Whether your move is across country or across the street, a little bit of planning can make a world of difference when packing up your home. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- You can save a lot of money if you do the bulk of the packing on your own. Limit yourself to non-fragile items such as books, linens, clothing and shoes; and replaceable items such as plates, dishes (not fine china or expensive silverware), and small kitchen appliances. These items will be cheaper to replace in case of damage as opposed to hiring workers for the extra labor. Leave the furniture, mattresses, and heavy appliances to be packed by the mover.
- The heavier the item, the smaller the box it should occupy. Don't toss everything into one huge box. It will make the hauling much more difficult. A good rule of thumb is if you can't lift the box easily, it's too heavy! Keep the weight of the box under 50lbs and remember to always lift with your knees, not your back.
- You should never let the movers pack your jewelry, family heirlooms, or other priceless items. Should they be lost or damaged, the insurable value will not come anywhere near the value you would place on them. Such items include jewelry, sports memorabilia, photo albums, and various hobby collections. Pack these items yourself and take them with you, either in the car or as carry-on luggage if size allows.
- Get the proper boxes for your items the right sizes and strengths. Have enough wardrobe boxes, as they'll save you ironing time later. You can pack t-shirts and jeans in suitcases and regular boxes but you don't want to pack your fine clothing such as suits or dresses in the same place. Save space by tossing in shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe box, but be reasonable.
- Don't let the box become too heavy or susceptible to fallout from the bottom. Purchase the padded dish boxes with dividers to protect your fine china. For your replaceable and non-fragile items, save money by using the free boxes that you can obtain from supermarkets and wrapping the items in old newspaper.
- Pack like with like. Don't pack delicate items in a box with items that could damage them.
- Grandma's antique tea set and Junior's computer don't really go that well together.
- Cover any sharp edges of your larger items (table corners etc.) so that they do not damage other items.( A rag with a rubber band or some sort of elastic works well for this.)
- Wrap items in clean paper. Use newspaper for cushioning only, because Newspaper ink can damage your delicate items (like china).
- Place crushed paper or other Styrofoam ½ in the bottom of cartons for cushioning.
- Keep the heaviest items on the bottom and the lighter items on top, both in individual boxes and in general. No matter how strong your coffee table is, chances are it won't hold the weight of your big screen TV.
- Seal cartons tightly with tape whenever possible.
- Develop a system to catalog the boxes. You might give each box a number and keep a list of the items in that box in a notebook. Or even do something as simple as write the actual room each box will have to go in. Once those boxes are sealed, if the boxes are unmarked, your memory will inevitably fail you. Why leave it to chance?
- Use this system to let your movers know which box needs to go in which room upon arrival.
- Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle. Many errant electrical cords have caused the demise of a beloved lamp or computer.
- Empty out your drawers completely, especially of items that could cause damage when in contact with other possessions.
- Fill in empty spaces between your heavy and light layers with crushed paper or other cushioning.
- For very small and fragile items, pack a small box inside a larger box with paper or other cushioning in between the boxes.
- Try hard not to separate items that belong together. Any pairs or sets of items should go together and any screws, nuts or bolts that will be used to reassemble a larger item should be placed with an item, clearly labeled and well sealed.
- Fill your boxes completely but try to limit their weight to 50 lb. Use cushioning to achieve this.
- Clear out unwanted goods – hold a garage sale.
- Get rid of flammables – paint, petrol, gas cylinders.
- Empty fuel from mowers, clippers, trimmers and so on.
- Clothes – do you need them all? Charity shops may want them.
- Separate books – disposable, family reading, valuable.
- Check all electrical goods – will they work in the new home?
- Start making up your change of address list.
- Arrange to have mail forwarded.
- Arrange termination date for electricity, gas, oil, telephone and other main suppliers.
- If you are taking electrical goods such as a stereo, see if you still have their original boxes.
- Have rugs cleaned.
- If you have children, separate cherished toys to travel with you.
- Round up personal documentation – marriage/birth certificates, driving licenses and so on.
- Keep passports separate so they are not packed.
- Want to take the car? Check on import regulations and the duty payable.
- With regards to family pets– make sure vaccinations and documentation are up to date.
- Will your new home be ready? If not, you need to arrange temporary storage.
- Shops, schools, theaters, life styles – it's never too early to find out about your new home.
- Start running down freezer stocks.
- Arrange your finances – close or transfer bank accounts, savings accounts and so on, if necessary.
Four Weeks before the Move...Call Papillon Moving and Storage and schedule your move.Tour your house and decide which items should be discarded or donated to charity. Consider a garage sale. Call physicians and dentists. They may recommend a colleague near your new home. Get copies of renewable prescriptions. Arrange transfer of school records. Check homeowner's insurance policies to see if moving is covered. Be sure your new home is protected by transferring fire, theft and other personal-property insurance. Transfer personal insurance records. Three Weeks before the Move...Plan to use up most food items before the move. Check and clear tax assessments. Arrange to have major appliances serviced before you move them. Movers can't take aerosols, flammables, corrosives or ammunition. It's best to use them up or give them away before you move. Propane tanks must be emptied as well as lawnmower fuel tanks. Two Weeks before the Move...Make your travel reservations for the trip. Notify the Post Office and get change of address forms. Notify magazines to which you subscribe. Note: You must fill out a change-of-address form for each person receiving mail at your address. Close or transfer all charge accounts. Return library books and other things you've borrowed. Collect things you've loaned, and items in layaway, cold storage, etc. Arrange to discontinue utilities and delivery services. Take the time to fill out the "Welcome To Your New Home" data sheet for the new owners. Protect your shipment from damage by disposing of cleaning fluids, acids, caustic drain cleaners, etc. One Week before the Move...Transfer bank accounts, and ask your local credit bureau to transfer your records to your new city. Reconfirm travel reservations. Arrange for cable TV disconnection. Arrange connection of utilities in new home. Draw up a floor plan of your new home, and indicate placement of furnishings. It makes moving in twice as easy. Arrange to have cash, certified check or money order ready to pay driver before goods are unloaded. Set aside maps, games, snacks, flashlight, and other items you'll take in your car. Gather medicines and important papers for the car trip. Your local phone company business office can help you with phone service for your new home, as well as disconnecting service at your present home. Drain water from all garden hoses. Start packing suitcases. Drain gasoline from lawn mower. Anything Sky Moving and Storage is packing should be left in place. It's easier and safer; for example, to pack glassware right from the cabinet it's kept in. Get name, address and phone number of your destination agent. Put cleaning supplies, toiletries and a coffee pot in special box to be loaded last and unloaded first. Finish packing all suitcases. Defrost, clean and dry refrigerator. The Day of the Move...Be on hand all day to answer any moving companies' questions, accompany driver during inventory, sign bill of lading, and confirm your new address and delivery date. Be sure to advise him of your in route accommodations and telephone number, if known. Make final check of every room and storage area. Make sure windows and doors are locked, keys are transferred and lights are out.