Packing for Your Move - The Basics
Packing and purging go hand in hand--while you're purging, you need to be packing, at the same time. If you are managing 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 hired are all great resources for your supplies. 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 assist you:
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.
Last utilized, last packed is the rule for the boxing process—usually, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be put in boxes. Since you are packing while you purge, begin 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've purged enough for a donate or dump trip, don't leave home until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You can use 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 each side of the box and note if it's require special handling. A couple of moments spent listing the contents will come in handy later when you can't find 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 preferred site as it's going to be nearby to the moving truck. Of course, the garage must be organized for this to work, so tackle 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 easily on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is adequately distributed and so that the first things that need to come off are the last put on.
If you're the sort of person who hangs on to boxes, you may now congratulate yourself. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original wrap, you can re-use that. 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 so that you can refer to the photos when you are hooking everything back up.
It's amazing how many things you use every day are pretty fragile. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little extra care 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 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 large boxes for delicate things. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in different 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 remove the bulb. The bases can be placed 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 look at packing dos and don'ts.