There’s a right way and a wrong way to pack for a move. The right way will leave you with your feet up as you count down to moving day, while the wrong way will have you overwhelmed and frantic five minutes before you’re out the door.
Looking for a (relatively) care-free move? Here are six ways to make sure your packing efforts yield positive results.
1. Don’t go it alone.
No matter how long you plan ahead, your move will include some stress. To cut down on anxiety, delegate the packing if you can, said Cathy Goodwin, author of “Making the Big Move: How to Transform Relocation Into A Creative Life Transition.”
Having others help you might make things easier in another way: A third party won’t be emotionally involved and “won’t linger over sentimental items and ponder what stays and what goes,” Goodwin said.
2. Weigh the benefits of hiring a pro.
Not only does a professional mover know the most effective ways to pack, but if your belongings are packed by professionals and later damaged during the relocation, the movers might be held liable, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. Liability aside, if you hire professional movers to do the packing, you’ll have more time to do other things like getting to know your new neighborhood.
3. Use packing as a chance to purge.
When packing, you’ll inevitably come across some items that you forgot you even had. Why put them on the moving truck just to lose track of them again?
“Pack up the items you won’t need and ship them to your favorite charity,” Goodwin said. If no one else could benefit from the items, then trash them.
4. Create order to your packing.
Pack items that you rarely use first, followed by those you use more frequently.
“‘Open first’ boxes contain items vital to you in the first 24 to 48 hours after a move,” said Ellena Fortner Newsom, a spokeswoman for Bedford, TX-based Simple Moving Labor, which connects consumers with moving laborers. “Often, these boxes contain items like a change of clothing, paperwork for the move, cash and medicines, but it’s also useful to include items that bring you comfort, such as fuzzy slippers, coffee-making supplies, and fresh sheets and pillowcases.”
Since these items often used right up until the last box is loaded on the moving truck, plan what you want to include, but don’t pack the actual items until the night before the move.
5. Get the right supplies.
Packing supplies come in all shapes and sizes. It’s unlikely that you’ll need every type of box or moving tool conceivable, Newsom said, “so it’s important to parse it down to what is useful and efficient for your individual needs.”
For example, small boxes might be ideal for items that are fragile or heavy so those items don’t end up packed together with other objects. Glass-packing kits might be your best bet for boxing up glassware since they contain compartments and often provide foam padding for protection. Bubble wrap can come in handy to protect fragile items and keep your belongings from shifting within boxes. Don’t forget about the moving supplies you already own. Some of your belongings might fit perfectly in the bags and suitcases you already own, Newsom said.
6. Make a list and check it twice.
Well before your actual moving day, take stock of how much you need to move, Newsom said. Then, as you are packing, keep a list.
“Knowing that you have three boxes for the guest bathroom, two living room chairs and 16 boxes for your bedroom provides piece of mind that nothing was lost in transit and makes it easier to unpack,” she said.