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Packing tips for first-time movers

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    It's your first time moving into a new place. While the end result may be exciting, the process of moving isn't something most people look forward to. Packing up your entire home and then unpacking it all days later can seem intimidating, especially to first-time movers. But with a few key packing tips, you can put your worries to rest and maintain your excitement for a fresh start in a new place.

    Preparing to pack

    One of the best tips for packing is to make lists and clean out unwanted items — this makes your life easier before you even start putting things in boxes. The first thing you'll want to do is think through your move and make a checklist of what you need to do. This may include purchasing boxes or totes to pack in, booking a moving truck and movers and confirming with friends and family that they're available to help should you not want to hire movers.

    You'll also want to make a list of areas of your home to clean out. A good place to start is your closet. Go through all your clothing piece by piece. If you haven't worn it recently, try it on and make sure it still fits. If it does, decide if you're realistically going to wear it. Sometimes you can buy pieces with the best of intentions, but you just don't feel great in them.

    For pieces that don't fit, or those you simply can't see yourself wearing, toss them in a donation pile. This will reduce the amount of clothing you have to bring with you. There are some donation services that will even pick up your unwanted items.

    You can repeat this process everywhere in your home. Maybe you have an overflowing bookcase, a towering stack of records, or a stuffed basket of blankets — go through and try to cull your collection to the things you really love and use regularly.

    If you do your clean-outs early enough, you may want to host a yard sale with your extra items and clothing. Moving can get expensive, so this may be a practical way to offset some of the costs.

    Exploring moving options

    One of the most important parts of planning your move is figuring out how you'll actually get your stuff from one place to the other. Depending on how much you want to spend, how far you're moving and what kind of support network you have, there are a variety of options that could work for you.

    If you're moving locally and want to keep costs low, consider using a pickup truck. You can rent one or borrow one from a friend. While a pickup truck's bed will likely be big enough to handle your furniture, it won't be big enough to handle everything in just one or two trips, so you may have to drive back and forth quite a few times to get everything over.

    You may also want to consider renting a moving truck. There are a few national companies that let you rent different sized moving trucks that are usually designed to be easily drivable for most people.

    You can often choose a truck size based on the space you're moving out of, so be sure to check the company's website for guidance and keep in mind the size of your furniture when choosing a truck. You can always add a moving service onto your rented truck as well. This may be helpful if you have a lot of large furniture or heavy boxes. Hiring movers will also help make the entire process move a bit faster. As the saying goes, many hands make light work.

    If you're on a time crunch or have the budget for it, you may want to consider hiring a moving service that will pack your home, pack the truck and handle all the coordination and details. If you have a lot going on at work and can't take time off or you're just feeling overwhelmed by moving, this could be a good option.

    How to pack

    There are some packing hacks for moving that help simplify the process overall. One of these is to start packing as soon as you know that you're moving. In most cases, you'll know you're moving weeks, if not months, in advance, so don't put off packing until the last minute — start by packing seasonal items and things you don't use very often.

    As the moving date nears closer, start packing things you use more frequently. Save packing your everyday items for the final week before the move. You may find yourself eating off paper plates for a couple days, but it will save you stress on moving day if everything is packed and ready.

    As you're packing, it will be important to keep things organized to help make unpacking easier. Keep a roll of tape and a permanent marker nearby so you can label your bins and boxes as you fill them up. Try to keep things going in the same rooms together and keep in mind the boxes will need to be lifted, so don't put all your heaviest items in one box. It's helpful to split weighty items like dishes and books among various kitchen and living room boxes, for example.

    Be extra careful packing fragile items. For glasses and mugs, you may want to separate them with paper towels to prevent scratching or cracking, and you may want to stuff your dish towels in and around your glassware, plates, or other fragile items to provide cushioning within the box. Be sure to label these bins as fragile, so movers know to be extra careful with them.

    Packing tips by room

    There are a few pro tips for packing that you may want to know before you start throwing things in boxes.


    Try putting silverware in freezer baggies to keep them from ending up spread out all over the bottom of the box. You may also want to pack your dishes sideways instead of flat. This prevents the weight of the rest of the box from breaking them. Many of your kitchen items require extra protection, so you may want to invest in packing paper to prevent scratching and breaking. You can also stack your glasses, mugs, pots and pans as long as you separate them using packing paper or paper towels.


    A tried-and-true trick for packing up your closet is using garbage bags. While your folded clothing can be packed into a suitcase with little hassle, it can be a bit of a pain to unhang your clothing, find a way to pack the hangers and clothing, and then rehang everything at your new place. Instead, try poking a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag and feeding a handful of hangers (with clothes still on!) through it. Then tie the garbage bag shut around the bottom of your hanging clothes and you can move all your closet items with ease.


    There is perhaps no room in your home that has a greater possibility of spillage than the bathroom. When you're packing up your toiletries, you may want to take a few precautions to prevent your shampoo from ending up all over your packing box. Grab a roll of duct tape and tape the tops to any liquids shut. Then, for extra protection, put them in freezer bags before packing them away in boxes. It will also be helpful to pack these items last, at the top of mostly full boxes to prevent them from being squished.

    What's more

    Now that you have some fool-proof packing tips, it's time to get started. If at any point you grow weary of packing, don't forget to envision yourself in your brand-new space to stay motivated.

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