House packing tips

(46 Posts)
FedupofTurkey Sat 20-Apr-13 21:23:22

Help me, need to move and overwhelmed by packing! What's the best way to do it?

CuddyMum Sat 20-Apr-13 21:39:02

Are you using a removals company?

FedupofTurkey Sat 20-Apr-13 21:59:40

Yes but I'm packing myself using own boxes

nocake Sat 20-Apr-13 22:29:45

The best way is to pay the removal company to do it.

PragmaticWench Sat 20-Apr-13 22:42:03

That's not an option for everyone. There must be some people with some tips or suggestions?

specialsubject Sat 20-Apr-13 22:44:59


1) get rid of everything you don't need. Run down food stocks. Run down everything. Be ruthless.

if possible, dedicate a room to the boxes. Start with the stuff you can do without until after the move. Pack full, but not too heavy. Label on top and sides. Loads of packing tape. Plates packed on edge, china wrapped and then cushioned with shredded paper. Clothes in bags and suitcases.

BTW freecycle can get you moving boxes and packing materials if you move quick. Also sweet talk your supermarket.

clean empty fitted cupboards as you go. Then don't open them again.

did it - took two weeks of doing almost nothing else. Be warned.

FedupofTurkey Sat 20-Apr-13 22:45:59

Thanks Prag, just don't know where to start!

Yddraigoldragon Sat 20-Apr-13 22:51:46

Ikea blue bags are helpful for fabrics, toys etc.. Easier to carry than boxes.

PastaBeeandCheese Sat 20-Apr-13 22:52:53

It's easy once you get started.

I go through each room 3 times, cleaning as I go. I start with stuff you can easily do without, then stuff you can be without for the final week and finally the last bits.

Don't overfill boxes and make them really heavy. A white label (to stand out) with the room you need them taken to the other end marked on it in thick marker with a pencil note of contents underneath so you can prioritise unpacking properly.

When stacking your 'done' pile ensure you don't put anything delicate at the bottom.

Pack a box with cleaning things and another with the kettle, tea and cups as you'll need these as soon as you arrive at the new house.

Get on ebay and order some bubble wrap and tissue for fragile things and mark fragile boxes.

Good luck! BTW, you'll find all the things you thought you'd lost forever as a bonus!

AvrilPoisson Sat 20-Apr-13 23:14:54

Label your boxes!
Even if it's just a number, and you log what's in the box in a notebook, it will make a huge difference at the other end.

What are you moving from and to please? (i.e. 1 bed flat, 6 bed with triple garage etc)

AvrilPoisson Sat 20-Apr-13 23:15:13

Oh, and number/ages of children...

maggiethecat Sun 21-Apr-13 01:29:32

all of that labelling boxes eg bedroom 1, make good use of the effort by delegating someone to instruct/supervise removal men at new house to ensure that they put boxes in right places rather than dumping them anywhere. This happens easily towards end when everyone is tired.

Know this is not so much to do with packing but also try to work out beforehand exactly where you are putting furniture so that men can put these in situ (or know where main things eg bed are going) and then boxes are placed accordingly.

Will save you having to re-jig things,

Remember to isolate your precious or confidential things in case you want to take these personally.

FedupofTurkey Sun 21-Apr-13 07:35:21

Avril - moving from a 2 bed house to a 4 bed house with my one child, age 10. Also moving in is fiancee and his 3 children.

CuddyMum Sun 21-Apr-13 08:45:34

Our removals company said I could leave chests of drawers full and they will just tie a strap around them and load them like that. I haven't physically started packing just yet but have started working through everything and binning everything we really don't need - be ruthless! When I've moved previously good labelling of boxes has been the key to success. Our removals company are also dismantling the two double Ikea beds that belong to my daughters and will reassemble at the other end - this is a huge relief as it took my husband a whole day to put them together in the first place!

Bertrude Sun 21-Apr-13 09:10:13

I'm 2 months from moving and am starting to make my action plan.

So far, I've been assigning myself small tasks to get done by the end of each week. Things like going through the kitchen cupboards and getting rid of expired stuff, sorting drawers out, sorting wardrobes for charity shop etc. If you have time, a little bit each week before the major packing starts will really help you get organised.

Spreadsheets and lists are the way forward. I realised this when I packed up my house for an international move and customs required a list on each box of the contents - unpacking was a dream!

