GETTING ORGANIZED FOR THE MOVE.
- START EARLY – Almost everyone has more stuff than they think they do, and almost no one leaves enough time to pack it.
- ROOM LISTS – Start by forming two room lists, one for your current place and one for your future place. This will help you manage what has to go where.
- ROOM INVENTORY – Go to each room and write down the types of things that need to be packed: furniture items, length of shelving, closets, etc.
- TIME ALLOTMENT – Make sure to leave enough time. The most common timeframe reported by people moving is that it takes a month to pack. One study reported that it takes 4-5 hours to pack an average dorm room, so that should give you an idea of what’s involved.
- CALENDAR – Pull out a calendar and plan by day when each room will be completed.
- DELEGATION – If you’re moving with family members, agree with them exactly while tasks they will be doing and the date they will be finished.
- TRACK YOUR PROGRESS – at least once per week track where you are against the date on the calendar. Revise your plan if you’re falling behind.
GENERAL PACKING TIPS
- PACK A SUITCASE – For each member of the family moving, pack a suitcase as if you’re all going on a 3-day vacation, including changes of clothes, medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, etc. Keep the suitcases separated from all the other items to be moved, such as in your car, at your new workplace, etc. so you’ll have everything you need for the first few days without searching through boxes.
- CREATE “OPEN ME FIRST” BOXES – Pick one or two boxes per room as “Open Me First” boxes. Put in them the things you’ll need first at your new location. Then mark the sides of the boxes so you’ll know which ones are which.
- ONE AT A TIME – Wherever possible, work on packing just one room at a time (instead of several all at once) to keep things focused and organized.
- LESS IS MORE – Use packing as a way to clean out belongings for donations, a yard sale, and/or the recycling center. Aim to eliminate 1/3 of your belongings. You’ll save time and expense.
- OFF THE FLOOR – Instead of the floor, use a completely cleared-off table top or counter in each room for packing boxes. You’ll find you get much more accomplished.
- TRACKING SMALL PARTS – When taking apart items to be moved, such as tables, securely tape screws and other small parts securely to the underside of the item. You’ll always know where to look and save time putting things back together.
- SAVE SPACE – Use towels, pillows and t-shirts you’re packing as extra padding around fragile items. It will save room in your boxes.
- CRISS-CROSS TAPE – Tape boxes along the seams where the flaps meet together. Then tape perpendicularly at the center of the first tape, forming a cross.
- STACKING – Stack boxes with the heaviest on the bottom, lightest on top to prevent crushing.
- THE 30-POUND RULE – Keep each box below 50 pounds absolute maximum and below 30 pounds wherever possible. Heavier boxes lead to injuries, are much more likely to burst their tape or seams and tend to get dropped.
BOX INVENTORY AND LABELING
- “FAT” IS IN – Use the thickest, darkest marker you can find for labeling boxes. Pencils, pens, tin or light markers are almost impossible to see even just a few feet away.
- TWO SIDES – Label each box on the two broadest sides, opposite one another. That way if a box gets turned, you can still identify its contents.
- ABBREVIATE ROOM NAMES – Start box labels with the abbreviated name of the room followed by a box number, such as “BTH2-6” for “second bathroom, 6th box.” You can then track each box to make sure everything arrived safely.
- LABEL – “Open Me First” on boxes where it applies.
- MARKING – “Fragile” where appropriate.
- IDENTIFY CONTENTS – Identify the major contents and where they came from, such as “Medicine Cabinet” or “Linen Closet- Towels and Wash Cloths.”
- BOX INVENTORY FOR LONG DISTANCE MOVES – Keep a clipboard and write down each box’s room, box number and contents (graph paper is great for keeping things recorded neatly).
- VERIFYING DELIVERY – When unloading, check off each box as it gets unloaded at your new place. Then you’ll know everything arrived safely.
- LABELS OUT – Ask movers to stack boxes in your new place with the labels facing out so that you can easily spot a specific box.
- AGAIN, START EARLY – You want to have everything as organized as possible prior to the arrival of the movers.
- USE SITTERS – Recruit help in watching your small kids and pets on Moving Day. Your attention will be needed for the nuts and bolts of the move.
- HAVE FOOD READY – Having coffee, orange juice, and bagels or donuts available will make it easier for everyone to get started.
- CELL PHONE NUMBERS – Make sure you have the cell phone number of the driver of the truck entered into your cell phone, and that the driver has yours in case you get separated or have a problem.
- PROPER PAYMENT – Almost all professional movers will demand payment in full and in cash before they will unpack a single box. Make sure you have payment ready.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOVERS – Moving is like going out to a restaurant, if they have done a great job then show that with a tip.
- DIRECTIONS – Have directions and a map ready for anyone will be driving between your old place and your new place.
MOVING WITH CHILDREN
- Get a children’s book on moving for smaller kids. Consider “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day.”
- If appropriate, let children pick their room.
- If possible, let kids pick a decoration (poster, light switch, name banner, etc.) for their new room.
- Pack a kid’s sized suitcase and let each child pick out a special toy to keep with them and a special outfit to wear on “new home day.”
- If the child has a special dish or cup, include it in the kitchen “Open Me First” box so familiar items await them at their new place.
- Consider unpacking the kids’ rooms first, or at least their “Open Me First” boxes to help them settle in.