If there’s a move on your horizon – whether across the block or across the country – you’ve got a major life event coming up! Moves can be stressful, scary, exhilarating, exhausting. There are so many large tasks to complete before the move, and so many little details that need to be taken care of on the day of the move. So the better prepared you can be beforehand, the smoother everything will go during and after the actual move.
Packing up your home or apartment takes time. It’s best to stretch out this task out and not attempt to do it all at once. Because the more systematic you can be about packing, the simpler your unpacking will be.
Begin with non-essentials, and set yourself a target date. If you’re going to be packing on the weekends and evenings, you can begin packing a month or so before your move. Go through your things and figure out what you won’t need for the next month. This is a good time to pack items like non-seasonal items; books; paintings and pictures; good china (assuming you’re not going to be throwing any fancy dinner parties in the next month).
Packing is the perfect time to declutter. Check out our articles for help with that:
- Declutter, Unclutter and Clutter No More
- Purge, Purge, Purge
- Checking In: How’s That Decluttering Thing Coming Along?
Before you pack your first box, decide upon a staging area for packed boxes, whether you dedicate a corner of each room, or empty out a closet for this purpose. This way, you’ll have a spot to place each box as you finish it, and you’ll able to get a nice sense of accomplishment by seeing that pile grow and grow as you proceed!
You can also use plastic bins and crates to pack, especially if you are moving further. Choose bins with handles, as these are much easier to grab and move. (Avoid plastic bins with lids that easily snap on and off as these will inevitably pop off while you’re carrying them on a flight of stairs or at the most inopportune moment. If you’ve already bought these, tape down the lids securely so that they don’t fly off.)
Instead, choose medium-sized containers for clothes and kitchenware, and smaller containers for books.
Layer the items that you pack – whether with bubble wrap, crumpled newspapers, or clothing. That’s right: Wrap each plate in a t-shirt, for example. Stuff socks and tights into mugs and wine glasses, then wrap in your sweaters. This way, you’ll save money on supplies AND save space within each box.
Packing can be a bit dreary, so to make it more enjoyable, download some podcasts and pop in some headphones. Put your phone in your pocket so that you’re hands-free and can easily pack. And place those boxes on a chair or a table so that you’re not constantly bending down – save that back for your upcoming move!
Day / Weekend Of
Set yourself a timeline for your moving day. And build in lots of extra time. While it’s tempting to think, running over to U-Haul will take 30 minutes, the reality is that anything can – and might – happen to stretch that 30 minutes into 90. Build in time for meals so that you can stay fed and hydrated.
And, if possible, consider building in a spot of fun – whether it’s a walk around your old neighborhood to a proper sit-down lunch in your favorite spot. You’ll recharge your batteries both physically and mentally, and that’s super important for the long moving day. We also know it might sound ludicrous to do that (There's no time! It’s so stressful!) but in the end, it’ll be so worth it: A little piece of respite in a stressful day.