Packing Boxes

Learning the art of preparing boxes for the big move can take some experience.  I think we are on move number 9 or 10, and we have only been married 15 1/2 years.  With all of that moving I have learned some things along the way.

Lesson #1:  The local newspaper office is a great resource for packing material:  end rolls of newsprint.  Some newspapers will give these away for free, so just ask.  The most I have ever paid for an end roll was $3 and it was money well spent.

I have used recycled newspapers in the past, but I found the ink often ended up on my fine china or antique glassware and was very difficult to remove.  You can’t just run hand-painted china from the early 1900’s through the dishwasher. 

Lesson #2:  Under no circumstances allow your husband to help you pack boxes.  He means well and he is just trying to help.  Thank him profusely and direct him to the garage to organize and pack his own things.  Men see a box and randomly fill it.  When you arrive at your destination, you will discover garden items in with the plates and some bathroom stuff packed in to just fill spaces.  It’s a great method for quick packing, but a nightmare for unpacking.  And really, do you want the toilet brush in with your dishes?  *shudders*

Lesson #3:  Clearly mark each and every box with its contents.  (And, while you’re packing, now is a good time to update your home inventory for insurance purposes.)  I know in that in the haste of packing, you will be tempted to just write “bedroom” on a box instead of “bedding for master bedroom.”  Trust me, taking those few extra seconds will be a life-saver in your new home.  Digging through 20 boxes marked “bedroom” will not help you find the bedding you seek.

Lesson #4:  Wrap all breakable items very carefully.  Use bubble wrap, newspaper end rolls and other packing materials to ensure the safe arrival of great-grandma’s prized china.   Now is the time to use those old newspapers.  Wad them up and place them on the bottom of boxes and around the sides to act as a cushion for your items.  Clearly label boxes as FRAGILE in big red letters.

Lesson #5:  It’s OK to pack up all the dishes and use disposable (preferably not styrofoam) dinnerware.  I try to time my packing so that there are at most three days of eating off of paper plates, but I have learned to let go of that guilt and embrace the fact that my dishes are ready to be relocated.  It’s generally a good idea to leave out one all-purpose skillet and saucepan and their lids.  That way, you can still prepare meals and not have to order pizza until the very last packing day.

Lesson #6:  Look in unique places to find boxes.  The best box treasure I found was on Free-cycle.  Someone had just moved in using United Van Lines (or something similar) and had ALL their boxes.  They were just giving them away.  I pounced on those boxes.  I even kept most of them when we unpacked our stuff.  Liquor store boxes are great for glasses, canned food, canning jars, flower vases and other oddities.  If you’re moving prior to the Christmas season rush, it would be worth it to contact local small business for their extra boxes.  I tend to stay away from grocery stores.  Their boxes tend to get blood and rotten food on them and I just can’t bring myself to use those.  Ewwwwwwwww.

Lesson #6:  Don’t pay the extra money for packing blankets.  Instead, hit your local thrift store and pick up some old bedspreads and sleeping bags.  They are usually much cheaper and bigger.

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About Amy Caldwell

Home Work. It is probably the most important work we do. The time and energy investing in our homes can make a world of difference and a difference in our world. Juggling work, kids, groceries, church, husband, dinner, and cleaning may be a feat worthy of head-lining the circus, but as long as I have coffee, it's all good.
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