I am a seasoned mover. In the past six years I have moved nine times (including move-ins, move-outs and short-term moves). The ninth being currently in progress. I am also all about organization. The result being I pretty much have moving down to an art form (not to toot my own horn or anything...). In honor of move number nine, I will be sharing my soon-to-be-famous moving tips in two parts: Packing and Unpacking. Enjoy!
Make a Content List - Some may find this tip tedious, but I promise it is well worth the effort. As you finish packing a box (or bag, etc.) label it with a number. Then make an inventory (again as you go) with what's in that container in mid-level detail. For example, instead of labeling box 3 as "office supplies" put "office supplies - paper, pens, desk knick-knacks." You don't need to get super detailed, just enough so that when you think "ah - I would really love that XYZ right now" you can find it without having to open five other boxes first. This helps in numerous ways 1) you just feel crazy organized, 2) it's easy to check if everything made it to the new location - just count and compare and 3) you can very easily find what you need without unpacking multiple boxes. I promise, it really does not take much time and will end up saving you lots of time and stress with unpacking.
Keep Like with Like - This basic rule of organizing can and should be applied to moving as well. Just because you have a little extra room in that bag of winter clothes does not mean you should stuff it with dish towels. Dividing up your items just means it will take you more time to unsort them later. Keep like with like.
Use What You Have - Why put all the items you use to carry around or store things in your day-to-day life into boxes when you can put them to good use? Use tote bags, storage cubes and suitcases as moving containers. Purses and reusable shopping bags can also be used to keep groups of items together (throw all your belts into one or two purses, then put those into a larger box or bag with other accessories).
Don't Plan On Finishing the Morning Of - Many people think it's ok to finish packing a few odds and ends while the movers begin loading. Don't fall into this trap! Having every shelf cleared and box sealed before the movers knock on your door is key to stress-free move. Trying to finish packing while the movers are trying to do there job just means you'll end up tripping over each other and the whole process will take longer. You should have one bag available for anything that is discovered in the back of closet after the dresser is moved. Without fail, when the movers first walk in my door they breath a sigh of relief seeing that everything is ready to go. Happy movers equals an easy move. I've also gotten some interesting comments on my inventory list, but I think they are just jealous.
Know What You'll Need Right Away - I put essentials I know (or think) I'll want the day-of the move in one of my suitcases. It makes them easy to find and access. For this move, my suitcase holds my toolbox, mini air purifier (for us allergy-suffers), a set of clean towels, a set of clean sheets and a bag of pictures (to be explained...).
Check back later this week for the tantalizing sequal: Part II - Unpacking