My intention is to issue the removal people with a very crudely drawn plan of the house with rooms numbered, and all boxes have the number of their destination. Masking tape also works well as you can put it on furniture items and not cause damage when its removed, and can be written on. This way you can also add your room numbers to the furniture items so they go in the right place too.

This will go completely against everything I've just said about organisation, but we usually have a box that gets moved last labelled something like 'Crap from the kitchen side', because inevitably, this is the stuff you'll need most urgently and when you're in a panic because its gone, you'll have the conversation with everyone of 'where did you last see it?' 'on the kitchen side'. Has worked wonders in the past

Put your important documents like passports, birth certificates etc somewhere safe. Don't do what my parents did once and put the cardboard box of important documents in the same room as stuff to go to the tip.

Oh and put your iron in the same box as your kettle, because every time I've moved this has ended up missing and therefore when I need to go somewhere I can't find it grin

cece Sun 21-Apr-13 09:19:01

Number the boxes.

So as you pack non essential stuff into boxes start with No. 1 and so on. The last few boxes (essential stuff) will have the highest numbers.

Then when you unpack do it in reverse numerical order. You therefore unpack essential stuff first and then gradually work towards the non essential stuff.

ValentineWiggins Sun 21-Apr-13 09:26:23

I do room numbering too - just tape a piece of paper to the door at the destination with the number rather than expecting them to remember a plan!

And label the boxes on the packing tape not the cardboard - much easier to reuse!

nancerama Sun 21-Apr-13 09:39:36

Have you asked your removals company how much their packing service is? When we moved it was an extra £150 or so, and many removals companies only insure the stuff they have packed themselves. I figured that a broken picture or dropped box of crockery would probably cost more to replace than the packing service, so managed to scrape the money together.

It was well worth it. 2 men came round the day before we moved and stripped the house like a pair of locusts.

magimedi Sun 21-Apr-13 10:06:21

When you number the boxes don't just number them on the top, but on all sides. The removal men may well stack them several high when they put them into your new house.

Mum2Fergus Sun 21-Apr-13 11:35:26

I just moved in Feb. Started in loft then worked through cupboards. Start running down fridge/freezer/cupboards. Store important paperwork somewhere safe. Declutter and clear out as you go, dont pay to move stuff you dont really need/want. Think about moving day box-kettle and stuff for hot drink, snacks, toilet roll, lightbulbs. Takeaway menu for first night! When you get to other end prioritise getting beds made up, everything else can wait. Good luck!!

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 11:46:31

Only pack what you would be happy to seeagain.

We have moved house 4 times now, and IMO it is best to be ruthless, and have a big clear out. That is more work to start with, as yu have to make lots of decisions ( and that is the most tiring bit).

Things that are tricky are broken or incomplete tings. Bin them all.

Things you never use, but are sure may come in handy one day. Bin them.

Kids art work : one folder each, bin rest

Christmas decorations, only keep what you will use again

Half broken or incompete toys: bin them, if necessary let kids choose one new toy each to compensate.

It is a massive job, but it is very nice as well to start with a clean slate.

It is really worth the hard work, as it means you will not have boxes and boxes of stuff ypu do not even have the heart to open once you arrive in your new place.

TulipsfromAmsterdam Sun 21-Apr-13 12:37:20

My little tip is to buy a ream of packing paper, cost me about £10 from local removal firm. It was so much easier for wrapping plates, glasses etc than newspaper and dishes arrive without newsprint all over. They also sell bubble wrap cheaply and in larger rolls than local shops.

TulipsfromAmsterdam Sun 21-Apr-13 12:37:22

My little tip is to buy a ream of packing paper, cost me about £10 from local removal firm. It was so much easier for wrapping plates, glasses etc than newspaper and dishes arrive without newsprint all over. They also sell bubble wrap cheaply and in larger rolls than local shops.

Jan49 Sun 21-Apr-13 13:09:42

I moved house this year and last year. I put clean towels and clean bedding in large laundry bags instead of boxes so they were really easy to find. I also used the same for dirty washing (obviously you need to label the bags!) I used them for clothing too but you can leave clothing in drawers as long as the drawers are being moved with you.

I wish I'd had lots of teatowels for the move as I washed all the kitchen stuff when unpacking and they quickly ended up too wet to use.

I kept a list on a clipboard of boxes packed. I numbered each box and wrote which room and contents in one word such as Books, but on the written list I sometimes wrote more detail, which was really helpful when unpacking and looking for things. I wish I'd written the number on more than 1 side of the box as sometimes it was hard to find the right box when they were all piled up.

