Essential Packing Tips

Are you moving soon? Make this time as easy and stress-free as possible with these helpful home moving packing tips:

  • Boxes: Begin collecting packing boxes as soon as you decide to move. Store them until you need them (under beds or in the garage) by opening the ends and flattening them. Boxes/cartons can be re-sealed with tape as you need them. You can often find free boxes from people who have just moved on places such as craigslist and kijiji (sometimes I have some available from clients, so always ask!).
  • Timing: Begin packing as soon as possible. Start with areas where you rarely use things, such as the basement, closets and storage areas. By packing a little each day, the job will get done slowly but surely, and you will feel less overwhelmed.
  • Organization: Consider packing room-by-room. As you close boxes, label not only what room they are from (and destined for in your new home), but also make a bullet list of what is in each box. Although this may take an extra few minutes per box, you will be well rewarded when, after your move, you are searching for things and they are easy to locate.
  • Weight: Do not overpack your boxes. Spread heavy things throughout your packed goods, and pack heavier things on the bottom. Small, heavy articles like books, records and canned goods should be packed in smaller boxes, while bulkier but not-so-heavy articles can go in somewhat larger boxes. Cardboard boxes can only handle so much weight, and the same goes for whoever is lifting them! Movers often have weight limit guidelines; check with your mover for specifics.
  • Specialty Packing: Consider purchasing some specialized cartons for items such as mattresses, clothing, mirrors, pictures and tall items such as table lamps. Moving companies will usually offer options such as wardrobe cartons (for hanging clothing like suits, dresses and coats. Tip: This will save you the trouble and expense of having your garments cleaned and pressed later. You should not leave clothing in garment bags because they are not designed to withstand moving stress. Clothing travels better in wardrobes with the garment bags folded and placed in the bottom of the wardrobe carton), and padded TV transport boxes.
  • Save Trouble: Some places act as their own containers, and you can save some time by leaving them ‘as-is.’ Dresser drawers, for instance, do not need to be empty; movers can handle chests with the drawer contents left intact. Make sure, of course, that you remove any valuables and breakable items.
  • Safety: Do not pack any flammables, combustibles or explosives. The safety of the shipment is of primary concern, and it is also in violation of Federal regulations. Movers are not allowed to transport aerosol spray cans, paint, paint thinner, gasoline, or anything else of a flammable or explosive nature.
  • Valuables: Unless you are moving yourself and using trusted friends, do not pack your valuables, jewelry, currency, important papers, etc.. It is better to carry these with you to ensure they arrive safely at your new home.
  • Emergency: Be sure to keep a ‘care package’ of staples set aside for moving day. Such things as bandaids, paper towels and toilet paper, tape and scissors, etc., will come in handy should you need them last-minute, at either location.

One final note on moving is that it is a good opportunity to decide what you want to keep and what you have outgrown. The forced process of going through all of your belongings is the perfect chance to pare down your ‘stuff’ to only that which now serves you. Older clothing, furniture and various pieces that no longer suit your family can be donated to friends or charity, and you will ensure your new home is not only clutter-free, but also full of only things you love.

Alternatively, if you are moving for reasons that are painful to confront right now, it is important to respect the emotional aspect of the move and be gentle with yourself. Take your cues from professional movers, and consider just hiring them to help with this transition. As one expert says, “When you pack, you open up the hidden places. Packing up the attic, basement or messy kitchen drawer, will force confrontation with a part of the self that has not been visited for years. Often “I have” means saying “I am.” Professional packers do not make judgments. They do not sort through your closets, sighing over the pants that won’t fit anymore. They pack everything. If you pack your own household, follow the example of the pros, and don’t judge.”