Moving Countdown: 4 Weeks Before

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 23, 2017

Home exterior
Unless your entire house is being packed by the movers this is the week to get serious about collecting, buying or borrowing boxes, packing paper, bubble-wrap, etc. You can start packing some things now, but of course you’re still living there and don’t want to be reopening boxes to find what you need if you pack too soon.

Anything you can pack ahead will save you time on moving day. Good examples of items you won’t need are out-of-season clothes and shoes; books; out-of-season sports equipment and so on.

1. Gather packing materials and supplies

Get boxes in assorted sizes. Be sure they’re clean, in good condition, not bent or mushy so that they won’t bear weight on top of them. Make sure that they have covers so they can be closed and sealed with tape. Start collecting them from your local merchants, or again, purchase them from your moving company (keeping your receipts for returns if necessary.) Really sturdy boxes are liquor boxes which tend to contain dividers making them ideal for packing glasses, goblets, vases, etc.–but make sure these boxes have lids or flaps (you can?t stack open top boxes and movers will not move open boxes.) Store boxes easily by breaking them down, open both ends and flatten them out.

You can purchase suitable containers and packing materials from moving companies, including unprinted newsprint (newspaper can stain your items) or packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household good. You’ll need a lot more supplies than you think, so get extra to keep the packing going smoothly. Return any unused supplies for refund (keep the receipts in your Master Moving Folder) after the moving truck is packed. Unless you have a lot of towels, sheets and drop clothes, you can also buy rolls of plastic runner for the floors from moving companies to keep them from getting really dirty or stained. You can do this for the move into your new house too. Ask your moving company for their packing instructions and needs to make the move work the best for them as well.

If you are hiring a moving company, it’s a good idea to let them do most of the packing, especially the big items. That’s what they do for a living, so they know the proven methods for keeping items safe. This is why Week 5 is so important. The pre-sorting and organizing you did will make it easier for them to pack what you really want moved.

2. Use three signs or stickers for labeling

  • Do Not Load
    For boxes and items you do not want loaded on the moving van, make or get from your moving company stickers marked “Do Not Load” and place them on all the things you want to take with you.
  • Load Last
    Place “Load Last” stickers or signs on things that you will need to use as soon as you get to your new home since the last items loaded are the first ones unloaded.
  • Fragile
    The “Fragile” stickers should be placed on items that need special care.

3. Remember self-care, childcare and staying on task

If you are packing and moving most of everything yourself schedule time to pack one room at a time. Some people like to marathon it others only have time or energy for one room or area at a time. It doesn’t matter how you schedule it, just start it now so that you don’t have items not packed the day of the move.

  • If you don’t have friends to help you, don?t hesitate to hire a Professional Organizer to help you pack making the tasks quick and easy.
  • If the children slow down the process take them to childcare for the time you need to get your packing and work done and be less stressed.
  • At the same time, let children be a part of this experience where possible. Have them write their names and new address on the cartons from their rooms so they can become familiar with their new street and town. Some moving companies even have special children’s moving kits to make it exciting and fun by offering instructions for your kids do some of their own packing, and let them suggest layouts for their new room.
  • If you are moving a distance from your neighborhood and have children make sure that they are given the time to see their friends and possibly help them plan overnights or a simple party with their friends before the move taking lots of pictures for their scrapbooks and memories.
  • Make sure you have seen your family and friends or have a schedule to do so as well.

4. Create a “Packing Central”

Packing Central is your organization station. Everything you need to pack should be here. This is where you coordinate and compile all of your packing supplies: packing tape, packing paper, foam peanuts, labels, permanent wide markers, boxes, scissors, razor cutter, plastic gloves, etc. Having Packing Central ready for fulfillment at all times makes everything run more smoothly. It helps also to have a carpenters apron or craft apron with pockets where you can keep your pen, labels, plastic gloves, cutting knife, scissors and such so that you?re not walking back and forth and laying down items and not finding them quickly when needed.

5. Simple record-keeping a must

Before you start packing it’s especially important if you have a lot of boxes to create a packing and container list. Create a computer-printed list of numbers with a space to write the contents. Or have a spiral-bound notebook for the job. While packing every box you’ll place a number on the box (EVERY BOX), the room or area it’s to go to in the new house and list the contents on your list. Don’t put the list down unless it’s in Packing Central. You can also make this list and tape it to the side of the box, but remember, if others are helping you move and they can read the list on the box it can be an invitation to waste time reading the list or worse, to steal items. The number alone and the room it belongs in are sufficient. Example: #58, Kitchen.

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Mark the number and room on the top and at least one side of the box. Remember, when three to four boxes are stacked you can?t see the top, but you can see the side. When describing the box contents, be specific: “M-P files” is better than “files,” and “red and blue striped curtains? rather than “misc. bedroom.”

Make the number and room so specific that a stranger can and will be able to read it and know exactly where it goes. This means of course that you need to know where it goes! Think about your new house and make a list of all the rooms. Plan to make signs, 8 ? X 11 sheets of paper work well, and write the name of the room, then mask taping it to the outside door frame. When movers come into the house they?ll see the signs and match it up quickly with the box notation. This keeps you from wasting time directing traffic and getting the wrong boxes into rooms when you get to the new house.

6. Plan ahead for your plants

Plan early for your plants. When moving plants to your new residence via your car, try not to let foliage rest against the windows, as the leaves will scorch or freeze. Some state laws prohibit the moving of houseplants. Consider giving your plants to a friend or local charity when you are moving a great distance.

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