Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go hand in hand--while you're purging, you should be packing, at the same time. If you are executing your move yourself, you are responsible for acquiring all the packing materials you need. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have employed are all great resources for your supplies. If you purchase from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a list to help you get going:
Small boxes for books, heavy items, toys, appliances, fragile items
Medium boxes for the kitchen, accessories, lampshades, linens, shoes and boots
Large boxes for lamps, window treatments, pillows--items that are bulky but lightweight
Packing tape and tape guns
Newsprint, bubble wrap, packing peanuts or your shredded paper
Markers and labels
Small tools--screwdrivers, hammer, box cutter, scissors
Camera or smartphone
For a more all-encompassing list of tools to make your move easier, click here.
Last used, last packed is the rule of thumb for the packing process—generally, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be put in boxes. Since you're boxing as the same time as you purge, begin with the things that are easy to get out of the way in chests and cabinets; you can knock out a couple of those in an hour. When you've purged enough for a donate or dump trip, do not exit the house until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can use specific color-coded labels (blue for the kitchen, green for the master, etc.) or use masking tape with a heavy black marker; just be sure you label every side of the box and note if the contents are require special handling. A couple of seconds spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you cannot locate your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging helps you get organized, and so does cleaning out the closets, attic, and garage at the beginning of the process. You'll need a storage spot for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the best site as it's going to be near to the moving truck. Alas, the garage should be organized for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—set aside at least a Saturday and Sunday for the garage purge. Once you have got the space freed up, sort your boxes so that the movers can get to them easily on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is properly distributed and so that the first things that you need at the destination are the last put on.
If you're the kind of person who saves boxes, you may now pat yourself on the back. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original packaging, you can re-use that. If not, put all of the cords connected to the device in a box--power cords, modems, power strips, instructional CDS--and label it all. Take photos of the cords before you pack them so that you can refer to the photos when you are hooking everything back up.
It's amazing how many things you use regularly are pretty fragile. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little extra care when you're packing them. Wrap dishes and glasses in paper, and place the plates in the box on end like records. A layer of bubble wrap protects them even more, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Don't pack too much in the the boxes of delicate, and don't use large boxes for fragile items. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in strange sizes and may not have tops, so with a box cutter and tape you can customize boxes.
Do not just toss your lamps into boxes, unscrew the shade and harp and take out the bulb. The bases can be put in a large box with the harp taped to the base, the shades can nest in another box, and the bulbs need to be packed separately (an ornament box is great for this) and marked fragile.
In our next post, we will discuss packing dos and don'ts.