The 5 essential tips
Packing safely and securely is an art. Some things just take common sense: most people know to scrunch up newspaper to make a soft floor of a box to cushion glasses.
Others are refined through trial and error: wrapping everything with the sticky side of sellotape can damage items, so why not try wrapping these with the sticky side facing out?
We could go on, but here are 5 essential tips you should know before you start:
- Layer things: Just like with your groceries, pack heavy items in individual boxes or at the bottom of boxes with lighter things on the top
- Pack like with like: Shoes. Cutlery. DVDs. Toys. Important documents. If you have coloured boxes, or boxes of different sizes, stick to one type where you can
- Don’t overfill: Boxes will only end up breaking and the contents cracked or smashed
- Set aside fragile or bulky items: If these items need to be handled carefully, mark the boxes so that EVERYONE knows they are fragile. Most of our clients prefer us to use our specialist packing equipment to ensure their precious things are secure
- Beware hazards: Also set aside all hazardous materials, such as paint, bleach and aerosols, into a separate box and keep them away from the rest of your stuff
Learn to love lists and labels
We love labels. We love colour coding. We love lists. You need to learn to love these things too – trust us, they will save you oodles of time and stress.
But don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Firstly, give each box:
- A room: Lounge/kitchen/master bedroom/kids room etc. Note, we mean here the room of the house or flat you are moving to, not from
- A colour: E.g. Green = living room, blue = kitchen, yellow = bathroom
- Then a number: 1,2,3 etc written in BOLD on the side
Then as you pack (not after!) make a list of what’s in each box. But remember to keep it simple. You don’t need to list all the film titles on your DVDs. If it is important you find something quick, jot it down. Or put it in your amazing moving box (described below).
So as an example your list will look something like this:
- Living Room – Green – Box 1 = Period Drama DVDs and TV Remotes
- Kitchen – Blue – Box 2 = Cutlery
- Bathroom – Yellow – Box 3 = Towels and Shampoo
You don’t need an Excel spreadsheet, unless you love Excel, but when you’re done either:
- Print out your finished list and put it in a clear plastic wallet (helpful if you’re redecorating as you go) so that you can read it easily
- Or ensure you can access a copy on your mobile or tablet
One other helpful thing you can do before you move in is to label the doors of your new house or flat to correspond to the labels on your boxes (you can use colours again). Your kids will enjoy this too. Call it the ‘Great Packing Game’ if you like. Fun passes the time.
The amazing moving box
We recommend you pack an essentials moving box (sometimes called an ‘open first’ box).
This can include any of the following:
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, soap, hairbrush, toilet roll
- Clothes: Clothes, underwear and pyjamas for a few days
- Cutlery: Mugs, a few plates and a small selection of cutlery
- Homeware: A couple of tea towels and a hand towel, cleaning products
- Kitchenware: Kettle, tea, coffee and biscuits, tea towel, washing up liquid, tin opener, corkscrew
- Tech stuff: Laptop, mobile or tablet chargers
- Personal stuff: Make up, keys for any important items or cases
- Emergency stuff: A torch, small tool kit and medical kit
- Key documents: Passport, driving license and marriage certificate etc
- Local stuff: Takeaway and taxi numbers – the last thing you want to do when you’ve just moved in is start cooking
- Spare change: For milk or parking – or a bottle of wine to celebrate your move (which is why we advocate taking along a corkscrew!)
If you have a dog, don’t forget to pack dog bowls, toys, treats, leads, poop bags and food (the same rule applies for cats or any other wildlife accompanying you).
Kids can also be encouraged to pack their own ‘amazing kid’s moving box’, or be in charge of your ‘amazing pet box’ if you like. That way you can focus on other things.
Packing the van
Only you know if you are fit and healthy and strong enough to lug heavy furniture around, but please remember the following:
- If you’re strong, you can pack boxes how you like – but if family or friends are going to help you at any stage, and they are not as strong as you, pack for them, not you
- No matter how strong you are, never bend at the waist to pick up a box – bend at the knees and keep your back straight
- Make sure the boxes containing items you need the least are loaded up first. And when you take them from the van, remember this order
Which leads us neatly on to part three of our free Packing Guide.