Almost everyone has more stuff than
they think they do, and almost no
one leaves enough time to pack it.
Start by forming two room lists, one
for your current place and one for
your future place. This will help
you manage what has to go where.
Go to each room and write down the
types of things that need to be
packed: furniture items, length of
shelving, closets, etc.
Make sure to leave enough time. The
most common timeframe reported by
people moving is that it takes a
month to pack. One study reported
that it takes 4-5 hours to pack an
average dorm room, so that should
give you an idea of what’s involved.
Pull out a calendar and plan by day
when each room will be completed.
If you’re moving with family
members, agree with them exactly
while tasks they will be doing and
the date they will be finished.
Track your progress-
at least once per week track where
you are against the date on the
calendar. Revise your plan if
you’re falling behind.
General Packing Tips
a suitcase- For each member
of the family moving, pack a
suitcase as if you’re all going on a
3-day vacation, including changes of
clothes, medications, eyeglasses,
Keep the suitcases separated
from all the other items to be
moved, such as in your car, at your
new workplace, etc. so you’ll have
everything you need for the first
few days without searching through
Create “Open Me First” boxes-
Pick one or two boxes per room as
"Open Me First" boxes.
Put in them the things you'll
need first at your new location.
Then mark the sides of the
boxes so you'll know which ones are
at a time-
Wherever possible, work on
packing just one room at a time
(instead of several all at once) to
keep things focused and organized.
Use packing as a way to clean
out belongings for donations, a yard
sale, and/or the recycling center.
Aim to eliminate 1/3 of your
You'll save time and expense.
the floor- Instead of the
floor, use a completely cleared-off
table top or counter in each room
for packing boxes.
You'll find you get much more
Tracking small parts- When
taking apart items to be moved, such
as tables, securely tape screws and
other small parts securely to the
underside of the item.
You'll always know where to
look and save time putting things
space- Use towels, pillows
and t-shirts you’re packing as extra
padding around fragile items.
It will save room in your
Criss-cross tape- Tape boxes
along the seams where the flaps meet
Then tape perpendicularly at
the center of the first tape,
forming a cross.
Stack boxes with the heaviest
on the bottom, lightest on top to
Keep each box below 50 pounds
absolute maximum and below 30 pounds
Heavier boxes lead to
injuries, are much more likely to
burst their tape or seams and tend
to get dropped.
Keep a bathroom scale in the room
you're packing so you can keep the
boxes below the weight limits.
picture is worth 1000 words-
Use a digital or cell phone camera
to take pictures of how complicated
wiring (computer cords, speaker
wires) is hooked up. Be sure to use
plenty of light and careful focus so
the pictures will be clear. Print
each picture and put it in the top
of the box holding the item. This
will make hooking up the items in
your new place much easier.
Original is best- Always use
the original packaging when
available. (I realize that most of
us don’t have the original packaging
for much of anything, but I thought
I would bring it up anyway).
Double boxing- For
especially fragile electronics, pack
them first in a box with an
excessive amount of biodegradable
packing peanuts. Then pack that box
in a larger box filled with
biodegradable packing peanuts. This
two-box system seems like a pain but
seems to do a better job isolating
items from jarring impacts.
loose ends- Wrap each cord
carefully with cable organizers,
heavy twist ties or heavy rubber
bands. Never throw unwrapped cords
into boxes- they get tangled and
caught on other items.
labels- Consider getting a
label maker and labeling the end of
each. Then you'll know exactly
which cord you're seeing and where
each end connects when you put
things back together.
Use at least 2" of biodegradable
packing peanuts around each side of
Box Inventory and Labeling
“Fat” is in-
Use the thickest, darkest marker you
can find for labeling boxes.
Pencils, pens, tin or light markers
are almost impossible to see even
just a few feet away.
Two sides- Label each box on
the two broadest sides, opposite one
another. That way if a box gets
turned, you can still identify its
Abbreviate room names-
Start box labels with the
abbreviated name of the room
followed by a box number, such as
“BTH2-6” for "second bathroom, 6th
box." You can then track each box
to make sure everything arrived
Label "Open Me First" on boxes where
Mark "Fragile" where appropriate.
