Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the next time I pack up my worldly goods and move house, it’ll be when they carry me out of here, laid out in a nice pine box!

But my friend Sharon is in the process of moving from England to the Carribean — with a toddler and a freelance writing business to manage, while she’s at it… just imagine! Now, she already knows just about everything there about packing up and moving house, as she’s changed homes, and countries, more times than anyone else I know!) Still, in the interests of showing moral support…

Here, courtesy of Flatrate Moving,, are a few tips for the brave and peripatetic Sharon Hurley Hall — and for anyone else who’s brave enough to move house in the heat of summer — just to show a bit of moral support.

  • Don’t wait or procrastinate: Start packing 2 to 3 weeks before your move. Starting 3 to 4 weeks before is even better.
  • Start the packing process by packing the things you use least, first — these might include such items as books, seasonal clothing, seasonal sports equipment, and knickknacks.
  • When packing for a move in Summer, take extra care to bag or separate items that may soften in the heat, such as candles, soaps, or other items.
  • Use the move as an opportunity to organize, getting rid of old or outdated items you don’t use. After all, you don’t want to move what you don’t want to keep.
  • Use strong cardboard boxes for moving, choosing smaller boxes for heavier items, and larger boxes for lighter items. Don’t overpack, and use packing paper or material to pad the top, bottom and sides of each box.
  • Don’t scrimp on Packing Tape (and always buy a little more than you think you’ll need), to ensure that the bottom of each of your boxes is secure and able to withstand the weight of whatever you pack inside the box.
  • Pack your books flat, alternating the bindings so that they will stack evenly.
  • To stay neat even in the midst of packing chaos, try to concentrate on packing one room at a time. Stack boxes neatly against one chosen wall when done.
  • Use your computer and printer to print out large labels indicating the source room for each box and then attach the label instantly upon packing each box. Label each box by room/item and a box number and keep that list handy and available for your reference. (You can also use a permanent marker to jot down more specific information on what’s in that particular box — not only will it save you move time, but it will also allow you to specify where you want that box to go in your new place, saving you valuable unpacking time as well.)
  • Make sure to pack alarm clocks, medication, and any other items that you may need access to in a separate box or bag and make sure to mark that bag clearly. Do the same for important valuables and items such as documents, jewelry, and currency, or use registered mail. It’s also a good idea to make a copy of all important documents such as wills, contracts, and passports.
  • Always wrap nuts and bolts in a plastic bag and then clearly label the bag.
  • Empty dressers completely — open dresser drawers overflowing with clothing and other items are a nightmare for movers. It’s best to pack them — for the sake of the contents, as well as the furniture itself (little-known fact: furniture tends to break more easily if it’s not emptied first).
  • Beware of the hidden costs that may occur from less scrupulous movers — Instead, in order to avoid additional charges on the day of the move, make sure you (1) provide movers with a copy of your inventory list before getting your quote, and (2) get a guaranteed price that is all-inclusive in writing, before the move.
  • A good mover should quilt and secure your furniture and large items for you. They should also help to pack and unpack electronics such as Computers, TVs, DVD, Microwaves, Stereo equipment, lamps, etc. Wardrobe boxes should be provided on the day of your move by movers, as well, but go ahead and ask for them beforehand, just to be on the safe side.
  • One lesser-known item: Most movers will not be able to reassemble Baby Cribs, for important safety reasons. Therefore, make sure to have a knowledgeable person ready to reassemble your crib in your new home upon completion of the move.
  • Create and keep a complete inventory list of everything that needs to be moved. Jot down and keep record of the serial numbers on all of your electronic equipment.
  • On dishware and glasses, wrap each piece individually. Bundle flatware in groups of three and wrap the bundle. Don’t place one layer of dishware directly on top another without separating with packing paper. Newspaper is not recommended, as it may leave ink stains on your items, although it can be useful as extra padding for items that are already protected. Place less expensive glasses and cups in groups of three, wrapping each bundle.
  • Do not pack flammables such as aerosol cans, paints, or gasoline. Carefully dispose gasoline and oil from your lawnmower and other machinery to avoid spontaneous combustion. Don’t pack perishables such as frozen foods, produce, or plants. Instead, take these items to your new place separately beforehand, a day or two before moving.
  • Don’t place soaps, sprays, polishes, and medicine in the same box as food. Never pack kitchenware or other heavy items in the same box as dishware.
  • Take care of your moving team. It’s a nice gesture, especially in the brutal Summer heat, to keep chilled water or soda available for your movers, so that they don’t dehydrate on a hot day. A little extra kindness goes a long way, and gestures like this will be much appreciated by your movers. And if you’re delighted with your move? Use the standard scales and percentages for gratuities to tip your movers personally at the end of the moving day.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sharon Hurley Hall

    Just found this post, Jen. Great advice. Even though we thought we had plenty of packing tape, we kept running out – so it is worth getting extra. We also started by sorting our stuff, though by the end we just had to shove it in boxes. And in case anyone is moving internationally, I’d add a couple more weeks to the time required to sort and pack.

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