Through the years, I have helped numerous pack and move. I've picked up many useful tips and tricks that I've become something of an expert packer. I felt, that I needed to share what I've learned so that maybe someone else can benefit from my years of almost non-stop packing.
This list is not alphabetical, it's just in the order that I thought of them. If there is something that I have not covered and you want to know how I pack it, please leave me a comment and I'll be sure to address your questions.
When people hear that I pack everything myself (even for a huge move) the first question they always ask me how do I pack dishes so that they don't break?
I used to use packing paper. I would wrap each plate or bowl or cup in its own piece of newsprint paper. I was adamant about using newsprint packing paper because I absolutely did not want to have to wash my dishes when I unpacked. But recently, a friend gave me a wonderful suggestion.
That was when we started packing all our breakables in clothing, linens, and towels. It's really amazing as it totally cushions all the breakables, and more than that, it kills two birds with one stone. Packing breakables and clothing in essence packs two rooms at once.
Our breakfront has glass shelves in them, and I never wanted them to break. So I had to figure out a good method to pack them. The best way to do it, is to use blankets. I wrap each one with a blanket (just once) and I usually can fit all the shelves into one blanket. Then, I take my stack of wrapped shelves and I tape it, tightly, to prevent anything from moving.
Set aside two weeks worth of clothes and then use the rest when packing up your kitchen. You specifically want to use your clothing for packing your kitchen supplies because your kitchen is something that you'll want to unpack quickly and therefore you'll have access to all your clothes.
Make sure that your bedding (from your beds) are packed in a way so that they are easily accessible after you move. In addition, you should try to make your beds as soon as you get into the new house because you will be exhausted and might not want to unpack until the next day.
This one is a huge help. I hate when packing and every time I'm in a room, I always leave something because I think I might need it. It could something as simple as a book, but I always have a hard time with those last little bits. Sometimes, while packing up my books, I'll leave my favorite 5 or 10 books - just in case. But really, when moving, who has time or energy to read that many books!
So, I came up with my next tip. Pretend you're going on vacation with your family for 2 weeks. What would you pack? How much clothing? How many books or games? What toiletries?
Once you come up with your 2 week vacation list, pack EVERYTHING ELSE. And I mean it. Everything. If it helps to pack up your two weeks worth of stuff into suitcases so you know what NOT to pack, than by all means, do that. But pack up everything else. And I really do mean everything.
Sometimes, we find the perfect box that magically fits every last piece of the cabinet or drawer. When we're all ready to finally seal up we find one more thing that really should fit into that box. Then we put in the last piece and the box breaks.
How many times has that happened to you? It's happened to me a lot. That's why I came up with this rule - don't over-stuff. So what if one piece is in another box. As long as it moves with you, who cares.
GENEROUS WITH TAPE
Don't be stingy with your tape, the worst thing is picking up a box and all the contents falling out the bottom. Use tape. And use plenty of it.
Every box MUST be labeled. Every person is going to have their own way to label. But as this is my blog, I get to tell you that my way is the best way :-)
I label every box with a room that it's going into (NOT where it came from) and a number. That's it. (Unless it needs to be listed "FRAGILE" as well).
LIST OF BOXES
Before you start packing, you must find yourself a good notepad that you can use to keep a list of all your boxes. Each page should have a heading of a room. Below that, the numbers of all the boxes going into those rooms. Next to the numbers, you list what is in each box. You don't need a breakdown of every single item. If it's books, write books. If it's dishes, write dishes. But if there is something important in that box, make sure you list that.
And DON'T LOSE YOUR LIST!!! Keep this list with you while you're packing and while you're moving. It will be your lifeline until you finish unpacking. The reason, it's more important to have a list than all the boxes labeled with their contents is because if you are looking something specific while unpacking, all you need to do, is read your list. Once you've located the box number (e.g. Living Room 17), next all you need todo, is go to the living and find box number 17.
This list has saved me on so many occasions.
As a side note, some people like to write LR instead of Living Room (on the boxes) or even use color coded stickers.
There is no wrong way to pack. If it works for you, then you should do it.
This is a quick tip. When packing breakables, especially things like cups and vases: stuff them. Fill them with stray socks, or anything cushy to help prevent them from breaking.
LIST OF THINGS LOANED OUT
Before you move, (or even before you pack), make a list of all your friends who (may or may not) have borrowed things from you. Whenever you take a break, make a quick call or send a short email to remind them to return your things. Give them a date when you need your things back, because people are really good at procrastinating.
I can not stress enough the importance of good packing tape. If it's not good packing tape, it won't keep the boxes closed. Spend the extra money to get good tape.
PACKING A FLAT SCREEN MONITOR
This is a fun one... I haven't yet packed our monitors, but when I do, I'll post pictures.
Remember that a flat screen monitor can be for computers or full size televisions. Packing them works pretty much the same way.
I don't keep boxes. At all. So packing a monitor, especially one as large as a television is always a trick.
First thing we need to do is to protect the screen. Packing peanuts will work great for this. But if you don't have them, I have found throw pillows and stuffed animals work great. If you're using peanuts, put them in a bag and lay the bag on top of the screen. (Can use multiple bags of peanuts as well). Tape the bags to the monitor. You want to wrap your tape around the monitor while attaching the bags. If you want, you can use pieces of cardboard to protect the back as well.
Then you're going to need to build a monitor shaped box to fit your monitor in.
Below is a video of how I've wrapped my monitor.