Packing and unpacking

Stay Organized While Packing

Moving to a new apartment is rarely a breeze. Once you’ve found a new place, the task of packing looms ahead, with stark memories of what a headache it was last time. Streamline the packing process by using these easy steps and you will stay organized, making leaving your old place and unpacking in the new as painless as possible.

Supplies

Before you pack up a single item in your apartment, get a supply of boxes. You can get them for free at book, liquor and grocery stores, but consider paying for solid, uniform boxes at your truck rental or moving supply store. Assuming you have more than a carload of items, you or someone else will be stacking boxes in a moving truck — having them all the same size means tighter packing and a more stable load. You’ll also want a clipboard, writing pad, plenty of tape, dispensers, colored markers, see-through garbage bags, labels, bubble wrap and newspaper on hand. If you are having people help you pack, be sure to have enough material to go around.

Sort it like you mean it!
Prevailing wisdom tells us not to take anything with us that we don’t love. Think about it: do you really want to go to the trouble to wrap, pack and carry items you won’t even use or look at on the other end? Go through each room in your apartment systematically, creating keep, toss and donate piles in corresponding boxes or garbage bags. As you go, remove the garbage to the outside container and put items to give away in your car. Nothing stays in your apartment that’s not going with you!

Pack away

First, get the clipboard and paper and create a manifest for all your boxes and the items in them. As you pack, choose a color per room and number all the boxes from that room, listing the contents on the outside. Don’t overwork yourself! If you’ve begun this process far enough in advance of the move, you should be able to pack a few boxes a day at a leisurely pace. Think about what you will need when you first arrive in your new apartment and see that these boxes are loaded last: cleaning items, vacuum/mop/broom, basic kitchen set up, bathroom items (including towels), bedding, clothes for the first few days and food staples — for which you might need a cooler. The cleaning and organizational site Flylady.net recommends numbering boxes as you pack. Once you get to your destination, you can unpack the higher numbered boxes first, as they were packed last and usually contain items you use on a regular basis.

Unpacking

Whether you are having friends or movers unload your items, be the advanced guard and place the color-corresponding sticker for each room on the doorframe, so your helpers will know where the boxes should go. Packing and unpacking a move can be the most difficult parts of the process. Don’t torture yourself — with some advanced planning and organization, you’ll cut down on the work, lose the stress and face each relocation with more anticipation than dread.

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