Part 1 of 3 in a Moving Series
Moving often feels overwhelming and packing is a big part of moving! Our family has always done our own packing, often (although, not always) with the amazing help of family (when we’ve lived nearby) who have generously donated their time to help us with the process either in entertaining young children or lending a hand to help pack (or both- thanks mom). We’ve learned a few things about packing throughout all our moves.
7 Tips for Packing
- See if you can find free boxes. Call local stores and ask if they have any free boxes you can come pick up. We have gotten a large variety of boxes just by asking. Also, there are often offers for free boxes on online sites, like Craigslist. Additionally, if you know anyone that has recently moved, you might ask if they have any spare boxes.
- Start packing early. Packing is a lengthy process. It’s nice to start earlier. The most time I’ve had to pack for a move is 2-3 months. Starting right away I have more time to think about what want to move with me. I haven’t felt as organized on my quick moves and I’ve really felt that more after the move. Even with starting to pack right away, it often feels like the move comes quick.
- Gather and sort similar items together. While it’s may seem faster to simply throw items that fit together in a box, it can feel really discouraging to open a box of random items after the move, or frustrating to feel like something is missing because it’s still packed in some random box.
- Pack items you don’t use often, or won’t want to be using, first. This may seem obvious. One of our earlier moves, early on in our marriage, we packed up all of movies, movie players, and games a few weeks before our move. We didn’t watch a lot of movies, so we didn’t think it would be an issue; however, after work and packing we did miss being able to unwind with a movie. That, in particular, might not apply so much today with resources for streaming movies, but the idea is still relevant of thinking through what you might want to leave out as much as items that won’t be missed.
- Get resourceful wrapping items you pack. While I do use some bubble wrap, I mostly use other items to wrap up my belongings. I’ve used: coloring book pages, magazines pages, newspaper, table cloths, aprons, blankets, and towels. I do try to keep items together that make sense together, like table clothes and aprons with kitchen and dining items so I can find them later. Look for things you have around your house.
- Label everything.
- I write on multiple sides of the box a simple label for what’s in the box and the room I’d like the box to go in. My last couple of moves I’ve labeled my boxes with room labels. If there’s an item or items I know I’ll want to specifically find, I’ll list them on one side of the box.
- While trying to resist the urge not to write “FRAGILE” on nearly everything, I label fragile boxes as “FRAGILE”. I like the fragile stickers because along with being easy to use, they also stand out more clearly. I try to limit myself to items that are most fragile: display items, china, and items that hold greater value for me. “FRAGILE” can get overused.
- Lastly, throw out, sell, and/or donate items you don’t need. While packing, as you come across items you might have forgotten that you own or that you haven’t used in years, think about whether it’s worth keeping. As you decide to let items go, if there are still in good condition consider selling or donating the item.
Bonus Tip for Packing: Want to let go of an item or more as you pack that you still feel some attachment to (but, not enough to want to keep it)? Catalog the item. Taking a picture of it and writing about it or a story involving the item may help with letting that item go- you can still keep the memory.