10 Common Packing Mistakes to Avoid for First-Time Movers
Whether you’re moving to a new home in your city or another state, moving is associated with stress, overwhelm, and a huge amount of planning. In fact, moving houses is one of the most stressful life events, especially if it’s frequent or unplanned.
Luckily, with a bit of preparation and the right packing tactics, you can slide through your move without worrying and biting your nails. Many people don’t know how to pack correctly, so they end up with piles upon piles of boxes that require time, effort, and money to relocate.
Keep reading to discover the best packing tips and discover ten common packing mistakes you might be making with your belongings.
1. You Leave Packing for the Last Minute
No matter how much time you think you have, never leave packing for the last minute. You’ll get overwhelmed quickly, and without a plan and a strategy, you’ll rush the process and make mistakes.
Ideally, you should start packing at least a month before the move. Then, you can spend a few hours each day to packing more belongings. This will give you enough time to purge, get rid of unnecessary things, and organize the stuff in boxes better.
At the same time, you can decide which items you’d like to sell before moving or if you want to put something in storage for the time being. The week before the move should be reserved for packing smaller things and stuff that can’t stay in boxes for too long.
2. You’re Packing Without a Detailed Plan
Packing may seem easy on the outside, but once you start putting your belongings into boxes, it becomes overwhelming and hard. This is why you should never start packing without a detailed plan and moving checklist.
For instance, start packing the things you use the least and that you know you won’t need immediately after the move. This includes packing large items, seasonal decor and clothes, spare items, artwork, hobby items, collectibles, memorabilia, books, office supplies, games, electronics, and everything that’s not essential.
Then, each family member can go through their things and decide what they can pack at least a month or a week before the move. Then, if possible, you can start transporting the boxes to the new place in order to lighten the load on moving day. If this is not possible, take the boxes to the garage or place them all together in a room so you can have space to do the rest of the packing.
If you have pets, you should pack their stuff ahead of time, as well as figure out where the pet will be staying on moving day. You can’t really let the pets roam around the new house while the movers are working, and you’ll also be busy to pay attention to the pet’s whereabouts.
If you have a friend or family member to take care of your pet for a day or two while you settle in, make sure to arrange this beforehand. Then, before moving day, double-check with the person to confirm, and don’t forget to pack a bag of essentials for your pet as well.
3. You’re Packing Everything You Own
One of the most common moving and packing mistakes people make, especially with long-distance moves and out-of-state moves, is packing every single thing they own. The rule of thumb is – before you start packing, you should declutter your entire house and get rid of everything that’s old, unusable, unnecessary, and non-essential.
Though it can be hard to get rid of items with sentimental value, keeping everything isn’t sustainable in the long run. Even if your new house has ample storage space, it’s always a good idea to start your new life fresh and without the energy and burden of old stuff you haven’t used in years.
Also, you’ll want to unpack and start living in your new house as soon as possible, so you won’t have much time to go through all boxes and declutter at the spot.
4. You Don’t Get Enough Moving Supplies
One of the easiest mistakes to make when moving is not getting enough supplies for packing. When your belongings are neatly organized in closets, drawers, and cupboards, you don’t have an accurate estimate of how many boxes you’ll need for each room.
In this case, it’s better to have extra supplies than not having enough. For starters, pick a room that you can pack in advance to see how many boxes it’ll take. Then, based on this number, you can do the math for the rest of the house, including the types of boxes and packing supplies you’ll need.
5. You Use the Wrong Packing Supplies
Before you start planning for packing, you should establish the type of packing supplies you’ll be using. Will you use plastic or cardboard boxes (or both)? How many sizes will you use? Will you use bubble wrap, shredded paper, or foam peanuts to protect your things?
To make sure you use the right supplies and have enough of them for the entire house, plan for these common moving costs in advance so you can order everything ahead of the move.
For instance, if you have children, you can prepare them for a long-distance move by having them help with packing their stuff. This way, the move will be less stressful, and they’ll feel more relaxed and in control of their things.
6. You Don’t Take a Moving Inventory
When in doubt, make a checklist and follow it to make sure you’ve packed everything and haven’t left anything behind. Go through each room and write down every single thing you put in boxes. You can ask someone to help you so that one of you can pack and the other can write.
This list will help you get an accurate moving price estimate before the move and serve as proof in case you discover some items are missing. After the move, you can use it to organize the rooms in the new house and put everything in its proper place.
7. You Don’t Pack a Box of Essentials
The most important box you need to pack before any move, no matter how big or small, is a box of essentials. These are items you’ll need immediately after the move and can include things like:
- Utensils, plates, and glasses
- Toiletries and personal hygiene items
- Clothes and shoes
- Underwear and PJs
- Bottled water
- Hand tools
- First aid kit
- Phone and laptop chargers
- Important paperwork and personal documents
- Valuables (jewelry, collector items, family heirlooms)
- Electronics (laptops, phones, tablets, cameras)
- Pet essentials (if you have pets)
- Kids essentials (if you have kids)
This way, you’ll always know where these items are and can keep an eye on them on moving day. The box of essentials goes with you in your own vehicle, not in the moving truck.
8. You Don’t Label Boxes
In the midst of a moving mess and stuff everywhere, it’s easy to get carried away and put stuff into boxes without labeling them. This simple mistake can cost you hours of wasted time in your new house, so make sure you label each and every box before sealing it.
You can do this with markers or print labels beforehand and attach them to the boxes. Write as many details on the boxes as you can. For example, when packing the items from your kitchen cabinets, write down the room, the items in the box (e.g., wine glasses, coffee mugs, water glasses), whether the items are fragile, as well as any other special instructions such as “keep dry” or “handle with care.”
If possible, stick a colored note or write with a different color marker on each box based on the room and floor the items should go to. This will help your movers carry the boxes to the appropriate rooms without having to ask each time.
9. You Don’t Protect Your Belongings
When packing for a move, use sturdy cardboard boxes or plastic boxes with lids to make sure your items are safe from breakage and damage. If using legitimate and reliable movers, you can be sure they’ll be careful with your items, but you should also add an extra layer of protection yourself.
You can do this by using bubble wrap and paper inside the boxes and cling film or scotch tape to wrap around the boxes. If you have breakable items, make sure to label the boxes and write “fragile” on every side of the box.
10. You Don’t Get Packing and Moving Help
Moving and packing are time-consuming and can be overwhelming when you have an entire house to pack. To ease the load and speed up the process, ask for help from your family, friends, or neighbors.
Make sure to have a plan for the packing and communicate it with everyone who will be helping. The goal is to save time and energy, so write down tasks for each helper and send them over via email or give them the list before packing day.
Better yet, hire professional movers who can help you pack everything properly, give you tips on protecting your items, and handle the heavy lifting for you.
Are You Making These Common Packing Mistakes?
Whether this is your first big move or you’ve moved a few times in your lifetime, moving is always stressful and overwhelming. From using the wrong moving boxes to not packing essentials in a separate box, these common packing mistakes are too easy to make.
Are you moving soon and need professional movers to help you go through the process seamlessly? Contact us today to get a free quote and let us make your moving day stress-free and hassle-free.