Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go together--while you're purging, you should be packing, too. If you're executing your move yourself, you are in charge of accumulating all the packing supplies you need. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have employed are all great resources for your equipment. If you purchase from your mover, ask if you can return any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.
Here is a outline 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 extensive 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 go in boxes. Since you are packing as the same time as you purge, start with the things that are easy to get out of the way in chests and cabinets; you can knock out a couple of those in an hour. When you have gathered enough for a donate or trash trip, don't leave home 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 every side of the box and note if it's breakable. A couple of moments spent listing the contents are worth their weight in gold later when you can't lay hands on your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".
Purging assists with organization, and so does cleaning out the closets, attic, and garage at the beginning of the process. You will want to designate a storage location for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the best place as it's going to be near to the moving truck. However, the garage must be free of clutter for this to work, so tackle this project early on—carve out 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 with no problem on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is correctly distributed and so that the first boxes that you need at the destination are the last put on.
If you are the kind of person who keeps original packaging, you may now congratulate yourself. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original box, 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 staggering how many things you use daily are very breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little TLC when you are 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 further, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Do not overload the fragile boxes, and don't use large boxes for breakable things. Boxes from the liquor store work wonderfully 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, unscrew the shade and harp and take out the bulb. The bases can go 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 delve into packing dos and don'ts.