There’s no skirting around it, moving house is stressful. It’s right up there with exam finals and starting a new job. In fact, research from the UK shows that for many, moving house is rated even higher in stress than divorce. The good news is, a few smart packing tips can take a load off your shoulders.
Boxes—and where to find them
Boxes are relatively easy to find if you know where to look. Many grocery and retail chains are happy to provide boxes if you ask, and you can also request them from your home removalist (but bear in mind this may cost you).
The tricky part, however, can be finding boxes for the very delicate, oddly shaped, or extremely large items you want to pack—like artwork or a bicycle. Here are a few suggestions:
Storage crates: not only do they have a tougher exterior, but you can also re-use them as storage bins once you’ve moved in.
Cut-up cardboard and duct tape: cut up your cardboard boxes and wrap it around odd shaped or flat items, such as an art canvas or TV. For extra protection, wrap it in bubble wrap first.
Re-use retail packaging: if you still have the retail packaging from your electrical items, dust them off and use them again.
Bike boxes: if you’re moving a good distance, it may be good idea to put your bike in a bike box. You can get these from most bike shops. You will need to partially disassemble your bike, but it is well worth the trouble if you want avoid damaging your bike.
Tip: cut hand-holes on the sides of your boxes. They’ll be easier to carry—especially if they are big or heavy!
Snaplock and bin bags
Use snaplock bags to store small, easy-to-lose items like jewelry and furniture screws. Bin bags are great for moving clothes—keep them on their hangers, drop them in the bag, pull the cord tight around the hanger hook, and you’re good to go.
Tip: tape the snaplock bags containing screws to each piece of furniture they came from.
A trusty sharpie (or three), will save you a lot of hassle down the line. Use them to label your boxes—even if it is as simple as “kitchen” or “bedroom”. Write on both the top and the sides of a box, so you don’t have to pull said box out of your finely packed boot to find out which room it is for.
It’s also worth numbering your boxes (i.e. 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and so on). This will help you easily see if a box—and your things—haven’t made the trip.
Tip: list the items that you put in the box, then tape the list to the box so you don’t have to empty it to know what’s inside.
Cardboard dividers are your friend
The last thing you want to hear is your crockery rattling about like a pair of shoes in a tumble dryer. Sacrifice a few boxes and turn them into cardboard dividers to separate the contents of a box and protect the items inside.
Tip: bottle shops often have lots of cardboard dividers (used to protect their stock during transport). Ask if they mind parting with a few!
Packing paper and protective padding
For anything not too precious, ordinary newspaper will do. Just be mindful the ink can rub off onto whatever it’s wrapped around, especially if it gets wet. For anything that you don’t want to risk, wrap it in butcher’s paper instead.
Tip: place paper plates between your crockery to protect them and stop them sliding around.
Bubble wrap is not just for popping
Granted it can be difficult for some of us to control our inner child, but keep the bubble wrap inflated and at the ready. It is amazingly protective stuff. Polystyrene is also good to have around to fill up any excess space, and to safeguard your fragile items.
Tip: you can also use pillows, towels, sheets and blankets to protect your fragile items as well.