My last article covered wide scale de-cluttering in anticipation of a move. Next it is time to prepare, box and label your belongings.
There are numerous ways to get your things from point A to B, so begin by researching your options to decide which will work best in your situation. If you hire professional movers ensure that you select a reputable business with a track record of good customer service. A detailed “twelve step guide to hiring a mover” is available at www.realsimple.com. Another option is to pack and transport the items yourself.
Moving is often a very labor intensive process so you will want to use a dolly to lighten the load and recruit help if possible. A list of “loading tips” with the supplies, preparatory steps, and ways to avoid injury is posted on www.upack.com. Another idea is to hire movers just for the heavy and most fragile items, or to rent a shipping container, such as a POD, so that you can pack it yourself and have the company re-locate it.
When your plan calls for do-it-yourself packing, create a list of each room with the categories of items that are inside. Then go down the list and number the categories in order of what could be boxed first, second, and third. The first category is filled with things that you will not need at all before you move. First you will pack all of the number one items in the house, then all of the twos, and all of threes. For example, the master bedroom may contain: furniture (3), pillows/bedding (3), decorations (1), TV (3), clothing/shoes (3), jewelry/accessories (2), books (1), and photos (1). On moving day, consider packing a small overnight bag with the bare essentials so that you are comfortable as soon as you arrive.
Gather sturdy boxes in various sizes, packing tape in a dispenser, permanent markers, bubble wrap or packing paper, masking tape, and scissors. I prefer to use the small and medium boxes because the larger ones can get very heavy once full. Though moving boxes are the most durable option, grocery or liquor stores sometimes give away boxes with partitions that are great for fragile items like glasses. Clothing can travel in your suitcases and wardrobe boxes that have a metal bar for hanging garments. Protect framed art and photos in long thin boxes that are made especially for these items. Special boxes are also made for flat screen televisions. Furniture can be wrapped in plastic wrap or cloths. Empty the drawers and tape them shut.
Though you may not know exactly where everything is going to end up when you move, a great way to stay organized is to pack a box with categories of similar items that will ideally be stored in the same general area of your new house. Assemble a box and add a few pieces of strong tape on the bottom and a layer of paper or bubble padding on the inside (if the contents will be fragile). Wrap each thing up like a sub at a sandwich shop so that it is protected on all sides. Masking tape is good for holding things together on the more fragile or oddly shaped items. Tops or removable pieces should be wrapped separately. Always pack a box with the heaviest things on the bottom.
Dishes and other flat items should stand on their sides horizontally with padding all around, as opposed to being stacked vertically because the bottom items could crack under the weight. Fill the empty spaces with paper so that things fit snuggly into place. If a box is not full but it has already gotten heavy, add extra bubble wrap, paper, pillows, sheets, or towels to take up the empty space. Each box should have a final layer of paper or padding on the top because it will most likely be stacked.
Arriving in a new house full of blank or mislabeled boxes might send you into a panic when you have to open each box searching for specific things. I often see people who label boxes from which room they came from in the original house which does not help much when you are trying to prioritize your unpacking and do not know which boxes hold the most important items that you will need to open right away. I suggest you specify where each box is supposed to go and what is inside. For example: Master Bedroom, Jill’s Clothing.
Label each box as soon as it is packed so that you do not forget what is inside. If the items inside are fragile mark that in large print. You might want to add a caution label to the items such as knives that could be a danger to the person unwrapping them. If you like, number the boxes so that you can keep track of how many you started with.
Once a box is done stack it against the wall with the label facing out and continue until all of your things are ready for transport.
Please check back next month for my tips on efficient unpacking at your new home.