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How Can I Pack Most Efficiently for Moving?

It is helpful to have multiple sizes of boxes for packing.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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Moving can be an extremely stressful activity, and many people dread packing for a major move. However, when people pack efficiently and intelligently, moving can be made much more simple. A good job prior to departure will also make moving in to a new home a great deal more pleasant. If you move frequently, establishing a system will also really help.

The first step is sensible packing is to assemble all of the tools that you need. Start with boxes. Use uniformly sized boxes which will nest or stack neatly together. Start with a small number of big boxes, double that number of medium sized boxes, which can be stacked on top of the big boxes, and add a very large number of small boxes. Many moving supply companies sell boxes which are specifically designed for the this purpose. Be sure to look for sturdy, durable boxes which will hold up through multiple moves, making your investment worth the money. You should also make a habit of saving electronics boxes and packaging materials, so that you can pack electronics up in boxes specially designed for them, thus preventing potential damage through moving.

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Small boxes are extremely useful for heavy items, to ensure that you do not overload a box, making it too heavy to move. Get more small boxes than you think you need, as a house always contains more belongings that meet the eye initially. You should also assemble packing tape, paper to protect delicate items, and an assortment of labeling pens. Many people find it helpful to color code their labeling, using different colors for different rooms, to make finding things on the other end even easier. Make sure to strap boxes well with tape, as you do not want them flying open during the move.

Packing room by room is often the most simple way to move. By doing a room from start to finish, you can ensure that all of the objects kept in it will be kept together. As you work, discard items that you no longer use or do not want. Do not pack with the intention of going through the boxes on the other end, as there is no sense in moving things you do not want. Make a pile of items for recycling, garbage, or donation. While you fill boxes, make sure that the space inside the box is used effectively, and that the boxes are padded with paper inside, if necessary, to prevent breakage.

Labeling is a crucial step in packing. Make your labels as descriptive and useful as possible. “Kitchen” is not a helpful label, because although it tells you that the contents belong in the kitchen, it does not tell you what might be in the box. “Kitchen — pots and pans” or “Kitchen — fine china: fragile” is much more valuable, as it helps you load up the truck safely, and unpack it easily on the other end. Make sure that boxes with breakables are clearly labeled “fragile,” and consider setting them aside for loading at the end.

After you have packed your entire house, focus on loading a moving truck. Whether you are loading it or hiring people to load it, make sure that the load is evenly and safely distributed. Take the time to pad furniture so that it will not be scuffed or damaged, and stack your boxes cleanly, with their edges neatly squared, so that they will not slide during the move. Set aside boxes of items which you will need immediately so that they are loaded at the end, making them readily accessible for you when you need them.

If you have animals, it can add a new dimension of stress to packing and moving. Try to isolate the animals in an empty room while you work, to avoid upsetting them. Load them, along with their accessories, at the last possible minute, and make sure that the animals have tags with usable contact information, and that crates are clearly labeled.

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Discuss this Article

anon936481
Post 5

I've been a professional long haul mover for 17 years, and these are some good tips. All I could add is pack a box to the top surface. You could use paper to fill in the empty spaces. This creates vertical fortitude and the boxes won't crush when stacked. I wrap glass in layered cylindrical shapes and stand it up so it, again, has vertical fortitude. Paper works better than bubble wrap if you use it wisely. Please recycle that paper.

anon336998
Post 4

If you know someone who works in a hotel, they might be able to secure plenty of boxes and newspaper too since they too pitch out a lot. Starting long in advance helps quite a bit. Procrastinators beware; you'll pay to avoid the day. Supplies, that you can get for free will set you back a couple hundred if you don't do your homework. "Plan your work, and work your plan". Want another one? Slow and steady wins the race.

cupcake15
Post 3

@Cafe41 - I agree with you. I also always try to gather as many boxes as a can from the grocery store rather than buying them from packing services.

This way the boxes are free and I can start accumulating the boxes until I am ready to move. You don’t have to buy boxes if you ask for them at the grocery store.

The grocery store does not need these boxes and they often put them in a compressor to destroy them so you are actually doing the grocery store a favor when you ask for these boxes.

The one thing that I would buy is tape. You can never have enough packing tape so I would definitely stock up on that.

Newspaper is also important for glass and other fragile items. So collecting newspaper for a few weeks might save you from having to buy bubble wrap. The packing supplies could really add up if you are not careful, so take advantage of the free items available.

cafe41
Post 2

@Moldova -It also might be a good idea to use a storage facility in order to store your packed items until you move. Some people may want to pack little by little and this way they can slowly empty out their house and keep things in storage until they need them.

This is also useful if you are trying to stage a house because if you are looking to sell it and have too much furniture it can make the house less desirable. Excess furniture or a lack of open space makes a house look smaller which is really what you don’t want when you are trying to sell a home and staging can bring in more offers for higher dollar amounts.

It also makes moving easier because you would have already started the packing and you are just using a storage facility to store your stuff.

Moldova
Post 1

I think that those were great tips. I have to say that labeling and getting rid of things that you don’t want are really important because excess clutter can add more work to your packing and may cause you to need more boxes.

I usually start in one room and then pack and label that entire room before I move on to another room. This way the boxes are labeled for that particular room and when I unpack all of the boxes they will be neatly stacked together and correspond with that one room.

These packing tips make it easier to unpack when the time comes.

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