Moving out of your apartment has its own unique set of challenges. (Dealing with new surroundings can take some time, but it can be equally exciting.) Meeting your new neighbors can be stressful, especially after you accidentally used the parking spot of the apartment complexes’ “Nosy Rosie” (and each complex has one) to move in. But without a doubt, one of the biggest pains when it comes to moving is packing your moving boxes.
Let’s face it; there is a science to the art of packing. Yes, it is an art. Of course, you won’t see any gallery openings displaying the world’s most successfully packed moving boxes, but if you’ve ever been around a world class box packer, you’ll notice that whistles of admiration are often the soundtrack of the day.
So let’s dive into the high art and science of packing a well-packed moving box. Here are some tips for the best way to pack a box.
Tip #1–Purchase all of your boxes and supplies up front so you don’t have to make multiple trips to buy boxes because you ran out (and then buy them at the highest prices because you’re out of time before the move). Thankfully some handy calculators are out there to help you estimate the number of boxes you need–here are two we recommend: a box calculator and a packing calculator.
Tip #2–Everyone needs a good command post, a place to organize and control the entire process. You can call it “Packing Headquarters.” This is where you will keep all of your packing necessities. Items such as scissors, tape, boxes, paper/peanuts, bubble wrap, markers and anything else you need to pack should be gathered at the headquarters.
Tip #3–Next, keep yourself organized. Use a notebook to itemize the contents of each box. Each page can correspond to an individual box. List the contents of the box as you place them in it. Number the page and mark that number on the each side of the box. This way, you know that Box #6 has your pain relievers in the event that you need them while you’re going through the move.
Tip #4–Try to keep like items together. Don’t pack your cleaning supplies in the same box as your $800 stereo receiver. It’s common sense, but it does happen. This will aid in both moving the boxes into your new place and unpacking them, since you’ll know that boxes #1-8 contain your kitchenware.
Tip #5–As you pack, place the sturdiest items on the bottom of the box and leave the more fragile items for the top. Be sure to mark the box “fragile” so you can avoid piling heavier boxes on top of it.
Tip #6–Fill the box as thoroughly as possible. The less room there is for things to jostle around, the less chance there is of breaking something important. Use old newspapers or junk mail to fill in the space. Newspaper will also help to cushion the items during transportation. You can always purchase Styrofoam popcorn or better yet, biodegradable cornstarch peanuts, to fill in the space, but newspaper is much less expensive. Plus, who feels like cleaning up all that popcorn? You’ll still be finding kernels two months after you’ve moved in.
Tip #7–Don’t place too many heavy items in the same box. This is also common sense, but even still, there are thousands of people crying over their broken stereo equipment as you read this. According to Dan, a professional mover in New Jersey, heavy boxes are the number one reason for damaged items. “Clients try to pack as much as possible into their boxes without thinking about what’s going in them,” he says. “This causes the box to become unbalanced and easier to topple.” Many movers advise that boxes should weigh a maximum of 50 pounds.
Tip #8–Utilize wardrobe boxes. Wardrobe boxes are tall boxes, usually with a hanger rack, designed to hold your hanging clothing. Pack the wardrobe box securely so that the hangers won’t fall off the rack, and the clothing won’t fall off the hangers. Pack heavier items, like shoes, sweaters, belts or jeans in the bottom of the wardrobe box to maximize space (but be careful not to make the box too heavy). Protect your clothing by covering it with dry-cleaning bags. Wardrobe bags are useful for comforters and bed linens.
Tip #9–As organized as you will try to be, you will no doubt run into a few stray items. Try to have a few additional moving boxes handy to help solve that issue. If you only have a few stray items, fill the rest of the box in with newspaper or packing peanuts.
Tip #10–If you are using a moving company, be sure to pack your valuables in their own box, which you can take yourself. This includes financial information, bills or personal paperwork like birth certificates and social security cards. If you have a valuable set of silver dinnerware, jewelry or other priceless objects, trust only yourself with moving them. Mark them with a lettering system (A, B, C) or another identifier so that the moving company knows they are only moving the boxes with numbers on the side, and doesn’t accidentally put your inherited china into the truck.