Easy moving tips – Packing!

I move every year or two, generally to save money, other times due to misfortune (eg. building fire).  Indeed, I like moving!  I like the sense of change and the chance to purge my life of a bit more stuff.  Some people don’t like moving due to the expense, the transitory state, and the effort.

I’ve gotten pretty good at moving though and it usually cost me very little money, doesn’t take a lot of effort, and actually helps stabilize my life more.  Over the next few posts, I’ll touch on a few on the main topics that come up during a move.


Oh packing.  I looooove packing.  Really!  Packing is a chance to evaluate your physical life.  It’s liberating to put my prized possessions into a box and even more liberating to pick something up and realize that I don’t need it any more.  In this manner, I stabilize my life by taking the time to define which possessions are important to me.  The ones that aren’t, get put on Craigslist or the donation bin.

Some people don’t like to live in a house where one by one, their possessions disappear.  Other people find it stressful to actually do the packing due to their sheer amount of stuff.  I find that the best way to pay is to set yourself a goal of packing one or two boxes a day.  That’s it!  Sometimes you’ll be motivated and do more, but sometimes you won’t and that’s okay.  When you’re a renter, you have to give at least a month’s notice before you can move.  That’s at least 30 days to pack a box or two a day.

After deciding to tackle your stuff by packing a box or two a day, you need some sort of strategy for what you’re going to pack.  It makes no sense to pack away the items that you need on a day to day basis.  But at the same time, you can’t decide that you need everything either.

I use a general strategy for tackling what-to-pack-when:

Week 1: I suggest starting with items on shelves.  Books are great to start with, as chances are, you are not going to read your entire book collection in the span of a month.  Similarly, DVDs, CDs and bookshelf knick-knacks can all be safely put away.  If you feel the urge to watch a movie – turn on the TV or go rent one.  It’s not worth the stress of leaving these things until the last minute.

Week 2: Then when your shelves are empty, tackle your supply cupboard and pantry.  All those spare packs of tissue and toilet paper?  Stuff them in a box.  Those 50 cent cans of sauce you’ve been stocking up on?  Stuff them into a box.  Leave only enough food and sundries in your pantry for the month (or however long) before you move.  If you *happen* to need something you packed – eat/use something else.  Honestly.  If you packed up all your paper towels – find a sock with a hole in it and use that instead.  Then you don’t have to pack the sock either!  Indeed, the important side effect is that whatever you eat or use up, you won’t have to pack and move.  Try to leave enough toilet paper though, hm?

Week 3: Next, look at your drawers.  Are there kitchen supplies that you use only infrequently?  By my estimation, you should have about two weeks left until moving at this point.  If you use the blender or the toaster only infrequently, pack it up.  Chances are, you can make do for two weeks without it.  If you’re like me, and rely mostly on your pot and frying pan, you might not notice it at all.  If you have table settings for 8, but only have 2 people in the house, pack up half of the settings and leave the rest.  Pack up your 5 sets of glassware and leave just enough for yourself and a guest or two.

I would also go through your clothes drawers and pack up all your clothes that you do not wear often.  This could be seasonal clothing or special-occasion clothes.  Pack them up and you won’t have to worry about then.

Week 4: Finally, in your last week, begin to put away your day-to-day items.  Go down to two plates, two forks, two spoons.  Leave just enough food in the cupboards, just enough socks in the sock drawer.  By Friday night, you should be down to two pairs of socks and a can or two or soup!  Most importantly, during this week, you need to prepare enough boxes (assembling, organizing) so you can stuff things into them on the day of your move.  Things like your alarm clock, the last fork that you used, and your last remaining unpacked coffee mug.  Things that you simply cannot pack ahead of time.

And that’s it – you’re ready for moving day!  During any of these weeks, you should of course get rid of anything you don’t use/want/need anymore.  There are lots of people out there who could use your awesome pink and white widget handmade in Holland.  If you’re not using it, someone else should be.

For myself, I’m in “week 3” of packing.  I started early though, because I wanted to do less in September when I’m in classes.  The same principles apply though, it just happens over a longer time frame.

If you’re moving too, give these guidelines a try – I guarantee that your move will go just a little bit more smoothly!


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