Identify contents- Identify
the major contents and where they
came from, such as "Medicine
Cabinet" or "Linen Closet- Towels
and Wash Cloths."
Box Inventory- Keep a
clipboard and write down each box's
room, box number and contents (graph
paper is great for keeping things
Verifying delivery- When
unloading, check off each box as it
gets unloaded at your new place.
Then you'll know everything arrived
Ask movers to stack boxes in your
new place with the labels facing out
so that you can easily spot a
File your change of address with the
Post Office at least 30 days prior
to the date of the move.
Ask everyone you notify for a
referral in your new area.
Records- Get copies of your
existing records (transcripts from
schools, medical records from
doctors, etc.) while you’re
notifying the changes of address.
Change of Address- Who To Notify
Accountant/tax preparer; Alumni
Babysitter/ child care provider;
Banks (auto loans, checking
accounts, credit cards, home equity,
IRA’s, mortgage, safe deposit box,
savings account); Broker; Business
cards (order new ones if applicable)
phone provider; Child care/ daycare;
especially for traffic tickets or
local disputes; Credit bureaus;
Credit card issuers
Dentist; Department of Motor
Vehicles; Diaper service; Doctor;
Dry cleaning pick-up and delivery
Family members and friends
Health clubs; House cleaning
service; House of worship
Insurance providers (auto, health,
life, other vehicles); IRS (form
Lawn care; Luggage tags (replace
New business cards; New employer;
Old employer; Orthodontist
Passport; Pet sitter/ dog walker/
pet day care; Pharmacy (BONUS: get
year-to-date expense summary for
taxes); Physical therapist;
Physician (BONUS: get referral for
new location); Post office;
Retirement plan holders; Return
address labels (order new ones)
Schools (BONUS: get copies of
transcripts); Snow removal service;
Social Security Administration;
Swimming pool maintenance (pool
cleaning, pool opening or closing);
Swimming pool memberships
Veterinarian BONUS get vet records
Water delivery service
Moving With Kids
a children's book on moving for
Consider “The Berenstain
Bears’ Moving Day.”
If appropriate, let children pick
If possible, let kids pick a
decoration (poster, light switch,
name banner, etc.) for their new
Pack a kid's sized suitcase and let
each child pick out a special toy to
keep with them and a special outfit
to wear on "new home day."
If the child has a special dish or
cup, include it in the kitchen "Open
Me First" box so familiar items
await them at their new place.
Consider unpacking the kids' rooms
first, or at least their "Open Me
First" boxes to help them settle in.
Open Me First Box: The Kitchen
Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
Break-proof or disposable flatware,
cups, and plates
Coffee maker and coffee (don’t
forget the filters!)
Frying pan and spatula
Open Me First Box: Main Bathroom
First-aid kit (aspirin, band-aids,
Shower curtain and rings
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Open Me First Box: Tool Room or Drawer
You want to have everything as
organized as possible prior to the
arrival of the movers.
Recruit help in watching your small
kids and pets on Moving Day. Your
attention will be needed for the
nuts and bolts of the move.
Have food ready-
Whether you have professional movers
or friends and family, having
coffee, orange juice, and bagels or
donuts available will make it easier
for everyone to get started.
Cell phone numbers-
Make sure you have the cell phone
number of the driver of the truck
entered into your cell phone, and
that the driver has yours in case
you get separated or have a problem.
Almost all professional movers will
demand payment in full
and in cash before they will
unpack a single box. Make sure you
have payment ready.
Have directions and a map ready for
anyone will be driving between your
old place and your new place.
Just like with packing, have a plan
Otherwise you're likely to
end up frustrated with a sea of
half-opened boxes with your
necessities still "missing in
Focus on "Open Me First" boxes in
the bathrooms and kitchen first.
Trash and Recyclable Boxes-
least one trash bag (for the real
trash) and one large emptied box (to
hold used packing paper and
biodegradable "peanuts") available
in each room BEFORE you start the
Set an objective of unpacking a
certain number of boxes each day
until all the boxes are all