Packing sounds easy but it really is not. The process requires you to allocate time and effort in filling up boxes to ensure the safety of your possessions. This is why for many people, packing for a house move is considered a herculean task.
But by being efficient with your packing methods, you can slash the time it takes to finish the task. Let these steps from a seasoned packing and unpacking service be your guide in tackling your packing project like a pro.
1. Set up a packing station
To simplify your packing operation, you need to first select a room in your home which would serve as your packing station. You should clear it out and have easy access to this room before use so that you can store your packed boxes and supplies. Often, a garage or a seldom-used room is best for this purpose.
For packing supplies, you may need:
- Marker pens
- Packing tape
- Scissors, cutters
- Bubble wrap
- Plain newsprint or packing paper
- Sticker labels
- Packing peanuts
Never skimp on boxes
When it comes to boxes, unless you’re on a really tight budget, you should make use of new ones. Secondhand boxes may not be durable enough to withstand the weight and end up collapsing while you’re loading and unloading your goods.
Weak boxes may hinder the packing process, too, and put your valuables at risk for damage.
2. Create a schedule
The greatest hurdle of packing for a move is leaving everything to the last minute. It goes without saying that packing is a huge task so don’t ever think about procrastinating.
To pack like a pro, you have to ensure that you schedule your time appropriately and in advance, way ahead of your move date. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by doing everything at once. Break the process down into simple steps and assign a time to complete each chore so that you can pack with ease.
- Break out your calendar and assess how much free time you have available before your moving day.
- Designate certain times for decluttering, packing up every room of your home, as well as cleaning.
Now that you have a schedule, the next step is to declutter. This will help lighten your workload by getting rid of items you don’t need before packing things in boxes.
When decluttering, use the three-pile method. Sort things you intend to keep in a single pile, items you intend to donate into another pile, and items that you need to get rid of in a third pile. This method will give you a clear plan of action for every item.
You may also book a cleaning service so that you can enjoy a hassle-free decluttering process. Instead of having to go through your belongings one by one, you can focus more on packing useful items instead.
4. Establish a labeling system
Staying organized is crucial when packing for a move. Before you begin, you should have a system in place that’ll allow you to easily sort out items when you arrive in your new home. The best way to do this is to create a labeling system that lets you know with just a glance what is inside every box.
So when you put labels, be specific. For instance, instead of placing “kitchen” only, you may want to add “kitchen pans and pots.” Make sure to place labels on multiple sides so that no matter the position of the box, you’ll know what items are inside.
If you want to take your labeling system a step further, you can make a list of each item inside the box. You can either make a digital master list through a spreadsheet or write it on paper, then stick it on top of the box. Whatever method you choose, keep the following things in mind:
- Simple is better especially if you have to explain your method to the removalists or movers.
- No matter how well you packed your sensitive items, you should still mark them as “fragile,”
- Make use of arrows to mark which way up your boxes need to go. Some quality moving boxes already have pre-marked arrows.
- Ensure you have a system for matching boxes with the rooms they are for.
5. Pack with a strategy
As much as possible, pack your least used items first. There’s nothing more time-consuming than having to delve through packed boxes to retrieve items you need. Pack systematically by going through one room at a time.
Below are a few general reminders:
- Pack similar items together.
- Heavy items should go into smaller boxes while lighter ones can be accommodated in bigger boxes.
- Get rid of gaps when packing by placing packing paper between and around items.
- Seal each box tightly using good quality packing tape.
- Keep important documents together and bring them with you.
- Take an inventory of all items you’ve packed to check whether anything is missing.
Your goal should be to prevent as much movement inside boxes as possible. Once you finish packing a box, place the label then move it to your packing station. Make sure to stack boxes neatly by placing heavier ones at the bottom.
For ease of transport and for the safety of your expensive furniture, you should disassemble the pieces that can be dismantled. If you have to unbolt or unscrew anything, place the fixings inside a Ziploc bag and attach it securely to the furniture itself.
Set aside an “essentials box”
This box should contain important items that you’ll need to survive for a few days as you unpack in your new home. Although there are no hard and fast rules about what should go into this box, common items to include are:
- Paper or plastic plates
- A set of cutlery for every family member
- Cleaning supplies
- Small toolkit like screwdrivers, pliers, box cutter, etc.
- Rags and dish towels
- Grooming kit and toiletries
- Tissues and paper towels
- At least two full change of clothes
- Snacks and drinking water
Finally, you’re ready to move!
At the end of these steps, you should have a room full of your packed belongings.
Once the movers arrive, they can immediately start loading items into the moving truck with everything already packed neatly. When working with a moving company, make sure the staff knows how you want them to handle your items.
With a little thought and careful planning, the packing process doesn’t have to be such a drag. And once you have successfully packed up your house, you’ll be ready to enjoy and move in to your new home.
Craig Jones is the Managing Director at Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. Craig is a respected member of the removalist network in Australia, having served in senior positions, including the President of the removal industries governing body, the Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA). With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia and around the world.