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Moving is an exciting, yet stressful, time in life. If you’re preparing to move, you know that packing is definitely not the only thing on your mind. You’re about to enter a transition phase, and you should be focusing on the things that matter — not to mention getting excited about your new home. 

To reduce your stress during this time, make sure you’re packing and planning effectively. This involves scheduling movers, purchasing moving supplies, and carefully wrapping your belongings. Use the packing tips below to help streamline the entire process.

1.Get enough of the right supplies

The key to a smooth packing process is ensuring you have enough of the right supplies to pack your home. This will help you avoid multiple trips to the store or having to continually order more packing materials. You’ll need:

  • Moving boxes
  • Garbage bags
  • Packing tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Permanent markers
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing peanuts
  • Packing paper 

On average, you will need 10 to 15 small boxes, 8 to 10 medium boxes, and 5 to 7 large boxes per bedroom in your house. However, you can get away with fewer boxes if you keep your belongings in your drawers and use garbage bags to pack clothes on hangers (this will also save time). Alternatively, you can use wardrobe boxes. If you do keep items in your drawers, make sure to wrap each drawer carefully with bubble wrap or plastic wrap so that items don’t fall out. 

Consider investing in speciality boxes, cartons, or smaller boxes for delicate items like dishes, glasses, artwork, and televisions. Large items like televisions or kitchen appliances can also be transported in their original boxes.

2. Decide if you will use movers and book in advance

Determine what moving services you want to use before you start packing. Many moving companies, truck rentals, or moving cube services require advance notice. Once you know how you plan to move, you’ll be able to pack accordingly. For example, if you choose to hire professional movers, they might offer a packing service so you won’t need to box up your items.

3. Declutter

Getting rid of excess clothing, furniture, and other items is one of the most helpful things you can do when moving. If you have the time, go through your items either before packing or as you pack. Donate, sell, or move the excess items to a storage unit so they don’t take up space in your boxes and moving truck. This is also a great way to save money when you move, since you won’t need as many boxes or as big of a truck.

4. Give yourself plenty of time

How much packing time you give yourself is up to you, and depends on your specific situation and number of belongings. However, it’s never a bad idea to start early. Give yourself as much time as you can, even a couple of months if you’re packing a large house, to pack before your move.

Related: 15 tips for moving with children

5. Come up with a packing plan

Moving is an overwhelming experience for so many reasons. You’re packing up your home and moving to a new one (which might be due to a job change or life change). There’s a lot that needs to be done, so making a plan for packing up your house is a great way to simplify part of the process.

Make a list of the essential items and “no pack” items you want to leave out. Then, create steps for your plan. You’ll likely pack all of the least used items first, so that is a great step one. Then you’ll pack one room at a time, so list them in the order you want to tackle them in. Packing one room at a time will help you feel on track and like you’re making progress. 

6. Separate essentials and keep them with you 

Designate a spot to put your essentials during the packing process so they don’t get put into boxes. Essentials are the items you’ll want to keep with you during the move. Pack shoes, some clothes, toiletries, and important documents you may need. If you want an organized place to put the files you may need, create a moving folder. You can print any documents, like confirmations from your new utility companies or the moving company’s contact information, and put them in the folder. 

7. Plan for the “don’t pack” items

There are some items you won’t want to pack away in a moving truck, so dedicate a cardboard box, bin, or plastic bag to those items (a reusable tote or  grocery bag is a great option). “Don’t pack” items include: 

  • Family heirlooms
  • Important papers (like birth certificates and passports
  • Sentimental or fragile items you don’t want to pack away 

Typically, these items will travel with you and your essentials to your new home in a moving box or suitcase. Even though they will be traveling with you, make sure to carefully pack these items with packing paper and bubble wrap.

8. Pack the least used items first

Pack anything you won’t need between now and the move, first. By packing these items at the beginning, you can make progress and won’t be stuck packing everything at the last minute.

9.Carefully wrap items

It’s essential to carefully wrap your belongings so they aren’t damaged during the moving process. Use plastic wrap and tape to contain any liquids and wrap fragile items in towels or clothes for extra cushioning. If there’s excess room in boxes or bags, fill the space with crumpled packing paper or tissue paper so the items don’t rattle around.

10. Put heavy or large items in boxes first

To make the most of your space, pack larger and heavier items first. This is a good rule of thumb across the board when moving, and applies to both packing boxes (so the heavy items aren’t placed on top of delicate ones) and packing the moving truck.

11. Tape and label your boxes

Although it sounds like a no-brainer, make sure to use enough tape on every side of the packing box. The last thing you want is for a box to come apart and for breakable items to fall out. 

Similarly, ensure your boxes are labeled on multiple sides with their contents and the room they belong to. Consider color coding the boxes based on rooms as well, and hang signs in each room of your new house with the corresponding color so that you or the movers will know where to put each box.

12. Pack the truck thoughtfully

As long as you plan to unload the moving truck and unpack your belongings quickly, the order in which you put boxes in the truck doesn’t matter too much. However, there’s one thing you can do to make the unpacking process a little easier: Put both the items you’ll want right away and your least used items in the truck last

This way the movers will pull out the boxes of least used items (like out of season clothing or extra decor) first and they’ll be on the bottom of the pile in each new room. 

Make sure to label the box of items you want easy access to, like a few kitchen and cleaning essentials. You’ll want to label it so that it gets set aside and doesn’t wind up at the bottom of any pile. If you have a small room at the front of your house, like a sunroom, that won’t have many other boxes going into it, label the box for that room so you can easily access it.

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