DIY Packing Kits and Tips
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The following is a list of moving and packing tips that will help make your transition to your new home a smoother and more efficient process.
- Gather packing supplies before you start. There's nothing more frustrating, then having to stop half-way through a packing session in order to get more supplies.
- Packed boxes should weigh less than 50 pounds.
- Pack heavier items on the bottom. and lighter items on top.
- Make sure all boxes can close properly and be sealed so the tops are flat. If you over-pack a box, you risk damage to the contents. Use a couple of pieces of tape to close the bottom and top seams, then use one of the movers’ techniques―making a couple of wraps all the way around the box’s top and bottom edges, where stress is concentrated.
- Small, loose items should be boxed or bagged and sealed securely before placing into a larger box.
- Label each box with the room it’s destined for and a description of its contents. This will help you and your movers know where every box belongs in your new home.
- If moving liquids, either transfer them into a sealable container or make sure the lid is secured by taping it down, then put it into a waterproof bag, seal the bag then place it upright into a box. Clearly mark the box with arrows and "This End Up". Also, the following items should not be packed at all and cannot be transported by your mover:
- Darkroom Chemicals
- Motor Oil
- Lighter Fluid
- Car Batteries
- Nail Polish & Remover
- Liquid Bleach
- Keep clothing in dresser drawers. You will need to remove any breakable items, valuables, or books/photo albums.
- Keep a box labeled "Load last, unload first" for the essentials you'll need when you arrive. There is more information below about your "Essentials Box"
- Keep important records with you. Do not move them with the rest of your household goods. If you cannot take them with you in the car, then send them on ahead with a secure courier company.
- As much as possible, keep items in their proper places. For example, when packing the silverware/flatware, keep it in its' tray then wrap packing paper around it to secure the contents. This is easier than sorting out all those pieces after your move.
- Do not use standard garbage bags! They rip and tear too easily. If you're going to pack linens and clothing in garbage bags, purchase the thicker, heavy ones to ensure they don't burst during the move. Or double up. Garbage bags don't stack well on the truck and offer less protection than cartons, so use them minimally.
- Keep items from the same room together as much as possible. This will make it easier to sort the contents after you move.
- Get everyone involved by making a task list, then dividing out the jobs that each person can do. Organizing your household will not only save you time and energy, but will make your whole family feel like part of this adventure.
- Use the right size box for the right items. Here is a list to help
- Small - 1.5 cubic foot moving box which is 16 x 12½ x 12½ inches - the box used the most. This box is great for books, canned food, kitchen items, dishes, and fragile items
- Medium - 3.1 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 16. Great for clothing, pots and pans, dishes, general nic nacs and electronics.
- Large - 4.5 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 24. Great for larger lamps, linens and larger kitchen appliances.
- X-Large - 6.0 cubic foot moving box which is 22 x 22 x 21 ½, but a word of caution: Do not overstuff this box as it can become very heavy. Use this box for pillows, toys, large blankets and couch/chair cushions.
- Hanging wardrobe boxes come a metal bar and are shaped just like a wardrobe. They are great for hanging closet items that you can't pack flat. Just remember that they are heavy and take up a lot of room. If you can pack clothes flat, this will save you some money.
- Picture and/or Mirror Boxes: All mirror boxes can be telescoped, meaning that two can be put together to get a longer fit. When fitting two boxes together, make sure you use a strong filament tape to secure them together and to handle the additional weight. Mirror boxes are designed to handle framed pictures, artwork and mirrors. Bubble wrap or 3-ply paper pads is recommended for all framed items.
- Dish packs: Great for packing china, dishes, glasses, cups or liquor/wine bottles. Just make sure you don't overpack them. Check the weight to ensure they are still manageable. Overpacking dish packs can result in dropped boxes and shattered items.
- Mattress boxes: These boxes aren't typically necessary for most local moves. However, boxes will keep your mattress from being punctured or if it's being stored for a while, it'll protect it better from outside forces. Mattress boxes come in many sizes from cribs to twin to king-size.
- Get started now! It's never too late to plan, sort and start packing.
My Essentials Box
Before moving or relocating, everyone should prepare an essentials box, a box full of items you'll need for your last few nights before you move and/or the first few nights in your new home. This should actually be the last box you pack before you move, but it's a good idea, while you're going through the cupboards, drawers and shelves, to identify what you'll need for the first few hours/days in your new home. This box will be the first box you open and should include items that will enable you to provide small meals, clean, deal with small emergencies and possibly entertain you while you unpack the rest of your home.
- Toilet Paper
- Dish soap
- Dishtowel and dishcloth
- All-purpose cleaner (unopened)
- Instant coffee
- Toaster or small toaster oven
- Jar of pasta sauce and pasta (or some easy food item for one dinner and lunch)
- Unopened small jar of jelly/peanut butter
- Cup, plate, fork, knife, spoon for each member of the family
- Pet food and dishes
- Mug, plate, fork, knife, spoon for each member of the family
- All-purpose cutting knife
- Scissors or craft knife (to open the rest of your boxes)
- Small emergency kit
- Shower curtain (nothing worse than forgetting this one!)
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, floss, and paste
- A change of clothing and towel for each member of the family.
- Garbage bags
- Portable tool kit
- Important records such as medical records, passports, leases, financial information, etc.
You may not be ready to pack your Essentials Box yet, but that doesn't mean you can't start making a list of items to include. The rule of thumb is to include all essentials that you'll need for at least 24 hours. Presumably, there's a grocery or convenience store nearby, but just in case, you should have some food stuff on hand that you can quickly prepare for your family.
After you've prepared your Essentials Box, take it with you or make sure it is marked "Load Last/Unload First."
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