Yesterday, our friends across the pond celebrated Boxing Day. It’s a public holiday celebrated the day after Christmas where servants, tradesmen and public workers traditionally received a box of treats or gifts from their employers. Here in America, and especially in the land of Realtors, boxing day means something a little bit different. In fact, one of my clients refers to the process of packing and moving as “boxing daze” and sadly, that is often an apt description. But, packing and moving doesn’t have to leave your head spinning. In fact, with a little planning (and some expert advice from “frequent movers”), the process of boxing and moving all your possessions can be a smooth one. So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to help you work your way through some important rooms in your homes and give you tips on how to plan and pack so that unpacking is quick, easy and (dare I promise?) – even pleasant.
Next week, we’ll focus on the all-important kitchen. It’s often the room homeowners dread packing the most, but it’s also the room you’ll want to be quickly functional once you land in your new abode. Before we get down to the particulars, though, let’s focus on a few general rules before you begin packing specific rooms. These tips will make your move ever so much easier, even if you’re paying a company to pack and move for you.
Ideally, you should start planning your move six weeks before the van pulls into your driveway, but even if you don’t have that kind of time, the first thing you must do is decide what you’re NOT going to move. That’s right… before you pack the first box, you want to pitch things that just aren’t worth moving. Remember, unless you’re moving yourself, you are paying for each and every pound, so save money and time and effort by purging non-essential items. Take industrial trashbags into every room (especially kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms) and go through every single drawer and cabinet. Take a “lean and mean” attitude. If you haven’t used it in more than a year, it goes to the dump or goodwill.
Collect your supplies 1 – 2 weeks before you begin packing. Collect boxes from work, your local grocery stores and friends. Many professional moving companies provide packing kits that can be purchased for a reasonable fee. In addition to boxes (and remember… you’ll want some specialty boxes like wardrobes, dish boxes and divided boxes for glassware), you’ll need packing tape, wrapping paper (newsprint can be used in a pinch, but it’s pretty grimy), bubble wrap and markers. Some of my frequent movers swear by a camera phone so they can photograph the contents of cabinets and boxes… more on that idea in later posts!
Develop a box labeling system. Use large colored labels or stickers to designate what room the boxes should be placed in at the new home. This will make loading and unloading go quicker for movers or your own personal helpers. Make sure to have a printed master key list for each color. Additionally, print master inventory sheets which can be completed and affixed to boxes as you pack. There are plenty of templates online, but I like a super simple form that indicates the room that the box will go to, the # of the box and a table to quickly write down what is in each box. After you’ve finished each form and taped it to your packed box, take a picture of the finished form.
Next week, we’ll get down to brass tacks and tackle kitchen packing. For now, gather your supplies and your wits and get ready to banish the “boxing daze.”