Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go in concert--while you're purging, you should be packing, too. If you are overseeing your move yourself, you are responsible for accumulating all the packing equipment that are required. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have hired are all good resources for your equipment. If you purchase from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here's a outline 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 used, last packed is the unwritten for the packing process—usually, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to go in boxes. Since you're packing while you purge, begin 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 purged enough for a donation or trash trip, don't leave home until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can 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 every side of the box and note if the contents are require special handling. A couple of seconds spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you cannot find your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging helps you get organized, and so does cleaning out 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 best place as it's going to be close to the moving truck. Alas, the garage should be clutter-free for this to work, so tackle the garage project early on—plan on at least a Saturday and Sunday for the garage purge. Once you have got the space freed up, sort your boxes so that the movers can get to them without issue on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is properly distributed and so that the first items that need to come off are the last put on.
If you're the type of person who keeps boxes, you may now pat yourself on the back. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original wrap, 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 astounding how many things you use daily are super breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little special handling 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 more, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Do not pack too much in the boxes of fragile items, and don't use large boxes for breakable items. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in strange 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 delve into packing dos and don'ts.