Packing in Stages

Packing and preparing for a move into a new home can be a pretty overwhelming task. Starting out with a step-by-step plan will help you stay focused and reduce stress as you embark on your next chapter.

1. Organize one room at a time.

If you don’t organize first, you could end up packing clutter that you don’t really want in your new home. To cut down on the number of boxes you need to move and to begin with a fresh start in your new place, focus on what is most important. Start organizing the less frequently used rooms first, such as a formal dining room, a rarely used home office, guest bedroom, or basement. As you organize each space, work your way up to the most frequently used rooms, like the kitchen and family room.

2. Sort items into four categories.

Make four piles to help you stay organized: donate, trash, sell and pack. In each of the rooms you organize, these four categories should be your primary focus. Grab a few plastic storage bins or cardboard boxes and label them for each room. That way you can toss in items quickly as you work.

3. Have a moving sale.

After you’ve sorted through and organized all of the rooms, host a yard sale or garage sale to help you get rid of any items you no longer want, especially larger items such as furniture. Having those sellable items out of the way can help you focus on packing the rest.

4. Stock up on good packing materials.

When preparing to move, always gather more packing supplies than you think you’ll need. Packaging bubbles, packing paper, packing tape, cardboard boxes and labels are all items you should have on hand. Create packing stations in a few areas of your home so you can work periodically as you find the time leading up to moving day.

5. Pack small, less-used items first.

That rarely used waffle iron, your collection of DVDs, your plethora of office supplies or whatever it is that you won’t be using before the big move can be packed away first. Work your way up to the more frequently used items last.

6. Wrap and pack any fragile possessions.

Don’t wait until the last minute to pack any fragile valuables. If you’re rushed, those items are more likely to break. Gather up your breakables together on a table so you can be meticulous with how you wrap each one. It’s easy to forget if you’re just tossing them in boxes and telling yourself you’ll wrap them later.

7. Make note of any expensive items.

As you pack, make a list of any items that may need extra moving insurance, especially heavier items like electronics, boxes of fine china and furniture in case of damage.

8. Label boxes clearly.

Write legibly on each box which room the box belongs to and what each box contains. You can even take it one step further and color-code your boxes using colored tape or markers. Use a different color on each box to help distinguish what room it goes to. You can use red for the kitchen, yellow on boxes for the living room and so on.

9. Close off rooms as you empty them.

As you pack up each room and empty it out, close the door and check it off your list. The more empty rooms you have, the more you’ll realize the progress you’re making. And having some empty rooms can be quite a relief.

10. Create a “staging area.”

In one of the empty rooms, preferably one closest to the front door, set up an area where you can begin stacking boxes to prepare for the movers. This area will help you to get finished boxes out of the way as you pack and will make the loading process much faster on moving day.

11. Pack your suitcases.

Don’t forget to pack clothes and everyday items you might need for the first few days in your new place. It’s even a good idea to overestimate how much clothing you may need, just to be safe.

12. Set aside an “easy-access” box.

Labeling boxes that contain any items you may need on the first day of your move will help you find these items quickly. These boxes should be labeled with “easy access” and contain items such as toiletries, pet food, credit cards and ID, phone chargers, medicines, towels, bed sheets, an inflatable mattress (if your furniture won’t be arriving the first day) and a folder with any important documents you may need. Keep your “easy-access” boxes with you and not packed in the back of your moving truck, so you have them immediately when you arrive.

13. Load up!

Put appliances and furniture into your moving truck first, followed by boxes, and then any remaining items.

By taking on your packing in stages, the task will seem less overwhelming, allowing you to have a smooth, fresh start in your new place.

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Written By

Stephen Bennett

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