Before you start talking to movers, you'll want to have an idea of how much of the moving process you want to do on your own and how much you want the movers to do.
Good packing starts with thinking about all the things that can go wrong or break in a move. Having the right packing materials up-front is half the battle. Below are some important materials to have on hand:
- Containers: It's important to have a wide variety of cardboard boxes and large plastic bins. All containers should be sturdy, so that they won't collapse in the moving process. You can buy containers from your mover or a local moving company. You may also want to buy some special boxes for garments, mirrors and picture frames.
- Wrapping paper: You are going to need a lot of wrapping paper to pack dishes, decorations and other breakable items. Again, you can buy paper from your mover or a local moving company.
- Bubble wrap: Certain items- such as appliances or lamps - are going to require bubble wrap, so be sure to have some on hand.
- Magic marker: You'll want to have a magic marker to mark items as "fragile" and so on. You may also want to write in which room a box will be placed upon arrival at your new residence.
- Tape: Be sure to buy some good plastic tape that includes a cutting device and roller, so that you can tape up containers quickly.
- Gather packing materials ahead of time. You'll want to have most or all of the items listed above before you get started.
- Begin by packing items you don't use very often. Most people don't do all their packing in one day. Break up the process and start with items that you don't access very often.
- Use small boxes for heavy items. Examples of heavy items include canned goods, books and small appliances. Confining such things to small boxes will help ensure that the container won't collapse from the weight. Lighter items such as blankets, pillows and lampshades go better in large boxes. A good rule of thumb is to try to avoid having a box weigh more than 50 pounds.
- Don't pack important valuables or personal items. Don't put important personal items such as cash, expensive jewelry or your passport in a moving box. Take them with you on moving day.
- Don't pack any flammable or combustible materials. Any power tools containing gasoline or oil should be drained before moving. If you suspect something might be flammable, ask your mover for advice or simply don't pack it.
- Be present on moving day. When your movers arrive, they may need to complete your packing for you – especially large furniture or other hard-to-box items. You'll want to be on site to make sure they're taking care not to damage your belongings in the packing process.