By now, I would consider Dave and I professional packers and movers. We have moved 4 times in 4 years, so I guess we have kind of earned that title! And from this self proclaimed professional packer (try saying that fast five times), I am here to offer up my 14 Top Tips For Packing + Moving!
Time is everything…and give yourself plenty of it! Packing ALL OF YOUR EARTHLY POSSESSIONS into little boxes is no easy task. Moving house can also be a really emotional time. So don’t put extra pressure on an already stressful situation by leaving it to the last minute (says the queen of procrastination…..).
In life we’re always told to THINK BIG. DREAM BIG. ACHIEVE BIG. But with moving I am here to tell you the opposite *gasp* and…….think small! Break the packing into small, manageable tasks. Plan to pack a certain cupboard at a particular time. Once that’s done, pat yourself on the back (trust me, you deserve it!) and move onto the next small manageable task. Before you know it, you will have completed a whole room. And then the next room and the next and then the whole house! If you’re a real freak like me, you can make yourself a planner with specific rooms you want to complete on certain days. I tell you, there is NOTHING more satisfying than ticking that bad boy off, room by room!
I ‘aint no Marie Kondo, but girl….it’s time to let go of the things holding you down and stressing you out! I have a little rule of thumb, and it’s got nothing to do with holding an item close to my heart and whispering things to it (thanks Marie, but no thanks): if I haven’t used it, worn it or needed it in the past 12 months, it’s time to say goodbye. Obviously there are certain exceptions to the rule – sentimental items and things that I genuinely love stay etc. But there is no way in hell that I am sweating and swearing and lugging boxes of things that I don’t love or need from one house to the next. It goes before I go (before I move from the house, I mean. I’m not planning on dying any time soon).
I know what you’re thinking…..”Now hold on for a hot damn second, crazy lady….you’re telling me to orgainise BEFORE i move? BEFORE? Are you insane?” (my answer to that is, technically no, but my husband might tell you different..) I feel like moving to a new house is a chance to have a fresh start. Start anew. Turn over a new leaf. SO when i say to get organised before you go, i mean to start planning your storage solutions in the new place. If you are able, spend a little bit of time in the new place with a measuring tape and a clip board. Have a think about where certain items will be stored. Do you want them tubs or loose in the cupboard? If you’re thinking tubs, definitely measure the height of your cupboards to then be able to find a storage solution that works for you. Trust me, there is NOTHING more annoying than thinking you have found the perfect tub to only find that it doesn’t fit. So do the leg work before you get there!
It took me a little while to figure this out…buuuuuut……find smaller boxes, rather than large ones. Why would you want to do that? Smaller boxes will fit less!I used to pack everything into larger boxes, thinking it would be handier to pack a lot away in the one go. However, try lifting a HUGE box of books. 2 smaller ones are much more manageable to carry yourself.
So where do you find your boxes from? There are a few places you can try. Friends and family that have moved before you. I can guarantee that they’d only be too happy for you to take them off their hand. Also, if you contact the bigger homewear chain stores, they are happy for you to collect their boxes after they have stocked their shelves…their boxes are always really sturdy and it’s so much better for the environment to re-use.
Get groups of things together. Collect up all your faux flowers for one box. All your trays for another. Your coffee table books in another. That way, when you are unpacking, or looking for an item in particular, you will know that your Tom Ford book is inside the box labelled ‘coffee table books’, rather than searching through 17 different boxes that have all sort of assorted books in them. Also, putting your items together is also a good way of you to take stock of what you have. Do I really need another Chanel coffee table book when I already have 5?
(p.s. the answer to that question is ALWAYS YES!)
May sound obvious, but always wrap up your precious pieces, even if you’re only moving around the corner. It would be so sad to get to your new place, excited to unpack your special things, to find them in a shattered mess in the bottom of the box (not to mention glass poking through a box when you’re moving it is never a good idea). Wrap it in whatever you think will keep them protected. I never pack a box of towels or tea towels or blankets. I always use the bigger towels or blankets as buffers between furniture or paintings, or for my tea towels, I use them to wrap smaller items. You’d be surprised how much you look for this stuff on your actual moving day, for a bit of protection on your furniture. If I was given a $$ for every time Dave asked me ‘Have you got something I can use to pop here….” I would be a very rich woman indeed!
You can also start collecting newspapers to wrap glasses etc and can buy bulk bubble wrap from wholesale packaging stores, rather than Bunnings or Office Works – they tend to charge more. Shop around! And remember to save it for next time, that stuff isn’t cheap!
After you’ve taped up your box, label it straight away. Write straight onto the tape (i’ll explain why in a minute). Write where in your house it is going e.g. Living room, master bedroom, bathroom etc and what is in it in smaller writing underneath. If you write which room it is going into, friends or family that are helping you cart boxes won’t be asking where you want it to go. Also, tape up and label straight away. Honestly, in the time it takes to tape the box and reach for the permanent marker, I can tell you that I’ve completely forgotten whats inside (that might just be me. Baby brain 5 years later is still a thing, right?). Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’ll remember based on the size and shape of the box. You’ll have a mountain of them!
