Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go hand in hand--while you're purging, you need to be packing, too. If you're executing your move yourself, you are responsible for accumulating all the packing materials that are required. Your local big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you've hired are all good resources for your equipment. If you purchase from your mover, ask if you can return any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a list to assist you:
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 packed is the unwritten for the boxing process—generally, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be put in boxes. Since you're packing as the same time as you purge, begin with the low-hanging fruit in chests and cabinets; you can knock out one or two of those in an hour. When you've purged enough for a donation or trash run, do not exit the house until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You could utilize 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 is breakable. A couple of moments spent listing the contents are very important later when you cannot find your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging assists with organization, 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 spot as it's going to be close to the moving truck. Of course, the garage should be organized for this to work, so tackle this project early on—plan on at least a Saturday and Sunday for the garage purge. Once you've 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 adequately distributed and so that the first things that you need at the destination are the last put on.
If you're the sort of person who keeps original packaging, you may now congratulate yourself. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original box, you can re-use that. 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 pretty breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little extra care when you're 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 more, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Do not overload the fragile boxes, and don't use big boxes for delicate things. Boxes from the liquor store work fantasticly for fragile things; they come in odd 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, remove the shade and harp and remove the bulb. The bases can go 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 look at packing dos and don'ts.