Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go together--while you're purging, you need to be packing, also. If you are executing your move yourself, you are in charge of getting all the packing equipment that are required. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have employed are all excellent resources for your equipment. If you obtain from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here's 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.
Where to Begin
Last used, last packed is the rule of thumb for the packing process—generally speaking, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be packed in boxes. Since you're packing as the same time as you purge, start with the low-hanging fruit in chests and cabinets; you can knock out one or two of those in an hour. When you've gathered enough for a donate or dump trip, do not exit the house until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can utilize unique 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 it is delicate. A couple of moments spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you cannot locate your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging assists with organization, and so does cleaning out the closets, attic, and garage early in the process. You will want to designate a storage area for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the perfect site as it's going to be close to the moving truck. Alas, the garage must be organized for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—set aside at least a weekend for the garage purge. Once you've got the garage under control, 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 correctly distributed and so that the first items that need to come off 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 it. If not, put everything 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 every day are very fragile. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little TLC 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 more, 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 fragile items. 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.
Do not just toss your lamps into boxes, remove the shade and harp 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.
Next time, we will discuss packing dos and don'ts.