When you need to pack up and move the contents of an entire house, it can be a pretty daunting prospect as you consider just how much work needs to be done. A good approach is to devise a plan on a room-by-room basis that breaks the task of moving into small, manageable parts that can be done over time. It’s important to take your time and be as thorough as possible and packing one room at a time is a great way to achieve this, while still seeing the results of your work, which will help keep you motivated as you move from one room to the next. In this guide, we’ll provide some general tips about the packing process, as well as an approach to packing each room individually as you go.
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Any storage area is a good place to start a room-by-room packing task and for most people, that means the garage. Other areas that fall under the same category include basements, attics, tool sheds, or any other space in the house that is mainly used for storage, rather than a living space. The reason these areas are a good place to start is that they will affect your day to day life the least when everything is packed, while still allowing you to get a jump on your packing duties. Another benefit of starting with storage areas, particularly the garage, is that it gives you a clean and uncluttered room in which to put boxes from other rooms as you get them packed.
Keep in mind that some items that are often found in a garage cannot be transported by moving companies, such as car batteries, pesticides, pool chemicals, motor oil or hazardous materials. If you have any doubts as to whether something may not be permissible when you hire a moving company, contact them directly and they’ll be happy to provide you with a complete listing of prohibited items.
If you have a home office or any spare rooms, those are good to put second on your room-by-room packing schedule. These rooms tend to be relatively free of clutter and loose items so there is usually a minimal amount of packing required to get them ready for moving day. If you have any smaller items like knick knacks or wall hangings that can be packed up, this is the time to do it. As for a home office, the same goes for any desk items or computer components that you won’t need in the days leading up to your move out date.
If you have a computer in your home office, be sure to back up any important files or photos that you can’t risk losing. For laptops, computer towers, and monitors be sure to wrap them carefully with the appropriate amount of padding to make sure that nothing is damaged should they be jostled during the moving process. Bubble wrap is ideal for protecting computers and electronics before boxing them up. If there are cables or peripherals that go with a computer, try to pack them together so that it will be easier to set them up when you move into your new home. Any small lamps and items in desk drawers should also be packed during this phase of packing.
The living room is typically one of the largest rooms in a home, which can mean it might take longer to pack than other rooms, so be sure to budget the appropriate amount of time needed. Some items like pictures, wall hangings, curtains, and rugs can be packed early on, but you should make sure you take care in packing them in a way that protects them from dirt and damage. Other items like a television or stereo you may want to wait until you’re closer to moving day so that you have some form of entertainment in the days leading up to moving. Any items you have on shelves, such as pieces of décor, books, or music, can be packed relatively easily in boxes, but use discretion when packing anything fragile or breakable so that it’s sure to make the trip safely to your new house.
When it is time to pack up the television and other electronics, use bubble wrap and/or moving blankets to protect them since they be scratched or broken during moving. Make sure to label any cords or associated devices properly so that they’ll be easy to track down after the move when you need to reassemble everything.
Large pieces of furniture like couches, entertainment centers, or shelving should be broken down into their smallest components before moving to make the process easier and limit the risk of damage should something come apart when loading it. If there are any screws or straps involved, be sure to label and box them appropriately so that they’ll be easily available when you need to reattach everything.
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The bedroom should be one of the last rooms you pack since you’ll obviously need a place to sleep right up until moving day, but some items can be packed earlier than the larger items like the bed and dresser. Any clothes you have that are out of season or that you wear less frequently can be packed earlier, as can shoes that you won’t be wearing for a few days as you prepare for moving. If you are handling some aspects of the moving or loading yourself, be sure to leave yourself a pair of comfortable shoes that are appropriate for the job. Any extra pillows or linens can also be packed early as well.
If your bed frame can be disassembled for easier moving, that should be done on or before moving day. The same holds true for a dresser, vanity, or any other type of furniture that can be broken down into its component parts for easier handling. If you have a television in the bedroom, be sure to protect it carefully so that it’s safe to transport without the risk of damage.
Kid’s rooms should be left until the end if possible so that they’re able to maintain a sense of normalcy as you pack up the rest of the house. Keep some of their favorite toys, games, or movies on hand even during the move so that they can be entertained and also have something that makes them feel comfortable during the change of residence. Any smaller items like collectibles or action figures should be individually wrapped and carefully placed in boxes for moving. For puzzles or games, make sure to tape shut boxes so that any small pieces inside stay there.
Plastic bags are your friend when packing up the bathroom since there’s typically several small items in drawers and cabinets that you want to keep together. At the same time, using a bag to seal up items that can spill or leak can save you a lot of trouble when moving any liquids. Cosmetics and toiletries fall under this category of things that should be carefully sealed to prevent spillage. Plastic wrap can also be used for already opened bottles of items like hair products and mouth wash. Be sure to set aside what you use on a daily basis so that you’ll have access to what you need on moving day, as well as during the move if your trip will take more than one day.
Towels and wash rags are items that can be packed earlier than other items in the bathroom since you likely have extras that you won’t need right away. Once moving day arrives, you can easily pack up everything that remains without too much trouble. If you have more than one bathroom in the house, it can be a good idea to pack up one of them as thoroughly as possible and use the remaining bathroom for the duration of your stay in the home.
The kitchen is one of the last rooms you want to have completely packed, though you can certainly take care of a good portion of the packing early in the process. Appliances and extra silverware and plates can be packed in the early stages, provided you leave what you’ll need to prepare and eat food in the lead up to your move. One good approach is to set out a menu plan for the last week in the house so that you’ll know exactly what you need and what can be packed ahead of time.
Try to eat any food that’s perishable before you move so that nothing goes to waste and you can avoid spending money on eating out. If you have any canned goods or other nonperishable items in your pantry, they can be donated to a local food pantry to minimize what you have to move from the kitchen.
Dishes are one of the most fragile items in the house so you’ll need to take extra care when packing them. Use extra padding when packing them, such as bubble wrap or cardboard between them. Once you have a complete stack of plates or bowls that are ready for boxing, you may want to use plastic wrap to keep them secure and use blankets or towels around them for an extra layer of protection. Silverware can be taped together to prevent it from scattering when moved in a box. Another approach is to tape similar pieces of silverware together and wrapping them in a silverware tray. For plates and dishes, mark the moving box as fragile so that movers will know the be more careful when moving them.