Thursday, August 24, 2017

Moving Series Part Two: Packing Tips & Tricks

Moving is a pain in the ass. I'll be the first to admit it. I didn't want to move again for a little while, but life had other plans. We discussed searching for an apartment in the last installment. That's the easy part. Now it's time to talk about packing.

The first thing you need to do is get your materials. Whether you choose to buy boxes or totes, or find them for free, you need something to pack your stuff in. We did a combination of all of those this time around. This might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people are unprepared.

We knew we would want to keep some totes, so we bought a few to pack things in. We also found free boxes at stores. There's a small store on our way home from work that leaves boxes on their porch for people to come take. We also got a few from Walmart. Normally if you're picking up boxes from a store you have to call ahead and schedule the night before. We got lucky and the shoe department hadn't put their boxes away yet so we were able to grab some - with permission, of course. We also bought a few medium sized boxes from Walmart.

Aside from boxes/totes, you also need something to close boxes with, something to pack fragile items in, and usually something sharp. We usually buy packing tape, but duck tape works just as well. To cut the tape, you can either use scissors, a knife, or you can get one of the rolls that has the cutter already. Usually we get paper, like newspapers, to wrap our fragile stuff but you can also use fabric (think clothes or towels) or bubble wrap.

When you're packing, remember not to overload the containers. If it's a tote, it's not likely to fall apart or break, but it is possible. Boxes are much easier to break and tape is only so strong. The biggest reason to not over-pack is that you have to carry this stuff. Even if you have help or movers, a person will have to lift and carry whatever you pack. So don't make things too heavy.

Also, when packing, try to keep flat things on the bottom, and always remember to keep fragile things on top. But, mark what has fragile stuff because you don't want to stack a heavy box or tote on top of a box that has fragile things right on top. If you accidentally break something, take a second to decide if it's worth fixing or if you should just replace it, or not. And carefully label each box or tote with who's stuff it is or what room it goes to.

Most people think their houses are clean, even neat freaks. When you're moving and packing, you'll notice your house isn't as spotless as you thought. So always be sure to clean as you go. Also, take this time to go through items and decide if you really need them. Moving is a great time to declutter and downsize. But don't just throw everything you don't want away. If it's in good condition and can be used, donate it.

If you're renting, which is what we've always done, you'll have given the landlord a security deposit when you moved in. Some states, like mine, allow a landlord to charge up to two full months rent for your security deposit. Regardless of how long ago you moved in, the landlord is required to return it to you when you move out. The only caveat is that if you leave the place a mess, or if there is any damage, they can withhold part or all of your deposit. You don't have to detail the apartment, but leave it in the condition it was when you rented it.

Also, don't wait until the last minute. The minute you know you're moving, start packing. It doesn't have to be done three weeks before you move, but everything that isn't essential should be packed one week before you move. The rest should be done the night before, excluding bedding. Bedding can be done the morning of the move.

Those are the best tips I've learned over the years. I've moved quite a lot, so I think I've got this down by now. If you have any other tips or tricks, please leave a comment, I'm always up to learn new things!

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