Packing Yourself? Plan Ahead

Packing for MovingMy colleague Becky wrote a post several weeks ago on her first moving experience. Like most people moving for the first time, lack of preparation and understanding of the moving process made Becky’s move more stressful than it had to be. In hindsight, I wish I could have helped. But, if I could only give her one piece advice it would be pretty simple: put together a packing plan and stick to it.



If you are moving with a moving company, the packers can complete packing for an average move on the day before your goods are loaded on the van. It’s amazing how quickly they move. If you are packing yourself, however, you should allow more time – several weeks if possible. Since it’s unlikely that you will be able to drop everything to devote an entire day to packing, plan to work at it between your other pre-move activities.

Preparing a convenient place to work and keeping your packing materials in one location are important. Staying organized will help you complete the packing job before moving day. If there is a spare room available, consider making it your packing headquarters.

A large table covered with a heavy blanket, quilt or mattress pad makes for a good, firm work surface. It is helpful to have a second covered table nearby for soon-to-be-packed items.

Items You Will Need

  • Various sizes of sturdy boxes with flaps that can be closed completely.
  • White paper, tissue paper, paper towels and unprinted newspaper cut into 20” by 30” sheets. These items are good for all-purpose wrapping and cushioning.
  • Newspapers should only be used for cushioning or as outer wrapping only. No matter how old the newspaper, the ink always rubs off and can become imbedded in fine china if used for wrapping. When using newspaper, wash your hands frequently to prevent leaving ink smudges on items you handle. Although some ink smudges can be washed off, it’s better to not take a chance.
  • Gummed tape for sealing packing boxes.
  • Scissors and/or a sharp knife.
  • Felt-tip marker for labeling cartons.
  • Notebook and pen or pencil for listing contents of boxes as they are packed.
  • Labels or stickers.

Remember, there are also items that you should not pack. Be sure to set those aside so that they don’t end up in your boxes.

You may purchase packing boxes (including those for special uses, such as for dishes, mattresses and clothing), unprinted newsprint, tissue paper, bubble pack and tape from your moving company at a nominal charge. Some moving companies, including Holman, recycle packing boxes and offers our recycled boxes to customers free of charge. Typically, there is no charge for delivery to your home.

Once you are all set up, work on it daily. Even if you only pack a couple boxes a day, if you start early enough you will be able to make a huge dent in the work and you will avoid serious panic the night before the move. Make sure everything is labeled as you go so you know exactly where to put the boxes in the new place. Last, but not least, keep a record of the contents in boxes you have packed.

Happy packing!

Do you have any tips? Please share below.