Moving from one home to another can be a very stressful experience unless you plan properly. If the home you’re moving into is bigger than the one you’re leaving, that will make it a bit easier! If it’s smaller, than you’ll have some decisions to make during the packing process.
- Decide what you want, and what you don’t need
Moving to a new home is an ideal time to clear out things that have just been cluttering up your previous living space.
It makes more sense to throw things away before you move, rather than to pack everything, and throw things away when you move into your new house!
Many people who leave things to the last minute choose to just pack everything and make the decision to keep or toss when their unpacking at their new home.
Others who leave things to the last minute will just get frustrated and start throwing away lots of things they will need at their new home, and end up having to buy the items all over again.
By starting the weeding out process a couple of months ahead of time, you will have plenty of un-stressful time to make good decisions. Either start throwing things away immediately, or make a list, which you affix to your refrigerator, of items that you will toss when the time comes.
- Purchase or acquire enough sturdy boxes
You can purchase sturdy boxes at places such U-Haul, or slightly less sturdy boxes at Walmart or office supply stores. If you purchase from U-Haul, inquire about their policy on the return of un-made boxes. If they won’t take them back, even with a receipt, then only purchase a few at a time.
Alternatively, talk to local liquor stores and big box stores to see if they’ll let you have any of their spare boxes. To save time, call ahead to each location and ask to speak to a manager, rather than visit each store individually.
- Purchase good quality packing tape and peanuts
Rolls of good quality tape, and a tape gun, make putting together, and then sealing boxes so much easier. Rolls of thinner tape may cost less – but you need to use more of it to ensure that the boxes stay sealed!
UPS Stores sell packing peanuts and foam. Depending on how many packing peanuts you need, talk to the manager about purchasing an entire large bag of the peanuts, rather than the smaller bags into which they divide the larger bag. This could save you money.
- Purchase different colored masking tape
For organization purposes, buy a few rolls of colored masking tape – one color for each room or type of room. So for example you’d use green tape for the kitchen, blue tape for bedrooms, red tape for the living room, and so on.
You will not seal the boxes with this tape, but rather use it for easy, color-coding identification purposes. Color coding boxes, either with tape or with different colored magic markers, just makes it easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re unpacking in your new home.
- Start packing as early as possible
There are some items that you won’t be able to pack until you’re within a couple of days of leaving for your new home, but there’s plenty of stuff that you can pack up even a month in advance.
For example, if you have a large library, start packing all your books away. Take the time to type up on your computer the titles of each book, and into what box they’re going. (Number each box individually, such as “Books 1, Books 2, Books 3,” as well as color-coding them.
Once you’ve filled up a box and labeled it, also print out a list of the books in each box and tape it to one side of the box. This way, if you’re delayed in unpacking for some reason, you can always go to an exact box to find exactly what you need, even if you leave the rest of the boxes undisturbed until you have more time.
You can also probably pack away your “best china” that you use only for holidays or family get-togethers. Your UPS store will probably have sheets of foam you can purchase to place between each plate. For extra security for fragile items, put the box of china (or whatever it may be) inside another box that is filled with peanuts.
Garage equipment might not need to be packed up – but all equipment such as lawnmowers, shovels and rakes should be cleaned. If you’ve got several rakes, tie them together so you can move them as a single group.
- Use appropriately-sized boxes
Don’t put a lot of books into a 24 X 24 X 24 double-walled box! The box may be strong enough to hold all those books, but it will be extremely heavy and difficult to move!
You may be having moving men with dollies coming in to load your belongings into a moving van for a cross-country trip, but remember when they unload all the boxes into your new living room – you will have to deal with them from there!
- Think outside the box
It’s not necessary to pack your clothes into boxes. If you’ve got suitcases, use them as packing crates and pack them with as much clothing as possible! Put tape around a group of shirts or slacks (still on their hangars) to keep them as a group, but otherwise leave them free, or create protective coverings for them by using large garbage bags to keep out dust.
- Keep certain items separate
Purchase a bright red or blue bag – some color other than black so it is easily seen – in which to keep chargers for your cell phones and electronic devices. Put your toiletries in such a bag as well.
- Give everything an umbrella label
As you’ve been packing each room, you’ve color-coded each box and numbered it for that room. Once you’ve got everything packed away and know how many boxes you have – label every single box numerically, and create a Word file listing the number for each box and its general contents.
- Place boxes in appropriate room(s)
Once you get to your new home, it will be easy to unpack. Simply put all the boxes of the correct color-code into the correct room, and start unpacking. If something comes up and you can’t unpack right away, you’ll still know where everything is in each box, if you need to open up one or two for things you need.
By planning and packing well in advance, you’ll find that moving into your new house will be an invigorating and exhilarating experience and not a stressful one.