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Packing Tips

October 12, 2010

As I excitedly announced, we have sold our house in Columbia!  Since then we have been working hard to get all our beloved things packed safely to make the hour-and-a-half journey north to Spartanburg.  Although this is only my fourth time moving a home, I have learned a few lessons that I’d love to share with you.  Hopefully these tips will help you the next time you have to transport your life to a new location.

1. Have an assortment of boxes.

This may be very obvious, but it’s one of the most useful lessons I’ve learned.  With so many varying sizes and weights of your precious goods, you want a few box options to accommodate.  For instance, my husband the book lover, has what feels like millions of hardbacks (and some paper backs but he’s a book snob and prefers a book with some gurth to it).  If I packed a 4′ x 4′ x 3′ box full of his books, no one but Superman himself could lift it and carefully place it on a moving truck.  Piles of books love smaller boxes.  So do dishes, which brings me to my next tip:

2. Pack dishes in several boxes.

I tend to be very optimistic through life, but when it comes to moving, my pessimistic counterpart rears his ugly head.  I have no control over what happens to my beloved boxes once they have been picked up and shoved onto a truck, so I tend to think that there’s a good chance that at least one box is going to accidentally plummet to the ground, and of course it will be the one that contains our china rather than our linens.  For this reason, I never put a full set of dishes in one box.  Should that one box with your entire set of china or dishes meet an early end, there goes your entire set.  If you break up your dishes into separate boxes, at least half stand a chance to live to see your new address.

3. Label your boxes ’til you’re blue in the face.

When we moved into our Arcadian Ranch, I was so overjoyed to be a home-owner, that I didn’t carefully pack or label any of our boxes from our duplex.  I simply shoved things in, made a note on the top of the box for approximately which room it belonged to, and that was it.  Moving day arrived, and after a full day of cleaning and painting, loading and unloading a truck, I was beyond ready to get some shut-eye.  Our mattress beckoned us as we made a mad dash through the house trying to locate the sheets.  Of course, they were in the absolute LAST box we opened.  This is a mistake I will NOT be making again.  This time around – I am marking on every side of the box what room it belongs to, and on the top I have a list of significant items within, to avoid opening every box to find one item.

As you can see, the top has the room the box belongs to, and a list of items within and on each side the box has a room assignment.  You may be thinking this step is a waste of time, but once the boxes are stacked….

suddenly it makes sense.  No matter how the boxes get stacked, you can quickly see which box needs to go where.  Trust me on this, you won’t regret it.

4. Pack your “FRAGILE”s first.

Packing is a chore and a bore.  When you first get started, your excitement is still present and you’re ready to gather your newspaper, tape and cardboard, and hit the ground running.  While this energy is still running through your veins, use it to pack your most delicate items, which are also the most tedious.  As your enthusiasm diminishes, you can just throw baskets and sheets and pillows into a box with less care, and not worry that they aren’t going to make the journey.

I hope these few tips will help you as you move.  Do you know any great tips for moving?  Please share.

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