Over the past week or so I have begun to pack our household belongings in order to move back to the west coast. Call me crazy but I am the type of person who loves to pack. I like to make sure that everything is done efficiently which is why I have done my research and figured out the best possible way to pack our things. I’ll share with you some of the tips that I’ve learned along the way, incase you are in need of some moving/packing help.
First step- Drop the dead weight
Get rid of anything you don’t want or need! It’s absolutely insane how much we have acquired since living here but that’s only because this was our first time living in our own place so there were a lot of little and big things that we needed. Thankfully I got rid of about half of my wardrobe and a ton of other stuff before we moved out here so I didn’t have a whole lot to get rid of this time around.
Step 2- Start acquiring inexpensive packing supplies
We are currently living in a huge apartment complex and luckily for us, there are often multiple boxes piled up near the recycle bin. So I’ve been doing a bit of dumpster diving (not literally) and picking up free, used boxes. I wish I could say that I’m not proud of it- but I totally am. If you don’t live in an apartment, try checking the free section of craigslist or check behind any large grocery stores to see if they have piles of boxes in the back, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you took a few.
I also bought some boxes from Home Depot to carry the larger/heavier items because they sell heavy duty boxes.
But before you head over to Home Depot for boxes or anything else, stop by the dollar tree. I was able to buy packing tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper, large protective envelopes, and a pack of foam plates for a dollar each! The tape isn’t that big so I bought two and the bubble wrap comes in small rolls but it’s still a good deal. The tissue paper (like the kind for presents) came in a reasonably sized pack and I was able to use it to wrap delicate/breakable items. I used the protective envelopes for picture frames and canvases and the foam plates went in between my plates to keep them from breaking.
The dollar tree also sells sharpies, trash bags and other things that could be potentially useful for packing purposes.
Glad Press’n Seal is a great way to store necklaces without them turning into a huge tangled mess. I also used it for my cooking utensils since they wouldn’t fit in the larger ziplock bags.
I bought a roll of stretch wrap from home depot for my dresser and a mattress bag as well.
I also put the billions of plastic grocery bags that we had lying around to use and threw them into boxes as extra padding.
Step 3- Start packing
This timeline is based on the amount of belongings in my apartment, so I would suggest starting a couple of weeks earlier if you have a larger home or more people in your family.
Four weeks out
-Start collecting packing supplies and begin packing things that you won’t need on a daily basis.
I started with the kitchen because thats where we have the most stuff, a lot of which is not used regularly. I packed everything except my pots, pans, silverware, knives, cutting board, cooking utensils, baking sheets, oven mitt, microwave, coffee maker, a couple of coffee cups, some tupperware, a mixing bowl and my spices/cooking necessities.
TIP- when you do pack the rest of your kitchen, use your larger pots and slow cooker to store all of your spices.
-You can also begin to pack the things that are hanging on the walls. Any photographs, artwork, mirrors, chalk boards etc.. Label each box with which room it belongs in and even list what is in the box incase you need to find something specific during the chaotic process of moving in. I’ve heard of some people using a color system to do this by using a different color tape for each room. But for me, labeling the box with which room it belongs in (in large letters with a sharpie) was good enough.
I used the blankets from my living room to pack the picture frames and anything else from the walls that were breakable. I left one blanket out incase we needed it and used it later as padding for other breakable items.
Three weeks out
– Pack books, out of season clothing, linens, towels, office supplies, random decor, movies, and any personal items that you won’t be needing such as jewelry, nail polish and hats/accessories.
I will be flying home while the rest of our belongings are put in storage so I’ve started to plan what kinds of things I will need to set aside for my baggage. I’ll need to fit everything I possibly can into two medium luggage bags (to live off of for a month or more) so I have decided to set a box aside in order to send larger things such as my dogs’ bed, food bowls, some shoes and maybe clothes if they can fit.
Two weeks out
-Start packing up the clothes that you won’t need. If you’re flying like I am, make sure the clothes you leave out will all fit into your suitcase along with your toiletries, shoes and whatever else you will need.
-For clothes on hangers, you can leave them hanging and just cover them with a trash bag then use string or a zip tie to secure the top of the hangers so that they don’t fall throughout the bag. Some places sell wardrobe boxes which are basically just tall cardboard boxes with a pole through the top to hang clothes, a good option for people who don’t want their clothes to get wrinkled.
I got tall pink, scented trash bags from the dollar tree. I figured they would keep my clothes smelling fresh, but these particular bags are ultra thin and can tear very easily so I wouldn’t exactly recommend them. I used two bags for each bunch of clothes, one over the top and one underneath- tied to the top bag on each side. Although these weren’t the best quality, there are other brands of scented trash bags that are probably larger and much more sturdy, so just check at your local grocery store.
One week out
-Pretty much start to pack everything else leaving out anything that you know you will need to use up until the actual moving day. For instance, I will probably leave my coffee maker out (because packing is no fun without caffeine) till the last day with our mattress and pillows as well as whatever I will be taking on the plane with me
Make sure you leave space in your mode of transportation for your mattress and any other household items that remain inside.
-Pack a box full of things that you will need right away once you get to your new home. For example: some cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, screw drivers and other basic tools, dish/hand soap, clorox wipes (they’re the best), and maybe a portable speaker for some move-in day jams. Label this the box of necessities.
Step 4- Load it up
-Whether you’re using a moving truck, a Uhaul or a POD like we are, if you’re moving the boxes on your own you’ll want to make sure they are secure. Having a moving dolly is super helpful for larger items, but as long as you have enough people helping it should go pretty quickly. I plan on asking all of Blake’s friends to help out but I’ll be sure to provide lot’s of pizza and beer in return for their manual labor.
We haven’t gotten to this part of the process yet but I will definitely want to make sure that our breakable items are stored in a way that will keep them safe. I think of it as a game of tetris, each box should fit securely alongside all of the other boxes.
-Make sure you load the box full of necessities last so that it’s easy to get to.
OH AND make sure that the inside of whatever you’re using to move is clean!!! The Uhaul that we used to move out here was so filthy that my white dresser was a mess by the time we got here. Looking back I should have wiped it down before we loaded it up.
Good Luck and Safe Travels!