Is it just me, or have you ever wondered when it’s time to move, where were all these things hiding?! Things do have a way of disappearing in drawers and cabinets. It is so easy to get comfortable in your home, you seldom realize how much you’ve accumulated until it’s time to move. I am no expert but I have helped my friend move twice in the past year alone and saw firsthand the toll it takes. As I now prepare for a move myself I am sharing with you 10 important packing tips I learnt for a stress free move.
I have been anticipating this move for months and doing my fair bit of shopping and thrifting to prepare for my move. Suffice to say my current apartment is one big storeroom! My last big move was relocating to the Cayman Islands before the pandemic hit. While this move is not as intense as my relocation move, my approach to packing and moving will pretty much follow the same rules. Moving, in general, can be quite daunting, but it is a part of life and growth, so whatever we can do to make it easier I’m here for it!
Let’s Dive in…
1. Assess your needs for your new space
Chances are you’re not going to be moving into identical spaces. Whether you are upsizing or downsizing, now is the perfect time to declutter! This could be in the form of that clearing our that junk drawer. Or in my case tackle that dreaded closet cleanse. When it comes to clothing, be strategic about your purge and create piles to keep, donate, discard, or resell. A new house signals a new beginning so take the opportunity to purge. Will your existing furniture fit? Do you want to keep them or even repurpose them. Even consider here how your style has changed as it will inform how you use your new space.
2. Secure good quality packing boxes and materials
I cannot stress this enough, regardless of the distance of the move, you are susceptible to damage. Bubble wrap will be your trusty friend throughout this journey. You want to ensure that your belongings arrive safely. When choosing packing boxes, now is not the time for recycling. Good quality moving boxes are relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of headache in the long run vs. going with reusable supermarket boxes or whatever is available at your disposal. This is not a lesson you want to learn the expensive way.
3. Labeling is key to easy un-packing
I like to label my boxes in a hierarchy, by room then by contents, such as Kitchen-Wine glasses. That is particularly important because if you are like me, a glass of wine in the middle of unpacking is essential motivation to carry on. You want to find those wine glasses quickly, or a coffee cup will have to suffice, lol.
Also, it helps to guide the movers in which rooms to place the boxes. You don’t want to be lugging boxes up and down stairs because they got placed in the wrong rooms. You may also consider using coloured labels by giving each room a different colour. Here you label boxes with the coloured labels and put matching coloured labels on the door of each room.
4. Pack strategically, with unpacking in mind
When you are strapped for time, and life goes on during your move, the worst thing is not finding something quickly because you don’t know which box it is in. No one wants to move and have to unpack everything before you can find what you need. My approach, especially when I have a longer timeline to move, is to start packing less frequently used items earlier. This way I am not rushed on moving day or the days leading up to it. Moving can be hectic, so anything to minimize the stress helps.
5. Use the right size boxes
Using the right box sizes can have a huge impact on your packing/moving experience. You want your boxes to be packed tight with little room for your items to move around. You don’t want to open that box of books to find that one of your favourite coffee table books is all squished up and dog-eared.
My rule of thumb, pack heavier things in smaller boxes. A small box of books can become heavy quite quickly. Lighter items and breakables can be packed in bigger boxes as you can pack more but be careful not to leave space in your boxes. Fill out spaces with packing paper, old newspapers or bubble wrap. If you are worried about re-washing everything from newspaper stains, then wrap items in a plastic wrap or bags before the extra protection of old newspapers as packing paper.
6. Do not overpack your boxes
I usually use the traveling weight as a guide (nothing heavier than 50lbs), and I need to be able to lift it. However, the size of the box and its contents should also be taken into consideration. You don’t want your boxes to be so heavy that they require more than one person to lift, or are bursting at the seams. That is a disaster waiting to happen. There is a psychology to packing in smaller boxes too. Think how accomplished you will feel when you unpack each small box. After all, one unpacked box is one unpacked box. And in my books, that’s progress! One box down, 500 to go.
7. Packing Tips for Clothing
If you are moving locally, the best packing tip I have for clothing is a closet transfer. This stress free life hack is to keep your clothes on the hangers if you can; bind together six hangers and protect clothing in large garbage bags. Simply move the clothes from your old closet to your new one. This closet-to-closet move can save a lot of unpacking time. If you can’t do a closet to closet move, don’t stress it.
Another stress free hack is to pack a 14-day capsule wardrobe along with a bag of your essential must-have items. This is especially useful if you are moving during a busy time as it allows you to take your time to unpack. Moving day can be stressful, and you will not be able to unpack everything on moving day, so you want the ability to function right away. Things like toiletries, clean bedding, and a shirt or dress that does not require ironing for work the next day can save you a world of problems. The 14-day capsule wardrobe gives you time to unpack without worrying about what to wear immediately.
8. Packing Tips for Liquids
Packing liquids can be very tricky, and I would only consider this for a local move. There is no need to throw out that half bottle of laundry detergent before moving unless you want to. However, liquids, if not packed carefully, can ruin your whole move. Use tape to create an extra seal around caps. And pack bottles standing upright. You can also use packing materials to fill spaces so the bottles are not moving around. Don’t forget to label your boxes and include instructions for placement for the movers.
What’s the best way to move the contents of your bar? I’ve got the answer for you. Hop on over to your local liquor store to get empty boxes for this. They are sturdy and come with inserts to protect your bottles. But, don’t be tempted to have a drink or two and abandon your duties 🙂
9. Be present for moving day if you can
We all live busy lives, and it is possible that you may not be able to be present on moving day, but if you can, this is important as you can speak with the moving crew to give them additional instructions. We know your labeling game will be on point (see item 3), but reiterating the instructions does not hurt.
This is the fun part, ok, I’m just kidding. I do believe that unpacking does not need to be stressful or take six months. But neither does it need to happen within a week. If you followed my tips above, then unpacking can be a breeze as you tackle your unpacking room by room. You can prioritize which room you start with based on your lifestyle. I will start in the kitchen because this girl needs to cook her meals.
Where are my size 8-10 ladies? I need loving homes for some of my very loved clothes that can’t go with me. Seriously! You know I love hearing from you. So, if you found this list helpful, please let us know in the comments and share with our community any other tips you found helpful during your moves.
Happy Moving To Me.