Everyone who’s ever moved can tell you that one of the most stressful parts of the process is packing for a move.
Packing for a move often takes longer than moving, and if you manage it incorrectly, it can disrupt your life for weeks, or even months to come.
Fortunately, there are a handful of strategies that can make your packing (and unpacking) process easier.
Tips for Easier Packing
As you start packing for a move, follow these tips for less stress and higher efficiency:
The best tip we can offer is to start as early as possible.
Ideally, you’ll be able to start packing weeks before you actually move, or even months beforehand.
This will give you more time to think about what you’re packing, and you’ll be less stressed during the process.
Not only will you be able to pack smarter, you’ll also be more confident in your approach.
The best way to reduce the burden of packing for a move is to reduce the number of things you have to pack.
Long before you move, spend some time decluttering your house.
Get rid of any items that you haven’t used in over a year, and for each item, ask yourself, “am I really going to need this in the new family home?”
Donate or trash whatever you don’t think is worth moving to the new location.
Accumulate free boxes
You can buy cardboard boxes for moving, but you can get them for free if you know where to look.
Reach out to local stores in your area and see if they can hold some cardboard boxes for you.
Most will be more than willing to provide you with the packing materials they were just going to throw away anyway.
Make use of plastic totes
Cardboard is the old standby for helping people move, but consider picking up a few heavy-duty plastic totes as well.
These are fantastic options, since they allow you to pack and move items easily, but they also double as long-term storage.
Use them to store and move things you don’t plan on unpacking in the immediate future.
Try to lump similar items together, and label every box or tote you finish.
Make sure the written label is clear and unambiguous, and keep it on a side of the container that faces out.
It should be clear to everyone what this box contains.
Pack from least to most necessary
Your packing process should start with the items you’re least likely to need.
For example, if you’re moving in February, you might start by packing your Christmas decorations.
Gradually, you’ll work toward the items that are most immediately necessary.
These include things like toiletries, a few sets of clothes, and charging cables.
The “gray area” items can be tough to identify and categorize, so just do your best.
Mark according to room (if possible)
While trying to organize everything in terms of how soon you’ll need it, it may be difficult to accommodate this, but try to mark each box according to the room of the new house where it belongs.
For example, you might mark boxes according to the bedrooms of each member of your family, or mark them as “dining room” or “basement.”
This will make unpacking much easier.
Don’t overfill containers
One of the biggest mistakes amateur packers make is overfilling their boxes or container, ultimately making them too heavy to easily lift.
Closely monitor the weight of each container.
Tips for Easier Unpacking
Most people think their job is over when the move is complete, but you still need to unpack.
Here’s how to make the unpacking process easier:
Try to set goals for yourself. How soon do you want to be unpacked?
Don’t be too ambitious here; most people won’t be able to fully unpack the first night or two after the initial move.
Instead, set soft deadlines and a course for what to accomplish.
Work from most to least necessary
When packing for a move, you started with your least-needed items and worked toward your most urgent items.
When unpacking, you’ll essentially be doing the opposite.
This should be a no-brainer if you’ve clearly labeled your boxes and packed them according to this strategy.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Finally, try not to be too hard on yourself.
Don’t worry if you have packed boxes lingering for weeks after the move, and don’t feel bad if you don’t hit your goals.
There’s no reason to stress yourself out over this.
Packing for a move and unpacking can be stressful, but there’s no reason these processes have to stand in your way or burden you with unnecessary difficulty.
Think carefully about your strategy during the move, and try not to let yourself get overwhelmed.
In fact consider having a moving party.