By Manuella Irwin
As moving day approaches, the idea of packing all your household belongings can be daunting. It’s one thing when you a have a few hours to pack a suitcase for a trip, but moving from one home to another takes packing to a whole new level.
When you’re ready to get started, some careful thought and a creative approach can help save you both time and money.
Begin with basics
Planning the packing of your home will ensure that you waste no time in the process, and achieve maximum results with minimum resources and effort. Make a schedule based on the time left until your move, so you don’t end up packing everything on moving day.
This is the time to prove yourself as a strategic thinker. Divide your household items into groups based on the room they’re located in, material they’re made of and frequency of use.
Start with the items you use rarely, and don’t mix items from different rooms, or items of different types, such as liquids with clothes. And when it comes to packing very high-priced items, don’t try to save money on your move by cutting out professional movers. It may be worth it to have some help.
Packing is a natural time to discard or donate items you no longer need — but be sure to keep a balance between emotion and logic as you make your choices. This principle may be hard to follow, but do your best to adhere to it. During your household purge, get rid of anything you won’t use anymore.
As you pack, create an open-first box with vital items you’ll need in hand as soon as you arrive at your new home, such as a first-aid kit, basic toiletries, towels, a change of clothes, a tool kit and a flashlight.
Think outside the (moving) box
Don’t spend time and money on buying packing supplies until you take stock of what you already have. Your home is full of free packing materials, such as clothing, bed linens, pillows, laundry bins and suitcases. There are many unconventional ways to use these items:
- Enlist linens, towels and socks to protect glassware inside boxes.
- Wrap dishes in T-shirts, or insert Styrofoam plates in between yours.
- Pack books inside suitcases to make them easier to carry.
- Wrap shoes in shower caps and stack them in a medium-size box.
It’s in the bag
The secret weapons for painless packing are probably right under your kitchen sink. Garbage bags, plastic wrap and sandwich bags have a multitude of uses.
- Use cling wrap to keep necklaces and bracelets from tangling. Lay a few pieces of jewelry on a length of plastic wrap and fold the wrap over. Press around your items to keep them separate.
- Don’t pull clothes off the hangers — instead, make a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag, and put the hooks of several hanging pieces through the hole. Pull the bag down over the clothes, and cinch the drawstring at the bottom tight. Voilà! Unpacking will take only minutes.
- Cover shampoos and other liquids with plastic wrap before putting the top on.
- Leave light items in dresser or desk drawers, and stretch plastic wrap firmly over the drawer.
- Store all screws and bolts in securely closed sandwich bags.
- Put pillows and blankets in garbage bags and seal them. When you load the truck, use them as padding between furniture or breakable items.
Make wiring diagrams for hooking up your entertainment system and computer, so you can connect them easily in your new place. Labeling cords and taking pictures of the setup will help, too.
Organize cords and cables by wrapping each one and stuffing it inside an empty toilet paper roll.
If possible, pack all electronic devices in their original box with enough cushion, and no empty spaces within the box.
Don’t underestimate the importance of labeling. You probably don’t have an army of helpers standing by to help you unpack and organize all your goods, so labels are essential to finding items fast.
Be sure that all boxes containing breakable items are clearly marked as fragile.
Packing can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but if you approach it cleverly, the results may surprise you.
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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
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