One of the most daunting tasks in life can be moving, in more than one way. There’s what to pack and what to just toss, all the time involved with packing individual items, and then the greater task of packing those items into a moving truck or into your self storage unit at 140 Mini Storage. All of these can make a huge impact on the time involved and money spent when moving. That’s why I am here! My goal is that no matter where your items end up, you’re using the least amount of your time and maximizing your space.
Pre-pack and clearly label to save time and keep organized.
Pre-packing means placing like items with like items and organizing things that are going to end up in the same area. Meaning, put all your books in one area, all your holiday decorations in another area, all the spare bedroom stuff stays together, and so on. It is especially important to not jump room to room just to fill boxes. You may think you are working faster, but you are actually making things more confusing for later on and this methodology will waste more time than it saves. Get boxes in a variety of sizes to pack items appropriately, room by room. Don’t start a second room until the first room is complete.
Clearly written labels with correct and detailed information also saves time. Though it may take an extra few minutes to write out your labels, it will save you tons of time when you are looking for a specific item that was in a particular place. Instead of needing to look through every box labeled simply “bedroom 1”, you can look for the one labeled “bedroom 1, desk” or “bedroom 1, nightstand”.
For example: Put all the small items from a desk into one box, and all the small items from a night stand in another box. It may seem easier at first to put all small items together into the same box, but using multiple smaller boxes will make unpacking easier later on.
Use appropriate sized boxes for items.
Heavier items should be stored in smaller boxes and lighter items in larger boxes. It may seem easier to use all the same size box, but it really isn’t. If you only have large boxes and pack one full of books, it is going to be too heavy to lift and move. Or you will only pack it a third of the way full to keep it easier to lift, but then it crushes when you forget and stack another box on top. Also, that is a lot of wasted space that could have been used effectively with two smaller boxes. Or if you have lots of little items and only big boxes, your organization begins to breakdown. You will end up putting too many different things inside one box, or having items from more than one room inside one box…which will make unpacking a nightmare. And, if you only use small boxes with linens and other light items, you end up wasting a lot more boxes when they easily could have been packed in half as many.
Helpful Tip: When packing small items like pens, silverware or the like, bag the like items together inside Ziploc® sandwich bag, and then box the bags. This will keep them from shifting all over the place during the move, and save you from having to reorganize them when you go to unpack it all.
Use soft items to pack fragile items.
This will not only save you space, but it will also save you money. Say you have some table linens and dishes you want to pack. Wrap the dishes in the linens. You protect your dishes and don’t have to use newsprint or bubble wrap. Doing this, even with larger and awkward items like lamps and mirrors, will protect them during the move while also filling up the “dead space” in between. When packing a moving truck or your self storage unit, this will be extra helpful because things won’t slide around or tip over and possibly damage your other items by keeping everything in place.
Pack heavy to light, and big to small.
Whether it’s box to box or the moving truck itself, pack items heaviest to lightest and biggest to smallest. That means put the heavy boxes down first and stack the lighter ones on top, and place the larger boxes below the smaller ones. This will help eliminate breakage and movement. Generally the heavier, larger items will act as an anchor and the lighter, smaller items will fill in the space and be better protected. Think of it like Tetris® or a puzzle, and fit them together nice and snug to keep them from moving around.
Pack items inside of other items.
This can mean several things. First if you have large furniture that you cannot or do not want to break down, store smaller items or boxes inside of it. You can also use things like your refrigerator and oven to put boxes inside and save space. But wait until after you move them onto the truck or into your storage unit so you don’t make them too heavy.
For example: An empty book case can be loaded back up with the boxes of books that were on the shelves. Your refrigerator can be filled with boxes of silverware, dishes and other items that go in the kitchen. Just remember to tie the door shut (a simple rope around the center and through the handle will suffice) after filling it up to prevent the boxes from slipping out if you move it around.
Secondly, put items around, under or between other items. This will help to really maximize your space and prevent you from wasting space.
For example: Say you have a table that could not be broken down, put boxes, bags or smaller items under the table to eliminate unused space. Doing this in the moving truck will help keep the table from sliding around, and doing this while in storage will prevent a big area of wasted space.
Disassemble large items.
By breaking down large furniture items, they will be much easier to move around and place into your storage unit. It also removes the “dead space” problem that can happen with oddly sized and spaced items. Not only that, but this tactic will protect surfaces of your furniture because they can be stored more securely.
Helpful Tip: Put small loose items (screws, nails, etc.) in a Ziploc® sandwich bag and tape it to the item they belong with. You should also use a Sharpie® and write on the bag or place a note inside the bag saying which item they go with, just in case they get separated during the move. This will save you time trying to hunt these down later, and prevent you from losing small pieces here and there along the way.
Make sure you get an appropriately sized truck.
After you pre-pack all of your items, you should have a pretty good idea of exactly how much space you will need in a truck. You may need to measure your stacks of boxes and your large furniture to estimate the square footage you will require. If you are unsure, talk to the rental truck company, or the property manager where you have your self storage unit. Don’t just go for the smallest truck because it costs the least amount of money. Instead, invest in a larger truck if that is what you need. The extra money you spend up front is easily made up with less trips back and forth, which saves you a lot of time and gas.
Ask for help!
The more help you have, the faster a move can go and it won’t be such a pain. I recommend, however, that you do most if not all of the pre-packing yourself. This allows you to know everything is labeled correctly and the proper items get packed. It also means it is all in your handwriting so you can read it more easily later when it’s time to unpack. Then, once everything is organized, packed and ready to go, call your biggest strongest friends and have them help with the heavy lifting. Make sure they are available for several hours and offer to take care of their lunch or dinner as a “thank you” for helping you out. Even if you can only get one extra person it will cut time spent in half and your back will thank you later!
These are just a few key tips for a successful, more efficient packing and moving experience. By following these basic concepts, you will waste less time, be a lot less stressed and probably have an even more economical move. Be the person who moves smarter, not harder!
If you have more tips you would like to share, post them in the comments below. You can also contact us with any other questions about moving and storage that you may have. If you think you’ve got it and you’re ready to get moving, reserve or rent your self storage unit online 24/7!