It might sound crazy, but I’ve come to really enjoy packing. I love the instant gratification of seeing the boxes stack up. Another reason I like it is because I’ve developed, and practically mastered, the art of packing. My labeling system makes it so you can unpack like a pro or find anything in a sea of boxes. My packing methods are designed with safe transportation and quick unpacking in mind. Embrace my crazy ways and I’m sure you’ll have a successful packing/unpacking process:
Setting Up Your Moving System: When you pack, you need to have a labeling system in place according to the rooms in your NEW place. What I do is list out all of the rooms in my new home (even the bathrooms) and assign them a color. Bold, bright colors like red, blue, and green are designated for the rooms with the most boxes like the kitchen for easy recognition. Colors are easier to recognize quickly than words, so if movers see red words, they can instantly know “kitchen” without having to take the time to read the box or the descriptions. (When you FIRST arrive at your new place, give whomever is helping you move a quick tour explaining which room is which according to your system.) With the colors/room designations, people will never ask you “where does this go?” because you’re going to tape a note card with the proper label on it to EVERY SINGLE ITEM. Each box, piece of furniture, TV, lamp, etc. gets a room label. It might sound tedious, but it is SO WORTH IT to have this system.
Filling and Labeling Moving Boxes: I make sure no box is ever heavier than 25 pounds. No, I don’t weigh each box, but I know I can’t happily lift anything heavier than that. So I fill small boxes with heavy things like books so the box doesn’t get too heavy. Whenever I fill a box, I make sure to fill the box to the top–not with actual items, but with crumpled packing paper or newspaper. This will help make your boxes crush resistant without weighing them down. After you fill it and tape it thoroughly (don’t skimp on the tape) it is time to label it.
I write in the appropriate room name on the box in the appropriate color (see above) and then write a brief list of the box’s content in a thin, black permanent marker. This helps SO MUCH with unpacking. You might have 15 boxes that say “master bathroom supplies” but if you are looking for deodorant or toilet paper, you don’t want to sift through all of those boxes. If you write “Master Bathroom: [Name’s] toiletries, shower gear” on the box, you can find your deoderant right away (and everybody will be thankful for that). You don’t have to bust open every box until you find what you want when you have them labeled. This is especially helpful so you can prioritize your unpacking. Your collection of mugs from around the world doesn’t need to be unpacked the first day or so, but your everyday utensils and plates do. In a closed box that just says “kitchen” you don’t know if it is your blender, your kid’s plastic cups, or your set of knives. So take a minute and list the major items in each box.
What NOT Pack Away with Everything Else in a Move: I’m a firm believer in being prepared. It is nearly impossible for me to travel light, but people are ALWAYS thankful I don’t. This applies to moving as well. I keep two collections with me and do not allow others to mess with either of them.
The first is my “night of/next day” suitcase. I pack clothes, basic toiletries, jewelry, shoes, etc. for the night I move and for the next day so I don’t have to tear open bunches of boxes just so I can go to sleep properly or get dressed the next day. I have everything I absolutely need ready to go so I can totally focus on the bigger tasks at hand. I’d do the same for my kids (if I had any yet). The essentials pack doesn’t have to be much, but enough to get keep me happy the first night I move in somewhere and to make sure my morning routine is ready for the next day. This little habit helps to keep me calm and stay more organized.
The second is my “great big bag of everything.” I have a giant beach bag that I keep a little bit of everything in and keep it with me. It has my folder with moving information in it. It has a small first aid kit (because cuts and splinters ALWAYS happen when moving). It has a couple bottles of water, snacks (some with sugar, some with protein), and a couple of sodas in it. It keeps my cell phone charger, small towel, and pen and paper. I keep a pair of scissors and a screwdriver with me as well. A roll of toilet paper, package of tissues, cleaning wipes, and paper towels are the last few things that get tossed in while I’m packing up.
Did I mention that my bag is fairly big? But it always comes in handy! Nobody ever says “wow, you shouldn’t have packed that toilet paper.” All of these items have come in handy during my many moves. Throughout the years my Great Big Bag has gotten bigger due to life lessons. I’m ready to deal with low blood sugar, boo boos, headaches, unclean restrooms, dead cell phones, and so much more.
As I told you in Monday’s blog, I start planning the minute I find out I’m moving. This process helps to avoid problems and tackle the ones that always pop up. Having a good labeling system is so important to having an easier moving day and even easier unpacking process. Keeping my suitcase of essentials for getting ready and keeping my great big bag of everything handy makes it so that I’m together and can help others. Hopefully you’ve pulled a few tricks out of this that you can apply to your next move! You’ll tailor this process to meet the needs of you and your family! Email me with your suggestions and helpful tips! Check back tomorrow to see how I handle the big moving day!