Moving is a drag—there’s no way of getting around it. But there are ways to make your move a whole lot easier, and it starts with packing.
Here are seven moving mistakes you may be making—and how to avoid them.
1. You figure you can pack everything in a few days
Begin with a plan—and start packing weeks in advance, especially if you have a lot of stuff. But before you just start piling things into boxes, spend the time up front to make an inventory of everything that needs to be either packed or tossed and break it down room by room. It will save you time down the line (and spare you a few grey hairs too).
2. You wing the whole labeling thing
Think you’ll be able to remember which boxes go with each room based on memory? Think again.
Label boxes by contents and room location to make delivering them to the right spots easier—and so you don’t have to rack your brain trying to remember! Don’t rely on memory alone.
3. You go cheap on moving supplies and boxes
Between friends, donation centers, and neighborhood-sidewalk giveaways, there are lots of ways to get free moving boxes—but don’t get skimpy about purchasing new ones. It’s worth the extra $40–$50, especially if it spares you from breaking something worth much more.
When it comes to buying boxes, make sure you have the right sizes for the different items you're packing. Heavier items like books, canned goods, and candles may need to be packed in smaller, more compact boxes, where lighter objects can go in bigger ones.
Bear in mind that you'll need to pack all these boxes into a moving vehicle, so be strategic about getting boxes that can stack together (and not just a few of each size).
Know which packing materials should be used, and if you’re on the fence about how much you should buy, buy liberally. It’s way better to have extra than to make a frantic last-minute trip to the store come moving day.
Also, know that moving with plastic totes is a no-no. Plastic totes seem cost efficient, but they have a tendency to crack when placed under a ton of weight.
Lastly, steer clear of being that person who tosses a mishmash of random things into a trash bag. That person is likely to open those bags to a few broken items (I may or may not be speaking from experience).
4. You pack boxes thinking you have superhuman strength
Your Stephen King collection isn’t going to move itself, so unless you want a good workout, don’t fill your boxes to the brim with books. The heavier and denser you pack a box, the greater the chance it could break through (again, may or may not be guilty of this).
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid making boxes heavier than 50 pounds. Not sure how to gauge what’s 50 pounds? Slide that sucker onto a scale. And if you have a hard time lifting it onto a scale, well, it’s probably too heavy anyway.
5. You leave empty space in your boxes
Empty space equals shifting, which can equal your favorite mug breaking or your ceramic spoon rest cracking. Leave enough room for bubble wrap and packing paper, and fill any empty space in boxes with packing material (e.g., packing paper, newspaper, good ole’ peanuts).
Maximize your space by wrapping things in towels and tee shirts to fill empty space. Plus, then you’re not filling one box with towels and tee shirts and another with only candles or books—this will make it easier to transport.
6. You don’t get rid of stuff before the move
Take a cue from Marie Kondo and go through your belongings before you move so you can get rid of the stuff that doesn’t bring you joy. You’ll have less to pack (and load and unload) and it’ll make the whole thing a lot easier.
As you pack, sift through your things room by room and categorize your joyless items into piles to toss, donate, or sell.
7. You don’t pack an overnight bag
The last thing you’ll want to do once you arrive at your new home is fish for a towel so you can take a shower or shuffle through boxes to find some PJs.
Plan ahead by assembling an overnight bag with toiletries, clothing, and any other essentials you’ll need at your new pad until you start unpacking and settling in. You’ll thank yourself later.
Author’s bio: A Washington, DC, native turned West Coast transplant, Julia is a full-time writer and amateur hiker. Experienced in relocating, she knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to all things moving.