I've already shared our experience with deciding how we'd move and our tips for planning your move, so today I've got tips I've learned about packing and moving. On our move from Oklahoma to Miami we didn't pack as well as we should have. Things got broken, scratched, spilled and beat up a lot. But we've learned since then and not one thing was broken in the move back to Oklahoma!
- Color code boxes by room with easily visible colored tape (Public Storage sells color labels pre-printed, but they're kinda small. I used bright duct tape with a K for Kitchen, etc)
- Put a sticky note on the door/wall for each room in the new home so movers know which is the master, office, kids', etc
- Number boxes and create a master list of what's in each box by number in Excel
- You'll be amazed how handy this is at the new home when you're looking for things, plus if you're using movers it will allow you to make sure nothing is lost/stolen and provide an inventory for insurance.
Label with major contents, number in top right lists all important things on the spreadsheet and the color tape on the top left denotes the room.
- Create a spreadsheet inventory of collections, like books and movies. Specify which room, bookcase and shelf size each belongs on. Take a photo of each shelf for reference when unpacking. Even when using packers and movers, this can help you prove ownership, condition and inventory in the event something is missing or damaged.
- Label boxes for heat/cold sensitive items, fragile items, and this side up or do not stack things on top if items can be easily crushed. Make sure to write this on the top & side of the box.
- Use a mattress cover. This prevents snags, rips and stains. They run as cheap as $5, but may save you $200+ if you have to replace the mattress.
- Protect the corners/edges of furniture, frames and other large artwork with box corners or bubble wrap to prevent scratches, dents and chips. This is one of the most important tips I can share, because this was a big problem for us!
- Wrap all glass items in a couple pieces of packing paper or in bubble wrap.
- Do not stack glasses and then wrap them. They will bust.
- Similarly, place a liner of some sort between plates if stacking them.
- Remove light bulbs from lamps & fixtures. Wrap & store like glass.
- Don't use newspaper to wrap dishes & such. The print can transfer (especially on colored dishes/porcelain) and stain your items. Use pro packing paper instead.
- Always use small boxes for books and heavy items. Free boxes from liquor stores are great for this.
- While filling a box, pick it up occasionally to make sure it's not too heavy.
- For the safest bet, invest in a few plastic storage tubs to prevent a box from crushing and damaging really fragile items.
- Make sure to tape the lids/drawers shut.
- Pack a last out/1st in box for necessities like toilet paper, screwdrivers, flashlights, tape, paper/plastic eating supplies, etc.
- Do not put wine or beer where it can get hot or too cold. Even if it's not in direct sunlight the items will go bad. Trust me.
- Remember that candles, makeup, some foods, etc can melt in prolonged heat.
- Use laundry hampers for tall things like wrapping paper or floral accents (see the 1st photo).
- Clean everything before it's packed so you start fresh in your new place: rugs, furniture, dusting, clean dishes, clean vases, wash all clothes, towels & bedding.
- Pack your flat screen tv like a pro. Use the original box & packaging or buy a designated tv box. Keep it upright, not on its side.
- I've heard Plasma tvs require special procedures for moving (like keeping it unplugged for a certain amount of time to be at the right temp), so I suggest talking to the manufacturer or Googling it.
- Designate a Do Not Pack spot and place signs on the items. Don't rely on telling movers/helpers that an item is Do Not Pack.
- We used the pantry, but I've seen others use the bathtub or a closet.
- Don't forget to keep pet supplies out. Dishes with lids for food & water, leashes, treats (they'll be stressed out), a pillow, crates, etc. Having their blankets, pillows, toys, etc can help calm them down through a move and get them situated in a new location easier.
- We actually had our dogs boarded during the day while movers loaded the truck so they wouldn't be in the way.
- Transporting a car on a trailer? Fill it with stuff! Just make sure it can be in sunlight/get hot or cold.
- In the midst of moving chaos, don't forget to have your car serviced. Make sure tires, brakes, air filter, lights & fluids are good.
- Have propane tanks emptied. Don't try to transport flammables in the moving truck (usually it's against their policies anyway).
- Have water & gatorade waiting in the fridge or cooler at both the move-out location & move-in location.
- Place the heaviest items in the back (by the cab) of the moving truck, not right by the door.
- Rent an appliance dolly from storage places or your truck rental place for moving appliance (fridge, W/D, dishwasher, etc)
- Don't try to transport plants long distance in a truck. Either move them in your car so you can control temp & water or give them away.
- If you have a sleeper sofa, take the mattress part out before moving it to make it a little lighter.
- Remove couch cushions for loading (and consider bagging them to prevent rips)
- Make a folder/accordion file with moving paperwork. Include travel maps/info, utility/new home info, contact info & quotes for any moving/rental services, pet paperwork (make sure to have their vaccination record), emergency numbers, etc.
- As soon as possible before the move, create a list of accounts to notify of your new address
- Goes without saying, but pack your own overnight bag for a few days so you're not rewearing clothes or searching through boxes for soap.
- Map out the gas station you want to fill up at before returning the rental truck. Aim for the closest to the return point at the most reasonable price to avoid the fees for refilling.
- Don't just put stuff in the door. Take it to its destination room. If you're using movers or unloaders, this is part of their payment & responsibility.
- Unloading help/movers should place furniture where you want it as well, but don't expect them to assemble any furniture.
- Make sure someone is in the home at all times to direct placement of furniture & boxes.
- If you're renting, plan extra time between your arrival with the keys and the unloading so you can do a damage inventory.
- Set up pets' crates or areas quickly to help them acclimate to the space.