Packing Tips to Get You Moving

Get MovingPacking Tips to Get You Moving

Packing is one of those dreaded but necessary chores of moving. Not only is it time consuming, but it sheds light on how much we really have accumulated since the last move. But it can be a manageable task by starting early and having a plan.

Don’t wait until the last minute.


Moving is stressful enough. Give yourself at least six weeks, which gives you enough time to pack a few boxes each day.

Take inventory of your items to determine how many packing boxes you will need. As a rule of thumb, use small boxes for small, heavy items such as books and canned goods; medium-size for bulkier, not so heavy items like linens and pots; and reserve larger boxes for very bulky lightweight items such as lamp shades.

Obtain boxes from a moving company or collect sturdy boxes from local supermarkets and liquor stores. Also, consider investing in specialty boxes, such as wardrobe and mirror/painting cartons. Wardrobe boxes are specially designed to transport clothing on hangers and mirror/painting cartons adjust to fit large sizes.

Besides boxes, make sure you have marking pens, packing peanuts or bubble wrap, strong 2-inch wide packing tape, and unprinted newspaper. The ink from printed newspaper can rub off onto your individual items.

Pack strategically.

Plan out how you will pack up your belongings. Decide what needs to be packed first such as seldom used and out-of-season items. Then work your way up to everyday items, like dishes.

It’s also a good idea to pack one room at a time. Places like your attic, basement, garage and storage closets are a great place to start. Clearly mark on each box the contents and the room it will go in at your new residence. For fragile items, clearly mark “fragile” on the box and a directional arrow to indicate the correct upright position.

Decide what you will need to access as soon as you arrive at your destination. Write “Open First” on these boxes and load them onto the truck last or put them in your car. You also should pack a box with essentials for your first few nights, such as prescription medicine, toiletries, a telephone, clothing, towels, toilet paper, and bed linen.

Make sure to protect your belongings.

You’ll want to make sure that your belongings get from Point A to Point B in one piece. To avoid damage, follow these packing techniques.

Computers: Before packing your computer, back up your data on either an online service or a portable hard drive. If possible, pack the computer in its original boxes and packaging. If you no longer have them, use a box with shock resistant insulation or create padding at the bottom and all around the sides. If you will be using packing peanuts, wrap the computer in a plastic bag so the peanuts won’t get inside and damage the computer. Place the CPU in the center of the box with the motherboard side lying flat on the bottom. Protect the top with more padding. Make sure the computer is a tight-fit in the box. Use this technique for your monitor and printer. Don’t forget to remove the print cartridge and paper from the printer. This same procedure can be used with other electronics.

Glasses and stemware: Stuff a bit of paper inside a glass, wrap the stem, and then wrap each piece individually. Place glasses face down on a 3- to 4-inch cushion of crumpled newspaper. Top off the box with 2 to 3 inches of crumpled paper.

Plates: Create a 3- to 4-inch cushion of crumpled paper in a sturdy box or dish pack. Wrap up to four plates at a time by taking two sheets of newspaper, place a plate slightly off center, fold paper over the plate, then stack a plate on top of the covered plate. Fold paper back over the second plate and repeat this process until four plates are wrapped. Now wrap the bundle and place it on end in the box. Continue to fill the box with bundled plates, and then top it with 2 to 3 inches of crumpled paper.

Large furniture pieces: Have large plastic bags or shrink wrap on hand to protect furniture. Use rags, blankets, comforters and towels for padding.

Artwork and mirrors: Wrap all pieces individually with bubble wrap or cardboard. For artwork framed behind glass or mirrors, tape an “X” across the mirror to keep pieces in places in case it should break. Place each piece in its own flat, fitted box and fill in any space with crumpled newspaper.

A few other tidbits.

  • Avoid damage from leakage by packing your liquids (including medicine) in leak proof containers such as zippered plastic bags. Plastic bags also come in handy for small odds and ends.
  • Keep box weights to 50 lbs. or less.
  • Use masking tape to secure lids to jars and bottles; hold down moveable parts; and affix nuts, bolts, screws or nails to associated items.
  • Place a sock filled with coffee grinds or baking soda in your washer, freezer, and refrigerator to prevent odors.

And remember, this is the time to get rid of things you no longer need/use. There’s no sense in taking items to your new home that no longer serve a need.  If you have a lot of stuff call a charitable organization to arrange for a pick-up.  Otherwise plan on dropping these items off at a place like the Goodwill Industries on your own.

For more pointers on packing, talk with your moving company representative or your real estate professional.

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These articles are not intended to give legal or tax advice, and you should consult your attorney or financial advisor for additional information.

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