Anyone can pack a box. Very few people can pack a box well. And you’ll find even fewer people who think ahead to unpacking before they start packing, so they can pack with a purpose! When it comes to packing before a move, more people would rather just get the whole thing over with rather than take special precautions and do extra steps to pack strategically. If it fits, it fits.
If you want to save yourself major frustration before, during and after a move, it’s smart to pay more than a passing thought to packing. Instead, take your packing game to the next level! Pack with purpose and make sure you’re focused not only on what’s going in the box, but how you’re packing, labeling and organizing your boxes. There’s a science to packing, and those who embrace it will find themselves much less stressed out during the packing and unpacking process.
If you’re willing to put in the effort upfront and pack with purpose, there are no shortage of next level packing tips to take advantage of. Here are some of the best.
Make a master list
Most people label boxes as they pack, which is a smart idea. But “kitchen” and “bathroom” aren’t helpful other than to tell you what room that box is destined for. You can only guess at what’s inside! Instead, make a master list to go with your labeling. Grab a notepad and list off the general items you’re putting in a box—then, label and number that box to correspond to your notepad. If you’re looking at a box that says “Kitchen 02,” you can flip to that page on the pad and read off a list of what’s in the box before you go digging through it looking for something.
Thanks to modern technology, there’s an even simpler way to use the master list concept. You can buy pre-made barcode stickers online and, using a smartphone, scan the barcode to type out a list. When it’s time to unpack, scan the barcode to bring up the list for that box or perform a search for an object and get the box information for that item! These kits are extremely affordable and well worth the price.
First in, last out
Pack boxes in reverse order of need. That means packing your least-used, non-vital items first and your important, often-use items last. This has several practical benefits.
First, packing your essentials last makes sense, assuming you’ll need them right up to the actual day of the move. The last thing you pack should be the last thing you use—bathroom supplies and toiletries or clothes, for example. Packing non-essentials is also easier to do in advance. If you won’t need an item for a few weeks, it won’t matter if you pack it early.
Second, packing and loading in reverse order creates a “first in, last out” system. If you load unimportant boxes first, they’re at the back of the truck and will be the last things unloaded. Conversely, if the last things you’re loading are important boxes, they’ll be the first thing off the truck. You can even do this at the box level by putting unnecessary items at the bottom and oft-needed items on top.
Next level labeling
Labeling is a big part of packing and the more thorough you are, the easier your job will be when it comes to coordinating a move-in and unloading boxes. As mentioned above “kitchen” and “bathroom” aren’t helpful labels. Regardless of whether you create a master list for your boxes or not, there are still some labeling strategies worth exploring for easy box identification. Here are a few of them:
- Use different color dot stickers to signify rooms (ex. green=kitchen)
- Create a naming convention (ex. BED 1 or Master Bed.)
- Show quantities for each room (ex. Kitchen 2/8)
- Use a special identifier for fragile boxes (ex. red letters or “fragile” stamp)
- Signify heavy boxes (ex. H=heavy)
The idea is to get a good idea of what to expect from a box before opening it. At a glance you should be able to tell where it belongs, what’s in it (roughly) and what to expect when you lift it up.
Pack like-kind things together
Make a good effort to pack things together that make sense together. As a simple example, if you pack your coffee maker in a box, you might also pack your coffee cups with it. The same goes for things like pet supplies and pet toys or electronics and cabling/accessories. Keeping like-kind items together makes the unpacking process more natural and helps you get settled quicker. The last thing you want is to unpack your Xbox and spend an hour looking for the controller and some games scattered across other boxes!
Anyone can master these packing tips
The best part about each of these tips is that anyone can use them! You don’t need to be a packing expert or have access to any special equipment. It might cost you a few extra bucks or a few extra hours, but at the end of the day, anyone can pack like a pro with a little motivation.
When you get to your new home and start the unpacking process, you’re going to thank your past self for taking the time to do things right. And all those extra hours you spent packing? You’ll get them back in hours saved unpacking. Think about how convenient it’ll be to unload everything in your new home, so you can put the move behind you and start relaxing sooner.