Packing is a pain. Even if you hire somebody else to do it for you, you’re not entirely off the hook. You still have to decide what stays and what goes. If you have things that are particularly precious or valuable, you’ll experience a fair amount of angst about their well-being while in transit. So, whether you’re moving to a new address or just putting extra possessions into self storage to free up space, here are some tips to make packing less painful.
Before You Pack
Get all your supplies before you figure out how to pack breakable items. Things you’ll want to stock up on include plastic packing tape, bubble wrap, lots of newsprint (the kind without ink on it) and boxes – lots of them. Get more than you think you could possibly use. The real estate experts at TheNest.com recommend you start by figuring out the number of boxes you’ll need per room. “Think about what shapes and sizes will best fit your things, remembering that it’s easier to carry smaller, lighter boxes than heavy, overloaded ones,” they say. Besides, you’re better off putting a few breakable items in one small box and padding it heavily, than dumping lots of breakable items into one big box. No matter how well you wrap and pad them, there’s still a danger they’ll bump against each other and break in transit.
Avoid the potential of transporting bugs along with your goods and buy nice, new boxes instead of scrounging in dumpsters. Your self storage facility sells boxes, along with other packing materials, and will usually buy back any supplies you don’t use.
The packing pros at Penske (the rental truck folks), offer the following suggestions for packing fragile items:
- Put small appliances in their original boxes or cushion well with bubble wrap. They caution, “Don’t use shredded paper, it can clog the appliance.”
- Wrap dishes, cups and glasses individually. Don’t stack plates, saucers and platter flat; put them on edge. Cups and bowls can be nested three or four to a bundle. Fill all empty space in the box with packing material to keep things from shifting.
- Disassemble lamps before packing. Put bases in boxes, surrounded by packing material (towels and sheets work well, too). Put shades in their own boxes, using clean tissue paper for stuffing (newspaper will cause smudges). Pack the bulb separately.
- Mirrors and framed artwork should be packed individually, padded with corrugated cardboard or thick blankets and stored on end, rather than flat.
- Electronics like TVs, computers and stereo equipment should be packed in their original shipping containers if you still have them. Otherwise, make sure they’re padded on all sides, taping an extra layer of bubble wrap on TV and monitor screens. Pack stereo components separately.
What Not to Pack
Never put extremely valuable belongings like coin collections, furs, jewelry or cash in a self storage unit. Many self storage facilities prohibit this, and your regular homeowners insurance will only cover loss or damage up to a small (very small) amount. Get a safe deposit box or specialized storage solution for really expensive items.
It you’re moving from one location to another, Penske advises that you keep important documents including car registration, insurance policies, bank statements, stock certificates, medical records, tax documents and irreplaceable photos in a folder that you carry with you. Basically, if it’s irreplaceable or vitally important that you be able to access it immediately, keep your eye on it. If that’s not an option, interior decorator and About.com Guide Coral Nafie recommends that you hide precious items in a box labeled “Miscellaneous Kitchen Pantry.” The theory is that thieves won’t waste time stealing the stuff from your junk drawer.
Packing Perishables: What to Do with that Gallon of Mayonnaise
Food is big investment, so throw away the little bits of food in your cupboards, fridge and freezer before a move, but hang on to the unopened stuff. Annette Posey, Yahoo! contributor, says to “Seal all perishable items in an interior airtight container or plastic bag before packing them… Use refrigerants such as gel coolants or dry ice to keep your foods cold or frozen.” She also recommends using plastic containers and bags to contain any spills in transit and to put the frozen foods on top to keep the other food cool. You’ll also have faster access to frozen foods when you get where you’re going.
Food items should never be put in a self storage unit. They could attract vermin. And even in an air conditioned unit, after 30 minutes those frozen fish sticks won’t pass any taste tests. And if you need to store your stuff temporarily or long term after your move, you can find a storage unit near you.
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