Moving house is not a relaxing activity. We very rarely pay attention to just how much rubbish we accumulate over the years, but having to put it all into boxes, label it, make sure that the boxes are padded and stacked in such a way so that you don’t end up unpacking a selection of unevenly shaped and sized “bits” at the other end is, well, one of the more tiring things you can do with your time upon this Earth.
Fortunately, with a few simple tips we can make it a little bit less of a nightmare.
Collect All The Boxes You Can – In All The Sizes
Perhaps the biggest challenge when packing up your home is finding somewhere to put everything. You need a wide selection of cardboard boxes just to start- and you’ll need them in a huge range of sizes. Large boxes are important for kitchenware and other large, bulky items, but when it comes to packing up your bookshelves having a lot of smaller boxes to pack them into will do wonders for your spine, especially if there is a staircase at either end of your journey.
Most storage depots will be able to sell you cardboard boxes at a reasonable price, but if you don’t fancy spending money it’s always worth nipping down to your local supermarket and asking if they’ve got any spares. If you know anyone who works in a factory, printing press or similar, it’s worth asking them if they can swipe some spare ones as well, this trick worked well for me on my last two moves.
Create A Packing Station
It’s not enough to simply cram everything into the boxes. If you want your possessions to come out of the box at the other end in roughly the same shape it went in, you’re going to have to be a bit systematic about it. Find the largest, emptiest bit of floor you can, and make this your packing station. For each box make sure the heaviest items go into the bottom, that everything is properly padded with newspaper, bubblewrap or (again, a trick I used in my last move) clean towels and dressing gowns.
Making sure all your packing goes through the same space is also a good way to stop you from feeling like you’re running around the house at random. You’ve got one space to work, so you keep working there until everything is done.
Sort Everything By Room
If there’s one thing worse than packing it’s unpacking. It’s all the hard work of packing, except that you’ve done it once already and now you have to do it backwards. So if you can, make it easier on yourself. Make sure that items that should go to a specific part of the new house are clearly labelled as such. Items that belong together in the new house should be packed together. Get a black marker and for each box write on the lid what is in it and which room it should go in. Future you will thank you for it (or at least curse and swear at you if you don’t).
Pack An Open First Box
Of course, your belongings tend to operate in a sort of hierarchy. Some stuff you’re happy to throw out. Some stuff you want to hang onto, but don’t mind if it’s kept in your spare room, attic or a Basingstoke self storage facility. Then there are the things you want to have to hand, like DVDs, books, clothes etc.
Then there are the things you need RIGHT NOW. Example: Kettle, teabags, sugar, milk. Plates, knives and forks, scissors, tape measures, everything you think you’re going to need within the first hour of getting to your new place. Because the last thing you want to be doing during that first hour is going through every single box looking for the kettle, it’s a good idea to put all these things in one box marked simply “FIRST!” in big red letters. Because lord knows you don’t want to start the unpacking until you’ve had your first cup of tea in the new house.
Sam Wright is a freelance writer and a nightmare when he can’t get a decent cup of tea.