Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go in concert--while you're purging, you should be packing, at the same time. If you are executing your move yourself, you're in charge of acquiring all the packing supplies that are required. Your local big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you've employed are all excellent resources for your materials. If you buy from your mover, ask if you can return any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here's 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 all-encompassing list of tools to make your move easier, click here.
Where to Begin
Last utilized, last boxed is the rule of thumb for the boxing process—generally speaking, 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 low-hanging fruit in chests and cabinets; you can knock out a couple of those in an hour. When you have purged enough for a donation 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 all sides of the box and note if the contents are fragile. A couple of moments spent listing the contents are very important later when you cannot lay hands on your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging helps you get organized, and so does tidying up the closets, attic, and garage early in the process. You will have to fine a storage location for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the perfect spot as it's going to be near to the moving truck. However, the garage must be organized for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—carve out at least a Saturday and Sunday for the garage purge. Once you have got the garage under control, sort your boxes so that the movers can get to them with no problem on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is properly distributed and so that the first items that you need at the destination are the last put on.
If you are the kind of person who saves boxes, you may now congratulate yourself. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original packaging, you can re-use that. If not, put all 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 staggering how many things you use every day are very breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little extra care 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 further, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Don't overload the the boxes of delicate, and don't use oversize boxes for breakable things. Boxes from the liquor store work wonderfully for fragile things; they come in strange sizes and may not have tops, so with a box cutter and tape you can customize boxes.
Don't just toss your lamps into boxes, unscrew the shade and harp and unscrew the bulb. The bases can be put in a large box with the harp taped to the base, the shades can nest in a different box, and the bulbs need to be packed separately (an ornament box is great for this) and marked fragile.
Next time, we will discuss packing dos and don'ts.