Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go hand in hand--while you're purging, you will want to be packing, at the same time. If you are executing your move yourself, you are in charge of getting all the packing equipment that are required. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have employed are all good resources for your materials. If you buy from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a outline to help you get going:
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 used, last packed is the rule of thumb for the boxing process—generally speaking, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be packed in boxes. Since you are boxing while you purge, commence with the things that are easy to get out of the way in chests and cabinets; you can knock out a couple of those in an hour. When you've gathered enough for a donate or trash run, don't leave home until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can utilize distinguishing 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 each side of the box and note if the contents are breakable. A couple of minutes spent listing the contents are very important later when you cannot locate your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging assists with organization, and so does tidying up the closets, attic, and garage early in the process. You'll have to fine a storage spot for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the perfect spot as it's going to be close to the moving truck. Of course, the garage should be clutter-free for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—plan on at least a Saturday and Sunday 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 properly distributed and so that the first boxes that need to come off are the last put on.
If you are the type of person who hangs on to original packaging, you may now congratulate yourself. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original packaging, you can re-use that. If not, put all 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 to make it easier to hook back up at the destination.
It's bewildering how many things you use daily are pretty breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little TLC when you are packing them. Wrap dishes and glasses in newsprint, 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. Do not pack too much in the fragile boxes, and don't use oversize boxes for breakable items. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in different sizes and may not have tops, so with a box cutter and tape you can customize boxes.
Don't just toss your lamps into boxes, unscrew the shade and harp and take out the bulb. The bases can be put 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.
Next time, we will discuss packing dos and don'ts.