Thousands of Americans move every year. They pick up their belongings ranging from dorm room randoms to entire estate furnishings and find a way to transport them from point A to point B. Whether they’re moving down the street, across the country, or around the world, these individuals all face the same question at the outset “Where do I start?”
If you have a lot of excess clutter, plan to clear it out now. Host a yard sale or garage sale if you have the time. Not only will this clear out the excess items, but it’s also a nice way to earn a little extra cash. Or, if you’re short on time, donate unwanted items to a local nonprofit organization. Many even offer free pickup service. After you’ve decided how to handle your surplus items, consider the rest of your belongings. Plan to pack items you use the least first (out-of-season clothing, holiday décor, fine china and crystal, etc.), then work your way to the most essential items (kitchen utensils, everyday decorations and appliances).
Before filling that first box, gather up the essentials so you’re ready once the serious packing begins. New, strong, moving boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes, bubble cushioning, packaging peanuts, good-quality packing tape and labels are a must. It can be difficult to estimate how many supplies you’ll need and which boxes will work best for what items, but there are professionals who can help. For example, many of The UPS Store locations offer moving kits that can be special-ordered for your specific needs. These packaging experts can recommend a kit based on the number of rooms to be moved and their size, and, it takes only one to three days to ship boxes and supplies either to the store or directly to your home. “It’s the convenience of being able to take care of all your needs in one place that makes the moving process much easier,” said Thomas Haug, The UPS Store franchisee in New Jersey. “Customers can come in to mail a package to grandma, order moving supplies, and even arrange to ship their baby grand piano.” Once the packing supplies are in hand, designate a spot for “Packing Central.” This is where you will consistently keep your tape, boxes, paper, bubble cushioning, markers, etc. Place smaller items that you’ll need to take from room to room (like tape, packing paper and markers) in a basket or caddy for portability.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork by creating an overall plan and lining up your resources, you’re ready for the real work. Utilize a few smart packing strategies now, and you’ll reap the benefits later. Start by keeping like things together. Keep kitchen pots with kitchen pans. Place tablecloths with other linens. Also, be sure to label boxes clearly and be as specific as possible. For example, don’t just write “books,” be more detailed, like “reference manuals.” This will be invaluable as you unpack. Proper packing technique can’t be overstated. Take the time to pack your boxes carefully and securely. A new moving box provides the strength you need for the inevitable stacking that occurs as boxes are loaded and unloaded on moving day. Line boxes with at least two inches of packaging peanuts on all sides and use bubble cushioning to protect anything fragile. Use quality packing tape on all seams (avoid masking, cellophane, or duct tape). Another way to ensure that moving day goes smoothly is to label boxes with color-coordinated labels. Designate a color for each room and place that colored label on the appropriate box. Then, place color labels on the doorways in the new house to provide a clear visual cue for where boxes go. When moving day approaches, keep a few things in mind for those final boxes. Think survival mode. What will you need first in your new home? Cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, a first aid kit, snacks and drinks are key items, but everyone’s must-have list will be a little different. Also, don’t forget to pack overnight bags for each member of the family with toiletries and a change of clothing. Finally, if you have children, pack a special box for each child to open upon arrival.
Include favorite blankets and stuffed animals, family photos, a few toys, crayons, coloring books and any other essential belongings. Congratulations, you just elevated your moving IQ! Equipped with these tips and strategies, you’re ready for the ultimate test moving day itself.