The Organized Move: Packing Made Simple

(This is the second in a series of three articles on "The Organized Move")

Does the thought of packing all your belongings make you want to run for the hills? Homeowners who are moving on their own (as opposed to a corporate relocation where an employer is paying all the bills) find themselves with the dilemma of whether to do the packing themselves or contract out this huge task.

A packing crew can be a good fit for an overscheduled family, a long-distance move where you may already be living in the destination city, or individuals with physical limitations. Summer time is peak season for the moving companies, so if you do decide to use a packing crew during these months be sure to reserve them early.

If you choose the less expensive route and pack up your possessions, follow this simple plan to make the packing task more manageable.

- If you haven't already done so, now is the time to take a tough look at your belongings and purge, purge, purge. Moving is expensive and you don't want to pay to move unnecessary items!

- Purchase the proper packing materials from a local do-it-yourself moving and storage company. Use only clean, unprinted paper for wrapping and padding items.

- Pack similar items together. Remember to number your boxes and keep a separate record of the box contents, i.e. box #2 ? crystal stemware. This serves as your master list and as an itemized list for insurance, if a claim has to be filed.

- Dispose of any hazardous materials, such as paint, cleaners, ammunition, and propane tanks. These items are not allowed on the trucks or in your regular trash. Contact your local waste company to determine how to appropriately dispose of these items.

- Start with the non-essential areas of your home. Items not part of your daily routine should be packed as early as possible.

- Set a goal; it can be daily or weekly and try to pack that number of boxes.

- Pack valuables that will remain with you such as jewelry, personal records, school information, medical records, financial records, and insurance information. Be sure these boxes are segregated from the others so that they don't inadvertently end up on the moving truck!

- If you are having professional movers for the large items, I suggest you have them pack any large heavy glass items, antiques, major appliances, computer equipment, and special collections. Remember that the movers only insure what they pack.

- Back up software and data files, and keep these backups with your valuables.

- Label and color code boxes by floor and clearly designate the "unpack me first" box.

Moving is definitely one of life's more stressful events, but the packing doesn't have to add to the burden. Using these strategies for organization and proper packing can minimize stress and allow you to focus your time and emotional energy on other aspects of your transition. Your possessions will arrive safe and secure and before you know it you will start to feel at home again!

©2004 Bridget Messino

About the author: Bridget Messino is a Professional Organizer, speaker and co-owner of Clutter Free Living, Inc. Her work frequently appears on many Internet sites, on her own organizing site Clutter Free Living (, as well as in her monthly Home Organizing Newsletter How to Be Clutter Free. Subscribe to the FREE monthly e-newsletter by sending a blank e-mail to mailto:[email protected]

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