We had a lot of boxes and moved into a smaller house than I'd hoped for (renting). I allocated one large bedroom and told them to pile most of the boxes in there and fill the room completely if they needed to, and I slept in the smallest bedroom originally, planning to change once we'd unpacked enough - oops, haven't managed that yet!

I also paid the removal company to dispose of a few pieces of furniture which weren't fit to donate and that really helped when moving in. But it might be cheaper to pay the council or a waste company before you move. My removers charged £80 +VAT for about 6 large items.

soverylucky Sun 21-Apr-13 13:35:43

borrow suitcases from friends and family and use these for clothes, bedding, curtains etc. Pack pretty much everything and just leave a few outfits out. Certainly all clothes from the wrong season can be packed away very early on.

Definitely label all boxes. Number then and then write down what is in the box in a notebook.

Use it as an opportunity to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Definitely try and do a room at a time.

recall Sun 21-Apr-13 13:47:47

I do it by emptying a cupboard/wardrobe at a time.

I completely pack it, and label the box. Eventually you will end up with rooms full of empty furniture, and packed boxes.

Also, start NOW, the sooner you start the better.

FedupofTurkey Sun 21-Apr-13 16:08:30

What do you do with TV's?

Jan49 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:06:20

TVs: We've got a big old TV and we just unplug it from the aerial, then sellotape the wire and plug to somewhere round the back so it's not dangling down when they lift it. If it's on a removable stand then unscrew it from the stand. Any smaller items like DVD players and remote controls I put in a box. If you've got one fixed to a wall you probably need to take it down yourself unless they've agreed to do that kind of thing.

Any item that's too big for a box they treat like furniture and they'll wrap it in the van to protect it.

specialsubject Sun 21-Apr-13 17:20:37

we'd had our TV less than a year and kept the box knowing we were planning to move. The reaction from the movers was 'excellent, a proper TV box'.

so if you have a flatscreen might be worth a chat to local shops to see if anyone has a box and the packing.

as someone else said, removers are not responsible for breakages of items they didn't pack. That said, we packed, they moved and nothing broke.

FedupofTurkey Sun 21-Apr-13 17:25:35

I know it will differ in area and size of move but what is the average removal price including packing and not including packing?

Runoutofideas Sun 21-Apr-13 17:28:53

We paid less than £200 for packing of a very full 3 bed house. it was worth every penny and I would highly recommend it. They come in the day before and whizz through your house, packing everything carefully. Nothing was broken and everything was easily located afterwards.

FedupofTurkey Sun 21-Apr-13 17:39:37

Run - and how much extra was the move?

maggiethecat Sun 21-Apr-13 20:32:35

i've done it both ways - used the packing service and done it myself. Definitely prefer diy as although quite tiring you end up knowing where to find stuff. It made unpacking much easier than when I used their service.

Runoutofideas Sun 21-Apr-13 21:16:58

Sorry - missed that bit - I think it was about £900 altogether - £700 for the move and £200 for packing. They do vary hugely though so worth getting a few quotes.

AvrilPoisson Sun 21-Apr-13 21:57:15

Our previous move (no packing service) was £350, but it was very straight-forward, 2-bed to a 2-bed, same city etc.

AvrilPoisson Sun 21-Apr-13 21:59:29

If you have a packing service... do they pack everything i.e. broken stuff, the jiffy bags you've been holding on to for ebay, your recycling bin etc?

AvrilPoisson Sun 21-Apr-13 22:25:44

Btw- this is a pretty good page for ideas there are lots of people's tips at the bottom too.

CuddyMum Sun 21-Apr-13 22:26:49

I'm not going for a packing service and agree with what Avril said above. I don't want to take any unwanted rubbish with me. My quote is £740 for 6 bed house to 5 bed, 10 minutes away and they are dismantling two double beds and putting them back together.

Jan49 Sun 21-Apr-13 23:24:31

I've never used a packing service. It all seems a bit too personal somehow. But one of my family has moved frequently and always uses it. She says they pack everything. They pack very fast so they won't stop and check if you want things or not. If you choose to use them, maybe it's best to try to sort out and declutter so it's organised first. I think a lot of companies offer the option of just paying them to pack your breakables such as kitchen stuff which takes longer to pack as it needs wrapping.

