Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Organized Packing and Moving

I have moved several times in my life, and each time, I adopt new practices to make the move easier and more organized. Recently we had to move our 7 member family. We actually are moving twice within a short period of time.

This system has proven to be very useful but, especially since we are not unpacking all of our stuff while we're in the interim house. I tried a very different approach to moving this time. Usually I'm pretty organized as far as packing all of my boxes and writing which room they belong to on the outside. But, I still always face the problem of "which box did I put the ________ in?" and thus begins opening every single box marked KITCHEN until it's found.!

Supplies you will need:

Moving Boxes all different sizes (way more than you think)
Packing Tape (more than you think)
Pencils and pens
Colored markers
Address labels
Lined index cards
Recipe box
Colored paper like construction paper
Tissue paper/News paper (unprinted is better)

TIP- It's best to have a special box or basket for these items. Your moving box will help keep your supplies organized, especially if your husband thinks your new cool pack of colored Sharpies all belong to him.

If you know ahead of time that you are moving it's will be a little easier to pack and move this way. It's a little bit of extra work but it will save you A LOT of time on the other end. Actually it can even save you a lot of time before you actually put the boxes on the truck. Even packing with a tight time frame you can still do this. I packed about 65% of our boxes using this system the day before we moved.

Using the colors of construction paper assign each room or area  a different color. Here was our list.

Living Room including Coat & Hall/Linen Closets - ORANGE
Kitchen - YELLOW
Bathroom(s) - PURPLE
Little Girls Room - BLUE
Big Girls Room - RED
Our Room - GREEN
School Room - LIGHT BLUE
Garage/Shed Storage - BLACK (this is the only color I didn't attach to the box)

Each box you pack will need a color and a number. The first box you pack will be #1. Cut the colored paper into 4ths or 8ths. 4ths work well for larger boxes but 8ths will save more paper. Write the box # on each colored paper and tape it to each side of the box.

 Next, Labels. Lots and Lots and Lots of labels. Like with boxes and tape you need more labels than you think. I ended up with about 110 or 112 numbered boxes. I didn't number the boxes that we already had in our attic before the move. I only numbered the ones I packed. Print several sheets of labels for each room. The larger rooms will need more. I had to go back and reprint more because I under-estimated. Each box will require 4 labels. Put one label on each side of the box in the upper right corner. You will find the colors will be easier for you to identify the the boxes, but if you have helpers moving you the labels will be easier for them. Be sure not to forget to print FRAGILE labels,  and put on on each side of the box with the fragile items. TIP - if two people share a room, print both names on the labels, this will save on labels. For the boxes that belong to only one of those people, underline that persons name on the label. 

 Most of my colored papers are not cut evenly or straight. It would take way too much time for this. If you have a child old enough to cut this is a great job for them. Most if it can be done ahead of time. My 4 year olds were able to help put the labels on.

Boxes. The rule for boxes is, "You will need more boxes than you think, it's better to have too many than not enough. I figured I would need about 60 boxes and I ended up with over 110 numbered boxes, plus the extra empty ones for moving day. Before you go and buy boxes you should try and get them for free. I didn't buy any boxes. In our town the businesses have large dumpsters behind the building for cardboard only. I was able to find most of my boxes this way. I also put a wanted post on for moving boxes. I did get some this way too. TIP- if you have a BevMo or liquor store near you, the liquor boxes are excellent for packing fragile items such as glasses and vases. They have dividers in them and it saves a lot of time not having to wrap these items in paper.

You will need a package or two of index cards and a small container to keep them in. I found my index card box at Wal Mart for $1.00 in the office section and the index cards were about $0.75 cents. 

Each box will have it's own card. At the top left corner of each card draw a colored square. The color should be for the room that the box belongs to. The top right of the card will have the number of the box. As you pack the box, write down everything you put into it. Now, for certain areas I didn't write down each item. For my nightstand stuff, I only wrote "Kimmie's nightstand stuff" I know what is in my nightstand. But for the kids school boxes, I was very detailed because I had 6 identical sized boxes.

 It's okay if you end up with the colors all mixed in. I didn't pack each room one at a time. I would have 3 blue cards 2 yellow cards then 3 oranges etc. As long as they are all numbered in order and the contents are recorded they can go in any color order. 

I took this one step further and created an Excel spread sheet and put the Box #'s and contents in the spread sheet. It's alot easier to click find and type in the item and have the program jump right to the box number than it is to flip through 100 cards. I did keep the box of cards. What if my computer crashes?

