Pack Smarter

Everything You Need to Know to Pack For a Move

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Moving day will be here sooner than you think. You probably wish you could blink your eyes and everything would arrive in its proper place in your new home. But you're not a genie. It's going to take careful thought, smart preparation, and plenty of muscle to get your belongings from their places in your current home to the right spot in your new one. Here are some ideas to help you get ready for moving day.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

You may have the urge to start tossing your things in boxes and sorting them out in your new place. Resist that urge. Plan ahead to make sure you move out and move in as easily possible.

  • Think about your new home: layout, size, number of rooms. Chances are you're going to have to organize your stuff in a different way than it is in your current home. Those changes affect how you pack.
  • Draw out a floor plan of your new place. Look at the bedrooms, living spaces, and kitchen. Start planning where things will go. Literally draw objects into the floor plan so that you can visualize them in your new home.
  • Moving Checklist¬†[PDF-59.5KB], a checklist to help plan and organize your move.

Buy Supplies

Having the right equipment ready will make your move a little less painful. You'll want these supplies on hand:

  • Boxes for your stuff. This one is obvious. Get about double what you're thinking, because you don't want to overload them, and you definitely don't want to run out of boxes at the last minute!
  • Bubble wrap and packing paper to protect valuables. Use packing tape to seal boxes.
  • Plastic sandwich bags, blank stickers, and permanent markers. You'll find out why later.

Sort. And Purge.

Let's face it: We all have a lot of stuff that we just don't need. Do you really want to pack up, haul, and unpack stuff you never use and don't care about? Before you pack anything, start by separating stuff you need from stuff you don't.

  • Start in the storage area of your house. The basement, the attic, a closet - wherever you keep that mass of stuff you think you need but never use.
  • Go through things. If you haven't used, looked at, or at least thought about something in a couple of years, separate it into the "purge" pile.
  • Don't be afraid to keep valuables or special items - even if you don't use them often. Put these types of objects together, and pack them safely in case you don't open them for a while.
  • Decide how you're going to get rid of stuff. Donate it to charity? Hold a garage sale? Leave it by the curb and hope someone takes it?

Get Packing

The moment of truth has arrived. All your planning has come down to this. Keep a few things in mind while you're packing:

  • Don't forget to wrap breakables in bubble wrap or packing paper.
  • Make sure to line the bottom of your boxes with foam peanuts or crumpled-up newspaper. Place the heavier items on the bottom and the lighter items on the top.
  • When everything is packed in a particular box, sprinkle in some more packing peanuts, tape up the box, and label it.

Preparing Furniture

It's tempting not to prep furniture and hope that everything survives the move without a scratch. But taking a few extra minutes on the front end can save you from getting a big headache. Here are a few ideas to keep your furniture protected during the move:

  • Remember the plastic sandwich bags, blank stickers, and permanent marker we suggested earlier? They come in handy when you're disassembling things like tables, bookshelves, and cribs. Nuts, bolts, and washers go in a plastic bag, which can then be taped to the underside of a piece of furniture. For items that have a lot of individual components, use the stickers to label each item so you can easily assemble the furniture again.
  • Apply wax to fine woods to prevent scratches.
  • Put pillows and coverings in plastic garbage bags. Make sure to fasten the bags so debris can't get in.
  • Wrap important furniture with blankets or bubble wrap for extra protection.

Take a Deep Breath

You're finished packing. Relax, but don't lose too much steam: You'll need to unpack everything soon.

Get some rest before the big day. Go visit some of your favorite places, or spend time with friends and family. And keep things in perspective: Moving is hard work, but there's an end in sight.


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