Clean Up the Clutter

Are you getting ready to move? For some people this can be a daunting task. You have things tucked away in closets, extra rooms and in the back of the cupboards–items that may have been collected over 20 years. Where do you begin?

First you need to have that initial yard sale or charity donation. Second, pack the things that are not in daily use; pictures on the walls, out of season clothing, once a year use small appliances and dishes, decorative items, books, and photo albums.

When packing always mark clearly on each box what you’ve placed inside. Another tip: indicate which room the items came on the box. When you arrive at your new home it will help to know what room the “pictures” came from. This will jog your memory because what we remember most is where we saw the item(s) last. This also helps in placement of the boxes when unloading at your new home.

So what’s left? Now you are down to the items you use daily. Keep bins in the garage for charity or another yard sale, and a trash bin. Moving is a great opportunity to weed out those items we no longer wish to store, and to get rid of the extra clutter of things we no longer use every day.

When your move date is within a week or two you will want to designate a large room in which to stack boxes and the items you have ready to move. Three empty rooms (other than large pieces of furniture) and only one room with boxes will lessen your anxiety, helping you to feel not only organized, but ready for the day of the actual move. Having four out of ten cabinets empty in the kitchen will also help you to feel like you have been productive and don’t have as much to do on the actual day of the move. The process of cleaning out the cupboards, packing non-daily use items into boxes, transferring them into the large designated room, and consolidating what you have left into a few cupboards rather then having your items spread throughout the kitchen, will keep you organized for the day you are faced with packing the last minute items.

Organizing your packing will also make the actual moving process much faster. You won’t have boxes spread all over the house in every single room and closet. You will have more empty spaces then full ones, and the people loading will not be searching every cabinet, drawer and room for items to load onto the truck.

It is never too early to begin packing for a move. For all of you who will be relocating this year I wish you a smooth and non-stressful moving day!

Tips for Packing a Kitchen

Moving the kitchen can be a real hassle if you do not know where to begin – so today I am going to show how to prepare and pack-up all the various items in your kitchen.

Kitchen Moving Supplies

To get started, you will need approximately:

  • 5 large boxes for lightweight and hard to pack items such as plastic kitchenware, dish racks, small appliances, and baking tins
  • 10 medium size boxes for heavier items such as small appliances, pantry items, pots and pans, silverware, drawer contents, and cookbooks
  • 5 heavy duty boxes with thick, double-walls for packing fragile items
  • Unprinted news wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • 5 rolls of packing/sealing tape
  • Marker
  • Labels
  • 5-10 cell kits for packing glasses, stemware, wine and liquor bottles

When rounding up your packing supplies, one cost effective way to get free boxes with the cells in them is by asking your local bar or liquor store for empty boxes because most liquor boxes already have these cell dividers inside the box.

Decide What Will Stay or Go

Sort, select, and simplify the packing process by going through each cupboard, drawer, and shelf to divide the kitchen into items you are taking with you and items you are leaving behind, donating, or selling before the move.

Don’t Pack Essential Items

Once you have decided which items need to be packed and which items you want to leave behind, prepare an essentials box by putting aside the things you will need for your last two days in your current home and for the first two days that you are in your new home. Items to include are dishes, flatware, cutlery, an all-purpose cooking pot, food items, appliances such as the coffee maker and toaster, dishtowels, a dishrag or sponge, dish soap and other various cleaners.

Next, go through your cupboards and drawers and pack the items you do not frequently use or do not need on a daily basis.

Packing Cookbooks

When packing cookbooks, always pack your books flat to prevent bending the spines and place the books in the box according to preference; remembering to keep the books you use the most on top.

Packing Glass Bottles

Next use your cell divided boxes to pack up any wine, liquor or other unopened food items that are in glass bottles.

Packing Kitchen Shelves

Next, it is time to tackle the kitchen drawers and shelves. Start with the messiest drawers first and work your way through the kitchen, packing the cutlery, flatware, etc while remembering to remove any unwanted items as you pack away the drawers.

Packing Dishware

Next, pack dishes, plates, bowls, glasses, stemware, and other miscellaneous dish items, making sure to use cell dividers in the boxes that are used for packing glasses and stemware. With respect to plates and other dishes, be sure you take your time packing these items with plenty of packing materials to ensure each item is packed well so nothing breaks during transit.

