Monday, March 17, 2014


Since we are moving this week (and mostly done with the packing process), I thought we'd share some tips on packing. Of course, everyone is different, but this is just what has worked best for us to make our transition as smooth as possible. 
  1. Start collecting boxes now. As soon as you know your moving date, start putting those boxes aside. Or, before, if possible. We knew we had an eventual move on the horizon so over the last few months, we've been stashing boxes away. Most of ours came from packages that were delivered to the house and ones that I brought home from work. I know you can sometimes score boxes from behind the grocery store but that has never really worked for us. Those boxes always smell weird and I have never felt good about packing my blankets in a box that smelled like rotten bananas. Check with your friends. Sometimes they have boxes that they can bring you. And I've also heard really good things about buying boxes at Lowe's and Home Depot.
  2. Once you have a general idea of when you'll be moving, start packing. I've technically been working on packing my books up since about September or October (see here) but we've been actively packing since January -- long before we ever closed on our house or had even seen it, really. I started with the things that I knew we wouldn't be using over the next few months (holiday decorations, board games, seasonal bedding, etc.) and just took it really slow. I think I averaged a box a week or something. Then, once we had a moving date, I stepped up my game. The past month or so we've been packing a box a day. Now our moving date is upon us and the only things left out are the daily essentials. 
  3. Make sure you label your boxes clearly. Mark each box with the room it came from and a brief description of the contents. If you do this, when each box comes into the new space, it can go right to the room where it needs to be unpacked -- no shuffling around or relocating.
  4. As you pack each box, stack them in a designated place. One of the reasons we've been so successful with the whole early packing thing is that we chose a spot for completed boxes to go. That way, we don't have a maze of boxes to weave through and each room can feel as normal as possible. This has been very important for Tillie, as change can make her feel a little uneasy. I imagine this is probably the same for children as well.
  5. Make lists: boxes to be packed, things to buy for the new space, last minute things to do, etc. If you're a type A personality, like me, this is a crucial step. It will help you stay on track, prioritize tasks, and keep you from lying awake at night worrying if you got everything done. Plus, the gratification that you get from crossing something off your list is totally worth it. I like to keep my lists together and when I'm feeling particularly stagnant, look over all the tasks that I've completed.
  6. Purge. As you pack, really look at the things you're packing. Ask yourself how often you use it; if you even really like it. If you don't use it or it doesn't really fit into who you are anymore, consider getting rid of it. Keep a (large) box to the side for these things. When it's full, box it up and take it somewhere to donate those items. We are constantly doing this with clothes and household objects. We'll be able to write these donations off on our taxes next year and the less stuff we have to move, the better. Now is the time to get rid of all that stuff you've been holding on to but let's be honest, are never going to use again.
  7. Pack the things you'll need right away together and carry with you over to the new place. These types of things include cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothing, and other essentials. We have a box designated for these things that we will load up the night before we close -- not even tape it up, just throw our stuff in and bring it on over. 
  8. Make sure you reserve some time for relaxation. Packing can be stressful and hard on you -- emotionally and physically. Build in some time to do something enjoyable. I limit myself to packing a box or two a night and then I take a walk or park it on the couch (usually with a heating pad because my lower back is killing me these days) and eat something chocolaty and delicious. 
Keep in mind that what worked for us might not necessarily work for you and your lifestyle. But hopefully, you can find a take-away from our experience to make your next move a little easier. What about you? Any tricks to packing that you found helpful? Got any great advice for unpacking?

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