Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Dreaded Chore of Packing

Today let's talk about packing.  I don't mind the first few days of packing but by the second half of the project, I am just done.  When we moved last time we didn't have a ton of time to pack, so pretty much everything got put where it would fit when I had a box to put it in.  As a result, it took forever to find some things.  I guess one advantage was that we unpacked pretty quick because we could not find out can opener.  Despite that, I decided that this time I wanted to be a lot more organized.

Like most things, I think packing goes a lot smoother if you have a plan.  The very best place to start, in my opinion, is figuring out who will do what.  I know some people have movers come and pack everything up but we certainly could not afford that.  Plus, I am too much of a control freak for that.  Unless you live by yourself, you have other people in your home who can help with the packing process.  If those people are small, they probably won't be much help but I bet you can get them to at least pack some of their toys or something.

In my home, it is me, Alex (boyfriend), and Scout (dog).  Despite the fact that we constantly ask Scout to help around the house, he does not have opposable thumbs and therefore thinks he does not have to contribute.  We are still working on that attitude, but progress is slow.

So that leaves me and Alex.  This will be our 3.5th move in the four years we have been dating (moved him into my Westport apartment, moved both of us to the Waldo house, moved both of us into an apartment, moving both of us into the new house).  So we are old pros at this.  Thing is though, Alex doesn't much care for packing and is pretty good at procrastinating.  Rather than let these facts frustrate me and make an already unpleasant process more unpleasant, this time around, I chose to adjust my expectations.  We made a deal before any packing took place that I would pack everything but his closet if he would be in charge of making sure I had enough boxes.  This worked out really well for us (and Alex got some help from my mom who found lots of good boxes).  Before you get started, figure out what works for you and it will be much less stress later on.

When it comes to packing, my style is pack early and pack often.  Since packing isn't really something I enjoy, I like to spread it out so I don't get burned out.  Plus, we tend to be busy, so I want to make sure everything gets done before moving day.

Generally, I start with décor.  You don't need pictures on the wall or other sit around stuff.  Then I move on to other stuff we can live without until we move.  All of my craft stuff got packed up first because I would be too busy with the move to do any new projects.  Another tip is to always pack like things together--this will make it so much easier when you are looking for your can opener post move.  Use fabric from your stash and plastic grocery bags as box filler.

The way in which I was most organized for this move was in labeling the boxes.  Each room got a color of duct tape assigned to it.  After I packed and sealed each box, I took a piece of paper and wrote what was in the box and put the correct color of duct tape on it.  I also wrote on the tape which room it went into just in case.  That way it was super easy to know which box went where in the new house.  We ended up putting everything in the garage and then took boxes upstairs as we were ready to unpack them.  If you have other people putting boxes into rooms, I would say the duct tape is a must, but since it was just us and we were moving slow, we probably would have been okay with just labeling.

Another tip is use what you have.  Use bags and suitcases to hold stuff.  Depending on how you are moving you can also pack stuff in drawers.

To pack our hanging clothes, I used drawstring trash bags.  It made everything super quick.  I just bunched some clothes together (still hanging up) and slipped them in a trash bag. Then I tied up the drawstring and was able to carry four or five times as many clothes in one trip.

After you figure out a system, the rest really is just grunt work.  I packed box after box and had no idea how we had so much stuff in such a tiny space.  But it all got done eventually.  My rule is that if people are going to help us move, everything has to be packed before they get there.  Anything that is not packed is not going to get moved.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone asks you to help them move and then when you show you, you end up sitting around for hours while they finish packing.

Once everything was packed, it was time to move from point A to point B.  But that is a post for another day.


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