How to Pack for a Move: Tips You Can't Ignore
Moving to a new house is exciting and daunting at the same time. There’s so much going on consecutively that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, it is important to prepare for the move with a strategy in mind and a very clear perspective regarding what is to be achieved and in what timespan. Besides the other things that need to be done such as uninstalling services, reinstalling services in your new premises, ordering new furniture, selling old furniture, and other similar tasks, the most crucial aspect of the move is packing.
If you ask people how to pack for a move, most will babble on aimlessly, leaving you more confused than before. However, if you follow the provided guidelines, your move is likely to be much smoother, better coordinated, and much more enjoyable.
How to Pack for a Move 101
What will follow is a list of essential tips you must keep in mind when deducing how to pack for a move.
Learning how to pack for a move is mostly about planning and organization — so sit tight and take notes (and keep them organized).
Follow the checklist manifesto
Before you can learn how to pack for a move, you need to learn the checklist manifesto, which tells us to use checklists and lists as often as possible.
If you like to rely on memory and hate writing things down, we’d suggest you rethink your strategy. Moving is a complex process, and if you don't write things down, you'll soon find yourself in a big mess: and perhaps a big complicated mess at that.
Make your lists on a computer or a phone, so they'll be easy to handle.
Declutter, declutter, and declutter
Before you start packing, decluttering is essential. The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to pack it. It is suggested that you give de-cluttering plenty of time because most of us have way more things than we need.
It’s best to declutter one room at a time. Be thorough and get rid of everything that you don’t need. Everything. Items that you don’t need can be sold, donated, or simply trashed depending upon their conditions.
If you plan on selling something, here are some handy tips.
For selling furniture, your best bet is Craigslist. Sell branded clothes at Poshmark, and specialty items should be sold at eBay. It's a good idea to dedicate some time to taking pictures and writing descriptions for all items you plan on selling.
Essential supplies are exactly that – essential
Learning how to pack for a move would be useless without essential supplies.
The most important item you need to get is padding material, which includes bubble wrap, packing paper, or blankets. To save money, gather old clothes and use them as padding. This way you'll pack your old clothes and protect your valuables at the same time.
The other essential item you need to have are boxes — sturdy and of varying sizes. There are several ways to save money on boxes. First, try contacting friends and family and see if they can spare some.
Your local liquor store is another place you can find free (or cheap) boxes, but be careful about the worn-out ones. You can use worn out boxes for lightweight items, but if you pack your dinner set in it, it will probably be the last time you see it.
Alternatively, try a retailer like Tesco, Waitrose, etc. You’ll definitely find boxes there.
You’ll also need the following:
- Labeling stickers
- Measuring tapes
- Tools for taking the furniture down
- Ziploc bags
It’s a great idea to make a list of all items you need and buy them all in one go from a hardware store.
Get utilities out of the way
This step is so simple that most people forget it.
All it takes to cancel utilities at your current residence and set them up at your new house are a few calls. But once the moving process starts rolling, this step can be easily missed. So, do it as soon as possible.
Change your address
This one is obvious. But it’s also something you will most likely forget. Most people do!
Change your address a week or so before you move. You don’t want important shipments and letters coming to your old house once you’re basking in the comfort of your new abode.
Get your camera clicking
Preparing to unpack is as essential as learning how to pack for a move, and your camera will help you with that.
You’ll probably have complicated set-ups in your house. These can include elaborate decorative set-ups, the back of your TV (those wires are impossible), your son’s gaming computer, and anything that will have to be reconfigured at your new house.
Take pictures of all such set-ups before you take them apart. Reconfiguring them will then be a breeze.
Categorize and list your items
Remember the checklist manifesto?
You should divide all your items into four categories: essential items, items not to be packed, items movers won't take, and items to be packed. Make a list for each group.
Essential Items: This category should include all items you’ll need immediately after moving into your new house. Examples include towels, toilet paper, and hand soap.
You should also include hardware like nuts and bolts from furniture in this category. And don't forget the tools which you'll use to disassemble and reassemble all your furniture.
It’s a good idea to pack all items in this category together. These items should be loaded last and unloaded first from the moving truck.
Items not to be packed: Things in this category are not clutter, but can't be moved immediately. Identify all such items and make temporary storage arrangements for them.
Storage facilities are excellent for this purpose. You can easily compare storage companies and what they offer and avail the best deals here.
Items movers won’t take: If you’re hiring movers, you should be aware that there are certain items moving companies don’t cover.
- Fire extinguishers
- Paint thinners
- Aerosol cans
You can get a complete list from the company you’re hiring. Identify all such items that you have and make alternative transportation arrangements for them. You can ask a friend to help you out.
Items to be packed: List down all the things you'll pack, and check them off as you're in the packing process. This way, you'll not leave behind anything important.
It's a good idea to make several lists for this category — one for each room.
Ask for help
Friends and family: Don't hesitate to ask for help. Moving is a complex process and can quickly get overwhelming if you go at it alone.
