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How to Pack Efficiently for a Stress Free Move to a New Home

The idea of moving to a new home is quite exciting but the process can be stressful and chaotic. Packing for a move is not an easy task and that is why most people dread moving so often.

The dilemma comes when you don’t know where to start packing and how to start packing for a move. Considering that there are fragile items and electronics that need extra care, you need to find smart ways to pack to avoid destroying anything. You have to make strategic moves such as planning in advance and being specific while packing. If you need a hand from friends to help you move, give them a prior notice. A month earlier is best so that they can mark the date.

When to start packing for a move.

I know you might be wondering when you should start packing before the D-day. Especially when you have to do the packing all by yourself, you need to take the DIY approach and help on how to get started.

Start packing early to avoid the confusion and mess that comes with trying to put things together in a rush. You might end up destroying valuable items that might cost you to fix or replace. The earlier you start packing, the better and the less stress you will get. When you pack at your own pace, you will get enough time to organize your stuff and actually enjoy the process.

How long would it take to pack for a move?

  • For a one bedroom or studio apartment you could spend two full days.
  • For a standard two or three bedroom, you could spend three to four full days.
  • For a bigger house let’s say 4 bedrooms or more you could spend twos weeks.
  • Note that you can start packing 6 to 8 weeks before if you have a very busy schedule. This works best for those who work fulltime. If you work in shifts then the estimated days I mentioned earlier could work for you perfectly. Learn more about how early you should start packing.

How to prepare to pack for move

Another question that you might be asking yourself is;

What tools do I need to pack for a move?

Well, you will need a few tools to make your move much easier and safer. You need to buy or have your tools ready to start packing.

Some of the tools that you need to pack for a move include;

  • Boxes/Suitcases.
  • Wadded newspapers or crumpled papers/pads to wrap fragile items such as glass utensils.
  • A tool box with scissors, screw drivers, hammer, pliers, wrenches to unassembled items such as electronics.
  • Moving blankets to wrap furniture and large electronics.
  • Packing tape.
  • Marker pen.
  • Ropes or straps – to tie things up.
  • Utility dolly with two wheels – to stack and move stuff easily.
  • Stair roller – it might save you big time when moving stuff down the staircase.

Wondering where you can find free moving boxes? You might just get lucky by checking Free cycle or Facebook Marketplace. You can also borrow from friends or check in the stores. Consider the best type of boxes for your moving needs.

Another possible question that might pop up is, “where do I start packing for a move?”

It is wise to start packing things in the rooms that you don’t actively use such as the basement, guest bedroom or store. Reason being, they won’t disrupt your daily routine. Secondly, you won’t have to miss anything.

Now you could be asking “how can I start packing for a move…..”

Due to circumstances, you might want to move in a hurry with less time, we also have tips for that.

How to pack for a move

1. Reserve and set your packing zone.

To pack for an easy move, you need to reserve a specific area in your house for instance, a room and make it your packing zone. Choose a spacious room where you can see and reach out for anything that you need without having to look for it.

2. Gather your packing tools at the packing zone.

Gather all your packing tools in that specific area. This will help you coordinate your movement better and avoid confusion. Trust me, you don’t want to be running all over the house carrying stuff from one room to another or looking for a tool that you could have misplaced. This can be so overwhelming and frustrating. You might even get tired before you even start the real job. Note that you can change your packing zone as you move from one room to another.

3. Label your boxes.

Packing for a stress free move

Do you wish to have an easy unpacking day? Well, it’s possible if you mark your boxes properly. Use a marker pen and mark each box depending on;

  • The list of items in the box.
  • The room the items belong to
  • If the items are fragile or not

On each box, label the top and the bottom depending on how you pack the items. This will help you instruct the movers how they should carry and place the boxes in the truck.

Start packing things that you don’t need or won’t be using before you move. Of course there are clothes, shoes, electronics or utensils you don’t use often or don’t use at all in your home. You might just discover that there are a lot of items that you don’t use. Pick them one by one and separate those that you want to keep and those that you don’t need at all.

