When you're moving, the way you decide to pack can really have an impact on just how stressful the move can become, and when you're moving for the first time, you don't have a lot of experience to draw from. With the following tips, you won't need to make big packing blunders that turn into headaches as you struggle to pack up everything in the right way and on the right timeline.
1. Look in the right place for your boxes.
You might balk at the idea of buying cardboard boxes, so you head to places like your local office store to get boxes for your move. Unfortunately, the obvious places (like office stores and grocery stores) have already been cleaned out of boxes by other people who are also looking to save money by collecting them for free. Instead, try getting boxes from colleges or grade schools who use plenty of copier paper. Boxes for paper are sturdy, they have handles, and their lids fit snugly instead of folding up like a traditional cardboard box.
Tip: Pack one or two books in the bottom of every box to avoid a "book box" that is heavy to move.
2. Pack the right rooms first.
When you start packing, you might think it makes the most sense to pack the stuff you use the least and that you won't miss in the days leading up to the move, like books or winter clothes or extra bedding. However, these things are easy to pack and take very little time to box up. The areas that should take your attention and the bulk of your packing materials are the kitchens and bathrooms. Mixers, pots and pans, dinnerware, hygiene products, medicines, and other paraphernalia are difficult to organize and fit effectively into boxes. Start with the kitchen, packing the biggest, bulkiest, or most fragile items first so you aren't scrambling for time and space at the last minute.
Tip: Save time and use foam plates in between china plates instead of wrapping each one in newspaper or towels.
3. Secure your small pieces.
Nothing is more disheartening than opening your box of board games at your new house only to see the lids have come off during the move and the pieces are scattered and mixed together. Puzzle pieces, wooden letters, cards, and dice get lost, ruining the value of games, which can be costly to replace. Place elastic bands around all card sets, even if they have a special slot in the game box. Tape game boxes closed with packing tape. Use belts or other fasteners to secure stacks of three or four games together to prevent the shifting of the games within the box itself.
Tip: Place small game pieces in zip-top bags and suck the air out. This saves space within a box and prevents any small pieces from mixing together.
4. Remember that garage sales are not your friend.
People often decide to have a garage sale before the move to cut back on packing costs and headaches, but the sale itself is more trouble than it is worth (literally). If you don't need something, moving time is not a time for negotiating a sale, unless it is a big-ticket item like a table or a nice set of rocking chairs. If you'll be printing a price tag for five dollars or less, save yourself some stress and toss in a box for donating to charity.
Tip: If you haven't used it in a year, you don't need it. Minimalism will help you to save on packing and moving costs—on average, homeowners can trim down the size of their final load by forty or fifty percent by getting rid of things they don't need or by selling and then rebuying things once they arrive.
5. Buy a roll of shrink wrap.
This works for all the things that are awkward or hard to manage. For example, a baby swing might fold down, but the bars could still shift as you're trying to pack it into the van. Shrink wrapping the bars together or in place will help make it easier to move. Also, wrapping up things that belong together (like pieces of a bed frame) helps to reduce the chance of crucial parts being lost.
Tip: Place hardware in baggies, label them, and the tape them to the thing they belong too, then shrink wrap it all for added protection.
If you need some extra help with the packing process, contact a service like Bekins Van Lines Inc.