Packing up all your belongings and stacking them in a moving truck is quite the endeavor, on par with planning a 300-person wedding or, according to some people, laying out the plans for a small city. The best advice to successfully get through a move is to plan well and plan well in advance.
Ideally, moving doesn’t take place all at once. For the smoothest experience, start packing early. To help you do this, here’s the definitive moving checklist of what to pack when.
Two months before you move
The first thing you want to do doesn’t involve packing at all; rather, it involves getting rid of things. If you have a hard time doing this, ask a friend or a family member to come over and help. Sometimes you need to hear from someone else that there’s no reason to hold onto those pre-faded capris from 2002.
Four to six weeks before you move
Start collecting boxes. Once you have a few, you can start packing up seasonal clothes, appliances and other things you won’t need for a while. Here are some suggestions:
- Seasonal clothes. If you’re moving in winter, pack up the swim shorts, tank tops and so forth.
- Scarcely used appliances. Chances are, someone in your family has a kitchen appliance you like, but rarely use (e.g., that zucchini spiralizer). Pack these up!
- Books, DVDs and other media. Unless you plan on speed-reading or having a few marathon movie nights, these can go into boxes.
- Guest room. If you have a fully furnished guest room, now’s the time to pack it up.
- Basement, attic and garage. Take all the things you have in storage and put them in boxes.
- Collectibles, souvenirs and mementos, such as photo albums, scrapbooks, figurines, stamp collections, etc.
- Artwork and other decorative items.
Two to four weeks before you move
- Go through your pantry and decide if there are canned goods, spices or other items with a long shelf life you want to bring with you.
- If you’re sure you won’t need the power drill set or some of the lawn equipment, pack up these tools so they’re ready to move.
- Pack up recreational equipment for sports or various hobbies, including board games.
The week of the move
- Bedding and linens you and your family use
- Office supplies
- Electronics, such as your television and entertainment system
- Kitchen items
- Make sure everyone saves about a week’s worth of clothes, and pack the rest.
- Valuables such as jewelry and family heirlooms. Always keep these near you!
The day of the move
At this point you should be down to the basics and have a couple of bags packed like you’re going on vacation for a few days. Be sure to have toiletries, clothes, medications, chargers for your devices and everything else you’d need for going out of town.
As you can see, getting everything together is quite the process, but if you take a little time each day to organize, sort and pack, moving will be far less stressful. Set a goal to pack one or two boxes a day. Before you know it, you’ll be all packed up an ready to move.