How to Pack Efficiently for a Move: 18 Tips and Tricks
For those making a move, one of the most difficult and often frustrating parts of the process is the packing. Depending on the size of your home, it may take weeks of concerted effort to get everything ready for the move, and that time may not be easy to find.
1) Consider Hiring Professional Help
Professional moving companies may offer packing as part of a full-service move or as an add on. If you are short on time or energy, nothing beats an experienced team of professional packers from an efficiency standpoint.
Experienced movers are equipped with high quality packing supplies and processes designed to speed up packing while keeping items safe from damage. After picking up years of experience, professionals have their muscle memory down while packing and boxing, so they do everything a bit faster than an untrained person.
2) Invest in Short-term Storage
Some professional movers also maintain storage facilities, providing a useful option for any overflow of items following a move. This storage can also be reserved prior to the move – to set aside large items that won’t be included in the move, or anything you may be undecided on. Getting these items out of the way will free up space in the home to make packing easier.
3) Sell, Donate or Give Away Anything No Longer Needed
The best time to minimize is right before a move. Clothing, books, small appliances, toys, furniture – if you don’t need it and wouldn’t buy it again, consider selling it or giving it away.
By thinning out your belongings beforehand, you’ll save time on packing and money during the move.
4) Make a List of What Is Going and What Is Not
If you’ve got a lot of stuff, just deciding what’s going and what’s staying can be a chore. This area is also fraught with miscommunication, as spouses may find they have different opinions that aren’t addressed until moving day.
To ensure everyone is on the same page regarding what’s being moved, make a keep/leave list for all of your larger items, including furniture and appliances.
5) Divide Packing Supplies by the Room
You’ll need stacks of boxes and piles of padding to get everything squared away, but if these supplies aren’t well-organized, they’ll only slow you down.
To ensure there’s always a box – and other supplies – on hand, split them up and place a portion in each room.
6) Establish a Space Just for Finishing up Packed Boxes
Designate an area of the home just for taping and marking boxes. Ideally, this will be a space that’s already been packed up, so there is room to temporarily stash filled boxes.
Keep any tape, stickers, and markers in the area to quickly finish off packing. You may assign one family member to this station to handle the taping and labeling.
7) Turn Household Items into Packing Supplies
Plenty of household goods can double as packing aids. Washcloths and towels can be used to wrap fragile dishware or knives. Luggage can serve as a padded container. Trash bags are effective at protecting clothing from dust or spills, and they are also useful for packing stuffed animals. Use rubber bands to keep silverware or cooking utensils together. Get creative and you’ll be able to pack more efficiently.
8) Snap a Quick Picture of Every Packed Box Before Taping It Closed
Right before taping each box up, use your phone to take a quick picture of what’s inside. You won’t get everything into the shot, but you’ll still have a handy visual reference when you’re looking for that favorite mug or a missing cable.
9) Pack a First-Night Essentials Box
Chances are, you won’t feel like doing any unpacking the night you arrive at your new place. But you’ll need quick access to bathroom essentials, comfortable clothing, and other important items – like a phone charger or daily medications. Pack any essential items in a single box that’s either placed in the truck last (for quick access), or in a separate vehicle.
10) Disassemble Bulky or Heavy Furniture
The more you can break down bulky furniture, the better. It may take several minutes to remove legs or a headboard, but it will mean faster loading on the truck, and it will help avoid damaging the walls as well.
11) Defrost and Empty the Fridge/Freezer Days in Advance
It takes about a day to defrost a fridge or freezer, and a few days more than that if you plan on eating through any leftover food. It’s a good idea to plan this part of the process out in advance, because any ice inside the fridge/freezer will melt and cause a mess inside the truck, possibly damaging other items.
12) Put Together a To-Do List for Moving Day
You’ll probably have a bit more to do when moving day arrives, so consider putting together a last-day list to ensure everything gets done.
13) Pack Everything Before the Moving Crew Shows Up
Whether you’ve hired packing professionals or chose to do that yourself, it’s important to have the packing completed before the moving crew arrives. This will enable the movers to get to work right away, without empty boxes, packing supplies and loose items in the way.
14) Make Sure Pets and Children are Taken Care of on Moving Day
Moving can be dangerous work when kids or pets are running around in the home. Try to have someone on hand to watch both, or at least empty out a room that the kids and dog can hang out in while the heavy duty packing and moving are underway.
15) Make Sure the Movers Have Plenty of Space to Work
Before the movers arrive, trace the path you expect they will follow. Verify that nothing is in the way, either inside or outside. If there is room, consider moving your vehicle(s) a little further away so the moving truck can get a prime parking spot.
16) Keep Small Containers Available for Loose Items
Keep a designated container or plastic baggie handy for any tiny, but important items that may have been missed. Furniture hardware, chargers, USB drives, small tools and other items can be easily packed up in your essentials box.
17) Fill a Cooler with Drinks and Snacks
If you’ve defrosted the fridge – or are leaving it behind – food and drinks will likely be in short supply. Grab a cooler before moving day and stock it with replenishing drinks and snacks to keep everyone energized and hydrated on moving day.
18) Walk Around One Last Time Before Leaving
Before locking up and heading out, take one last pass through the place and ensure everything is accounted for. Be sure to open up cabinets, check the attic and balcony, look through the closets – and don’t be surprised if you almost left something behind.
Need to Pack Quickly and Efficiently? Bring in the Professionals
The above guide should help anyone wondering how to pack more efficiently, but for many people, the problem is one of time or lack of physical ability. If either (or both) are a concern for you, professional packers can help. The professionals can bring plenty of manpower to every job and have high quality materials and processes in place to get it done right, making moving day a stress-free experience.