Moving and Relocating: Seven Simple Steps to Take the Stress out of Packing

Whether you’re relocating across the country or across town, you’re going to have to pack your belongings so they can be transported safely. And of all the chores of moving, that’s typically one of the parts people dislike the most.

But it doesn’t have to be something to dread. With a little planning, it can go easily and relatively quickly. Follow these steps to eliminate the stress of packing for a move.

Allow plenty of time
It took years, maybe even decades to fill your house. Don’t expect to get it boxed up in a day. If you don’t leave enough time to carefully organize things and pack them, you’re almost certain to add stress to the process. So how much time should you leave for the job? It can vary by the size of house, how much stuff you have, and how many people are helping. But for a typical single-family home, it’s not unreasonable to start boxing non-essential items three or four weeks in advance – especially if you’re working full-time or have a lot of other commitments.

Plan the workflow of packing
One of the most frustrating aspects of packing for a move can be all the boxes lying around. Make it easier on yourself by planning in advance where you’re going to stack things as you pack. Leave plenty of room to gather items, sort them, and assemble boxes to put them in.

Organize and mark boxes by room
This is one of the biggest keys to stress-free unpacking. And for professional movers, it’s an essential step that helps them get your things where they belong in your new home. Don’t forget to mark the boxes legibly.

Don’t skimp on packing materials
The money you spend on packing materials is cheap insurance against having to replace broken items. Start by gathering all the packing materials you need in advance. And get plenty. You’ll hate to run out of bubble wrap right in the middle of packing the heirloom crystal set; it might tempt you to cut corners, which can lead to damage.

Designate a box or two for essentials
When you arrive at your destination, you probably won’t want to dive immediately into unpacking everything. So you should set aside one or two boxes for items to get you through the first day. Some things you’ll probably want to include in your ‘essentials box’ are: soap, paper towels, toilet tissue, basic cookware, and a change of clothing.

Make sure your items are insured
Professional movers have insurance that covers items against damage. But you need to understand the limitations of their specific policy. For example, many movers won’t cover damage if the owner packed the item instead of the moving company. Your homeowner’s policy may cover a percentage of your item’s value, but there’s a good chance you’ll need to purchase supplemental coverage if you want the full value of your possessions to be insured.

Consider leaving the job to professionals
Depending on how much time and money you can devote to your move, this might be the most effective way of all to eliminate the stress of packing. For an extra fee, moving companies are happy to pack everything they’re going to transport for you. And if you’re on a tight budget, most of them are willing to pack just your fragile items – which are what usually take up the most time and cause the most stress anyway.