Back to all stories

Moving 101: Packing like a pro

Posted on 2014-09-15

So you’ve (hopefully) followed our advice, in the first post of the Moving 101 series, and decluttered your possessions – leaving just the last bits of packing to do. Whilst it’s tempting to just throw things haphazardly into boxes, drawing up a methodical packing plan can save you time (yes, really!) and even money, if it means your precious possessions won’t be jumbled and broken when you’ve arrived at the new place.

1. Stock up on the essentials

Having everything you need to hand, and in plentiful supply, seems like an obvious way to start your packing. However, it’s easy to forget something and have to go out and buy it in the middle of the job – it’s no mean feat to find plentiful bubble wrap at 8pm on a Sunday – meaning work often stops until the next day.

At the very least, you’ll need to stock up on:

  • Strong packing tape
  • Boxes/crates
  • Scissors
  • Bubble wrap
  • Newspapers
  • Tissue paper
  • Coloured card or paper
  • Permanent markers
  • Large bin bags
  • Plastic zip-loc bags or sandwich bags
  • Ring-binder – this will be the centre of your planning and will hold all the essential details

Some of these are obvious, some not so (read on to find out why they’re useful). Never underestimate how many of each item you will need. You can often find great bulk deals online or at your local discount shop – there’s no need to spend a fortune.
You can buy proper packing boxes online; they’re reliable and strong but can be expensive. You could also try sites like Gumtree or Freecycle to see if anyone is giving away good quality boxes.

Alternatively, try local supermarkets, clothes shops or fast food restaurants to enquire into any going spare. If they don’t have any boxes, ask when their next stock delivery day is and whether they can set some to one side for you to come and pick up.

2. Have a system

Packing for a move is the best time to unleash your organisational skills and put them to the test. Simple, methodical planning will mean your packing is easier, you can move quicker and unpacking will be a cinch.

Start out by allocating a colour to each room in your new home. When packing, label the sides of each box with a bit of coloured paper and make sure to keep a note of your colour code – add it to your ring-binder.

On moving day, stick a coloured sheet to the door of each room in your new house, meaning whoever’s helping you move can place the boxes quickly and efficiently into each room.

If you want to be super organised, make a list of what’s in each box (even a general idea of what it is – for example, “Box 3: kids’ bedding and towels”) and number the box, making a note in your ring-binder. This way, once you’ve moved, you won’t spend hours searching for items you need and you’ll know which boxes to unpack first.

3. Put furniture and electrical items back together with ease

It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve finished a move and want to go to bed or slump on the sofa and watch TV, but can’t find the screws or cables to put them back together.

When dismantling your TV, or any other electrical item, take a photo of the back of it on your phone – for a quick reference guide to where the cables go. Make sure you pack it in the same box as any remotes or batteries and put all the cables in a labelled sandwich bag. If you’ve got any set-up instructions lying around, these should go in your ring-binder.

When it comes to furniture, it’s much the same thing – keeping all screws in a labelled bag (you could even secure them to part of the item with masking tape) and adding the instructions (if you have them) to your binder.

4. Have the essentials on hand

Prepping for the big day itself doesn’t just mean packing your things and hiring a van – there are all sorts of things you’ll need (or wish you had) during the move. Grab a couple of large, clear plastic boxes and start filling them with the essential items you think you’ll need on moving day. These boxes should be the first thing you move to the new place. As a guide, you should pack:

  • Snacks or a non-perishable lunch for each person
  • A non-perishable, easy dinner (or a takeaway menu!)
  • Phone chargers
  • Crockery and cutlery (including mugs) for each person
  • Kettle
  • Tea/coffee/sugar/long-life milk/biscuits
  • Bottled water
  • Hand wash or soap
  • Basic tools (screwdriver, drill, hammer) for assembling/dismantling furniture
  • Your moving ring-binder
  • Cash (to pay any helpers, if necessary)
  • Basic cleaning products (antibacterial wipes, cloths, gloves, sponges, tea towels/kitchen roll and bleach are a good start)
  • Toilet roll
  • Light bulbs and fuses
  • A torch
  • Bin bags
  • Paper & pen
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew

With all of these essentials ready and your packing expertly done, all you need to do now is move – surely? Well, technically yes, but there are still lots of things you’ll need to remember to do, before and after the move.

To give you a hand, we’ve created a fantastic, free new app just for tenants – Let’s Move – plus, there’ll be more handy tips and advice to come from the Moving 101 blog series too!

Most Popular Stories

Blog archive