Saturday, May 16, 2015

Packing Tips

I've moved a lot over the course of my life.  So here and there I've learned a few things about packing.  I've decided to share some of my tips with you (and for future reminders to myself).

Lisa Risager

1) Get Boxes Meant for Moving- Unless you are moving just yourself across town using only your car over the course of a week, I recommend using boxes actually designed for moving as opposed to boxes you get from Wal-mart.  The reason is because boxes that are designed for moving are easier to stack in a moving van (unless you are hiring movers who would tell you they too prefer moving boxes).  They also are usually in better shape to withstand the force of other boxes being put on them.  Unless you want to play Tetris with your moving van for four hours or leave it up to fate if your grandma's fine china will survive, buy/get the dang moving boxes.  You can always reuse them later or give them to someone else.

2) Save your wrapping paper- Sounds like it would be the 1st thing to go right?  It's cheap and yet not easy to pack.  But it's perfect for wrapping your breakables in.  And unlike the newspaper, it doesn't leave ink on your glassware. 

3) Think before you toss or pack- You have to weigh the cost of replacing an item versus it's weight or bulk that will add to your packing.  Movers will factor the weight of your stuff.  If you move yourself, you have to think in terms of space.  If it's an item that you rarely use, you may want to consider foregoing packing it altogether especially if you can make do.

4) Turn your plates on their sides- If you turn your plates on their sides there's less pressure.  If you don't, the ones on the bottom have more pressure on them and could break. 

5) Pack up the heavy stuff in smaller boxes- And watch your weight.  If you feel the box is getting too heavy, pack in something lighter like towels, clothes, or blankets or crumpled newspaper. 

6) Don't pack your fabrics in their own box- You'll want to use them for fragile items or heavy boxes.  There's no sense in packing your grandma's fine china and then spending money on packing material when you can pack her quilts or crochet blankets in the same box to prevent breakage. 

7) Labels are a point- I've heard people suggest color coding, but movers don't care.  They simply grab boxes load them up on a dolly and shove them wherever.  You can tell them the boxes with red labels are for the kitchen but then you might end up with the office stuff mixed in.  The movers only care about furniture placement.  You can easily sort out your boxes later.  Just tell yourself what the contents are.  You may want to star things that you'll need to open first like bedding and kitchen ware.

8) Leave clothing in drawers- And if your moving yourself unless the stuff is breakable, leave it all in drawers.  When you move your furniture, just remove the drawer and then replace the drawer.  No sense it having extra boxes when there's empty space. 

9) Don't over pack or underpack- If the box has a bulge it won't sit nicely in the stack of boxes.  If it has too much space at the top, the boxes on top could cause the box to slowly compress.  Stuff that box with newspaper if you have to, but keep them as full as possible.

10) Put your small items into something else- Have a huge collection of knitting needles? Use a bag.  Lots of spools of thread? put them in a smaller box and then in the big box.

11) Put all the stuff going with you in your car- That way anyone helping you move won't get confused.  You also want to keep anything flammable (as moving companies won't accept it), special documents, or highly important with you.  I don't load my instruments into a truck.  It's not good for their up keep and I don't want them stolen.  And don't forget nail polish and hair spray are flammable.

12) Keep some zip locks around- You'll need it for the bolts for your dining room table or bed. 

13) Tools should be the last thing on and 1st thing off- You'll need them for diss-assembly and reassembly of furniture. 

14) It's never too early to pack- You may be thinking "Well I've got a couple of months." Yes, but trust me pack now in case something crops up.  You always have something out of season that you can pack.  There's always something you can do without.  Start from there.

15) Sorting is a pain- Make sure that you understand that weight and bulk are a factor in the cost of moving.  So if you haven't used an item in over a year and it has no value to you, get rid of it.  You can sell it, donate it, or trash it.  You may also find stuff you borrowed and need to return.  Designate a spot in your house for things to return and use special boxes or bags for things you plan to donate or sell. 

And now I think a post about moving long distances may be in order.  Hope my tips were helpful.  Cheers!


  1. I love this list!

    One thing I'll add re dishes: I kept the boxes that my dish set came in, and have kept them through 3 moves now. I also kept all the styrofoam inserts. Same thing with the boxes my glasses came in. Ergo, when I have to pack dishes, all I do is take out those boxes and load them up the way the dishes were packed in the store. If it'll keep them whole through shipping/being tossed around in a warehouse/etc, it'll keep them whole through a move!

    1. I didn't do that with my dishes. :( It's also a good idea for flat screen monitors/tv or game systems. Basically anything you don't want scratched or crushed. Course you may end up with a lot of boxes, but if you move a lot it may be worth it to hang onto that original box and padding.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!