Back to writing on the tape. If you’re a habitual mover like us, this won’t be your first, or your last rodeo. You might need to use your boxes a few times over. Writing on the tape means that you can pull it all off when you’re flattening your boxes to store them. When you come to use them for the next move, you don’t have a whole scribble of ‘where’ and ‘what’ from last time. Feels like a fresh, new box.
You’ve got yourself some full boxes and some emptied rooms, whoop whoop! Now what to do with them? You’ve got a couple of choices here, and which ever option you go with will be what works best in your personal situation. I like to move boxes out to the garage as soon as they are packed, to make room for the next box. Completely emptying a room, and looking around to see just the furniture left feels like you’re really getting somewhere, achieving things and making a difference. When you put them in the garage, try to collect them room by room. E.g. All the pantry stuff here. And all the toy room boxes there. That way when you come to actually move, you’re not jumping from one room to the next and all jumbled all over the place. You’re making trips to and from the same room without having to think too much.
However, putting boxes in the garage might not be an option. So I would suggest stacking them in the middle of the room. You’ll be able to clean around them (vacuuming and wiping down skirting boards is SO MUCH FUN, right? *insert sarcastic tone here*.
Here I am….stating the obvious…but don’t stack your boxes too high. Or too heavy. Put the bigger, heavier ones on the bottom and the lighter,smaller ones towards the top. There is no greater feeling of panic than when you see the Leaning Tower of Boxes start to crumble and tumble.
Start shopping in your pantry for dinner ideas in the weeks leading up to moving. My hubby had a bit of a thing for curried sausages a while back, so when it was his turn to do the grocery shopping, he’d always buy a jar of ready made curry sauce (don’t know why he bought it, don’t even use it). However, I’m not chucking it out, so one of this weeks meals is going to be curried sausages. The less stuff I have to box up and move, the better. Check out what you have in your pantry and in your freezer and start using it up!
When it comes time to actually move, you’ll want to try and have most of the things in your fridge used up. But there will always be that pesky half bottle of milk and tub of butter that is not worth throwing away, and will be SO HANDY when you wake up on your first morning in your new place looking for tea and toast. We have one of those plug in portable Engels that you can use for camping etc. We’ll have our fridge empty and the left over bits popped int the smaller Engel. If you don’t have one, grab an Esky and some freezer blocks and you’re good to go.
Remember though, some fridges need to stand a while after moving them, before you can plug them back in again, so you’ll need some kind of back up to keep things cool while you wait.
We have moved a few different ways. And I sure as hell know which is best!
1. Do it yourself. Dave and I have moved everything from one house to another house all on our little old selves. And we had a LOT of furniture! We are a little insane, and hate asking people for help, or hate to inconvenience anyone. We started at the crack of dawn and were pretty much finished by about 9pm. HOWEVER, it was bloody hard work and we almost got divorced on at least 12 different occasions. Dave also had a bed frame fall from quite a height straight onto his head ( I sit here giggling to myself cause DAMN it was funny! Unfortunately for both of us, it didn’t knock any sense into him, and he also didn’t find it as funny as I did. I honest to god was IN HYSTERICS. (now that I think about it, this might have been one of the times we almost got divorced). If you know me well, you’ll know that I laugh out of control when someone hurts themselves. Yes. I am evil. But DAMN that shit is funny! Also unfortunately, he thought he might have knocked himself out for a few seconds, and possibly need to be taken to hospital. Thankfully he did survive and got to spend his first night in his own bed in the house he had spent 6 months building. Couple of takeaways from this experience. 1. Don’t be an idiot. Ask for help. 2. strap tall objects to side of truck. 3. help husband rather than wet pants laughing.
2. Ask Friends and Family to help. No brainer. See above for cautionary tale.
3. Hire Removalists. I have just discovered this one for this move….you can hire removalists by the hour, rather than by the house. I am going to be moving all the manageable boxes by my self during the week, and getting the removalists in to do the bigger furniture pieces, fridges and beds for a few hours on the morning of our moving day. They’ll come around to your house and give you a quote of how long they expect it will take and how much. It’s definitely worth looking into this one!
Moving is a HUGE task. It can be overwhelming, stressful and a very emotional time. The chances of forgetting to do something important can be really high. So I’ve thought about how I can help you out with this…and I’ve come up with a moving checklist! (you know how good it feels to tick things off, right?!).
You can click below to download. Make sure you tag me in your Insta stories when you use it – I would love to see how it is helping to make your move a little smoother and a little less stressful!
Embrace this new chapter in your life and make the most of it! It’s a new place, a new beginning, and literally, a new door opening for you!