7 hacks for efficient packing

So you’re moving to a new home. According to the US Census Bureau, the average American will move more than 11 times in their lifetime. We move for a variety of reasons, the three most popular being upgrading/downsizing, accommodating a new family situation and work/school.

Even with the excitement and anticipation of a new house or maybe a new job, you still have to pack out your old house. Whether you hire a moving company offering packing services or plan on doing it yourself, packing a house is a lot of work. Here are a few hacks to help make packing more efficient and a little less painful.

1. Make A Master List

You may be the super organized type and already have your list started and color coded. This is for the rest of us who don’t want to forget something.

You’ll need to make several sublists I suggest using a different notebook for each list, or at least have section dividers for a single notebook or clipboard. Here are a few suggestions for different lists:

  • Itemized list of the items you will and won’t be moving to your new home. Not necessarily everything, but the major items. (This is what we’ll be focusing on here.)
  • Bills & Financial Commitments – Current and Future
  • Items Needed For New Job, Schools, Doctors
  • Timeline & Deadlines For Moving Out & Moving In. This should incorporate items from all of your lists.

Getting started with your list of items to be moved should be organized by room. There are a million different ways to do this, depending on how many highlighters you want to use. The bottom line here is that you should clearly label what goes in each room of your new home, especially the boxes. This will save you, or the movers, a ton of time after a long day of packing and travel.

2. Begin Packing As Soon As Possible

We all know packing is no picnic. However, the sooner you begin preparing for your move, the sooner you’ll be packed up and ready for the truck to show up (rather than freaking out because your not ready when it arrives). Wait until the last minute and you’ll forget something important, leave something behind or wost of all, stress yourself out so bad that you spontaneously combust.

3. Gather Your Packing Supplies

You’ll need a variety of boxes. Boxes with rods for hanging clothing, boxes for dishes, book boxes, and boxes for everything else. You’ll also need bubble wrap, packing tape, and labels. Grab a Sharpie or two as well.

If you want to save a few bucks on boxes, local businesses often have an abundance of boxes they’re continually throwing out or recycling, especially restaurants and grocery stores. Vegetables like green peppers and lettuce come in large boxes that are waxed on the inside. They’re heavy and will hold your pots and pans, books, or your DVD collection from the ‘90s.

Liquor stores have heavy boxes, too, but they aren’t as big as vegetable boxes. These are better suited for smaller items like lids to your pots and pans or the contents of your pantry.

If you don’t have bubble wrap or paper, then break out your socks, winter gloves, and pot holders. Use the gloves for delicate things such as china or glass figurines. The socks will hold glassware, while your knives will fit into the potholders nicely. You can also use towels, bed linens, and thick winter sweaters to wrap dishes and other delicate things.

4. Separate Things The Truck Won’t Transport

There are some things such as leaf blowers or lawn mowers with gas in their tanks that moving trucks won’t transport:

  • Anything flammable such as gasoline, oil, kerosene, paint and paint thinners, nail polish remover, nail polish, varnish, alcohol, and lighter fluids.
  • Combustible things like fireworks, oxygen tanks, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, antifreeze, firearms, and their ammo, alcoholic beverages, and batteries.
  • Cleaning fluids such as bleach, ammonia, liquid cleaners, and detergents.
  • Perishable foods, plants, animals, poisons such as insecticides and weed killers.

These will have to go in the car with you to the new house.

5. Begin Packing One Room At A Time

Start by packing one room. Try to group hard and soft items together in separate boxes. Hard items are lamps, books, wall decorations and the like. Soft items include lampshades, window treatments, decorative pillows and so on. Remember to clearly label each box with which room the items will be going in. Take notes of what is in each box. Put these on your master list or write the items on the outside of the box.

When you’re finished packing out a room, open all closet doors and the door to the room to signify that it’s empty. Then move on to the next room.

As you go through each room, make a pile of things to donate to charity, to sell in a yard sale, or to toss in the trash. A couple of weeks before the move date, take these things to the donation center or have your yard sale.

Pack unused linens into your suitcases or laundry baskets. This will save on boxes. While they’re hanging in the closet, put your clothes in trash bags and tie them at the top where the curve of the hanger is hanging on the rod. This will both protect your clothing as well as saving on boxes.

Get a box of sandwich or snack baggies. Into these will go the nails from paintings, detachable things from the furnishings, and the essentials of window treatments. Using packing tape, attach the baggy to the item or keep them in a small box, remembering to mark it accordingly.

As you go from room to room, pile the packed boxes, baskets, and suitcases in one room. This will be the room from which you’ll stage the move. The movers will be loading and unloading the furniture, but they’ll appreciate having all the boxes in one room.

6. Kitchen Hacks

If you’ve emptied your canisters, place them inside each other to save space. If they’re ceramic or another delicate material, wrap them in towels or other linens. Place your herbs and spices inside pots and pans to save on box space. Wrap your loose flatware and their holder in plastic wrap. Place any loose spatulas, spoons, tongs, and other cooking utensils in socks to keep them from running amok in a box.

Pack your dinner plates and saucers standing up instead of lying flat. This will prevent breakages. You can pack any glass pot and pan lids the same way. Place foam or paper plates between them before wrapping them in linens or thick winter sweaters.

If there is room in a box and it isn’t too heavy, pack it with small appliances like the can opener and toaster. If you’re taking the microwave oven with you, then place whatever small appliance will fit inside it. It will free up a box for something else.

Moving companies, even if they offer a packing service, won’t carry food on the truck. They’ll take the canned and boxed goods but figure on eating everything in the fridge and freezer before moving day. If you can’t, then buy a cooler and a bag of ice. It will have to go in the car with you to the new house.

7. Bathroom Hacks

Bathrooms are generally pretty easy to pack. There’s a lot of small items that can be combined into one or two boxes. First, go through all your cosmetics, personal care bottles, and tubes. Throw out what only has a drop or two left in it. Any empty medicine bottles get the same treatment. Now, organize what you have left into piles:

  • Personal care products
  • Medicines
  • Feminine products and paper products
  • Cleaning supplies (remember these won’t go on the truck)
  • Cosmetics

Wrap any glass or ceramic items like lotion dispensers or soap dishes in linens. Everything else can pretty much go in the same box. Wrap your hair dryer and curling iron, or men, wrap your shaving equipment and clippers in towels to save on box space.

Now you’re done. Remember to take jewelry, important papers, precious items, and anything of value in your car. Into your car will also go the garage items that won’t fit any kind of box; like garden tools, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and any paint cans and thinners.

Checkmate Movers offers packing and loading services as part of our full-service moving packages and standalone packing and loading services to businesses and residents in The Villages, Ocala and Gainesville, FL. Call Ryan today for a free, no-obligation quote.

Bon voyage, and we hope you enjoy your new home!

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