Decide if you’re going to call in friends and family, and inform them well beforehand. Nobody likes surprises.
Professional movers: Professional movers are another avenue of assistance. They not only know how to pack for a move, but they also know how to do it efficiently. Most companies provide a full-service option — they’ll pack your stuff, transport it, and unload it.
If you want to save money, pack all your stuff before movers arrive. Movers are paid hourly, and packing in advance will save time and money.
You also want to get quotes from multiple companies before choosing one. This will help you select the most economical one. Some companies ask for full payment in advance; and others have very specific damage and handling policies. It is essential to get all the required information at once.
Make sure you’ve read up thoroughly on the company you’re going to hire. Also, movers are extra-busy (and expensive) on weekends. If you set the moving day during the week, you’ll save money.
Create a master moving folder
Create a file and put all the important paperwork in it. You can include pet vet records, the contact information of property owners (or other important people), moving truck reservations, any financial documents, and hotel reservations.
Don’t put this folder away with your other packed items. Instead, keep it in a safe and accessible place like your personal bag. You won't go crazy every time you need an important document, and your moving process will remain smooth.
Remember, learning how to pack for a move is mainly about learning how to stay organized.
Make space for packing
Once you're ready to pack — with all your lists and essential tools — dedicate a place in your house for packing. You should bring all the stuff and pack it up in this space.
Ideally, your packing station should be wide and spacious- and somewhere easily accessible from all parts of your house.
Pack the items in each room together
It is important to reiterate, learning how to pack for a move is mainly about mastering the art of organization.
Pack the items for each room together, and write down the number of boxes holding items for each room. If possible, color-code the boxes for different rooms. This will be very helpful when you unpack.
Also, resist the urge to move onto the next room before wrapping up the first. Stay organized and completely pack everything in a room before moving on.
Adopt a proper packing technique
This is the gist of how to pack for a move- adopting a well-strategized and risk-free packing technique.
Wrap each item properly and ensure fragile items have adequate padding. When boxing items up, place the heavier items on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Use space efficiently, and pack as much stuff into a box as possible.
However, if most items in a particular box are heavy, use smaller boxes. Your back and movers (if you decide to hire some) will thank you.
Place plastic sheets between any bottles and their caps before putting them into boxes. Plastic sheets will prevent any leaks, which can potentially ruin all contents of the box.
Also, fill any empty spaces within a box with newspapers or some other padding material. This will minimize movement — and damage — of the contents during transit.
Make sure you follow these guidelines correctly — they're the crux of knowing how to pack for a move. If not followed properly, all your efforts can go in vain.
If you have the money, you can buy wardrobe boxes, special boxes that come with a rod. All you need to do is place the hangers on the rod and you're good to go.
Alternatively (and more wisely), you can leave your clothes in the closet. Leave them on their hangers and wrap them together with a garbage bag. This way, they'll stay in place.
If you have drawers in your closet (or anywhere else), leave their contents in their place. Put a plastic wrap over them so they won’t move during transit. You will also want to use a strong tape to seal all your drawers so they won’t open during transit.
Use suitcases for books
ulleo / Pixabay
Suitcases are very helpful for moving books.
Books are heavy, and since professional movers charge according to weight, you can potentially waste a lot of money on moving books.
Instead, pack and move your books using suitcases. Suitcases have wheels, making them easy to move around and allowing your books to be easily transportable.
Disassembling the furniture
Annoying reminder: learning how to pack for a move without learning how to unpack is futile.
So, before taking furniture apart, measure it and determine whether it’ll fit in your new house.
If it won’t, get rid of it and make your life easier. If the furniture fits, be systematic and organized while taking it apart. Place all hardware like nuts and screws in Ziploc bags, and mention the contents and room on the bags.
You want to place all such bags in your essential items box because furniture is one of the first things you’re going to set up in your new house.
Eat everything in the fridge
A clean, new house and a dirty fridge don’t go together.
You’ll need to empty your fridge to clean it and make transportation easy. So, call your friends, have a party and eat everything in the fridge. You don't want to waste food.
Label ALL boxes
Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
So now you've packed everything up into boxes, and you're good to go. But are you? Not so fast.
Labeling boxes is as essential as filling them properly. Make sure you label the sides as well as the tops.
You should mention the room a particular box belongs to and the category of items in it. For example, you might have a box containing clothes for the master bedroom.
You also want to make a list of what goes into each box so that when you’re unpacking, you know exactly where something is.
Finally, as mentioned above, color-code the boxes according to the room they belong to. Spray paints are a great tool for this.
Congratulations, you’ve passed How to Pack for a Move 101
To sum it up, learning how to pack for a move is essential before undertaking it. Moving is a complex process, and if you don't have a plan, things can go in the wrong direction very easily.
If you’re an organized person, you are already accustomed to the basics of how to pack for a move, because the most important thing when packing is to stay organized!
And if you're a messy person, read this article twice, and you'll also ace How to Pack for a Move 101!