Kurt Jacobson is a surfing enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 10 times in the past seven years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he’s not out shredding waves he writes about rental homes for RentFinder.
If you thought choosing the right home was difficult, think again. Planning a move can induce nightmares and panic attacks in a normally sane individual. In between trying to contact your pesky realtor who seems to have mastered the act of disappearing just when you need him, sending change-of-address forms to the post office, insurance companies and banks, and deciding what color you should paint your new bedroom, you also have to organize and pack all your stuff before the movers are honking at your door.
Is it really possible to pack all the things you’ve accumulated over the years into a single moving truck without losing your sanity? It is – if you follow these five simple tips.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start going through your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to discard. If you leave your inventory-taking and packing to the last minute, you’ll end up shoving everything into your boxes with no idea whether you are going to need it in your new house or not. And what’s more, you’ll also end up spending more than what would have been actually required on packing and transportation.
If you haven’t used an item in the last couple of years, then chances are you are never going to get around to using it in the future. If you have enough time and enough stuff that you don’t need, try holding a quick garage sale. Clothes that don’t fit you anymore but are in good condition, books that you are sure you are never going to read and unused electronic appliances may find willing buyers.
Once you have a rough idea of how much stuff you have to take to your new home, order your packing supplies. This includes strong boxes (buy more medium-sized ones instead of too many big or small ones), heavy-duty packing tape, bubble wrap, re-sealable bags, labels and markers.
In case you are wondering what you are going to do with re-sealable bags, let me tell you that these multi-purpose bags are simply great for holding all those stray items such as stationery, toys, tools, cosmetics and so on. You can also get reusable packing boxes from your friends or your local grocery store if you would like to cut down on expenses, but make sure that they are clean and pest free.
Get a hold of plenty of old newspapers and rags – they will come in handy for padding and filling empty spaces in boxes.
All these packing materials should be stored in a single carton which will function as your “all-in-one moving basket.” This will save you precious time in hunting down tape, labels or markers when you need them or running to different rooms for different supplies.
Tackle One Room at a Time
Start one room at a time – preferably with the least-used space in your house, such as the garage, attic or guest room. Some people advise taking out all the stuff and dumping it in the center of the room and then deciding whether you want to take it to your new home or toss it in the “discard” pile. If this system works for you, then great! Otherwise, you may want to tackle one small section at a time and clean as you go.
Leave your kitchen for last. Ideally, you should start using up all food items that you cannot take to your new home at least two months before the moving date.
As a rule of thumb, try to pack heavier items, such as books, in small boxes, which are easier to carry. While using bigger boxes, pack heavy items toward the bottom and spread the lighter items on top.
A moving diary can make your life 100 times easier. This is the one place you can jot down all the important details you need to remember during moving. In addition to being a one-stop place for storing bills, receipts and contact details for people involved in the moving process, your moving diary should also contain a detailed list of what items you have packed in each box. Avoid labeling boxes with a detailed list of contents as it can very well invite pilfering.
Color Coding and Sequencing
If packing seems like an insurmountable task, then wait till you get to your new home and start to unpack! To make your life easier, assign a different color for boxes for each room – red for the living room, blue for the master bedroom, green for the children’s room, yellow for the kitchen – and stick matching labels on all four sides of each box. In your moving diary, write down a sequence number, along with a list of what items have gone into that particular box. Don’t forget to hang matching color-coded cards on the door of each room in your new home so that your movers know where to place each box.
All essentials that you need to survive for a couple of days in your new home should be packed in a separate box to go along with you. If you are planning to send this box along with your movers, make sure that this box goes in the truck last and is the first to be unloaded. This box should ideally contain at least two changes of clothes for each member of the family, towels, eating utensils, bottled water, food, a first-aid kit, prescription medicines, soap, toiletries, cell phone chargers, a flashlight, batteries and all that stuff you can’t live without for even a single day!
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.