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Very few people enjoy packing their belongings for a big move. It’s a lot of work and often takes longer than you think it will.

That said, it’s a necessary evil. Since it has to be done, the key to success is doing it as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips to help you accomplish it with a minimum of stress.

Purge First

The first order of business is to purge things that you don’t want. If you miss this step, the likelihood is high that you’ll end up packing things you don’t want or use.

To make it easy, try taking a pointer from organization expert Marie Kondo, inventor of the Kon-Mari system. Instead of sorting by room, sort by category. In other words, get all of your DVDs together and separate those you want from those you don’t. Then move on to clothing, and so on.

Once you’ve decided what you don’t want to keep, you can further separate them into piles to trash, recycle, donate, or sell.

Get the Right Packing Materials

Boxes and Packing Supplies AvailableNext up is giving some thought to what you need to pack up your belongings. As a rule, heavy items should go in small boxes and light items should go in large ones. Large, heavy boxes are unwieldy to move. They’re also far more likely to break than properly-packed boxes.

Books, heavy dishes, and other weighty items should go in small boxes. Linens and clothing can be packed in bulk in large boxes.

You should also make sure to have plenty of paper to wrap fragile items, and extra packing tape. You can use it to reinforce the edges of boxes.

Pack Breakables with Care

You don’t want to get to your new home and find that your dishes broke somewhere along the way. The key to packing them is to do it properly. Here’s how to prevent breakage:

  • Wrap plates separately. Stack them in piles of five or six and then wrap them as a bundle, too.
  • Always put plates on their sides, never lie them flat in a box. The weight of the dishes on top (as well as, potentially, the weight of stacked boxes) may break those on the bottom.
  • Wrap glasses and bowls individually and stack them inside one another when possible.
  • Again, wrap three or four glasses into a bundle.
  • Make sure to fill boxes up to the top, adding extra packing paper or filler material.

Partially-filled boxes may allow their contents to shift during the move.

Pack and Label by Room

When it comes time to pack, you should do it with unpacking in mind. When you get to your new home, you’re not going to want to have to sort through boxes for your bedroom and the family room to find the book you were reading. Each box should be designated for a single room.

It will help you unpack quickly if you take the time to label each box. The label should include both the name of the room where the box goes and a list of its contents. (You don’t have to list items individually, by category is sufficient.) Make sure to label fragile items accordingly.

It may also be helpful to number your boxes and keep track of them in a notebook. When you get to your new home, you’ll be able to check the boxes off your list and ensure that you have everything.

Pack a First Night Bag or Box

No matter how efficient you are, you’re not going to be able to get all of your belongings unpacked your first night. For that reason, it’s a good idea to pack a box or two for your first night. It should have all of the essentials, including bedding and pillows, pajamas, toiletries, books or games for the kids, and even some snacks or something for dinner.

Make sure the things you need for your first night are easily accessible and clearly labeled so you can find them. That way, even if you’re exhausted you’ll have what you need to be comfortable.

Load the Truck Properly

Finally, you can make the move easier on both ends by packing the truck properly. If you hire moving professionals they’ll take care of it, but if you’ve rented a truck and plan on moving your own things, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Load heavy boxes first and put them toward the front of the truck for balance.
  • Light boxes can go on top or toward the back of the truck.
  • If you can, keep boxes for the same room together so that you can keep them organized on the other end of the move.

Following these tips will ensure that your items are properly packed, easy to find, and arrive at your new home in good condition.

Many Storage West Locations offer a free moving truck if you are putting items in storage which can cut down your overall costs.

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