Pack the items that you need but don’t use often in the specific box. You can label the box, ‘Non Basics’.

If there are items that you don’t need at all, separate them with those that you want to throw away and those that you want to or give them away. This might just be the lucky day for the needy.

5. List and pack the Basics

Make a list of things that you can’t do without in your daily routine. Such things include toothbrush, soap dish, towel, some clothes, toilet paper and toiletries. Pack them in a box and label the box ‘Basics’ for easy access. These are the items that you will also be using as you continue packing. On the moving day, make sure you carry them with you. Do not put them in the truck.

6. Start packing stuff in your bedrooms.

How to pack for a stress free move

i) Clothes

Welcome to the packing spree. Now this is where you start feeling the heat of real activity. To pack efficiently, move from one room to another. To make your work easier, in each room start with the clothes. Remove all the clothes from your wardrobes and pack them in suitcases or boxes. Have the box labeled according to the bedroom. For example ‘bedroom one’. Alternatively, have it labeled according to the name of the owner of the room. Let’s say ‘Marie’s clothes ’. This makes it easy to identify whose belongings are in each box.

ii) Shoes and other items in the bedrooms.

When you are done packing the clothes, take shoes from the shoe rack and arrange them in a disposable bag or a box that fits. Pack them together with the remaining items such as curtains, in another box. Remember to label the box e.g. ‘Marie’s bedroom’.

iii) The mattresses.

I know this could be new to you but mattress bags exist. If you don’t have one, consider buying some. You can also wrap your mattresses with a removable paper that you bought them in to protect them from dirt and dust.

iv) Beddings

Put them in disposable paper bags to protect them dust. These includes pillows, duvets and bed sheets.

vi) Jewelry

Organize your valuable jewelry in an enclosed container and put it inside the bag that you will hold during the move.

v) The dressers

If you have dressers in your rooms or in one of the rooms consider packing half way done! Remove the drawers but don’t remove the items inside. Add any other small items that may be laying on top of the dresser into the drawers then cover the drawers.  Pile them up in twos or threes for easy carrying. Do the same for the books or magazines in the drawers.

7. Pack liquid based items

It is recommendable to seal all bottles with stuffs that can spill using tape. These include oils, lotions, shampoos and liquid soaps. Make sure that they are sealed tightly to avoid spilling. Pack all spill-risk items in a plastic container and seal it as well. You can then place the container inside a box.

Ensure that the box is clearly labelled as the box should strictly be carried facing up to avoid any mess.

8. Pack kitchen utensils

Believe it or not, packing in the kitchen is tedious than the rest of the rooms because most of the items are fragile. You will need ample time to pack items in the kitchen since most of them require wrapping to prevent them from breaking. To list a few, such items include fragile plates, glasses, cups, pots, pans, spoons, dry foods and seasonings. You can use wadded newspaper or crumpled papers to wrap.

If you have access to sectioned boxes to pack your cups and glasses you can be sure that none will break.

9. Pack electronics

It is very easy to pack electronics especially when you still have the boxes that you bought them in. If you didn’t toss the bubbled wraps then that makes it even better. All you have to do is pack each electronic in its box and wrap the box with a tape. If you don’t have any of these items, the best thing to do is wrap the electronics with blankets.

To mention some of the electronics you may want to pack include; electronic kettle/jug, cooker, fridge, rice cooker, washing machine, television/home theatre and computers.

You could be wondering how you can move your fridge safely. This is how, defrost it atleast two days before the transit and its ready to go.

For light bulbs, wrap them up then pack them in one box.

10. Pack your art work

Wrap your arts including mirrors using bubble wraps to ensure maximum safety. Bubble wraps are quite affordable and readily available in stores.

11. Disassemble and pack lamp shades

Packing lamp shades is usually not hard. You will also be required to separate the metal ‘U’ from the shade and wrap them up with crushed paper separately. Pack them in an upright position inside a box and if you have several, you can fit them together.

