Packing is one of the most tedious and intensive parts of the moving process. Learning how to pack before moving can be a time-consuming process. It requires making a decision on ever-single-thing-you-own. Everything. From a paperclip to Aunt Annie’s dollies to the mugs-from-around-the-world collection you gave up on a few years back. While moving is always going to be stressful, the process of packing can be simplified, especially if you’re doing everything yourself.
The key is strategic and well-prepared packing. To help, we’ve compiled six tips on how to pack before a move strategically and successfully, the first time.
1. Use time to your advantage
Even if you don’t have an exact date selected for the move, you always get ahead of the time-crunch stress and start packing early. Start with decluttering and then turn your attention to the planning process. If you plan your pack, the process is so much easier and simpler and that means less stress.
Pro tip: Choose one room that you don’t often use and start to clear out all of the items that you won’t miss until moving day. No idea where to start? Focus on packing decor first.
2. Purge first, pack second
Part of a successful pack is making sure you’re not taking unnecessary items. While it can be tempting to throw everything you have in a box and sort it all out later, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour if you eliminate waste first. (It will save you time, money and a lot of stress.)
Pro tip: If you have any boxes lying around that haven’t been opened since you moved, it might be a good idea to let go of them. After all, if you haven’t opened them since moving in, is there really anything in there that you need?
3. Pack the plan
It’s easy to make rookie mistakes while packing, especially if it’s your first big move. One of the keys to a successful pack is planning before you start putting stuff into boxes.
After you’ve gotten rid of stuff you won’t be taking to your new place, you can start prioritizing what to pack first. Here, the key is to start packing things the things you need the least. This can include books, knickknacks, and other such things. (If you’re selling your home, this step serves two purposes, not only are packing smart, but you’re also decluttering your house, which makes your home a lot more appealing to buyers.)
Pro tip: Avoid packing stuff you use on a daily basis – if you pack your toothbrush on day one, you may regret it!
4. Get out that sharpie
Being organized is what makes or breaks a successful move and an important part of how to pack before moving. If you don’t organize before the move, you’ll be searching for things months after you’re in your new house.
Before unpacking any boxes at your new place, walk around and start visualizing where things go. If you can, take out a sharpie and write down where items will be kept on sticky-notes and put them up in your new place. Then, when you and your helpers go to unpack you won’t have to spend too much time trying to find a new home for your belongings. Another key part of this plan is to make sure you label the boxes coming from your old home — and to pack those boxes according to the contents. It can be tempting to throw everything you can into boxes and be done with it, but you’ll find taking just a bit of time to label your boxes will save you a lot of aggravation in the future.
Pro tip: Use bingo daubers or colour markers to colour code boxes, for instance, all boxes with a red dot are to be placed in the kitchen. That way you or your movers know exactly where each box goes without having to read all the contents of each box.
5. Host a packing party
The famous expression “many hands make light work” is true, and it is especially true with stressful tasks such as packing and unpacking during a move. What would take one person eight hours to accomplish might only take one hour with eight people!
Sometimes it can be hard giving up control and letting others pack, but if you do have your friends and family help you out, you’ll find the process is much quicker and much easier.
Pro tip: Set everyone up with one or two responsibilities you feel confident that they can accomplish. The control freak in you or your friends will thank you.
6. Limited space? Not a problem
Tight on space? Short closing period? No place to put all your treasures? It might be worth it to rent a storage unit to store things away, while you show your home. Just don’t forget it’s there, or your belongings may end up on Storage Wars.
Pro tip: One option other than a storage locker is to ask to store some of your things with friends and family. Not only will it save you stress, it will also save you money.
The bottom line is that learning how to pack before moving doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think it may be. Refer back to this handy guide when you’re feeling as though you’re missing something important — including something small like labelling your glassware as “fragile.”