1. Get rid of it. Piling stuff you don’t need into boxes is ultimately a big waste of time, money, and moving-day manpower. So before you start packing, get your junk under control. We recommend going room by room and committing to selling, donating, or trashing at least 20 percent of what you own. The closet is a great place to start — if you haven’t worn something in 12 months, it’s gotta go. No exceptions (sorry, pack rats).
2. Clean up. Once you’ve shed the excess, give everything in the house a good cleaning. Trust us, you’ll be glad to unpack dust-free items after the move.
3. Go shopping. One thing we will encourage you to stock pile? Moving supplies. Start by figuring out how many boxes you’ll need in each room. Think about what shapes and sizes will best fit your things, remembering that it’s easier to carry smaller, lighter boxes than heavy, overloaded ones. We like these variety packs offered by Discover Boxes — they even deliver to your door. Their hanging wardrobe boxes help cut down on folding time. Don’t forget packing paper (newspaper will do), tape dispensers with extra rolls, bubble wrap, and permanent markers for labeling. Bargain hunters can save by asking local stores for their extra boxes.
4. Create a system. Simplify the process by making a packing plan and schedule. If possible, commit to packing up one whole room every 2 to 3 days. Have less time? Get some pizza and wine and host a moving party for your friends. Find a consistent, out-of-the-way place to keep the taped-up boxes for each room, whether it’s stacked up in the corner or in the basement.
5. Wrap your delicates. Even if you’re not moving far, remember to wrap fragile items carefully in bubble wrap. If it’s an irreplaceable favorite, consider having it make the move with you instead of with movers.
6. Label everything. Make unpacking simpler (and protect yourself in case you lose a box in transit) by giving every box a label and a number. And keep a list of contents for each one. Try to keep categories together (like kitchen, living room, DVD collection, winter coats).
7. Give yourself a break. Organization will help keep you sane during the process, but if you end up with one “miscellaneous” box with a toaster, a sweater, and a tape dispenser, it wont be the end of the world.
8. Leave it to the experts. Sometimes it’s worth the extra charge to let your moving company put the finishing touches on your packing job. They can do things like wrap up bulky furniture, pack your flat-screen TV, and find a way to transport your vacuum cleaner.
9. Save a box to ship. Once everything is cleared out, you’re sure to find a few forgotten items. Keep an extra box for these odds and ends — then when it’s time to lock up and leave, simply ship it to your new home.
By Laura Schocker