Packing Tips

One of the biggest mistakes many people make when they move is to “take everything”. It may be hard to do but if you will take the time to evaluate what you really want in your new home, it will save you a lot of aggravation when you unpack and settle in.

The best way to attach this problem is to prepare an inventory of each room, indicating items to be kept, and those to be given away or discarded. Get the whole family involved, and pin a list up in each room. Be “ruthless”’ organize a garage sale and sell or donate all the questionable items you can!

Then make a list of the new items that you may need to buy to fit into, and complete, your new home.

Most well-quipped removal companies will transport the contents of your house without the slightest bother or help from you. However, the biggest saving you can make is by doing the packing yourself.

Here are some handy hints to assist you with this sometimes lengthy task:

When gathering empty boxes from the local supermarket, look for some smaller ones that you can lift easily even when full of books. The sturdier the better. Don’t forget to buy packing tape and a large marking pen.

  • Compartmented cartons (such as liquor comes in) are ideal for glassware and small knick-knacks.
  • Draw a layout of the new house and number each room
  • Label each box as to contents, and according to the number of the room to which it is to be taken when unloaded at your new house. When a house is empty the movers will not know which is “John’s Room”. However, if you pin a copy of the house layout at the front door of your new home when you arrive, the movers will quickly see which boxes and furniture are to be taken to the various rooms. This is a real time saver!
  • Clearly mark those boxes which contain fragile objects and whether the box should be loaded last, so as to be unloaded first.
  • Wrap all breakable dishes separately (first in tissue, then newsprint; ink from newspapers may stain fine china) and use washcloths or aprons to fill up the empty spaces. You could also use bubble-wrap for any fragile objects.
  • Newsprint rolls (without printing) may be purchased very cheaply, and removes the necessity of washing all your crockery when you unpack.
  • When packing odd items (tools, heavy pans, sports equipment) put the things that weigh most at the bottom for better balance.
  • Towels, linen and tablecloths make excellent padding for fragile items.
  • Pack books tightly on end in small boxes. Alternate bindings and wrap valuable books separately.
  • If your move is a local one, lay your hanging clothes flat in the back of your car and pin, or otherwise secure them to the hangers, so that they do not slip off during moving. Tie the hangers together by the handles with elastic banks in batches of 10 to facilitate easy carrying.
  • Empty refrigerator & freezer so they can dry for at least 10 hrs to prevent mildew and unpleasant odours.
  • Perfume, medicine, nail varnish remover and anything else that could leak and ruin other items should be tightly sealed with tape and placed in separate plastic bags.
  • Empty all gasoline, fuel etc from camping equipment, lawnmovers etc.
  • Have your rugs and curtains cleaned before moving & leave them in their wrappings for easier handling.


In general, it is impractical to move an any aquariums with fish in it. Plan on giving the fish away with a promise to restock the aquarium when you arrive at your new home if you are travelling long distances. For local moves, fish should be put into well sealed plastic bags with sufficient water.


Think twice about taking your dog or cat with on a long cross country trip. Not only can animals get car-sick, but being cooped up in a car all day can make them nervous and can cause them to act strangely. They must be fed and watered (make sure you take a water dish) they have to make rest stops and they have to be on a leash to keep them from running off anytime the car door is opened. Some hotels/motels will not allow pets. Others have facilities for handling traveler’s pets. Call in advance and check your route. You may wish to make use of Animal movers.

If you are flying to your new destination, your animals can ride in the baggage compartment. In this instance, you will need a health certificate from your Vet. Call the airline in advance and request details about special holding cages/boxes. To make sure your pet is comfortable, it is a good idea to get some tranquilizers from your Vet. It’s also a good idea to put a piece of clothing with your scent into the box so it will feel more at home. It is sometimes a good idea to take your animals to kennels a few days before you can move to keep them out of the way during the packing process.


Collections of hamsters, birds, mice and such can be transported in the family car fairly easily. Make sure they have enough food and water and are out of drafts or extreme temperatures. It’s good to cover their cages with a cloth to keep them quiet and restful. Remember, a long trip can be even tougher for an animal then a human!


If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your pot plants, there are ways you can take them with you without hurting them!

A couple of weeks before you move, prune plants so they can be easily packed. This will make the plant easier to move and they will need less water & sunlight to survive.

A week before you move put the plants in a black plastic bag and spray a little bug spray in the bag before you put the plant in. Close the bag and place in a cool area overnight. This will kill any parasites or pests on the plant or in the soil.

The day before your move, secure the plants in cardboard containers use dampened newspaper to ensure they are held snugly in place. More moist paper should be put on top to keep them moist.

On the day, set the boxes aside and mark “Do not Load” so they won’t be taken on the moving van, if that is what you want!

When you are on the road, be careful where you park your car. Park in a shaded area, and leave the window open.

Unpack the plants as soon as you can after arriving at your new home. Take plants out through the bottom of the box in order to avoid braking stems. Let them get exposed to sunlight gradually if they have been in the removal van for a few days.

If you do not have space for the plants, taking cuttings. Place cuttings in a plastic bag with wet paper towels around them.

Plant as soon as possible.

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