Moving is an exciting time, but packing up your house can be a daunting task. We'll break the packing process down into bite-sized pieces with practical tips. (so you're not still throwing items into a box as the movers arrive). With a good system unpacking at your new place will be a breeze too.
Get your packing materials ready
The general rule of thumb is: however many boxes you think you'll need, double it. Use an online tool such as this packing calculator to get an accurate estimate.
You'll also need a good supply of sturdy tape, sharp scissors, Vivids and things like bubble wrap and newspaper to wrap your breakable items in.
Don't leave organising your supplies until the last minute. You don't want to run out of boxes or anything else the night before you move.
Have a packing strategy
Before you start, decide on a strategy for the best way to pack up your house.
The key things you need to factor into you plan
- How much time do you have to pack? If possible, schedule more time than you think you'll need.
- What items will you pack first? What room will you start in?
- Do you need to declutter and get rid of some things at the same time or are you taking everything with you?
- Do you have the moving-day essentials to hand?
Decide the rooms you'll pack first
The best order to pack your house up is:
- Living room
- Dining Room
- Garage / Shed
Use a packing schedule
If you're struggling with where to start packing, create a packing checklist. It should state when you are going to pack each room in the house and the items you need to pack. Tick it off as you go along.
Steps to de-clutter your homeIf you're moving somewhere smaller then de-cluttering will be essential to your move. But even if you're not, moving house is a good time to give your belongings a thorough spring clean. It might seem daunting, but if you allow enough time to sort before you pack, then you'll only be moving the essentials. This will make your move cheaper overall – less items to move and less packing costs.
It's also worth checking that your current belongings will fit in your new home. Get a floor plan of your new house so you can consider big items. Measure carefully and think about essentials. Getting started early will give you time to ensure everything will fit.
Try these sites, planner.roomsketcher.com or homestyler.com for help with a floor plan.
The three pile method
A good de-cluttering method is to have three piles:
- Give away/sell
- Throw out
Online auction sites and social media are an easy place to sell items of value or op-shops are always grateful for donations. Clothes and bric-a-brak can be donated directly, and some op-shops will collect furniture items in good condition from you. Ring and ask the charity shops in your local area.
What to pack first
Get started early by packing away the things you use less often first, mixing them with soft furnishings e.g. packing the lesser used appliances and ornaments from the living room with the extra towels you won't need before you move.
Remember not to overfill larger boxes as they'll be too heavy to lift later on.
How to pack
Designate a packing station
Set up a place in your house where all the packing materials are. That way you, and everyone else who's helping, will always know where the pens and tape are.
Good labelling is key
Make sure you label each box well so you have a fair idea what is in it. It can be helpful to maximise space by packing towels around electronics etc. But if you're going to mix and match items from different rooms/cupboards, make sure you label things well.
Mix and match?
To allow for quick set up when unpacking, it is probably better to not mix things up from the kids' bedroom/s, bathroom and kitchen.
However, for the living/dining/hall you can probably mix boxes for space efficiently without too much trouble.
Colour coding your boxes is a great idea if other people are helping you move or you're getting movers to unpack. Just clearly colour code each box corresponding to which room in the new house it's going into.
Handle with care
Be sure to clearly label fragile items. And don't use rubbish bags for packing – unless they are clearly labelled– it could cause confusion. The last thing you want is a bag full of toys thrown into the rubbish by accident.
Quick packing tips
- Tape cords to the back of the TV and stereo for easy set-up
- Wrap masking tape around electronic cables and use a marker to identify which appliance they attach to
Pack your suitcase of essentials
Two weeks prior to your move, make your life easier by packing a suitcase of essentials for the whole family. These are things you will be using before the move and want to ensure don't get packed away too early. Treat it like you're packing for a holiday. Once this is done you can confidently pack everything else.
Your suitcase should include:
- Clothes each person will wear over the next two weeks
- Any medications, toiletries, electronic chargers and special items you'll need
- Pack sheets for beds and bedding/sleeping bags and 1 x towel for each of the family.
Moving day essentials box
When you're putting things together, don't forget to make up a box of moving day essentials that, if possible, you keep with you in your car.
Your box should include essentials such as:
- Supplies from packing central – masking tape, scissors and pens
- Soap, toiletries, medications, toilet paper, chargers and batteries for electronics
- Paper towels and paper plates
- Healthy snacks
- Water bottles
- Tea/coffee, long-life milk and the kettle
- Pet items: food, bowl
- First aid kit
- A pocket knife
- Cleaning supplies
- Your moving file
Tips for packing with children
Get your children to help with the packing by getting them to pack their own suitcase of essentials. That way they'll not lose their favourite toy in the process of packing. It's a good way to talk to them about moving, too, as they're likely to be anxious.
- If you're moving somewhere quite different, pull together a scrapbook of their new house and neighbourhood. This could include local area attractions and information on their new school.
- You could also set up a calendar counting down to move day with key events and timings included to get them excited.
All packed? Read more on what to do you when you arrive at your new home.