Preparing for a successful move requires plenty of planning ahead — especially if that move is long-distance or cross-country. Enlisting the help of a professional moving company can help lighten the load and ease some stress, but completing a few to-dos ahead of time can make moving and unpacking as organized as possible.
These seven packing tips will help you prepare for your move and start off in your new home on the right foot.
With a full to-do list, it's easy to get overwhelmed and let important things slip onto the backburner — but putting off packing until the last minute can add even more fuel to an already stressful fire. Instead of saving all of your packing to be crammed into one weekend, make your packing schedule more digestible by taking it on a week-by-week basis.
"A few weeks prior to your move, start packing several boxes a day, beginning with items that are least essential to your daily life," said Larry Hinnant, a managing partner of Miracle Movers, a Raleigh-based moving, packing, and storage company. "If you pace yourself, you will be more organized, and the job won't be as overwhelming."
In planning your packing, try mapping out a schedule from start to finish, so you'll know exactly how far along you'll be as moving day approaches and you can adjust your plans accordingly.
While creating a packing schedule, it helps to coordinate based on room — and even further, based on certain sections of each room. That way, you'll simplify your workload and keep any packing chaos limited to specific corners of the home.
"Focus on one area of a room at a time. That'll prevent you from mixing items and losing things in the hustle and bustle of moving day," Hinnant said. "If you can, it also helps to wrap items from each room in the same color tissue paper or newspaper, so that if you set anything down before boxing it up, you know exactly where it's supposed to go."
Once each room and room section is wrapped, boxed, and ready, make sure to label boxes clearly.
"Write a general description of the content and the room it goes in. It helps to use different colored markers for each area," said Hinnant. "Not only does that provide clarity for you when you're unpacking, but it can also help your movers figure out the correct place for each box."
Taking those extra steps not only helps bring more order to moving day, but also cuts down the amount of time it takes to unpack, settle in, and enjoy your new home.
Many people save up old newspapers to wrap their more fragile items in while packing. While newspapers will get the job done, they also tend to transfer ink to whatever they're covering — meaning once you unwrap your items, you may find they need to be scrubbed clean. In order to avoid extra work and keep your more valuable possessions clean, consider going an alternate route.
"Since regular newspapers can leave ink on your possessions, I recommend using only white packing paper with no ink," said Hinnant. "You should be able to easily find it at most larger home improvement stores, and that way, you don't have to worry about collecting stacks of old newspapers lying around your house or creating extra work when you're unpacking."
Snagging boxing from grocery stores might initially seem like a good idea, but oftentimes those boxes have already seen a considerable amount of wear and tear — so they aren't always equipped to handle your items without breaking.
Additionally, varying box sizes make loading a moving truck a challenge. For those using professional movers, that means more time spent figuring out how to make everything fit.
"Since moving companies charge based on time, when a team spends extra time figuring out how to make different sized boxes fit in the truck or repackaging items that fell out of a broken box, that means a higher bill at the end of the day," said Hinnant. "A lot of people think that by picking up extra boxes from the liquor store or recycling bins, they're saving money, when in reality, a lot of that money saved will go right back into the moving day charge."
Hinnant recommends buying professional uniform boxes from Miracle Movers, which offers free delivery service when you purchase packing supplies.
If you're moving across the country, then you may need to ship some of your items instead of driving them long-distance. In order to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law, be careful to check the items you're shipping aren't considered hazardous.
The United States Postal Service prohibits shipping items such as:
- Firearms or sharp weapons
- Liquids, powders, and odor-producing materials
- Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
- Building construction material
Additionally, the USPS has specific rules for shipping things like liquids and glass containers. In order to ensure your items arrive to your new home on time, it's best to check a full list of USPS regulations.
Not everything needs to be packed away in boxes — and it's wise to keep some of your valuable possessions and important documents close by.
"I always tell people, never pack your checkbook, credit cards, debit cards, or diamond rings. Just take that with you, and don't risk it," said Hinnant. "A little diamond ring could be worth thousands, but could easily slip out of a box and be lost forever."
Consider things that are hard to replace, like birth certificates and passports, as well as particularly valuable items, like jewelry. Set aside a separate bag to fill with these things you'll be able to have on you at all times. Once you get to your new home, you can rest easy knowing all of your most important items will arrive alongside you.
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