Sunday, April 5, 2009

Packing Tips

Here's a few of the things I've learned over the years of packing/unpacking for a move.

1. Label all boxes AFTER you have taped them shut for the last time. And if you're like me, keep a notepad next to you to list WHAT you have already placed IN the box! Nothing like looking for the heating pad in the box labeled "BATHROOM" only to find it in the box labeled "SHEETS" or to find the coffee pot in the box labeled "RADIOS."

2. Pack a few "first day" boxes. These boxes include one with cookware,dishes, utensils, plates, silverware, etc. One box with the essentials: for us that's coffee, coffee pot, mugs, a dish towel or two, dish cloth, dish soap - all sitting inside the dish pan. We also pack an overnight bag with a few changes of clothes, toiletries, and medications. It comes in handy when you're in the midst of unpacking and decide to clean up, leave the house, and find some sanity or solace at a friend's home, the local coffee shop or wherever.

3. I try to time the last load of laundry (usually bedding)in the old place so that it is finished and slipped into pillowcases for easy unpacking at the new place. These pillowcases are old ones I store just for this purpose! And, they are the

4. One to two weeks before moving day(s) stop buying anything for the freezer and use up what's inside. Of course, if you have a separate freezer to empty you should have been living off of it's contents for awhile before the move.

5. We store out of season clothing in huge plastic containers, so at this time of year we're making the switch from fall/winter to summer/spring and sending the fall/winter totes up north.

6. Likewise, we pack seldom used items or decorative items and leave them packed for a few weeks or longer after moving. Take time in your new home without everything out. It saves having to move or repack items if you end up remodeling. If you settle into your new home gradually you'll realize where you really want certain items located and how you'll "live" in your new space.

7. Fragile items should be double boxed: pack an item in newspaper, packing beads, or appropriate material and place inside a box which is placed inside another box with newsprint or other material packed between the two boxes. These boxes are placed on top of all other boxes and marked "FRAGILE" and underlined with RED TAPE.

8. All important papers, computer disks, coin collections, etc. are packed, labeled "IMPORTANT" and stowed in the car/truck which is always locked whether we're inside it or not. We've already repositioned much of our little used or out of season items and about half of our food/toiletries preps. The location is secure, is checked every couple days and thus far we've had no problems. Keys to this location are hidden in TWO other locations and ONE trusted person - aside from my attorney -know their location. In the event that my children/grandchildren were in a SHTF scenario, they could access the food, clothing, bedding, etc.

9. In yet another location we have stashed duplicate copies of all of our important papers, some money, and duplicates of our drivers' licenses, social security cards, wills, etc.

10. Nearly everything I own in the way of furniture, paintings, pottery, and books I have owned for well over 25 years. I've lost count of how many times I've moved but I know that the left top door of my Hoosier cabinet needs to be taped; that the top board of a walnut cabinet needs to be tightened after every move; and that it's worth it to double box my yellowware bowls, my Roseville vases and my Norwegian plates.


Anonymous said...

For packing in a hurry. Do it room by room. Pack boxes going from left to right. Example: Bathroom 1, Bathroom 2, Bathroom 2, Kitchen 1, Kitchen 2, etc. The idea is that if you need something, all you have to do is picture your old house and remember where it used to be. That should give you a fair idea in which box it's in.

Don't stop to sort out stuff you might throw away. It takes too long. Pack everything and sort it out after the move.

Good way to pack quickly when you discover your apartment was sold out from under you and you have only a short while to move.


treesong said...


Appreciate the tips. Reminds me of the day I packed up a 920 square foot mobile home into a 26 foot U-Haul in six hours, including time for coffee breaks!

Unfortunately, my stamina isn't what it used to be! Treesong

An Unsheltered Life said...

Ahhh...moving. I spent two years moving on and off campus, and my family and I moved a few times when I was growing up.

I always have big piles of unfiled papers lying around. Stuff that I've written, school assignments, that sort of thing. When I move, I put those papers into the big, cardboard boxes that my printer paper came in. Obviously, they fit perfectly, and I know exactly what's in that box just by glancing at it.

bakar said...

Moving can be a hassle, however there are a few things you can do to help ensure your moving experience is as easy as possible. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure you are prepared for the move before it is time to go.

Abraham Maslow once said, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail." Having the proper tools is essential to making your move easy. What tools? I'm talking about packing supplies.

Having the proper packing supplies on hand will save you time, energy, and stress. Here is a list of packing supplies that you should have before you even think about starting to pack anything:

- Boxes- Yes, I know- that's obvious. But having the proper size and number of boxes is the important thing. Boxes are available from many places. A lot of business will give you extra empty boxes if you ask. Also, there are a wide variety of boxes for sale at packing/shipping services, home improvement and department stores, post offices, etc. Be sure to get different sized boxes. Large ones for light, bulky objects and small ones for heavier items like books. And don't be afraid to get too many. Many retailers such as storage facilities will buy back any unused boxes, giving you a full refund.

Anonymous said...

Get colored electrical tape. Give each room a different color. As you pack, put a strip on the box. When you get to the new place, put a strip of that color on the door of the room where you want the boxes to go...everyone can unpack and put the boxes in the proper rooms without asking a lot of questions.

We unpacked a full sized container in about 4 hours using that method. And everything was in the right room.