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Packing Guide - How to Stay Sane when Moving

The Essential Packing Guide for Moving

Packing before moving has to be one of the most frustrating tasks known to man.

If you’re like me, you’re still packing as you’re loading boxes and furniture onto the truck.  I can tell you from personal experience this is both stressful, and creates a nightmare trying to find everything afterwards!  (I might still have a few unmarked boxes in the garage!)

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to Keep Your Sanity
  • Discipline:  The Lost Art that Eliminates Stress
  • Patience: Packing is Not an Overnight Event
  • Organizational Skills
  • Packing Yourself vs Hiring Someone
  • Materials Needed
  • Moving Internationally?
  • Things You Should Not Pack

How to Keep Your Sanity During the Move

It is very rare to come across an activity that is more taxing on time and energy. It can take days, weeks, and sometimes even months to properly pack for a move.

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Especially if you’re moving out of state.  If you have a lot of belongings where you live, it can be extremely overwhelming, resulting in a very frustrating and even rage-inducing experience.

Nobody ever gets excited about packing. They look at the things around them, get overwhelmed, and then they put off packing for one day. Then another day. And another day.

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And by the time it is moving day, they have done very little to pack and now must scramble to pack without organizing anything. This can result in a lot of valuables being thrown away, money wasted on numerous trips to any place that sells boxes, and poorly packed items that run the risk of being damaged permanently while moving.

It does not have to be like this. It should not ever be like this. By following this guide, you can make packing for a move much less tedious and much less taxing on your energy and time. All it takes on your end is a little bit of discipline, patience, and organizational skills.

Discipline: The lost art that eliminates stress

You must be disciplined in order to pack properly. It is not easy to take time out of your day and pack for moving day.

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It is even more difficult to actually take time out of your day and figure out which belongings need to be thrown away, which ones need to be kept, and which ones can be given away. Resisting the temptation to do other things other than pack is extremely difficult.

This is why you are only going to dedicate at least one hour per day to pack. This is assuming you have already started packing 1-2 months before moving day. Think of how much time that creates. There are thirty days to a month. One hour for two months gives you sixty hours dedicated to packing.

Have less than a month to pack? Increase this to at least two hours. Keep in mind that if you are requesting NDMS to transport your belongings, everything must be 100% packed by moving day.

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If you cannot do this, the moving crew will move on to another household, and you will need to reschedule. The sooner you pack, the more time you will have to pack.

Patience: Packing should not be an overnight event

For some, it actually is possible for packing to be an overnight event. Since they have so few things, they can just fill their car with everything they have in their homes and they are ready. But for most, proper packing takes time.

This is exactly why it is best to begin packing 1-2 months before moving day. It gives you time to organize certain things and reduces overwhelm.

Organizational skills: The most important skill to have when packing

All things considered, you can get away with putting off packing or being impatient when packing. If you have cracker jack organizational skills and can organize things quickly without even thinking about it, this is certainly possible.

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However, most people do not have organizational skills to that degree. They do, however, have basic organizational skills.

When packing, you need to make sure you are placing your belongings in three separate categories:

  • What you need to throw out
  • What you are taking
  • What you can sell or give away

This makes moving much easier than you would ever think.

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Packing by yourself vs. outsourcing packing

So far, most of the information in this article assumes you are packing by yourself. But what if you do not like packing at all and want to get someone to do it for you? You have a couple of options as to how to go about doing this.

The first thing you can do is hire an actual professional moving service. If you have the money, most moving companies who are taking all of your bigger belongings (like appliances and beds, etc) anyway will also take any belongings that you do not want packed.

Of course, this adds to the cost of moving but it is extremely convenient.

Another thing you can do is just get your friends and family to help you. Of course, this means you would likely need to compensate them in some way, but some still will not mind and pack things for free.

Materials needed while packing

What happens to most people when they move? They do not have enough boxes, and they get stuck with unprotected belongings, many of which are fragile and valuable, bouncing around in their vehicle or moving truck. This absolutely needs to be avoided.

Always lean on the side of too many boxes versus too few. With giant boxes costing a quarter at most at most U-Haul locations, there is no real excuse to have too few boxes.

Also, make sure your belongings are protected well. Fragile, breakable items should be wrapped up neatly, tightly, and packed into the same box, also very tightly, this way they do not bounce around freely while inside of a moving truck.

Moving internationally?

Different countries have different regulations regarding what you can and cannot bring. It is your job to check on these things to see if you can take all your belongings.

Items you should not pack

Some belongings should not be packed into a moving van (unless you are the one renting and driving it). Very valuable things, documents especially, should be taken with you.

You may need them while physically moving. If you do wish to pack these things, make sure to mark them down on the High-Value Inventory form that your coordinator provides.

It is true that packing is a chore. Nobody likes packing, and that is why most people who move foolishly pack at the very last second.

This is extremely stressful. Refuse the temptation to put off packing. Follow this guide, pack early, and it will not be as taxing or as daunting a task.

NOTE:  This article is a Guest Post submitted by the great folks over at North Dallas Moving and Storage.  If you are moving to or from the Dallas area, be sure to look these guys up!

About Your Expert

Scott Schang

As a 19 year veteran of the Mortgage and Real Estate industry, I am passionate about educating and empowering consumers. I have been writing about consumer protection issues, and making sense of complicated real estate and mortgage topics on this website since 2007

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