Packing up your whole life for a move can seem like an impossible task. One that looms over you from the time you make the decision to move until the actual moving day. Whether you’re just moving down the street or across the country, moving is something most people dread. That’s because packing for a move isn’t something most of us enjoy, but it also doesn’t need to be quite so daunting.
The truth is, the way you pack up determines how you move in. Bumpy or smooth? That depends. With some advanced planning, clever organizing, and these genius tips for packing, you’ll be ready to go almost seamlessly.
So, if you have a move coming up sometime in the future, this post is for you!
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Preparing for a Move
Prepping for a move takes an enormous amount of time and effort. Yes, the actual move usually happens on one day, but getting ready to move can take weeks. This can be a good thing. Because planning ahead and packing like a pro can ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong during a move, which makes it quite stressful. So, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. A move is often a happy transition that has a positive outcome. Keep this in mind as you pack and prepare to prevent yourself from going crazy when everything feels like a chaotic mess. Rather, take as much time as needed to go through all your stuff, minimize your possessions and carefully pack (and label) your boxes before the big day arrives.
Preparing for your move will make all the difference. That means being organized and using the following tips for packing; you’ll thank me later!
10 Tips for Packing That You Need to Know
These 10 tips for packing may seem obvious, but when you’re knee-deep in a pile of your own possessions, you may not think of them yourself. And that’s okay. Everyone has moved at one point or another and we all know what that kind of stress can do to your sanity.
I’m here to help you simplify the process before you reach that point. Yes, the actual move is important, but I find the process of packing to be even more essential. After all, it will dictate your moving experience. So, it’s in your best interest to learn how to pack like a professional.
Let’s dive right into my top 10 tips for packing when it’s time to make that super dreaded move:
Without exception, this tip is important. It’s time to go through all your possessions and get rid of everything you no longer use, need or love. If you do this step and you take it seriously, you’re going to make your life so much easier. Before you even start packing a box, do a merciless purge of all your unused, unloved, and unnecessary items. Why move what you don’t need or want? Cut back on all the clutter. Minimize your possessions as much as possible.
Because if you do this, you’ll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack when you finally reach your new home. Just think about it, you’ll get to start your new life in your new home with an uncluttered space – a truly clean slate.
Pack Far in Advance
This is one of my best tips for packing, as you’ll likely know about your move weeks or months in advance (even if things aren’t completely finalized yet). Therefore, you can essentially start packing quite some time before you need to move.
A good place to start is by packing off-season items such as winter coats if you’re moving in the summer and vice versa. Also, decorative items and cookbooks and anything that you only use once in a while. By doing this, you won’t feel so overwhelmed as you get closer to your moving day because a lot of things will be ready to go.
Select the Right Size Boxes
The boxes you use to pack are important so make sure you get boxes in a wide variety of sizes. This will make things easier as you start packing since you’ll be able to assign certain items to specific boxes based on size. Just make sure that all your boxes are strong and sturdy enough to hold whatever you plan to pack in them.
An example of this would be to pack books or other heavy items in smaller boxes and lighter items such as linen and pillows in bigger boxes. This ensures that none of your boxes are ever too heavy; a life-saver once it’s time for you or the professional movers to load them. There is also less chance that your boxes will break and damage your stuff during the loading and off-loading process.
Pack with Purpose
One of the best tips for packing is to learn how to pack well so that you can pack with purpose. What I mean by this, is knowing how to pack your items to prevent any possible issues. For example, pack heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter items on top to prevent anything from being damaged. You should also avoid leaving any empty spaces in the boxes by filling the gaps with packing paper or even lighter items such as clothing or towels. Finally, never mix items from different rooms in the same box. This is an ‘oh no you didn’t’ disaster and will make it difficult to unpack once you get to your new destination.
Don’t Forget to Number Label
A good practice is to label each of your boxes with the name of the room it’s destined for along with a list of its contents. You really can’t be too thorough when it comes to labeling your moving boxes. Not only does this help you and your movers know where each box belongs, but it also helps you keep track of your possessions.
