Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 5 Tuesday: Packing Tips

As I announced yesterday I'm moving in less than a week (ahh the panic sets in!) and needing something outside of packing to keep me sane I figured I'd bring back my Top 5 Tuesday series. If there's one thing I can do it's pack, which I am forever grateful to my mother for these skills. I've counted up how many times I've moved since 2005 and came up with this...

Aug. 2005: Home to College
May 2006: College to Home
Aug. 2006: Home to College
June 2007: Campus apartment to off-campus apartment
Aug. 2007: Off-campus apartment to sorority suite
May 2008: Sorority suite to off-campus apartment
May 2009: Off-campus apartment to Raleigh
July 2009: Raleigh to Home
July 2009-May 2010: Home to Sigma headquarters then somewhere different every week
May 2010: Sigma headquarters to Home
July 2010: Home to Columbia College
May 2011: Lots of junk to a friend's apartment to storage and then the rest in my car out to TX
July 2011: TX back to an apartment in Columbia
Aug. 2011: (two weeks later) to a different apartment in Columbia

Grand Total: 14 moves in the past 7 years

For the first time in my life I'm using a moving company (though I'm still packing all of my belongings) and I really feel like a princess to not have to schlep everything down from my third floor walk-up. Especially my bulky over-sized living room furniture...good luck movers!

I've definitely picked up some great tips when moving and figured I'd share. I know a lot of my grad school friends are currently moving and it seems that quite a few of my other friends from different walks of life are, so here you go, my magical tips that are 14 moves in the making:

1. Don't be a pack rat!
This tip is coming from a pack rat herself! I have been someone who saves absolutely everything for fear that there will be that one instance that I may need a John Deere hat, plastic zebra figurine, or random old key chains. Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter and clean out your life. Instead of just throwing everything into boxes, sort it out. Your clothes, desk drawers, drawers of odds & ends, pretty much everything! I made a "keep", "toss", and "give away" box that I used as I went through everything. I have a huge pile for Goodwill, took tons to the dumpster, and packed the rest. If you have a lot (and some big ticket items) in your toss/give away piles, consider a yard sale or Craigslist to get some cash. Then you'll have a stash for things you'll need at your new place. Who wants to move a bunch of clutter to a new place?

2. Organize, organize, organize!
After you de-clutter your life, again please do not just throw it into boxes. Box up each room separately and methodically. For example in the living room use one box for DVDs and electronics and another for decorations and knick knacks. And definitely label! I like to label using index cards taped to the side of boxes. I've found the best way to label is noting what room the box should go to, and then a brief description of what's inside. Like this...

If you want to get even more detailed I thought about doing an Excel document with a tab for each room. Then you could number your boxes and in Excel make a note of everything in there. Then when movers (or friends helping) see "Master Bedroom", "Kitchen", etc. they know exactly where to place the box so you don't have to do extra moving once you're in.

3. Cloth Storage Bags
I have used these since my very first move to college freshman year. You can pick them up at Walmart for cheap (I think around $5), find them where they have ironing boards, laundry bags, etc. I love to use these to pack up all of my clothes, jackets, bedding, towels, pillows, etc. Anything squishy! These are great for these items because one, you don't have to put them into a dirty/smelly box, two, they will squish and fit easier into your car, truck, etc. and finally you can fit SO much stuff in them. Hence how many I have currently used:

4. Think Ahead
Purchase some things you know you'll need immediately after arriving at your new place. Some of these could be trash bags, toilet paper, shower curtain liners, etc. Even though it's giving you more to pack, once you get there and start unpacking you may not want to have to go out the first day/night for some of these essential things.

5. Use Anything & Everything
When I move I'm sure to use every bag I have in addition to boxes. I've seen people pack up duffel bags and suitcases and I have no clue why. I use all of mine to pack clothes and shoes in, though always leave one duffel to actually pack clothes and essentials in so I have them for traveling and once I arrive. Now that I've gained a collection of re-usable shopping bags I've used these as well and they work great for certain items like non-perishable food from your pantry, shoes, hangers, or items already purchased for your new digs.

And just because I'm feeling great I'll give you a bonus today...

6. Hangers
If you're anything like me, then you probably battle with hangers whenever you move. They are a b*$&h to pack, transport, etc. They poke holes in trash bags, and if you put them in a bag or box they don't really take up all of the room, and I hate wasting room when I pack. A few moves ago I discovered the trick of packing them in a laundry basket. The trick is to take them out of your closet in bunches and line them up, keeping a hand or object there so they don't fall over as you move the next bunch. Good to have a friend help with this. Start with shirt hangers and then stick pant/skirt ones in last, you'll have some empty spaces to do this with. Voila!

Hope you'll enjoy and find these useful, do you have any tips or tricks for packing and/or moving?

I've linked up with Simply Sensational Tuesday over at Organizing Homelife, this is a great link up to share any organizing tips or tricks!


Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly said...

Great tips! Thanks! We're in the process of moving, too and yes, it is a huge pain in the butt! :)

Anna said...

Thanks Jillian! It's definitely been a pain but I know all of the de-cluttering, organizing and labeling will pay off when I'm unpacking into my new place. Good luck with your move!

Rachel said...

Good tips!! Hopefully if I move ever I'll remember all these!! Good luck in Richmond!!! SLAM!

Anna said...

Thanks so much Rachel!