1. Allow yourself plenty of time. Estimate how long it will take you to pack everything and then double (at least) that number. You’ll need plenty of time to discard, sort and pack your things.
2. De-clutter first. Flylady.net suggests that you make piles of items to donate, give away, or throw away. Try groups like Freecycle or Craigslist to give away items you don’t need or can’t take to a new home.
3. Arrange for donations of the things you are recycling. Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters or Vietnam Veterans of America will come to your home to pick up usable clothes and household items.
4. Buy enough packing tape before you start.
5. Pack one room at a time and don’t start the next room until you’re finsished. It’ll keep you organized and allow you to tackle the move in smaller steps.
6. Label, label, label. This may seem obvious but it can fall by the wayside during a busy move. Write down the contents and the destination room on every box. A helpful tip from Good Housekeeping: Be sure to label boxes on all four sides so you know what’s inside when they’re stacked.
7. Wrap your breakables with clothing. It reduces waste and isn’t as messy as newspaper.
8. Time it! To make things more fun and focused, time your packing by room to see how fast you can get it done. Check out flylady.net for more suggestions.
9. Use free boxes. They abound in places like supermarkets, local warehouses and pharmacies. You’ll be saving money and reusing boxes all in one go.
10. Enlist the help of family and friends to make the time go by faster.
11. Keep it light. Avoid accidents by making sure all boxes are less than 50 pounds.
12. Add handles. MarthaStewart.com shows how you can cut triangle handles on the sides of boxes for easy lifting.
13. Keep all your important info in one place. RealSimple.com suggests a moving binder. About.com suggests a “last in, first out” box. Remember to keep birth certificates, school, records, mover estimates, new job contracts, utility company phone numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, maps, and more in a safe place.