Things can get lost and mixed up so easily during a move. You could even number each box and keep an inventory list in a notebook to ensure that everything you packed makes it to your next home as well.
If you’ve gone through all the effort of choosing the right size boxes, packing them properly with purpose, and labeling well, you don’t want it all to fall out the moment you pick them up, right?
Always remember to tape your boxes well. Rather, use more tape than you think you need; just to be safe. First, use a couple of pieces of tape to close the bottom seam securely. Then, once the box is packed, do the same with the top seam. For extra peace of mind, make a couple of wraps all around the top and bottom edges of the box. This is a mover’s technique that provides support where the most stress is concentrated.
Take Care with Expensive Art or Large Mirrors
From years of experience, I have tips for packing expensive art pieces and large mirrors. These items are so fragile, so you need some help from the professionals. Ask your movers if they provide special crating for these types of items. Then make sure you pack it securely enough in the crate to keep it safe.
For example, don’t wrap oil paintings in regular paper as it will stick. Rather, use non-acidic clear plastic wrap. Use masking tape to stick over anything that has a large piece of glass in an X pattern to strengthen it (it will also hold it together in case it shatters). Make sure to wrap pictures in bubble wrap and put them in a special frame box with a piece of cardboard in between each framed piece for protection. The same goes for your TV. Have a special box or crate to pack it in and that it is wrapped in clean thick quilted furniture pads.
Pack Kitchen Items with Precision
The kitchen is sometimes the hardest room of the house to pack up because it has so many different types of items. My top tip for packing the kitchen is not to rush and to take special care about how you pack it up.
Always put packing paper around each of your dishes and then stack them in bundles of 5 or 6 with even more paper around each bundle. Cups, mugs, and bowls can be packed inside one another with paper in between. Bundle these together in groups of 4. Pack all these items in sturdy boxes with plenty of bunched-up paper for padding. Glassware should always be packed in boxes with cardboard dividers with lots of layers of paper for protection.
Clear Out Your Closets
Packing up the clothes in your closets can be quite tricky too. These are my personal tips for packing up your closet.
First, decide if you’re going to pack your clothes into boxes or suitcases. You could possibly even leave them in a dresser if it doesn’t make it too heavy to carry. Get a specialized wardrobe box for your hanging clothes, so that they can remain hanging on your hangers. When it comes to shoes, you need to protect them during the move especially if some of them have sharp heels or metal buckles. Wrap each shoe individually and stuff socks inside of them to help them keep their shape.
Accessories and jewelry should be packed with care in strong containers to prevent any damage. Bring jewelry and all precious items with you rather than ship.
Keep the Essentials Close
Another of my vital tips for packing is to keep some essentials on hand for the actual move. You don’t want to pack up absolutely everything and then have nothing on hand. Have a change of clothes, a toothbrush, your medication, important paperwork, a charger, toys for the kids, and anything else you think may need in a small bag or suitcase. Make sure this is already packed the night before your move so that the movers don’t take everything. This bag will travel with you in the car or on the plane to your new home. Plus, if for some reason the moving truck is delayed, you’ll at least have some essential items with you.
Also, make sure to have a box labeled “first box to open” with everything you need for the first night and morning. This includes fresh sheets, towels, a few toiletries, a coffee maker, cups, paper plates, food that doesn’t have to be prepared, tools. Plus, anything else you personally know you’ll need during this critical time in your move.
Moving is just one of those trials everyone has to go through at some point in life. Just because it’s challenging, doesn’t mean it needs to be overwhelming. You can prevent yourself from becoming a big ball of stress with some careful preparation. As always, being organized will make your life so much easier.
If you have a move coming up, then I suggest trying out these genius tips for packing to streamline the process.
Do you have your own tips for packing before a move?
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These are all such great tips! I was helping a client pack up last week and we were taking your advice and filling in the empty spaces with paper those “sealed air” packets she had been saving from previous deliveries. I have to say they worked pretty well.
I agree so much about labeling where you want the box to end up, not where it is coming from. If you are moving to a new layout, some objects may be switching rooms, so always worth the effort to think about where you want things to land. You don’t want to have to move them again once you land in the new house!