12. Wrap and pack furniture.

You have to be smart when packing furniture to protect them from dust, dirt and being scratched during the move. You will need moving blankets to cover your sofas, chairs, cabinets, shelves and any other furniture that you could be having in your home. This includes furniture in the living room and bedrooms.

If you can disassemble your chairs, remove the legs, wrap the screws and pack them in boxes.

13. Gather tiny belongings.

In every house there are pocket sized items that can easily get lost or misplaced if you don’t organize them carefully. These include items such as pens, clips, pins and pencils. Gather them and put them in a sealable bag. You can then put them in the bag/box containing with your basics.

14. Bundle and pack long items

These are the easiest items to pack. They include; brooms, curtain rods and rakes. You just have to hold them together and tie them up using tape or straps. Do the same for cables.

15. Fold carpets and pack them

Make sure that your carpets are clean before the big day approaches. Remove carpets and door marts in various rooms and fold them. Pack them one by one inside a box in a piled up manner putting the large one at the bottom and door marts at the top.  

16. Pack your set-up kit

Looking forward to an easy set up in your new home after moving? You will need a set-up too kit to help you assemble things like beds, chairs, tv stand and shelves. You could need the following tools; a screw driver and screws, cable clips, a drill, drill battery pack and plug, allen keys, nails and a hammer.

Pack the tools inside a box and have it labeled ‘set up kit’. Ensure that you place the kit somewhere you can access them easily.

17. Pack your Pet’s belongings and reserve a seat

Don’t forget your best company, you need to reserve a seat in your car for your pet. Pack your pet’s food and water in containers. Pack its grooming items in a small box and litter box somewhere accessible. This will give it an easy time during the move.

The last question could be on how to pack stuff in the moving truck.

It is advisable to start with the furniture first and have them held together so that they don’t move while on transit. Bulky items can follow and then wind up with the boxes. Stick with the fragile items by moving them with your personal car where they are safer.

Principles of packing.

To avoid creating a big mess while moving, you need to understand the basic principles of moving. They include;

1. Light items should always be on top and heavy items below. When put at the bottom, heavy items will give shape to the box or container and hold it right up. Light items are always safer at the top.

2. Always use tape or straps to tie the boxes after packing. This is to protect the stuff from falling out of the boxes.

3. Only pack or use containers with lids and make sure that they are tightly closed. This is to avoid spilling.

4. Make sure that the weight limit per box doesn’t exceed 50 lbs. This is for your own safety and the safety of the people helping you move. This is recommended by the moving experts.

5. Always wrap fragile items with moving pads, crumpled papers or crushed newspapers.

6. Never leave space in between the boxes. Ensure that you fill up all the spaces with clothes, towels or papers to prevent items from rattling around which might cause them to break.

7. Try as much as possible to pack your items according to function.

8. Do not pack flammables, chemicals or dangerous items. Harmful items in this case are the ones that are corrosive, poisonous or explosive.

Here is a list of what not to pack for a move;

  • Garden chemicals including, pool chemicals, pesticides, poisons (such as weed killer), propane and propane tanks, fertilizer.
  • Garage chemicals including; car batteries, kerosene, paint thinner, gasoline and motor oil.
  • Cleaning products including; ammonia, aerosol air freshener, cleaning solvents and liquid bleach.
  • Some beauty products including; nail polish & nail polish remover and hair sprays.
  • Some household items such as batteries, matches, fireworks, oil and latex based paints, lamp oils, guns, fire extinguishers, light bulb (fluorescent) and ammunition. For gas cylinders and items that use gas, drain all the gas before the move.

You might be wondering why you may have packed the above items when moving and nothing happened. Well, such items could be reactive in hot or cold temperatures exceeding the recommended one. Some could also explode in a long distance if the road is bumpy.

If you are in doubt about whether to pack an item or not, just leave it. Your safety and of those helping you move matter most.

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