The last article covered wide-scale decluttering in preparation for moving, which is an extremely important step that decreases the amount of stuff that you will need to relocate. Now that your stuff is pared down, read on for help creating and executing a packing plan.

It goes without saying that the goal of a moving project is to safely transport your possessions within the allotted time frame and budget. As a Professional Organizer, my job is to help clients decide where to begin and ensure that they remain focused on the task and the schedule. The fastest (and most expensive) way to pack is to use a professional moving company. If you go this route, an excellent guide to hiring a mover is available at and will also be made available at along with my archived articles.

On the other hand, you can rent a truck and move everything yourself by following the guide for loading your truck at If you have the means, a great compromise is to hire movers to pack and move your furniture as well as the fragile or heavy valuables, and pack the rest yourself.

You can create a packing plan by listing the general categories of your possessions and comparing them to the amount of time you have so that you can decide how much time you should allocate for each.

Number the list in order with No. 1 being the category you would least likely need before you move. Maybe your books, photos or memorabilia might be near the top and your food and clothes would be at the bottom. Remember to clean any dirty items prior to packing. Ronni Eisenberg, author of “Organize Yourself,” suggests sending carpets, drapes and quilts away to be cleaned and having them sent to your new address if possible.

Gather sturdy boxes in different sizes, packing tape in a dispenser, permanent markers, bubble wrap or packing paper, and scissors. Your towels, linens and pillows can also serve as padding. Free boxes are usually available at grocery or liquor stores. Liquor boxes have partitions that are great for fragile items.

When packing each box, it is best to include items that are going to be stored near together in the new home. Collect the items in one spot if they are not already together and remove anything that you can do without as your second attempt at decluttering.

Assemble a box and add a few pieces of strong tape as reinforcement. For breakables, add a layer of paper for padding first, then wrap each item individually like a sub at a sandwich shop, and insert in the box so that nothing moves around. If they do, add more paper in between.

Put the heaviest things on the bottom and finish off with extra paper so there is a cushiony layer on top when the boxes are stacked. Evenly distribute the weight and try not to make it too heavy. Dishes and other flat items should stand on their sides with padding all around, as opposed to being stacked because the bottom items could crack under the weight.

Anything that has a lid or top that comes off should be wrapped individually. Use different colored wrapping or make a note on items that are extra small and could easily get lost. The same goes for knives or items that may be a danger to the person unpacking them. Tape the box closed and label on at least two sides in the same area of the box. If they are fragile, mark that in large print. If a box is especially heavy, you might want to mark that as well.

Taking the extra time to label thoroughly helps a lot when it is time to unpack. Instead of identifying a box by the area that it came from in the original house, specify which room it will go in at your new house and what is inside, such as “Kitchen: Baking Pans.” You can also create a master list and assign a number to each box. Once that category is done, cross it off your list, congratulate yourself on making headway, and move on to the next one.

If you come across items that are already boxed up, open them to see if they need to be re-packed for safer transport. If you find boxes that have not been opened since you last moved, consider purging these things because you do not seem to need them often or at all. After all of the packing is done, you should have a list and a very clear understanding of what you own, as well as a good idea of where these items will be stored in your next home.