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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to be Awesome at Packing

My home is in shambles right now.  It seriously takes me almost a full minute to find a flat surface to set a drink down on.  Brian woke me up this morning because he stepped on bubble wrap in the hallway.  I went to Starbucks yesterday for breakfast because there wasn't room in my kitchen to make a bowl of cereal.


Now, granted, I am not complaining about the fact that we're moving, because we've been trying to move for the past year and a half.  But moving and packing itself is just awful.  I don't care where you're moving to, or how much money you have, moving is awful.  (Unless you pay someone to pack for you move for you, and then unpack when you get there, in which case, you are either in the military or very rich.  If the former, thank you for your service.  If the latter, I hate you.)

We still don't have a definite closing date, although it could hypothetically be today, so I am packing up with the idea in the back of my mind that I might be living here with all these boxes for weeks or months or years.

Nevertheless, I am determined to be awesome at packing.  This weekend, in spite of it being our anniversary, we did a lot of packing.  My in-laws came over and helped us pack, which was awesome.  As a matter of fact, I think that's Step 1 for How to Be Awesome at Packing.

1)  Get help

Because Brian is working, I've been doing a lot of the packing myself, and that's cool, but after a while, it just becomes way too overwhelming and I start to have visions of napalm.  Get help.  With five of us working on Saturday, we got TONS packed in just an afternoon.  It was great.  Mom is flying into town today to help us, too.  Awesome.

2)  Stock up on Supplies

The most important supplies you need for packing are boxes, packing tape, Sharpies, packing paper, nail aprons, and whatever you use for your color coding system.  The packing paper is great because it's basically newspaper, but without ink on it, so when you pack stuff, you don't get black hands and clothes, etc., and when you unpack, your dishes are clean!  Well worth a couple of extra bucks.

Oh, and you need like, ten rolls of packing tape.  I know four seems like a lot, but it's not.  It's not at all.  I did get the fancy dispenser thingy with the handle, but honestly, I like the simple dispenser better, and that one fits on the carabiner on my packing apron.

We've also been lucky that we haven't had to pay for any boxes so far.  Brian has brought home lots of boxes from his work, and last weekend, he got a ton more from the back of the Dollar General.  Also, I've heard package stores are great for boxes, but then you run the risk of everyone thinking you're a drunk.

3)  Staging is important

One of the most complicated aspects of packing has been, where do we put the stuff once it's packed?  We don't have a ton of room, (hence why we're moving) so where do we put all these boxes?  For a while, we just kept them in the guest room, but eventually it passed the breaking point in there, and we had to start storing them in the living room.  Now they're just everywhere. 

Just, everywhere.

4)  Be sneaky

There are lots of sneaky little tricks I've learned from reading stuff online about packing.  Stuff like, don't waste a box packing all your sheets and blankets.  Leave them out and use them for packing fragile stuff or padding furniture.  Even t-shirts work well for packing dishes that you know you're going to unpack pretty quickly.  Pack your clothes in your luggage, 'cause it would be dumb to put your luggage in boxes.  Buy a big package of paper bowls, cups, and plates so you can go ahead and pack all your real stuff.

5)  Put your house on a diet

I have seriously thrown away probably a hundred pounds or more since I started packing.  I find so much stuff that I can't believe I have kept all these years!  Some of it is cool or brings back good memories, but it's not something I'm going to look through or want to keep on a shelf, so I take a picture of it and then toss it.  Later, I'll make a photo book out of all my pictures of treasures, and that will be fun, and take up way less space. 

I've found lots of loose pictures as I've packed up, and I've been trying to put them in albums so they take up less room, they're protected, and we can enjoy them.  Basic photo albums are cheap.  I'm not putting them in any specific order or labeling them or anything like that.  That needs to happen, but not right now.  Right now anything is better than keeping them in a stack in a box in the closet in the guest room.

6)  Keep your sanity

Seriously, I am not nearly as stressed as I thought I would be about this.  I used to get so stressed about moving, even just moving home from college for the summer.  But I'm making a conscious effort to keep my sanity by setting aside time every day to do things I love, like reading, dancing, crafting, and spending time with friends and family.  I know it means packing takes longer, but I don't care.  Call me selfish, but it is important to me that no one dies in this process.


  1. Andrew and I moved into our new house in December. Our babies were only a month old at the time, and I still wasn't fully healed from my c-section. It was an amazingly easy experience. We rented a U-Haul, bribed some friends with food, and (with the exception of one mini-trip to move me, the babies, and their immediate needs) it took exactly one trip. I'm reasonably confident that most of what made it into boxes were kitchen things. Seriously, we didn't even take the clothes out of the drawers. It was by far the simplest move I'd ever done. Best of luck to you and Brian!