So you’ve planned your move and reserved a moving truck, but you’re not sure where to start with your packing. Maybe you’re a packrat and are dreading sorting through all your possessions, or maybe you’re inclined to throw things out with wild abandon and figure that you’ll just toss everything and have very little to pack. Whatever your situation may be, you’ll need to create a thorough inventory and do some careful packing in order to have a super-successful move.
Take Inventory Of Your Items
Nothing will help avoid problems during your move like having a thorough list of what you’re moving. You don’t have to write down every little item, but establishing general categories of what needs to be moved will help you in packing boxes, loading the moving truck, and bringing items into your new home. It’s helpful to start out by making a little list of the bare necessities you should not pack in the truck, and setting aside those items in advance if possible. This will help you avoid packing items that you’ll need during or very close to the move. Once you know what you’ll be moving, you no longer have an excuse for not packing it up!
Get Good Supplies
Any money you might save by scrounging free moving boxes or relying on leftover supplies will be negated when a box collapses and the items inside are damaged. Buy quality boxes, from a moving company if necessary, or use large and sturdy containers that you can use to store your items after you move. When planning your move, make sure to obtain at least 50% more boxes than you think you’ll need. Items inevitably take up more space than expected, and you always own more things than you thought—you probably failed to take into consideration everything in the hall closet, or the fact that all the items in your dresser will have to be taken out and packed separately. Having extra boxes is better than having extra stuff and no way to pack it.
In addition to obtaining boxes and labeling materials, you’ll have to get protective packing materials like bubble wrap or packing paper (be careful when using newspaper; the ink can rub off on the items you’ve packed, though you can protect items by putting them in plastic bags) and possibly pads for protecting your furniture. Packing tape is also, of course, a must-have for closing and reinforcing your boxes. You can likely get most of these materials from the moving truck rental company, but they’ll likely cost a bit more—by planning ahead, you can feel prepared and save money as well.
Label Like You Mean It
Once you’ve decided what needs to go on the truck and obtained your high-quality packing materials, put your items in boxes and label them clearly. Beyond describing the contents (and the room where the contents should go), it’s helpful to label boxes by priority—unpack first, unpack last, et cetera. Labeling in words is a good approach, but having a color-coding system can be helpful as well for easier visual identification. You don’t have to use pre-made labels, but it might help. Labeling style is ultimately an individual thing—the important part is that you can tell which boxes contain what. You should also label boxes as “Fragile” or “This end up” as appropriate.
Small boxes should be filled with heavy things; large boxes with light things. If you mix up items of different weights, put heavier items at the bottom of the box for less awkward carrying. Start out by packing infrequently used objects, and leave your most needed items for packing later. Don’t pack too few items in a box; empty space allows for shifting, which can both damage objects and make boxes difficult to carry.
Load It Up
Once the majority of packable items are in boxes, you’ll need to load your truck. This can be a difficult endeavor, so you will probably want to ask your moving truck rental company for ideas, ask your moving-experienced friends for tips, and look for information online. In general, load heavier items toward the front of your truck. Pieces of furniture can be the most difficult items to pack, so think hard and creatively about what you’ll do with your largest pieces. Couches are difficult because they can reduce floor space for boxes. If at all possible, placing a couch on its end and positioning it vertically (anchored with heavy boxes or appliances, of course) can be a crucial space-saver. If that’s not possible, long items like couches and some tables should be placed against the long sides of the truck. Padding is your friend for protecting your possessions, so don’t forget that you can easily use pillows, blankets, or bagged clothing (vs. boxed clothing) for padding. Truck rental companies will probably offer you the use of furniture pads for a small fee; if you have valuable furniture that you care about, it’s not a bad idea to invest in these. The best thing you can do when loading your moving truck is think about what you’re doing before you do it—your work doubles if you have to remove items after putting them in the wrong place.
Tip: Load rugs last so they can be put down in your new home before the furniture is placed.
Follow these fantastic tips, and your packing and moving processes will go as smoothly as possible. You can do it! We have faith in you (especially since we provided the tips).