for this) and marked fragile.
In our next post, we will discuss packing dos and don'ts.