The most time-consuming part of packing is deciding what you will take to the next house and what isn’t making the cut. Ideally, this will be decided before or during the packing stage so that nothing gets moved unnecessarily. However, in reality, it can’t always happen that way. Often, the deadline is much stricter for getting out of your old space than it is for getting settled into your new space. The first thing you need to ask yourself is: Do I have time to sort through everything before I move?
If the answer is yes, get sorting! It is best to give yourself small tasks every day, starting with the first day you decide to put the house on the market. Start with the items you don’t use often, that way you can pack up while sorting. You should have four piles: Trash, Donate, Pack, and In Use. As often as you can, take the trash and donation piles to their respective places. While this might require a drive, it will help the house clear out faster and will make you feel like you are making the progress you actually are. The remaining items will be split between things that you are using between now and moving day and things that can get packed up.
If the answer to the sorting question is no or if you get partway through sorting and realize that you don’t have time to continue, move straight to the packing. You can worry about sorting when you get to the unpacking stage. Below, I’ve compiled the tips I’ve learned for packing throughout my years of doing so:
Use Good Boxes. This sounds straightforward enough, but make sure that if you are the one who will be moving your boxes, they are a size you can actually lift. If you are getting free boxes from a store, make sure there is no food or liquid spilled inside of the box. If there is food and you can’t remove it, don’t use it! If the box has been wet, don’t pack it heavy, it is likely that the structure of the box has been weakened by the previous moisture.
Pack Like Items Together. Think about it like bagging items at the grocery store. You want everything that is refrigerated to be in one bag so that when you go home you can pick it up and put everything right into the refrigerator. This holds true with packing too! Pack all of your jeans together, all of your hair accessories together and all of your shoes together. This process will make unpacking much smoother!
Tape Matters. There are many kinds of packing tape, but I personally use brown paper packing tape. With two strips on the bottom, I have never had the tape fail or the box break open. The main benefit is that you can rip it, no need to use scissors to cut. This might not sound like an advantage, but after you get through 20, 50, or even 100 boxes, you’ll definitely notice the difference. Plus, this tape can be easily written on with a marker. It is a great idea to label the tape on the box, instead of writing on the box itself, this way the box can easily be reused!
Mark The Box. As mentioned, writing on the tape can be beneficial, but what do you write? Every box should contain the room it needs to be brought to in the new location and a brief description of what is in the box. You should also clearly mark if the box is heavy or contains fragile items.
Packing Paper. Packing paper can be really helpful in a variety of situations. It is good to wrap items that should be wrapped, but don’t necessarily need the more expensive option of bubble wrap. It is also a great way to separate items in a box. For instance, I like to wrap the contents of individual drawers in paper before placing them in a box. You can label the outside of the paper “top drawer” and have a much easier time unpacking.
Wrapping Glasses. For wine glasses or drinking glasses, start with the corner of the bubble wrap at the bottom of the glass, roll the glass into the bubble wrap and when you have it covered a few times, break off the bubble wrap and stick the excess wrap inside of the glass.
The most important thing is to relax! You can take care of everything on the other end, for now just follow the tips above and you’ll get through it!