Moving can be one of the most exciting and frustrating times for anyone. Although people move more often than in generations past, it still tends to be an experience which we put off until absolutely necessary. What this also means is that most of us have limited experience planning and preparing for a move.
Hiring a professional packer and mover is certainly one option but this can get very expensive so it is rarely a planned expense. As a real estate agent with over 25 years of experience, I have seen hundreds and hundreds of home owners packing and unpacking from their moving adventure. I can tell you first hand that a few simple changes can transform the ease with which you can experience your move.
I’ve written up a few of my favorite packing tips to get you started thinking strategically about the process.
1. Take care of small ‘fix-it’ items before you place your furniture and unpack your boxes.
If you see items you’d like to take care of and can afford it, try to arrange for a few extra days at your old home after the closing date on the new home so that you can spot paint or bring in contractors to seal drafty windows or remove popcorn ceilings. If you can’t stay in your old home, consider the cost to stay at a hotel for a short time while the work is being completed. If the new home has a large garage, it is the ideal place to initially stack all your belongings during this waiting period.
2. Pack with unpacking in mind.
Take an honest look at what items you utilize every week or month and start by packing those that are used most infrequently. This allows you to get a head start on packing well before you may have even found your new home.
3. Set up a color coding system that represents each room in your new home.
Pack items by where they will be placed when they arrive. Some of the latest patterns and colors in duct tape offer an easy solution to quickly code each container.
4. Mark at least two sides and the top of each box with color coding.
This way no matter how the boxes are stacked, the coding is clear.
5. Number your boxes as you pack.
You can do this by room or overall depending upon how you approach packing. Once you have all items packed for a room, add a total number of boxes after each number label so that you can quickly know if something is missing or misplaced.
6. Tap into community resources for free boxes.
Liquor and grocery stores will have smaller boxes, but for the best mid-sized and larger boxes, try furniture stores and pet stores.
7. Use a cutting tool to cut small triangle holes in the sides of boxes.
This will make the boxes easier to carry. If you cut a triangle pointing downward and fold the remaining flap upward inside the box, you’ll have extra padding for your hands when you pick up the box.
8. Leave closet clothes on their hangers.
Also keep them in the same order they are in your current closet. Then pull a large trash bag up and around the clothes with the opening on top. Then take the pull handles and slide them around the hooks for the hangers. This helps to make certain that groups of clothes are easily placed in new closets.
9. Consider leaving items in drawers of smaller furniture.
Then you can simply wrapping the entire drawer with heavy-duty plastic wrap. This makes reassembly a snap in your new home.
10. Save your hardware in Ziploc bags for easy retrieval.
Consider taking hardware like screws, clamps, and brackets for curtain rods to ease the process of getting finishing touches up on walls. For hardware that goes with furniture or other items, tape the bag directly to the underside or other area of the largest piece so that you have all pieces in one location when you go to reassemble.
11. Use clear plastic bins to pack items you’ll need during moving.
This allows you to easily locate and access them without frustration during the move and as you are settling in.
12. Before unhooking electronics, take pictures of the back of the systems.
This way you have a photographic guide to reassembling your set-up. All those cords can become a tangled mess so you may also want to take a photo of the wall outlets those pesky cords are connecting to and keep a printed copy of the photo with its respective set of electronics.
13. Don’t pack away important papers.
The are some documents that you may need during your move or that you may need access to shortly after (e.g. legal papers, addresses, or passports). Even if you do not need them right away, you will want to be sure not to lose them! So, be sure to pack these items away in a large envelope and carry them with you personally.
14. Pack an overnight bag.
Just as you should always pack enough clothes and items in carry-on luggage to hold you over in case your luggage gets lost, pack an overnight bag for your move with a few days worth of clothes and essentials. Having these simple items allows you to relax a bit knowing that you have a routine and all the necessary items at the ready.
15. Pack plates on their edges.
This will reduce the chance that they will break during shipping.
16. Pack stemware upside down.
This will keep the weight of the glasses distributed over the entire rim of the glass instead of relying on the thin stems to bear the weight.
Time to Get Packing
Now that you know how a few simple changes can make the packing process go smoothly, it is time to give me a call to start the process of finding your next home knowing you’ll have the packing planned and under control. Moving doesn’t need to be a stress filled experience when you have the right real estate partner by your side. I’ve been that partner for hundreds of buyers and sellers and look forward to being your partner in your next real estate purchase.