Use medium size boxes to pack any pots and pans and remember to include any lids and crockery in each box.

Packing Food Items

Next, it is time to pack the food items. Start by packing the spices you want to keep and then pack the larger food items. As you make your way through the pantry, double check that any opened food packages are taped closed before including them in each box.

For other food items, make sure you either eat or discard of all perishable food items prior to moving, including freezer items, unless you are moving to a location close-by where the food won’t become spoiled during the move.

Packing Large Appliances

Finally, always double check your owner’s manual or consult a professional on how to best prepare larger appliances, such as the refrigerator and stove, for the move.

And there you have it! The kitchen is all packed up and ready to move.

Packing like a Pro

When you’re packing for a move, you might want to ask yourself it you should pack it yourself or hire professional to do if for you. In many of our moves we’ve never used professionals to pack our things; for me it’s always about saving money. Others I know swear by packing professionals, claiming they’re worth every penny. And I believe it! But if you’re like me and you just can’t afford the price-tag, use these tips from the professionals to make sure your stuff arrives at your new home without cracks, scrapes or permanent damage.

What Should Be Packed?

If you have specialty items or items that are worth a lot of money, it might be worth it to hire professionals to pack them properly. Chandeliers, large glass pieces (sculptures, oversized mirrors and glass top tables), and some fine antique furnishings that may just need to be properly padded. Major appliances also require special care. Check out an easy-to-follow manual to preparing your appliances for moving.
Packing Supplies

All About Boxes A question I get asked a lot is, whether to buy new boxes or to ask the local grocer for some, both of which have their pros and cons. I’m a big supporter of recycling, so we usually try to use boxes that have been slightly used. For special items or antiques, I keep a few heavy-duty small boxes on hand. My husband, who supports going to every wine store in the city to collect used liquor boxes, finds that the boxes he collects are rarely damaged, since their former contents didn’t carry anything spill-able (except very well-corked wine), and are perfect for packing books. And I agree. They’re small, compact so it’s almost impossible to over-pack them.
My suggestion is to do what is best for your things and for your budget. We’re currently in the middle of a move; I had to move early to the new city to start a job, leaving my family back at our old home with all the packing. Needless to say, my husband collected his boxes from local stores and has managed to pack the entire house (except for specialty items like a large mirror) with used boxes. Not only did it save in our moving budget, but I also feel better that I’m moving a little greener by reusing boxes.

Other Packing Necessities

Again, in this last move, my husband took my advice and used shredded paper to fill boxes, to cushion delicate items and to keep things from moving around during transport.

That’s one way to save some money and trees. However, you still may need to buy more packing supplies such as:

Packing or Sealing Tape
Packing Paper
Bubble Wrap and Anti-static Bubble Wrap
Specialty Boxes
Make Sure You Label Boxes

When I started to unpack the boxes my husband pre-shipped, I was impressed with how he’d labeled the boxes. Although he wasn’t as detailed as I would be, he at least had the room locations correct and some of the contents listed.

Even though it seems to take so much time to label, proper labeling will save you a lot of time at the new house. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent looking through packed boxes for a recipe book or just recently, a photo album I’d promised my mother-in-law.

Most professional packing services recommend that you create a full list of everything that’s been packed in the box, adding as many details as possible.

So, what should you include?

Name: I usually just put our last name.

Room: Whether it’s the kitchen, dining room, child’s bedroom, etc…
Contents: This is important especially if it’s a mixed box, meaning that you’ve included several kinds of items. For instance, if you put some of the spices, a few cookbooks and a small appliance in a box, mark that it contains all three. You can also be more specific by keeping similar spices together (spices for cooking: basil, thyme, rosemary, vs. spices for baking: cinnamon, cloves, ginger), cookbooks you use often and an appliance you also use regularly.
I’d include in some boxes, a detailed list of what’s inside, especially if the contents are important. My husband recommends making a spreadsheet, and using a numbering system, you can then match the spreadsheet item to the box number.
This is a lot of work if you’re under a tight timeline. The best advice is to try to think of how you’ll be unpacking, what’s important to you and how you can best ease the unpacking on the other end.
Fragile, This End Up or Heavy: Make sure you properly label the box so that the movers know what to expect and how to handle the box. If the item is fragile, mark it or if it’s a heavy box, then make sure you note that on the outside. This will help protect your goods and the people who are moving them.