I had a quotation of £250 from Pickfords for packing a 3 bed 2 reception house. Apart from that, the actual move quotation was £4000shock to move from house to local storage and then from storage 200 miles to our next home once we'd found one. The company I actually used charged half as much but I didn't bother to ask for a packing quotation.

Runoutofideas Mon 22-Apr-13 09:32:08

Yes they do pack EVERYTHING - you have to do the de-cluttering first. My mum used a packing service when she moved house and was delighted to unwrap an ashtray still full of cigarette ends, but very carefully wrapped!

happynappies Mon 22-Apr-13 14:09:32

We moved last October, and I was nervous of using a packing service because I'd have to find everything again on the other side!! We moved three weeks after I'd had a baby, so spent the last stages of pregnancy furiously packing.

We started with the loft - brought everything down, packed into boxes or took stuff to tip/charity/recycling... Then worked through the house starting with the stuff you don't really 'need' like books, CDs etc, and lots of clothes, children's toys...

I had a small notebook in which I kept a record of each box I packed. I.e. the number of the box (write on the top and the side, because if the boxes end up stacked in your garage on top of each other for the next 12 months, you can't see the numbers on the top of the boxes and have to keep re-arrangingthe stacks) and a summary of the contents. I didn't itemise each thing, but if something important was going into the box that I knew I'd need to find, I wrote that in the book, otherwise just a general summary (bedding from nursery, child x's toys etc). I found the book invaluable for locating items - we're still unpacking, we had 209 boxes (just checked the book!).

Do you have any camping friends who could lend you a portable fridge for the move? We unplugged our fridge/freezer the day before the move, but were able to keep e.g. milk, butter etc to hand in the camping fridge, and plugged it in when we got to the new house.

I aimed to pack around 5 boxes a day - more than that was a bonus. Obviously this entails sorting, throwing stuff out etc, so not just a case of putting stuff straight into the box.

If you have a shed/garage/outbuilding etc, tackle this early on - you probably won't need much of the stuff, and you can forget how much there is - you'll feel loads better once that is all sorted.

Many removal companies won't carry e.g. paints/chemicals etc so we took a few plastic lidded crates of those around to a local friend who kept them in their garage for us.

Children can manage with surprisingly few toys, so pack them!! We found they took lots of boxes because one large item e.g. Fisher Price garage, playmobil school house etc took up much of a box.

Invest in one of those tape dispenser things e.g. from Staples. They only cost a few quid, but really do make the packing process quicker. And some sharpie markers to write on the tape.

We reached a point about a month before the move where we thought the house was looking quite sparse, and felt we were really making progress, but the last lot of stuff was the hardest to sort/pack/do without... I have nightmares about those last few weeks, particularly as the moving date had moved twice, and we had a newborn, plus three other children under the age of 5!! It can be done though. Good luck!

Toomuchtea Mon 22-Apr-13 18:11:02

Very best of luck with the packing and the move OP.

I also would say list the most important contents of each box in a notebook. I divided up the book into sections for each room, and it was a godsend whenever anyone wanted to know where something was. Don't label boxes "Xbox", "Ipad" etc. You never know.

If you have a lot of books, don't pack them in boxes which are too large.

If you have to buy boxes, don't buy them from ebay etc, as they're often single wall with pathetically inadequate tape. I got mine from a local packaging company, and they were 1/3 of the cost the removal company wanted to charge me, and half the cost of the ebay equivalent. Had no idea that the removal company would only let me have 40 boxes for free, and that I'd have to cough up £1 for every extra box. No joke when you need 100 boxes just for your books....

Gosh, I have been wondering this too - I am petrified to start. We have acquired 20 large boxes from work so far, but not started to pack yet...I suppose we have a lot of stuff that could be packed already, ie winter duvets, toys in cupboards, stuff in the attic - but where to start...

FedupofTurkey Wed 24-Apr-13 21:00:22

So I've started packing, yeh! Nearly done one room! I tend to give up everytime my wheelie bin gets full!

JonesH Mon 29-Apr-13 10:33:42

I had the same issue in the past I called on this company, as not only do they offer a removals service, but a packaging service too! Which gave me peace of mind...and a little more stress free!Hope your move is going well!

rumbelina Mon 29-Apr-13 12:16:17

Just marking my place for all these top tips. I keep opening cupboards and thinking 'aaargh we've got so much crap stuff'

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