There is a reason why packing is usually defined as the most laborious aspect of the moving process. Not only is it time-consuming and painstaking but also very tricky because a single packing mistake can cost you dearly and cause a lot of headaches. As it is of paramount importance for the successful outcome of your moving adventure, proper packing requires a lot of preparations and careful planning.
When packing for moving, have in mind that many mistakes lie in wait for the inexperienced shippers of household items who have failed to take into consideration all the relevant factors and to prepare adequately. However, there are proven ways to easily avoid most of the packing mistakes which could otherwise have repercussions on your entire relocation experience.
You can save a lot of time, money, and nerves if you are aware of the most common mistakes when packing for a move and know how to avoid them.
Packing in the last moment
Packing your entire household is no child’s play – it will take a lot of time and efforts. So unless you possess a magic wand capable of miracles, don’t expect that you will be able to pack all your belongings in a couple of days prior to your move. Start as early as possible and begin the packing process from the rooms and items that you use the least. Designate a place in your home where you will be able to store the packed boxes and keep them organized and out of your way.
Never underestimate the time and the efforts you will need to pack the storage areas in your property – your garage, attic, etc., will be probably cluttered with a great number of items accumulated over the years. You will not only have to spend many hours packing all the long-forgotten belongings that you have stored there, but twice that much time sorting them and deciding their fate.
Packing all your possessions without sorting them
Moving items that you will never use is a waste of time and money. Remember that the final moving cost depends on the total weight of your shipment and pack only what you will actually need in your new home. Before starting the packing process, inspect every single possession of yours and leave behind anything that doesn’t have high practical or sentimental value:
- items that are damaged or outdated or too worn out;
- items that you haven’t used in over a year;
- items that you will not be able to use in your new surroundings because of the climate, the available space, your new lifestyle, etc.
- items that don’t match your new home décor or your personal style;
- items that will not fit through the doors or won’t fit the layout of your new place.
Donate or sell those of your belongings that are in good condition and discard the rest.
Failing to create an inventory
Create a detailed list of the items that are about to be moved to the new location and provide a copy to the movers when asking for an estimate. Remember that any change in the amount of the items that are going to be transported will lead to a change in the final moving cost.
Take a picture of every item (showing the date when it was taken) you are about to entrust to your movers to document its condition – it will serve as an evidence in your favor if the item is damaged while in the carrier’s custody. Have in mind that the moving company will not be liable for any pieces you have packed yourself or items of great value that are not declared in the inventory list.
Packing items you will need before moving day
It will be very bothersome if you happen to need an item that has already been packed on the bottom of a moving box. So, when packing, you need to think about how to finish the process in a speedy and efficient manner and how to prevent damage to your possessions, but you also need to organize the process, so that you have an easy access to anything you might need. Some items need to stay out of the boxes until the last possible moment – toiletries and medicines, bedding, basic tools and utensils, connection devices, cleaning materials, toys, pet food, etc.
There are specific household items that you should not pack because your movers will not ship them due to safety reasons. These include but are not limited to hazardous materials, perishable food, valuables, etc. Taking them with you will be expensive, dangerous and impractical, so you are advised to use up, sell or donate such items. Request a list of all the goods your chosen moving company will not move for you before you begin packing your possessions and observe it strictly.
Not packing an essentials box
Prepare a box with all the essentials necessary to spend a couple of days in your new home. The moving truck delivering your items may be delayed or some unexpected problems may occur or conflicts may arise that will prevent you from receiving your belongings in time. You need to take your documents, a change of clothes, bedding, prescription medicines and first-aid kit, toiletries, basic tools, phone and laptop, etc. with you, just in case.
Packing valuables with the rest of your possessions
Some of your items have great sentimental or monetary value while others are so important that not having them at any given moment may cause great troubles. These are the things you should never pack in boxes and load on the moving truck, no matter how reputable and reliable your movers may be. You should always move personal documents, family heirlooms, jewelry, electronics, collector items and the like by yourself.
Failing to pack your items properly
Have in mind that extra packing fees will be charged if you haven’t packed your belongings properly. Movers will ask you to repack and if you don’t have enough moving boxes and packing materials, they will provide these extra supplies for an additional fee. You will probably be charged for the time needed to pack or repack your items, as well. So, be careful to:
- Avoid packing in plastic bags – they are slippery and can’t be loaded properly on the moving truck. Besides, bags don’t provide sufficient protection to your items because they can easily tear when being moved. You are advised to put in boxes anything that can fit into a box and to wrap in plastic wrap and/or moving blankets pieces which cannot;
- Pack your items securely. Do your best to provide maximum protection for your items – make sure that there isn’t any chance for the boxes to break or the items inside to shift during the transportation. Otherwise, your movers will insist that you add more protective layers (bubble wrap) and padding into the boxes and that you secure them properly with packing tape. You will be charged for any additional packing supplies and the time lost in the process. Remember that some items need special packing supplies – get hold of custom-built crates for your delicate artwork, for example, or wardrobe boxes for your fine clothes, wrap fragile items in lots of bubble wrap, etc. They will be worth the extra money as they will prevent damage to your valuable possessions.
Making boxes too heavy
If you pack heavy items in large boxes, you will considerably increase the risk of damaging them – overloaded moving boxes are too difficult to carry around. However, don’t leave the boxes half-empty either because shifting during the transportation may also lead to damage. The golden rule is to pack heavy items in small sturdy items and to provide sufficient padding. You can put light bulky pieces in large boxes.
Forgetting your available containers
It is important to have professional packing materials for expensive and delicate items but you can wrap some of your less valuable possessions in old towels, sheets, blankets, etc. What is more, you can use as packing boxes many of the household items that you will transport anyway – laundry hampers, trash cans, baskets and crates, purses and travel bags, etc. It doesn’t make much sense to ship your suitcases empty when you need a good way to transport your clothes, does it?
Not labeling the boxes
Not labeling the moving boxes is another common packing mistake. It will take only a minute of your time to label a packed box but when you start unpacking it will take hours to find the items that you need if haven’t labeled the boxes. Write clearly the contents of each box on top of it, together with any special instructions (“This side up”, ”Handle with care”, etc.) and its destination room. You can even use different colors for different rooms to further facilitate your movers when unloading your household goods and yourself when unpacking and arranging your items.
Avoid all the above common packing mistakes to simplify your move and to ensure a trouble-free relocation experience.