A Packing Tip Sheet

“Moving is easy and packing is fun,” said nobody ever! Packing up everything you own is stressful and tedious, so follow a few simple tips to make your move more streamlined.

Give yourself time

Packing can be overwhelming, so pace yourself to help keep things organized. Pack non-essential or off-season items weeks before your move. Books, knick-knacks, framed art and anything else you won’t use until you are in your new home can all be packed early. Eliminate some of the stress by packing a little bit at a time.

Downsize and donate

Now is the time for cleaning out closets, cupboards, the attic, basement and garage. Be ruthless! Donate or toss everything you don’t use. The more you get rid of, the less you have to pack, move and organize in your new home.

Stock up on moving supplies

Sometimes boxes from grocery or liquor stores work well and they don’t cost you anything. However, they may not be clean or hold the weight of your items and many different sizes of boxes are harder to stack in a moving truck. Use boxes designed for moving when necessary. Keep items clean by using white packing paper. Newsprint may work for some things, but the ink can smear on other pieces. Get plenty of packing tape and markers. You will probably need more than you think you do.

Label each box carefully

Unpacking is harder than packing because you have to decide where everything goes in your new place. Give yourself a break by labeling boxes clearly with their contents and destination. For example, “Kitchen: Dishes and Glasses” or “Master Bedroom:  Shoes and Purses.” Label the tops and sides of the boxes and be sure to mark “Fragile” when appropriate.

Keep “just in case” items handy

Don’t pack all your tools. You might need a screwdriver for taking the mirror off the dresser and other possible last minute projects. You’ll need them at your new home, too, along with light bulbs, extension cords and power strips. Make a complete “just in case” list and keep those items handy.

Keep essential items close, too

There are several things you will need immediately at the new house. These include toilet paper, hand soap, bed linens, cleaning supplies and anything else you will want your first night at the new house. Snacks and medications should be handy, as well as a small first aid kit. You might want to pack these in a clear plastic box so they stay in plain sight.

Don’t ship everything with the movers

Transport legal documents and other important papers yourself. You might also choose to move heirlooms or precious breakables in your own vehicle. There are some things that you actually can’t move, so review the rules about what you can’t pack in a moving van. Some common household chemicals can’t be shipped because they are hazardous or flammable.

Pack an overnight bag

Everyone in your family needs pajamas, clean underwear and a change of clothes, along with basic toiletries and other essentials. You will probably be too tired to unpack everything, so keep the overnight bag in your car until you need it. Make the beds, go out to eat and get a good night’s sleep before tackling the unpacking in the morning.