My System For Packing (So I Won’t Go Crazy)
Since we’re currently in the throes of packing our house, I decided to share some tips and tricks that I use in order to keep my sanity when overloaded with a complete house that needs to be packed. Truth is, I (Laura) have packed all my belongings and moved four times in the last two-and-a-half years (counting this move)… and that’s not even counting all the times I helped my family move growing up. So over the years I’ve found and implemented various packing “systems” that help me keep my sanity when packing my house yet again, and I think I’ve finally found one I really like. So I want to share it with you today.
My first plan of action when I begin packing is to create a color code key. This is a paper that contains various colors and what they mean. For instance, dark green is library stuff. Blue is kitchen. Purple is home decor. You can either use colored stickers from the dollar store or just use different colored markers. I used the stickers last time, but I realized there are very few colors.
Using the stickers works if you are labeling by room (i.e., kitchen, bedroom, office, bathroom, etc.), since there aren’t a whole lot of rooms in the average house. On the other hand, if you want to break things down further (i.e., kids clothes, kids toys, home decor, library, office, etc.), then you’ll want the versatility of markers.
I’ve used both those color coding techniques, but prefer the markers.
Next I create a log where I can list every single item in a box. I used a notebook the first time, but I lose things (especially paper and notebooks) way too easily, so this time I’m using a really awesome program called Airtable.com (more on that in the next post).
Now I start packing! Keeping in mind my color codes, I keep things together in categories. So I won’t throw bathroom towels in a box of kitchen paper goods, or home decor items in the office stuff. Keep everything well segregated. Once I’ve packed a box I mark it with a color-coded sticker (I use a marker to color the edges of a white sticker) and label the general variety of stuff in the box, and the box number.
Note: last time I numbered by color. So for example “pink #1,2,3,4” and “yellow #1,2,3”. This time I’m numbering by box, which gives a more accurate picture of how many boxes there are.
Before I tape it, I make sure to write down in my log (aka Airtable) a more detailed listing of what’s in the box. Some need more details than others. For example, “Laura’s clothes” on the box may be “Laura’s skirts & blouses” on Airtable since I don’t need to know every exact skirt and blouse. Whereas “kitchen supplies” may become “serving utensils, small metal bowels, dish towels, and hot pads”.
Once that’s all entered into my Airtable, then I tape up that box and start the next one!
A couple bonus tips:
Use stickers to label the boxes. They’re easy to color code, and they peel off so you can reuse the box many times.
Downsize as you pack! I can’t emphasize this enough. Unless you’re already a minimalist, you probably have some stuff lying around the house that you really don’t need (or even want) but ignore because it doesn’t bother you. Well, it WILL bother you if you have to move it from house to house. So do yourself a favor and get rid of stuff you don’t need or really, really want. It’ll make packing and moving so much easier!