Take it from someone who has moved internationally with a pregnant wife, across state lines with three small kids, and across town here in Durham: how you pack your home can either help make the move go smoothly and (relatively) stress-free, or leave you fantasizing about burning all your belongings and moving into one of those cool tiny houses. Hopefully these tips we’ve picked up over the years can help accomplish the first option.
- Don’t use all your linens to pack all your china. Yes, it saves money on bubble wrap, but when you want to take a shower after a long, sweaty day of unpacking you won’t want to dig through four boxes of wine glasses to find a towel.
- Don’t keep cooking until the last minute. You have two options: Eat takeout for a couple days. Or, cook one or two big casseroles in disposable pans, freeze them, and eat lasagna and tuna noodle for a week. Buy some paper plates and plastic utensils and get your kitchen packed up well before moving day.
- Don’t pack things you aren’t 100% sure you want in your new home. We finally got this one right on our last move. Several weeks (or months) ahead of time, start sorting and de-cluttering. Go through closets and storage areas and give away or throw away anything you haven’t used in a while, never really liked that much, anything that is broken, your kids have grown out of, you have a newer version of, et cetera. It is much easier to get rid of things than to pack them! And when you get to your new home, you will enjoy opening boxes to find only the things you love instead of opening boxes of the junk you’ve been tripping over in the basement for the last five years.
- Don’t be afraid of putting things together that aren’t similar. We have wasted a lot of time packing one small box with bits and pieces from various rooms so that we could accurately label the box something specific like “candle holders.” Instead, just pack all the items on top of your bookshelf into one box. Label it “top of bookshelf.” You know which knick-knacks you were used to seeing on the top of the bookshelf, and it will make things go much, much, faster.
- Don’t pack your router and modem until you are 100% sure you own them! When you call your cable or internet company to cancel service, double check to find out whether you own the equipment or whether it was loaned to you as part of your service agreement.
- Don’t go out and buy a million boxes from Home Depot (yet). You can get boxes for free from lots of places. Ask your friends. Ask at local businesses. Ask around at your job – most offices order things like coffee or printer paper in large boxes. My wife once scored a ton of moving boxes from her office job because she was friends with the woman who stocked all the office kitchens with napkins and Splenda.
- Don’t recycle your paper recycling. As soon as you know you’re going to be packing up, start saving all your junk mail and scrap paper. Wad it up and wedge it between glasses, or use it to fill up extra space in boxes of knick knacks.
- Don’t turn down offers of help! You may feel like it’s easier for you to just pack your own things, rather than having to supervise your friends. If they offer, say yes! You will be glad of the company, and when it’s the night before the truck arrives and you are facing a floor strewn with odds and ends that you keep picking up and putting down in new places but not actually packing, you can give them the go ahead to just start throwing things into boxes and labeling them “misc.”
- Don’t label boxes “misc.” You will be desperate and exhausted and want to just take everything that isn’t in a box already and burn it, but at least write something like “misc. + colander” or “misc. + cookbooks.” Even identifying just one item will jog your memory as to what else you packed with the colander.
- Don’t get your truck stuck in the front lawn.
About the author: My name is Matt Minor and I’m a real estate agent in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. I’d love to help you buy or sell a home in the Triangle. Give me a call at 919-450-5999, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Carrboro, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Mebane, Morrisville, Sanford, Smithfield or Wake Forest.