Common Packing Mistakes

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Pre-Move

One of the main reasons people dread moving is because it requires you to box up your life in order to transport everything to your new home.  While you can hire professional movers to do the packing, many people opt to pack some, if not all of their belongings to save on moving costs.  And while it always feels good to save some money, if you do not pack your items properly, you could lose all those savings in damage costs and headaches.  There are a few mistakes you can easily avoid to help protect your belongings and your sanity.

Last Minute Packing

It can be easy to put off packing.  Most people don’t look forward to it.  It requires a lot of time to determine what you won’t need until you’re in your new home and can pack first versus what should stay out and with you until moving day.  However, if you put off packing until the last minute you will probably find yourself scrambling and stressed.  You don’t want to be up the night before moving day and running on fumes when the movers or your helpers arrive in the morning.  Yes, there are some essentials that can’t get packed until the last minute, like a toothbrush, but other items won’t be needed, like the fine china you pull out once a year.  If you set a packing schedule and stick to it, you will be much happier come moving day.  You can spend the weeks leading up to the big move packing rooms and items that you do not need.  By the day before, or maybe even the morning of your move, you should only have a few essentials you can quickly throw into a box or bag to bring with you.

Over or Under Packing Boxes

Most people try to minimize the number of boxes they move.  The cost of boxes and packing materials quickly adds up.  It may seem like a good idea to fill each box to the brim and cut down on the number of trips you’ll have to take back and forth when loading.  Since you do not want items to move around too much in boxes, it makes sense to get as much into a box as you can.  However, this can cause some problems.  It is true, some boxes can and should be filled to the top.  Bedding is not too heavy and typically takes up a lot of space.  You can use a large box to get all of it into one container and be fine lifting it.  But if your try to fill a large box to the brim with books you could find yourself in trouble.  Heavy items can lead you to injure yourself while loading and unloading.  Too much weight can also damage or break the box, resulting in your goods being exposed to potential damage.  If too many items are jammed together, items can be scratched or damaged as you force them into the box.  You are better off packing heavier items in smaller boxes to help prevent you from stuffing too much in a container.  You don’t want too much extra space in your boxes either though.  Wasting space will lead to more boxes and more money.  If things move around too much, they are more likely to shift and potentially be damaged.  Not having extra space and air fill up the box is a good idea.  You are better off having several smaller boxes than a few large boxes that are half empty. Protecting items with packing materials, like bubble wrap or soft towels, can help you protect items from chipping or scratching each other while in transit.  You want boxes to be full while still be able to lift them.  The best way to avoid over or under packing is to use large boxes for light weight items and small boxes for heavier items while padding any box with breakable items with packing materials.

Packing Toiletries or Hazardous Materials

Some items might be better left behind or thrown out.  Packing toiletries or cleaning supplies can lead to problems.  They could leak and damage other items you have in the box or other boxes nearby.  Many moving companies do not allow these items on their trucks, so they are not responsible for any damage that results from you packing these items.  Additionally, certain materials are also potentially hazardous to the movers.  It is best to get a list of “non-allowable” items from your moving company and dispose of these items before your move.  While some toiletries may be allowed, you should think carefully before packing them.  If you do decide to bring them, you will want to carefully wrap them so that if there is any leaking or breakage, other items won’t be impacted.  It is easy to replace toiletries and hazardous materials like nail polish remover or paint, so it is often best to wait and replace those items once you reach your new home.

Not Labeling or Sorting

Most people remember to write “fragile” on boxes that contain breakables.  But savvy packers will tell you it is best to label each box carefully.  The orientation of the box should be noted.  Even if items won’t break, like a box full of office supplies, you will be irritated if the box was flipped upside down and pens that were neatly packed are now scattered throughout the box.  Knowing which side is up is crucial for breakable items, but  will still be helpful for other items too.  Knowing what is in each box will serve you well when you arrive at your new home.  You don’t want to have to open every box to determine what is in it and which room it belongs in.  You will thank yourself come moving day if you know which boxes go where.  This will help expedite the unpacking process and can help to serve as an inventory.  Similarly you will be happy if you pack items orderly.  Having items that go together or in the same room will help you stay organized and will make it easier to unpack room by room.

When it comes time to move you should make sure you have the materials you need and any help you can get.  You should give yourself plenty of time so that you aren’t anxious and so that you can avoid some of the common packing mistakes.  Moving is stressful.  No one wants to get to their new home to find that some of their items are damaged.  Remain calm and avoid these common packing mistakes to help ease your mind when you move.

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