Congratulations: you’re moving! This is an exciting time, whether you’re changing apartments, becoming a first-time homeowner, or upgrading your house. No doubt the last thing you want to think about is the tedious, stressful task of packing up your entire place. However, if you start early with a few simple steps, you can make this arduous undertaking much more manageable.
Go room by room and write down what you plan to pack, sell, and donate. Also keep a record of valuable items and their estimated values should anything be damaged during the move. Shred documents and mail you don’t need to take with you. Start asking around for boxes from friends and local grocery stores. They can be expensive to buy and you’ll need a lot of them.
Pack by room.
Start with rooms you use the least often (guest room, basement, garage), that way your daily life is not disrupted before it needs to be. Dust or clean items before you pack them so you’re not unpacking dirt and dust into your new place.
Use common sense.
Don’t try to put as much as you can into each box. Put heavier things, like books and tools, into smaller boxes. For large boxes, fill out empty space with packing paper or other lightweight materials. Use bulky, soft items like blankets and comforters to wrap breakable items. (You have to take them anyway; they might as well be performing a service.) Don’t use regular newspaper to wrap dishes, glass, etc. It will leave black ink on everything. Spring for first-run packing paper, which is perfectly clean.
Protect, protect, protect.
You can buy large bags for items like mattresses, couches and other upholstered furniture. It would be lame to discover big dirt spots on your stuff when you finally complete your move. Put large pictures in frame boxes to protect the corners as well as the glass. Make sure all your boxes have an extra layer of packing material along the top. This way, when you and your giant box cutter go to open the box, you won’t accidentally scratch or slice your belongings.
When labeling your boxes, choose a different color for each room. It will be an easy way to immediately tell where your boxes should go once you move in. Label each side of the boxes so you don’t need to keep turning them around to read them. Number your boxes and make a list of the contents of each on a separate piece of paper. When you’re ready to unpack, you will know exactly what is inside each box (without having to write it all on the box itself).
See, you did it! That wasn’t so bad. Now begins the fun of organizing your new home the way you’ve always envisioned it. Enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life!