Planning your move – Part 3: Packing

This step is really the most important. If you decided to hire professional movers to pack your belongings, then the hard part will be done for you. Many moving companies offer a professional packing service. These services are normally very good but also very expensive. Keep in mind though, movers use lots of wrapping and boxes. The average 2 bedroom apartment uses between $200 and $300 in just packing supplies so that is a large part of their costs.

If you are packing yourself here is an easy checklist

  1. The first step is to get rid of what you do not need to move. A wise customer once told me that for every item he packed, he asked himself “Is this one item worth half an hour of my life?” He figured that each item needed half an hour to pack/load/unload/unpack. You can sell items you don’t need in a garage sale or on Craigslist. If you decide to donate them some charities will even come to pick up larger items like furniture at no charge. Charities are a good way of helping others in need while reducing the time and cost of your move.
  2. Gather your supplies. If you have friends or family that have moved recently, ask if you can have their leftover boxes and supplies. Some people sell their used boxes and moving supplies through Craigslist. Instead of buying bubble wrap, use crumpled newspaper, bedding and towels for fragile items.
  3. Start packing as far in advance as possible. Many families make a goal of packing one room or a set number of boxes every day. This way it doesn’t become overwhelming and you aren’t scrambling to do everything at the last minute.
  4. Try to use standard size moving boxes. Uses dozens of oddly shaped or different sized boxes will make it harder for your movers to pack the truck neatly and safely.
  5. Pack heavy items in small boxes and light items in larger boxes. What you don’t want is to have a large box that is to fragile to stack other boxes on and to heavy to stack other boxes underneath.
  6. Mark your boxes clearly. If you are reusing boxes take a piece of colored tape and cover old labels so they don’t confuse your movers. Be sure to label fragile items and mark boxes with an arrow pointing up if they need to stay upright.
  7. Box your lampshades and take the lighbulbs out of any lamps you are moving. This is the best way to protect them during your move.
  8. Separate fragile boxes and put them in a special area, then point that out to your movers.
  9. Clean out and defrost your refrigerator the night before your move. If you put a dirty fridge on a moving truck it may smell very badly when it comes off because their was no electric to keep it running and cold.
  10. Leave items you will need on the day of your move to pack last. Pack a box of documents you might need in case of emergency and make sure it stays with you.
  11. If you have kids make sure you leave a few items out for them to play with.

Packing may be the most daunting part of your move but with good preparation you will do a good job.

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