Moving home? 5 steps to stress free packing

Moving your belongings from one home to another can be very stressful and take up a lot of your time and mental energy. It is often hard enough knowing where to start. The following advice will help you to take a systematic approach to the task of moving your belongings and leave you feeling organised and in control.

The whole process can be broken down into the following steps;

  1. Get rid of the stuff you do not want to keep
  2. Organise your packing area
  3. Create categories of belongings
  4. Label
  5. Pack!

Things you will need:

  • Cardboard boxes and some plastic stackable boxes: I recommend at least 20 good sized cardboard boxes and a few of varying sizes. At least 5 stackable plastic boxes. The plastic boxes are good for heavier things and the stackable element will save you space.
  • Labelling material: I recommend buying some large fluorescent stickers that can be written on with a marker pen, this makes your boxes labels easily readable – Theres nothing worse than not being able to find your stuff in your new home!
  • Pen and paper: For writing down the contents of each box.
  • Adhesive tape: Regular brown parcel tape will suffice.
  • Strong refuse sacks: for clearing out your unwanted stuff.

Step 1 – Get rid of the stuff you do not want to keep

The first thing to do is to try and get rid of any stuff  that you are not going to take to your new home. There is nothing worse than filling your new house with rubbish, as well as bad Feng shui, it will waste your time and take up space. So grab a plastic bag and scan your belongings for stuff you want to throw away or give to charity. The stuff you want to bin, do so immediately, anything you want to give away or sell, make sure you label up and if possible deal with that first.

Step 2 – Organise your packing area

You need to move freely in and out of the house and between rooms so make sure your hallway has a clear route and there is a space in the centre of each of your rooms to place the labeled empty boxes (see step 4) ready for you to start filling your belongings with.

Step 3 – Creating categories of belongings

Ok, this and the next step are the most important part of packing before you move. The biggest mistake people make when packing away belongings is not organising their stuff into categories and not labelling them. They do this either because they think they will remember where they put them when they get to their new home or because they simply didn’t realise how stressful and untidy it can get when trying to find that set of hair straighteners or that warm winter coat in a sea of unlabelled boxes.

There will be certain things that you need to have available and have easy access to, these are things like clothes, food, eating utensils, cleaning and beauty items and perhaps a couple of books and your digital devices. There will also be stuff that you are not likely to need such as your old CDs, your occasional clothes, the slow cooker your mum bought you, so on and so forth (I think you get the idea!). So your first task is to think about what your plans are over the next week or so (or until you can start unpacking properly) and then write a list of all the things you think you will need for that time, this list of items will be packed into a group of boxes labelled ‘Essentials’

So now you have your first category of packed items – ‘Essentials’, write this header down on a sheet of paper. Then I recommend the following categories:

  • Plates
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Non perishable food (theres no need to catagorise fresh food because you will probably not leave this in boxes!)
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Computer
  • TV/Stereo
  • Music (if you still have lots of CDS)
  • Cleaning/Beauty products
  • Gym/sports
  • Office (by office I refer to anything related to your paperwork, stationery)
The above categories will normally cover most items but you can always add categories if this makes you feel more in control. Now make a note of these categories in the same place you wrote the ‘Essentials’ category, allowing about half a page of A4 underneath each header to make a note of the contents of each box.
Step 4 – Label 
Now is the time to make your labels for each of your packing categories. Fluorescent sticky paper that can be written on is perfect because you can easily identify the boxes. I recommend the extra effort of putting two labels on opposite sides of your boxes so you don’t have to turn them all the way around if they are hidden away but this might be overkill and is not necessary. Just make sure that when you stack up your full boxes you do it so the labels are on the visible side. Obviously you will not know exactly how many boxes you will need for each category so at this stage just create one label per category and have your labelling equipment near you so that when you have filled one box you can quickly label up a new one. If your labelling equipment is down stairs or you lose it, you might be inclined to ‘label it later’ and then you are in danger of becoming lost in a sea of unlabelled boxes!
Step 5 – Pack!
Ok, so believe it or not if you follow the steps above the packing part is actually the easiest bit of the process. The key is to keep your labelling equipment and your list of categories near you at all times. First put your labeled boxes in the most appropriate rooms i.e. the clothing boxes in your bedroom and your utensils boxes in the kitchen. Then find all of the things on your ‘essentials’ list pack them into the essential boxes (this will probably be between three and four). Now you can start packing in any room you want but leave the kitchen until last because you might want to cook and make tea.
Next simply take your belongings and start filling your labelled boxes. You will find that most categories will be grouped  in one part of your house but there will also be items scattered all over the place. Not only will this process save you loads of time unpacking in your new place but it will also give you a great sense of being organised because you will know where everything is.
To be extra organised you can write down what’s in each box in the space you left under your category headings  but remember  to number the boxes in each category.
Using a systematic approach to packing will remove lots of the stress related to moving that’s caused by the uncertainty of not knowing where your belongings are. Follow the five step approach I can promise you you will feel organised and in control.

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