When I couldn't remember which box I packed my 3 hole punch in, it was awesome that I could hit find in excel and type 3 hole punch and it told me that it was in box #37. This was before we moved and it would have not been fun to open all the packed orange boxes to find the hole punch. 

After your box is packed be sure to tape it closed. Taping it will make it stronger and better able to sustain boxes stacked on top of it. 

I'm jumping out of order here but I'm sure you can keep up. The next picture is of an index card for a box that was only partially unpacked. The unpacked items were crossed off and at the top the location of that box was written. We are not fully unpacking and this box had games and toys for the little girls. I don't want these all out. The box is being stored until we move again.

Pack a suitcase or a small box for each family member with stuff you will need right away, tooth and hair brushes, a change of clothes for a couple days etc. You will be very glad you did this. You think you will get that stuff unpacked right away and most likely it's not going to happen. You will be exhausted. It's very easy also to put all the bedding for each bed in a large garbage bag and keep that with you too. When the bed is set up it's easy to remake it. Or you can use sleeping bags for your first night.

It's also very helpful to have a few "we need it now boxes". You can give these boxes a special color or use a laundry basket and keep these boxes with you or have them be last on the truck. If you need your shower items and kitchen frying pan first thing the next morning, you will be glad you did this. Oh and keep your cleaning supplies handy, you will need them at both places.

Be sure sure to keep a few empty boxes around, there will always be extra items that weren't packed and you will need these.

At the new house, decide whether nor not you are going to place boxes in each room or in one designated place. If you want them taken to each room hang the paper for the color of that room in a place that's easy to see, so those carrying boxes can just find the color. You can also put the label for that room on the colored paper. You should designate a spot in each room for boxes pick a wall or something. Hang another colored paper there and write BOXES HERE on it.

BIG TIP - If you choose to have one designated room for boxes tape up the colored papers so that each color box can be stacked under the coordinating color. Write on the yellow paper YELLOW BOXES HERE, and on the orange paper ORANGE BOXES HERE etc. Now, I didn't do this. I had a room for boxes, but not specific spots for each color. As I was digging through looking for GREEN box #65 that was behind a stack of 80 other boxes, I realized that having them stacked by color would have been a whole lot easier. I will be doing this on our second move for sure.

I must say that we were glad over and over again that we had numbered boxes with lists of the contents. We used it several times. It also helped to decide which boxes needed to be unpacked right away and which ones could wait a few days, or go to be stored. As I unpacked boxes completely I took the numbered card out of the card box. I was going to throw them away but decided to put them in a ziploc bag and hold onto them. I may end up repacking the boxes with the same items when we move again.

TIP - I put labels on the dressers and such so the helpers would know which rooms to take them. They were very hard to get off, so I don't think I'll do that again.

This move was very organized and easy. It's never a good idea to be packing the day you are moving. This aggravates the nice men who come to help out of the goodness of their hearts. Lets face it, no one really likes helping you move, they just want to get it over with and go home.

TIP: Make sure you feed the very generous people who are helping you move. Buy pizzas or something quick and easy. Pizza is very easy and doesn't require dishes or a lot of garbage. Have plenty of water bottles on hand too. Full bellies will keep your helpers happy and working. My husband once helped someone move and he didn't get fed. He came home feeling unappreciated, starving and grumpy. I doubt he will help that person move ever again. Men like food. Feed the men who are moving  you.

I promise this makes you life easier. I have been so happy I took a little extra time and made this move organized. 


If you have questions I'd love to hear them.  


Joy said...

This is a great idea, and very helpful! I only wish I would have read this a few weeks ago!! We're in the midst of packing for a move in two weeks, and it is such a big job. We also have 7 in our family, so there is a lot of stuff to pack. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, and I'll have to remember it for next time!


Sarah said...

LOVE IT!~ Hopefully I will not be moving soon but I am very impressed with your system. And I agree about the feeding your movers thing. We helped someone move this week and I ended up going to buy food so that people weren't grouchy...

Mindy said...

Oh, how I love and loathe moving at the same time! I hope you don't mind that I cut/pasted this into a folder for our next move, but right now it makes me dizzy! You've been blessed with terrific organisational skills!

First things first, I suppose, I need to 'thin out the herd' and decide what goes to charity and friends, thank you for the reminder!


Kimmie said...

I got rid of close to 400 pounds of clutter before we started packing to move. This was by far my most organized move and it was extremely smooth. It worked out very well.

Of course you can copy it. I hope it's helpful someday.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...