How to Pack (With the Least Amount of Disruption)


By Sharon Bregman, President of 360 Déménager

To properly assemble a box, tape along the flaps that meet and run the tape at least 6 inches up the sides of the box. Then run another strip of tape parallel to the center tape between the center and the end of the box. Do the same on the other side of the center line. You now have 3 pieces of tape, one running the length of the seam where the flaps meet and up the sides of the box, one to the right of the seam line and one to the left of the seam line. Now run 3 pieces of tape across (perpendicular) the 3 pieces and up the sides of the box. These 6 pieces of tape will secure the box when it is lifted and moved. Turn the box open side up and you are ready to start packing.

You now need to decide what to pack first. It is the least disruptive to pack items that you do not use/need every day. For example: start with books (the library). Assemble several small book cartons. Start with a shelf at a time. Do not make the boxes too heavy. If that shelf requires a second box, start a new box but stop when that shelf is complete. You will be able to replace your books on shelves in your new home in some order resembling their placement in you current residence.

Keep an inventory list United States

As you pack each box and label/number the outside with a large marker, keep a notebook with the same numbers in one column and the contents of each box in the next column.

Start a fresh page for each room.

The exterior label/number should be such that you will know where to place the boxes in your new home upon arrival and how many boxes you should have.

Remember to mark your boxes in a way that will indicate TO YOU what is inside them. You need to know which boxes were packed in each room of your home, what is inside them and how many boxes you have.

Move onto linen or clothing not being worn for the next few days or weeks. Then do extra dishes and pots and pans that you will not be using. Eat on paper and use plastic utensils for a few days if need be.

Pack small pieces of toys, shower curtain hooks, paper clips etc. in zipper baggies before putting them into a packing box.

If you have children, leave their rooms intact for as long as possible. They can be packed quickly a day before you move.

Keep a box handy for perishables if your new home is close enough, drive them over. If not, it is best to dispose of perishable foods.

Never mark the outside of a box to indicate valuable or desirable contents. The box may not arrive at its new destination. For example, do not mark a box LIQUOR or JEWELERY or STERLING.

When you are packing dishes or other breakables, bunch up some paper and place a good 2 to 3 inches of crushed paper on the bottom of the box before you start to place anything into the box. Wrap all breakables well and when the box is not quite full, add some more crushed paper on top and down the sides as extra cushioning.

Never pack your boxes too full or too heavy.

Run at least 6 strips of tape along the top of the box to resemble the way you taped the bottom.

If the contents of the box are fragile, or might spill if the box is tipped, write fragile with a large marker on the outside of the box. Also draw a big arrow pointing up on the outside of the box to let everyone know not to tip the box.

Many movers recommend wardrobe boxes for clothing. Here is a tip. Pack folded clothing into your suitcases. You need to move the suitcases anyway. This way you save on boxes. Another trick to use if your new home is within driving distance – lay a king or queen sized sheet on the floor. Take hanging clothing from the closet with the hangers and lay it on the sheet so the hangers point to one corner and the bottom of the clothing points to the opposite far corner. Tie the two corners at the widest point together over the clothes in a loose knot. Bring up the other two corners (head and foot of clothes) and tie them into a loose knot. Lay the bundle into the trunk of your car and when you arrive at your home, untie the sheet and hang your clothes. They will not be wrinkled and there is no need for expensive wardrobe containers.

Pack the contents of bureau and desk drawers to prevent spillage if drawers open during the move. This also makes the furniture lighter and easier to move.

Set aside valuables and important papers you will need for the move/sale/closing etc., as well as any papers whose loss would inconvenience you (see section 14 of our ToDo Guide for an expanded list). Do not put them into a packed box. Store them in a small fire-proof file box which you can lock. Carry the file box with you in your car or put it with your carry on luggage if you are taking a plane.

Pack a handy items box for your first night and day in your new home. It should include: scissors, utility knife, flashlight, cups, paper plates, can opener, napkins, garbage bags, towels, a shower curtain and hooks if needed, toilet paper, tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, snacks, daily medications, other toiletries used daily, pens and pads, local phone book, sponge and hard surface cleaner, favorite (sleep) toys for your child, food, bowl and leash for your pet, a change or two of clothing, baby food, diapers, formula, bottled water, etc.


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