Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go together--while you're purging, you need to be packing, at the same time. If you are executing your move yourself, you're responsible for acquiring all the packing supplies that are required. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you've employed are all good resources for your supplies. If you obtain from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a list to get you started:
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 comprehensive list of tools to make your move easier, click here.
Where to Begin
Last utilized, 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 packing in unison as you purge, start with the things that are easy to get out of the way in chests and cabinets; you can knock out several of those in an hour. When you have purged enough for a donate or dump run, don't leave home until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You could utilize distinguishing 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 it is delicate. A couple of seconds spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you can't locate your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging assists with organization, and so does tidying up the closets, attic, and garage at the beginning of the process. You'll want to designate a storage location for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the perfect spot as it's going to be nearby to the moving truck. Of course, the garage must be free of clutter for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—plan on 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 without issue on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is adequately distributed and so that the first boxes that need to come off are the last put on.
If you're the kind of person who keeps original packaging, you may now pat yourself on the back. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original wrap, you can re-use it. 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 in case something gets misplaced.
It's amazing how many things you use regularly are super fragile. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little special handling when you are packing them. Wrap dishes and glasses in newsprint, 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 oversize boxes for delicate things. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in odd 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, take the shade and harp off and remove the bulb. The bases can be placed 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.