Making a move is difficult and stressful for every member of the family, whether you are moving across town or to the other side of the country. By keeping a few tips in mind while you’re packing, though, you can help minimize some of the stress that comes with moving for everyone involved, and make the entire process a little bit easier.
Donate, Donate, Donate
Go through everything before you start packing and put things you’re willing to donate into trash bags. You will save a lot of money by not moving the things that you no longer use. Put the kids to work in their toy room and their bedrooms, and have them go through all of their old clothes and toys, setting aside those clothes that no longer fit and those toys that they are ready to let go of.
Once you’ve determined what you no longer need or want, donate the items to Goodwill or another donation company. There are a lot of companies that will come to your door to pick up your donations so that you don’t have to stop packing to run your donations to Goodwill.
Keep in mind that many places will also take furniture, so if you are planning on starting fresh in the new house with new furniture it might be a good idea to sell your old furniture or donate it to a good cause. Places like Craigslist.com will allow you to quickly post an item with a picture so that interested people can come to your house to look at it and potentially purchase it. It’s better to make a little money off of furniture you don’t want rather than paying to move it to a new house only to find you don’t have room for it.
Prepare to Pack
Take the kids with you to the store and stock up on small and medium boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper and Sharpie markers. There’s nothing worse than getting on a roll while packing and then running out of tape or other packing supplies that you need. By involving the kids in every step of the process they will feel more involved, which can help minimize the feeling that this is something that is being done to them.
Large boxes are hard to carry and hard to sort through, so try to avoid packing anything except bedding, pillows and the like in big boxes. Kids will like being able to help carry boxes, so make sure you have some small ones.
Wardrobe boxes are huge time savers because you can move hanging clothes straight from the closet to the box instead of having to worry about folding everything and then finding a place to put all of the hangers.
When you fill a box make sure that everything in that box belongs in the same room. Once the box is full you can tape it closed and label it with three things: a number (1-20 etc.), a room (kitchen, master bedroom, family room etc.), and a brief description of what’s in the box (clothes, toys, dishes, etc.).
Labeling will help you as you unload the moving van because you will be able to instruct the movers to leave the right boxes in their specific rooms instead of piling all of the boxes in the dining room from floor to ceiling and trying to sort everything out later.
Another benefit to labeling the boxes ahead of time is that you have a better chance at finding the things you need when you need them. For instance, it’s much easier to locate measuring spoons when you can identify and differentiate which boxes hold the kitchen items and which ones hold the office supplies.
If you have older children you can put them in charge of labeling the boxes.
Make a List
Keep a packing list of boxes. Start by creating a heading called KITCHEN and then list by number the boxes that you fill with kitchen items. For example, beside kitchen box number 4 you can write a brief description of: baking supplies, stand mixer, etc.
Making a list as you fill each box ensures that you have a master list of the boxes and what they contain when you finish packing. Make a copy of the list and send it along with the movers, keeping a copy for yourself as well. It’s easy to lose track of boxes or for some to go missing during a move when you don’t have a master list available to double check everything. However, if you have your master list handy when the movers are dropping off your boxes you can go through each room and make sure that you have boxes 1 through 23 in the kitchen, boxes 1 through 6 in the bathroom, and boxes 1 through 19 in the family room. It will be immediately apparent that you are missing something if you don’t have all of the boxes checked off of your list on delivery day. Then you can make a claim based on what your list says it has in it. For example, if the box description says throw pillows you know pretty well what was in the box and its value.
While you are packing you will need to create a box that holds all of the important items and things that you will need right away once you get into the house. Here are some suggestions of items to put in the box.
- Coffee maker
- Coffee mugs
- Sugar and creamer packets
- 2 qt. sauce pan
- 10 inch frying pan
- Paper plates
- Plastic utensils
- Paper bowls
- Trial size cereal boxes
- Can opener
- Trash bags
- Paper towels
- Cleaning supplies
- Roll of toilet paper (that one might be the most important!)
Keeping these tips in mind during your next move will help the process move more smoothly. You might want to put together a box of things for the kids and fill it with some essential items, like an air mattress and night light, and some that are purely for pleasure, such as stuffed animals and a few games. It also might be fun to sneak a few new items into the kids’ box so that they can be surprised with a few new things for their new room when they open the box.