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Packing Like a Pro

Okay, so you’ve got the keys to your dream home, and now it’s time to get ready for your move. Whether you’ve moved a lot or a little, it’s never easy. In fact, it can be downright daunting. But don’t worry: People have been moving from place to place since the first person graced the face of the planet, and there’s plenty of advice to be shared.

Before you start packing:

  • Go through the rooms in your home and take at least a mental inventory of what you’ll be packing. This will give you a better idea of how many boxes you’ll need to to get the job done, as well as tape for the boxes, packing paper, and any specialized boxes you might need (such as wardrobe or dish pack boxes).
  • Whether you borrow or purchase boxes and other packing materials, get more than you think you’ll need. It’s not easy to estimate how much space your things will take up once they’re packed, and you also need to remember that things fit differently in boxes than they do in your home. If you end up with more boxes than you need, you can return what you don’t use, and you’ll save yourself the hassle of making lots of trips to get more.
  • Price boxing materials at different locations in your area. Surprisingly, prices can vary quite a bit.
  • If you want to make it easier for boxes to end up where you want them in your new home, consider getting the color-coded tape or labels that indicate where boxes are supposed to go. It’s also a good idea to purchase the red tape that lets your moving helpers know something fragile is inside.

Give yourself plenty of time:

  • Whether you live in a sprawling home or an apartment, it’s always surprising how long it takesto get all of your belongings packed.
  • As you pack, keep a box (or more) on the side for items that you no longer use or need todonate to a charity or people you know. Why move things you no longer want?
  • If you’re vacating an apartment or rental and want to clean your place so you can get some ofyour deposit back, clean as you empty each room. This will save you last-minute scrubbing and stress when moving day arrives.
  • Where to start? Begin with artwork and decorations that can be packed, things you don’t needfor daily functioning. Slowly work your way toward the things you need and use often, and pack those last.

Pack with care:

  • Make sure boxes with heavier items (such as books, electronics, or pots and pans) aren’t tooheavy to lift easily. You should be able to find very small boxes for books, and for larger pots and pans, pack them in a medium box, then put lighter items on top, such as tupperware.
  • For fragile items, think “cushioning.” Most places that sell boxes have dish packing boxes with foam pads, and also bubble wrap, packing paper and other things to help protect fragile things. No matter what kind of wrapping you use, make sure fragile items don’t “clink” when they touch other items in the box. If necessary, wad up some paper or cut off some bubble wrap and place it between items for additional padding.
  • Pack items to the top lip of the box or add packing material to fill up space up to the top, but make sure boxes are flat when you tape them closed. Too much space at the top will cause a box to collapse if another box is placed on top of it, and a box with a rounded top won’t stack well. You want boxes to stack well to maximize the area in the moving truck, as well as in your house while you’re still packing.
  • Stack boxes of the same size neatly, and place heavier boxes on the bottom when you stack them. While the boxes are usually pretty sturdy, over time, heavier boxes can start to push down on boxes underneath, and the entire stack could come crashing down.
  • Consider purchasing sturdy crates or specialty boxes for large pictures or wall art.

Plan for your transition:

  • Pack the clothes, toiletries, medications and anything else you’ll need immediately when you relocate in a suitcase, as if you’re going on a trip.
  • If you have children, make sure they’ve got a few things with them that are really important to them (a favorite toy, favorite pillow) so that when you reach your new home, your children already have something in hand that makes them feel comfortable and at home while you unpack the rest of your belongings.
  • Mark boxes you’ll need to unpack first in an obvious way with colored tape or markers. You don’t want to be digging for days for the things that make you feel most at home!

Make an exit plan: On moving day, you’ll still need to eat, grab that last bit of laundry, maybe give the place a final scrub after everything is out, and you might have some plants you’re taking with you. Here’s how to transport odd or last-minute items:

  • If you’re not moving a long distance, get a cooler ready to move food from your freezer andfridge to your new place.
  • Put any dirty laundry in a bag and pack it in a well-marked box.
  • Keep tubs with handles or milk crates handy for cleaning supplies, that last pot or pan, yourplants, or any other miscellaneous items you happen to come across as you’re vacating.

Now you’re ready to go!

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