Packing Tips: 6 Mistakes That’ll Mess Up Your Move

It’s moving day! You wake up bright and early, ready for a fresh start at your new place. You’re excited about your move and you don’t feel like you even need any packing tips!

That’s when everything starts to go wrong…

  • The movers show up four hours late.
  • When they finally arrive, it starts pouring rain and all your stuff gets soaking wet.
  • Your favorite comfy chair falls off the back of the truck on the highway, but no one notices until it’s too late.
  • Then the truck breaks down. (Hey, at least it can’t catch on fire in the pouring rain!)

Sound like your worst moving day nightmare?

You may not be able to control the weather or when the movers arrive, but you sure can take charge of how you pack your things.

Don’t put yourself through packing hell. Whether you’re taking your stuff around the block or across the country, keep these packing tips in mind to save your sanity.

  1. Don’t Break Your Back

The stress of moving may drive you insane, but it doesn’t have to wreck your mind and body.

Up to a certain point in life, it’s fun and easy to move yourself, bribing friends with pizza and beer to help out. But there comes a time in all our lives where it’s smarter to let the professionals break their backs for you instead.

That said…

  1. Don’t Blow Up the Movers

Don't Blow Up Movers

It’s true that movers take on a certain amount of risk lifting your 1,000-pound sectional sofa for you, but you don’t want to put them – or your sofa – in more danger than necessary.

There are certain items it may actually be illegal for you to pack, depending on your state laws.

“Sure!” you might think. “Of course I’m going to move my fireworks and household poisons in my own vehicle. That’s just common sense.”

But many items on the “hazardous” list aren’t things you might picture your movers being afraid of, like:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Household batteries
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish, or nail polish remover

Please do NOT ask your movers to put their lives at risk by moving your nail polish. (You don’t want to risk it spilling on that sectional sofa, anyway.)

  1. Don’t Pack Your Pet
Little FIdo might look happy now...

Little FIdo might look happy now…

You might think this tip would be common sense, but according to moving companies it’s not all that rare:

  • Ernie’s Van & Storage in California unwrapped a stretch-wrapped hide-a-bed after a 2-day interstate move, only to have three cats pop out. (They were thirsty, but not hurt.)
  • U-Pack movers drove an aquarium across the country that the owner had packed with the water and fish still in it – the customer then tried to file a water damage claim.

Instead of packing your pets in with your furniture:

  • Keep your pets out of the way on moving day: Ask a friend to watch them for you, or keep them shut in an emptied room.
  • For short-distance moves, take your pets in your own vehicle.
  • For long-distance moves, you can contact a professional pet moving service for help.
  1. Don’t Lose Track of Your Valuables

No matter how trustworthy your moving company is, you shouldn’t pack your important items and valuables in with all the rest of your stuff.

According to Murphy’s Law, that’ll be the one box that falls off the truck during rush hour.

Anything valuable or irreplaceable – like jewelry, memorabilia, heirlooms, and important documents and records – should be kept with you, and moved in your own vehicle.

  1. Don’t Forget to Pack the Toilet Paper

After spending all day moving, you don’t want to have to search through 50 boxes just to find the toilet paper.

Be sure to pack an essentials box that include things like:

  • Toiletries
  • Pajamas, and clothes for the next day
  • Shower curtain and towel
  • Coffee and mug
  • Pet food
  1. Don’t Wait Till the Last Minute

It’s tempting to wait till the last minute to cram everything into random bags and boxes, but trust us – you’ll only be creating way more work for yourself that way. Unlike with Tetris, most of your things aren’t going to fit together perfectly, and you won’t magically get more space when everything lines up. (And you don’t want to know where those vanishing blocks go.)

You can make your move easier if you start by decluttering, getting rid of items you no longer use. Then, begin packing off-season items, like holiday decorations, clothes, and linens. Starting to pack early will give you time to stay organized and be sure to label everything correctly.

Don’t let your moving nightmares come true! Whether your stuff is spending a few hours in a truck, or a few weeks in storage, packing it right will protect it and keep it safe – and help you save your sanity.

Additional packing tips.

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