DIY Packing tips from a “semi-professional mover”

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10 Packing tips you can’t miss. We have moved 6 times cross country in the last 12 years and that does not count in-state moves. Being a prior military family we moved ALOT. Recently my family and I moved from Rhode Island to Texas…with 4 kids in tow. It wasn’t without many headaches and trial and error. Don’t make the same mistakes as we did. Check out my top 10 packing tips for a big move.

We rented two 26 ft Penske trucks. This was one of them half full.

1. Load big furniture first.

We loaded big bulky furniture first and tried to utilize all the empty space. Those tiny nooks and crannies make perfect space for all your little odds and ends. Also, invest in frog tape it will be your best friend. You see all those green stripes on our furniture? We used frog tape to line all the corners and edges to prevent dings. It wasn’t 100% fool proof but it certainly helped tremendously.

2. Use plastic containers and not cardboard.

Now hear me out for a minute. I know that these rubbermaid containers can be expensive and when you are doing a DIY move you need to save all the pennies you can. In the long run, they will work out better. They are 100% reusable. They are more protective and since they are all one size it is easier to stack and fill a truck. We used these greenmade professional storage containers. At the end of a long move do you want to spend more time breaking down a bunch of cardboard boxes or just stack your containers?

pack items in reusable packing containers
Greenmade professional storage containers made in the USA.

3. Label everything.

I can’t stress this enough. Label everything when packing even if you don’t think you need a label on it. At one point I was labeling my kids. HA! To save some money you can use your basic masking tape and sharpies or buy a fancy label maker like this.

4. Purge as you go.

Out with the old in with the new. The last thing you want to do is pack a bunch of things to move to your new home that you don’t really need. We got our four kids involved with this process. They each had 4 bins each for toys, books, and clothes. If it didn’t fit, it did not get packed.

5. Keep important documents with you.

Let those be the first items you pack and keep them with you at all times. It is so easy to misplace important items when you are packing. We used a small safe like this and kept our social security cards, birth certificates and bank information in there. God forbid anything tragic happen, you can quickly snag all your documents and not have to search for them. You will also be thankful they are in one centralized location when it is time to head to the DMV for a new license. ***Side note, check with your new DMV location because some DMV’s let you get in line online. Ours does and it took me a whooping 15 minutes to get a new license!

6. Hire Movers.

Since we were doing a DIY move we were trying to save as much money as we could. Knowing that we were moving lots of big heavy furniture we chose to pack everything ourselves but hire 3 guys to come and load it onto the truck for us. It helped us tremendously. These guys move for a living so they are basically professional tetris players and can stack boxes and make it all fit. Space becomes a premium when you have a moving truck.

7. Tape screws and bolts to furniture.

It is so easy to loose all those small nuts and bolts. Do yourself a favor and put them in a ziploc bag, label the bag and tape them to the inside of the drawer, back of the mirror or onto the piece of furniture it came from. When it is time to put your furniture back together you won’t waste time searching for pieces.

8. Pack your dressers full.

We had a professional mover tell us to load our dressers onto our moving truck full. It keeps it from tipping and saves on precious space. Clearly if your dresser is loaded with books and heavy items then you would want to remove them but regular clothes will be fine.

9. Pack your house from the top down.

When it comes to the dreaded packing task, my biggest suggestion is to pack from the top down. So start with the walls and move your way down. Take all photos off the walls, take books and items off bookcases. Once you have those items packed it makes the whole process seem less daunting. Believe me, 6+ moves under my belt!!

10. Take a deep breath!

This too shall pass. Before you know it you will be at your new home building memories with your family. Moving is so hard, it is probably one of the top 3 stressors on a family. Hopefully these packing tips will help make your next move a little bit easier. What packing tips do you have to share? Post them below.

Leaving RI headed to Dallas was so bittersweet. We are so happy to be near family finally.

Hey! I am Tamara at a Packed Nest and I send fun emails.  Sign up below to subscribe.

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