Getting ready to move? Read this first!
In the weeks leading up to the move:
- If you haven’t used it in the last year, don’t move it; donate or sell it
- Return anything you borrowed from other people
- Try to use up cleaning products, toiletries, food, and paper products before the move – buy new after you’ve moved in
- Pack out-of-season clothes and infrequently used items first
General packing tips:
- Label the boxes, starting with 1 – that way you know a) you should unpack in reverse order, because you’ll be packing least used items first and b) you’ll know right away if a box is missing
- Label boxes with the contents, and what room it should go in (e.g. Dishes, Kitchen)
- Pack heavy items in the bottoms of boxes, and light items in the top (e.g. half books, half blankets)
- Use smaller boxes for very heavy items so that you can still carry them
- Use your clothing, towels, sheets, etc. instead of buying packing paper
- Seal opened liquids (such as moisturizer or cleaning products) in freezer bags to prevent leaking
- Instead of emptying and packing the contents of dresser drawers, simply take the drawers out of the dresser and wrap them in saran wrap – instant moving box!
- Wrap furniture, especially delicate pieces or anything that sticks out like legs, in saran wrap to prevent scuffing
- Label sandwich bags for the small pieces of things you have to re-assemble (e.g. the screws for a piece of furniture, the cords for the entertainment system)
- Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember where everything goes
- Stuff clothing or balled up newspaper in any empty spaces in boxes to keep contents from shifting around; never under-fill a box as it will collapse when stacked
- Keep clothes on their hangers and just put a garbage bag over them from the bottom up; all you have to do to unpack is hang it in the new closet and take off the garbage bag!
- Remember, the more valuable and irreplaceable an item is, the more time you should spend packing it
The last thing you pack should be your "essentials" box - this will be going with you in the car. Include basic toiletries, cleaning products, scissors, garbage bags, tools, snacks, beverages, toilet paper, soap, important documents, and anything you might need for the first 24 hours after your move. (A more complete list is available on about.com.)
Of course, the most important tip of all: the friends who are helping you move deserve lots of pizza and cold beverages when they're done!
For more tips, check out Apartment Guide's article on creating a stress-free move.