Thursday, August 15, 2013

TIPS for Packing

Packing is the worst.  It really is and it's always a bigger, harder job than you think it'll be.  We moved to Utah 9 years ago, moved locally a few years into that and had lived in our current place for almost 6 years.  We had to pack the whole place, my classroom and Kevin's office.  We probably should have started packing weeks before we did but we had a brand new baby, were exhausted, didn't really have anywhere to store boxes and have our place still be liveable.  

After surviving our cross-country move, 
I have some tips to share for any of you who have a move in your near future.

1. Your cats will hate this process so try to leave them one of their usual snuggle spots to hide in amidst the chaos.  We left our bed together and the boys ended up snoozing there a lot.  The cats will also be very curious and will likely jump into every box you assemble.  Watch the door so that your indoor cats don't run outside and try to close them off in a bedroom when you start moving boxes to prevent them from getting stepped on.  More to come in a future post on traveling with cats...

2. Set up a packing supply station and be sure to keep items here throughout the packing process or else they will get lost in the sea of boxes.  Home Depot was our go to spot for buying packing supplies.  
We found the following items to be necessities.
Several pairs of scissors
Moving gloves
Bubble wrap (large and small)
Foamy envelopes for dishes
Rolls of blank newsprint
Large & small garbage bags
Packing Tape and packing tape dispenser
Large Sharpie Markers
Scotch Tape
Ziploc bags
Small, Medium & Large heavy duty boxes
(We bought regular and heavy duty but after transporting them we realized we should have only bought the heavy duty ones.  The regular ones collapsed easily and were not very durable.)

3. Start packing and stacking.  Be sure to label every box and be detailed in your labeling.  I wrote "decorations" on far too many boxes and had to open up a lot of them in order to find what I wanted when I arrived at our new place.  Put things like "black picture frames" or "glass vases" instead.

4. If you are packing and have a newborn, leave their swing out so that they can take naps there while you pack.  Also, do lots of praying that they will sleep so that you can have both hands to pack with.  Olive was so good throughout this whole process. 

 5. Make lists, make more lists and then make a few more.  Write down everything and keep a pile of DO NOT TOUCH items especially if you are having other people help you pack.  I put my diaper bag, my planner, my lists, cell phone charger and my lists in a zone that everyone knew not to mess with.  This helped me to stay organized and not have to keep searching for important items.

 6. Pack your pets last.  It was over 100 degrees while we were moving and so they got to stay in the air conditioning and "supervise" the moving process.  There was lots of meowing and wandering around but they handled it pretty well.

7. Drink lots of water, force yourself and your team to stop and eat meals regularly, force yourself to stop and go to bed and ask for help.  We would agree on a lunch or dinner time and then hold each other accountable for stopping at that time.  We had no food in the house so it forced us to leave and take a break.  We had friends help and were so lucky to have family come to our rescue.  Again, moving is hard but it's not quite as hard if you have helpers.

 8. Enjoy the view just a little longer.  We loved the view from our patio so we made sure to pause and enjoy the sights a few more times before leaving Utah.  Visit with your neighbors and friends and try to have a going away gathering a week or so before you actually leave.  It was really difficult to find time to do those things when it came down to crunch time at the very end.

9. Rent a larger truck than the moving company suggests.  We told them our square footage and explained what we would be moving and they assured us that a 16 foot truck would be plenty of room. We went with it and reserved it like planned.  It stressed me out because we didn't want to leave anything behind and I just couldn't shake the feeling that the truck would not be big enough.  So after some persuading, Kevin called and upgraded to the 22 foot truck and paid the difference.  On the morning of our move, they only had a 26 foot truck for us and we filled that all the way up!  God was looking out for us and I was happy that we went with our gut and upgraded.

10. Be VERY cautious when hiring movers to help you load the truck.  We went with a local company that had great recommendations, were affordable and seemed perfect for what we needed.  On moving day, they were supposed to be at our place at 10:00am but called to say they were delayed.  It worked out fine because we still had some packing to do.  The problem came when we kept getting phone calls saying they were delayed again.  The movers showed up at 4:45, were two scrawny college kids and were not the professional movers we were promised.  They were supposed to shrink wrap our furniture, know how to stack things strategically in the truck to maximize space and work very efficiently to have our place done in a few hours.  They fell flat in all of those areas and we were very disappointed.  We had to direct them, prompt them to keep working (which is awkward) and still had a lot left to load when their time was up.  We tried to get as much help from them as possible but my dad and Kevin had to work really hard to make up for their lack of skills.  So much for hiring movers to do all of the heavy lifting...  Ask around and try to find a company that people have worked with and have been happy with to avoid this happening to you.

Good luck!!


  1. I don't know if I've ever heard if a good moving company! All I ever hear is they are late, don't pack well, and steal items! My aunt moved from VA to GA and all of her wedding albums and pictures and dress was stolen! Of course, the company said they didn't do it but the wedding albums were removed from the box that said "wedding pics" and the box was empty! Crazy!! I pray I never have to move far and need a moving company!! Sorry I haven't commented much lately my Google acct won't let me sign in for some reason!!
    Go Irish,


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