Back in 2009/10 we moved 5 times in 6 months. I swore I’d never move again. Before that I’d moved a couple of times using a removal van. Before that everything fitted into a car. In the golden days it all fitted in my backpack.
I’ve packed a house load to go into storage for indefinite amount of time (yes you can store a 2-stroke scooter in a storage unit, no you can’t store left over house paint or turps!). I’ve packed for international moves (ditch all the food, all of it) and across town.
I am a freaking moving house packing expert! On the other side, I’ve also seen other people do it – and oh gosh, yes some of them need help!
Declutter – Throw it Out – Give It Away – Eat It
I’m lazy, and I don’t like packing, and I like unpacking even less. So if in doubt don’t move it! Throw it out, give it away, recycle it, or in the case of food, eat it. Yes I spend the last few weeks trying to minimize what is left in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I also use the opportunity to toss all the old, tastes-like-dust spices.
Pack Like with Like
I learnt this trick watching the pros. They spend time placing like items together: all the pictures go together, all the rugs. It’s easier to pack, and its easier when you come to unpack as well. All my sewing stuff goes in a number of large plastic boxes, they are permanent storage now – get the transparent ones so you can see what’s in them.
For your sanity keep the power cables and other cords with the electronics that use them.
Save Original Boxes – Particularly Electronics
I was told to save the box for our flat-screen TV – glad I did now! I also have the (huge) boxes the home vibration platform came in. The more expensive the item is – the more worthwhile it is to save the box!
Minimize the Use of Cartons
In general minimize the number of boxes you use. If you have luggage (who doesn’t?) – then use it for clothing. If you aren’t going far and can drive yourself – take your clothing hanging on hangers, and lay it right in the back of the car just like that. About 90% of it will stay on the hangers, and it’s a helluva lot faster than having to unhung and fold, and then re-hang!
Don’t Empty Furniture
You can keep stuff in drawers, so long as it’s not very heavy. Clothing can stay in dressers. If you have small loose items – stuff the top of the draw with soft toys, towels or similar to stop them rattling about and getting damaged. You may have to tape doors shut. Obviously this doesn’t work with cupboards nearly as well.
I’m also told it’s not a good idea to leave anything in fridges or freezers, they are designed to be moved empty.
Use Your Linen Cupboard As A Packing Aid
Well maybe not if you have some fine, old Irish Linen. But use your regular pillows, towels, pillow cases and similar as padding and packing in boxes. Soft toys are good too. And loose cushions. And sleeping bags, blankets, duvets and similar.
Get Everything Else in Boxes
Typically you are paying the moving guys by the hour. So they will be quite happy if you have piles of plates on the kitchen bench ready to be moved 6 by 6! Pack everything that will conceivably fit in a box! It will save you a lot of time and money.
Pack a Survival Kit
The easiest way, particularly if you are using professionals. to not get stuff packed that you need e.g. your handbag with keys and wallet, clothes for tomorrow, toiletries. Is to pack it yourself and stash the bag – I usually put them in our car. No one packs my laptop but me – and that goes in the car too. We have a handy picnic set which I usually add some coffee and tea, chocolate and red wine to and keep that in the car too, for emergencies you understand.
We have a certain Allan key which is needed to reassemble the slat bed – it goes in the toilet bag so we can find it!
The perishable food goes in an Eski or cool-pack, and gets dropped off to a friend’s fridge. The 1/2 used containers of sauces, jams and similar, goes in crates and shopping bags in the back of the car, too much trouble to pack them properly for the van.
Unpack The Bed First
Our bed needs to be re-assembled as it’s a slat base. It’s not hard to do – unless you are absolutely wrecked after a day of moving. We’ve learned that it’s the very first thing we do after moving – put the bed together, and make it. Then at least you have a place to collapse!