Moving? Use these packing tips for a stress free move


Years ago I had a friend who would move and unpack every box in a day.  By the end of moving day, he would even have his pictures hung on the wall in his new home.  We don’t promise that you will be able to move in a single day, but these tips will help your move go a lot smoother and be less stressful.

Don’t under estimate the amount of time it takes to pack

If you suspect you’re going to be moving, don’t wait to get started.  Procrastination will only lead to a more stressful move.  According to moving.com, you should allow for at least a month to pack.

Start by packing your attic, storage closets and basement.  Then proceed It’s important that you don’t mix items from different rooms in your boxes.  It’s important that you don’t mix items from different rooms in your boxes.  Then proceed room by room.

Don’t move things twice

Sort the items into categories:  things you absolutely will need before the move, things that can be donated to charity, and those things that can go into storage.  Don’t move things twice.  If you touch something, be ready to put it in a box.  Have boxes ready for each category so you only have to touch items once.

Avoid dumpster diving for boxes

It can be tempting to go behind your local grocery or liquor store and collect boxes for moving.  While these boxes are free, they’re not well suited for suited for packing for a move.  Your best option is to use quality boxes that are uniform in shape and size.  You will obviously need different size boxes.  However, it’s hard to properly stack a box designed for lettuce on top of a box designed for beer.  If you use uniform box sizes, you’ll make loading and unloading the truck easier.

You can purchase your boxes from a local storage/moving company or big box hardware store.  However, before you pay for boxes, be sure to check out U-Haul exchange for free moving boxes.  You can type in something like “Sacramento, free moving boxes” for a list of people with various used moving supplies.  You can also use your social media, Craigslist.org or Freecycle.org to ask for people’s old moving boxes.  Make sure to specify that you are looking only for boxes designed for moving, or you may end up with everyone else’s dumpster boxes.

Take photos before disassembling and packing items

Protect yourself from losses by photographing your belongings before moving, especially furniture and fragile items.  If you’re hiring movers, having photographs of your items before the move may prove invaluable if something gets broken during the move.

In addition to photographing valuables or fragile items, be sure to take photographs of how different items go together before you take them apart.  This includes things like your electronic cable connections, and any other items that you might forget how to reassemble.

When disassembling items for the move, keep the screws and miscellaneous parts in separate and labeled Ziploc bags.  Then, tape the bags in or on the item they came from.

Separate rooms, separate boxes

It’s important that you don’t mix items from different rooms in your boxes. If the last box for a room isn’t full, fill it with packing material.  It might be tempting to put towels or items from other rooms in the box to fill it, but don’t.  If you end up needing something you packed in a box from another room, it may be weeks before you find it.

Assign a color to each room

Use colored labels to identify different rooms.  It’s much easier to identify colors than trying to read someone’s handwriting on the side of the box.  And you don’t need to try to distinguish your notes from previous scribbles your friends left on the boxes from their moves.

It also helps your movers put your boxes in the right room.

You can obtain different colored name badges from your local office supply store to use as labels.  Or, you can tape different colored Post-It Notes on your boxes.  If you’re using Post-It Notes, be sure to put moving box tape over them as they will have a tendency to come off during the move.

Heavy items, smaller boxes

Yes, this is my truck. No, I won't help you move.Have you ever seen the bumper sticker “Yes, it’s my truck.  No I won’t help you move”?  If you want to keep your moving friends, don’t use big boxes for heavy items.

The rule of thumb is, the heavier the items, the smaller the box.  Don’t fill your grandma’s hope chest with books.  You can quickly lose your moving friends if you don’t think about how heavy boxes are when they’re filled.

Turn electronics completely off

Some people suggest you leave an iPhone or iPad on in one of your boxes so you can track your belongings, should they get lost.  This may sound like a great idea, but you may find yourself with a useless piece of electronic equipment if you do.  Electronics generate heat, even in “sleep mode”.  If they’re in a hot moving truck or car, they can potentially overheat and become ruined.  Instead, purchase a GPS tracker. You can purchase these for around $50 and not worry about your expensive electronics overheating.

To protect sensitive electronic equipment, consider keeping them with you in your own car.

Avoid moving on holiday weekend

Holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day are peak moving days, due to the long weekend.  However, if you’re hiring a moving company or renting a U-Haul, it’s likely to be your most expensive days.  If you’re hiring a moving company, check off peak days during the week for better rates.  If you’re renting a moving truck and doing it yourself, choose a different weekend to move.

Have plenty of drinking water available

Moving takes a lot of energy and generates a lot of perspiration.  Keep a cold ice chest at each location full of bottled water and sport drinks like Gatorade.  Tape a large piece of paper on it labeled “cold drinks” to let everyone know where the drinks are at.  Your friends, and movers will really appreciate it.

Beer is bad for moving

It may be common practice to tell your friends you’ll bring beer if they help you move – but we would suggest against it.  Alcohol is a diuretic and can actually reduce the amount of fluids in a person’s body.  In addition, professional movers will usually have a no alcohol policy for their workers.

No packing on moving day

Nothing adds more stress to moving day, than your having to quickly pack boxes on moving day.  To avoid this stress, be sure to complete all of your packing before moving day.  Seriously.   Have everything packed in boxes and ready for your movers the day before, including pictures, clocks and any last minute items.  You might be stressed leading up to moving day, but it will be far better than if you have to pack anything the day of your move.

Last in, first off

Last in the truck, means first off of the truck.  Keep things you need immediately upon arrival at your new home in separate boxes.  Also, set them aside to be put in the truck last and with a separate color label.  Then when the truck is unloaded, they will be the first off of the truck and you can direct your movers to put them someplace where you can find them quickly.

Have an ” essentials” bag

Keep a small duffel bag or small suitcase for those over night essentials:  toothbrush, toothpaste, toiletries, etc.  Whether you’re traveling to you new home or just driving across town, you’ll want these items readily available and not packed in the moving truck.

Moving but haven’t sold your home?

If you’re moving but haven’t sold your home yet, you may have more questions.  Will our house sell any time soon?  What are my options if our house doesn’t sell?  If you need to sell your home quickly, you may want to consider a company that buys houses.  Companies like The Real Estate Solutions Guy buy houses as is, saving you from dealing with repairs.  More importantly, they’re cash buyers allowing them to buy quickly, allowing you to move without any more worries about selling you home.

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