How exciting that you helped your client move and used one of my tips. I agree that those sealed air packets come in handy. I save them because I use them when I am mailing items to someone.
I once heard the funniest joke. A woman said she knew it was time to get organized when, after her move, she sat in the middle of her living room looking at 100 boxes all marked miscellaneous. The truth is, many people don’t label and it becomes a much more onerous task to sort and unpack and sory again.
Moving is up there as one of the most stressful things we do in life. I think on the top ten list, it might be #1 or #2- ahead of death, divorce, and paying taxes. However, ALL of your tips will help make this most stressful time and bring it down a notch or two. Your first point about editing BEFORE you move IS the key. Often that is time-based. The more time you have to prepare, the more time you’ll have to edit. The value in letting go of the extraneous is undeniable- time and money saved packing and unpacking.
I’ve been part of many client moves but have only moved a few times. The last time I moved was over 35 years ago. It was really stressful, and I recall saying to my husband that I never wanted to move again. Of course, if we had to move, we would. But now I’d rather stay put, not because of the moving part, but because I love where we live.
The thing about moving is that it provides motivation for decluttering and figuring out what’s important to bring forward to this next phase of life. That’s a positive.
Moving is indeed tough, just as you said. There really isn’t an easy way around it or shortcuts. Which is why packing and moving tips help.
Staying in one place is lovely because of the million memories that you make and keep. Your children grew up there, all the holidays you’ve spent in that one place and all the stories, only the walls could talk.
Of course if you have to move, then you move. You roll up your sleeves and get it done.
Great tips! I find that packing areas that I do not use first works best. Then, as the move date gets near I work on packing the items that are more important. I love the numbering and tracking system so I know exactly what is in each box. Thanks for sharing!
It’s important to have moving systems that work for you. What I like about numbering boxes is that you can quickly identify if a box is missing. If you’ve gone the extra step to list what’s in a box, then you know which contents are missing as well.
Such great advice here – especially the tip about packing the seasonal items way ahead of time. I’m kind of weird in that I actually really love packing and moving! So many opportunities to really cull what you truly love and need, and re-set your spaces in a fresh way at the new home.
Do you enjoy the process of moving or the results? It seems that what you revel in is what you’ll have afterwords. It’s quite an accomplishment.
I can’t say that I like anything about a move until it’s all done, unpacked and put away. Your clients must love you!
There are so many good tips in this post!
I do break one of your rules though…I sometimes use pillows or towels to help pack the tops of kitchen boxes. I find this is a minor sin though, as it helps really pack in some of those breakable items so they don’t move, and it tends to be pretty obvious that the pillows and towels don’t actually belong in the kitchen.
Purging unwanted items prior to packing is such a helpful step. Moving time is a great time to declutter! But also on the other end, you may find some other items you thought you wanted to keep, but you packed them away so long ago, perhaps you don’t need them after all. 😉
I guess I break one of my rules as well. I also use pillows, light throws and blankets to put extra cushioning around delicate items, especially from the kitchen area. Sometimes, I use old pillows and throws that I intend to toss at the other end.
Moving is absolutely the best time to declutter and weed out. Why move what you don’t need? It takes time, so starting well in advance, with off-season items, is the way to go.
This should be required reading for anyone starting the moving process. When I was young and poor, I moved often and did few of these things; everything I owned fit in suitcases and a few boxes and fit in my car. (Except, for my first movie, I shipped books fourth-class media rate and one important box never arrived. Ack!) I hated moving so much that I’ve stayed in the same place almost 24 years, but except for the fact that I have no expensive art or mirrors, I can use all of this advice! Good job!
I’ve had so many moving experiences. Some were hilarious and some were painful.
Years ago, I was helping a family with their cross-country move. They had a very valuable item;the foreman and I urged them to take this item on the flight and hold it on one of their laps. The homeowner refused.Though the item was heavily insured, it never made its way across country. It was less the financial loss as it was a sentimental loss.
Moving is hard, even when you’ve made many moves yourself. It’s probably just easier to stay in one place if you can.😊