You are a Packing Pro Now
Now that you've gone through a mountain of boxes and tape, your garage looks like a warehouse, and you're dining on paper plates with forks you took from the fast food joint, the easy part is over. Now that you're in the home stretch, a day or two before the move itself, it's time to deconstruct.
You'll probably need a ladder for this part, along with the tools listed in our last post. If you've had heavy window treatments you might need some wood filler, too. If you're moving yourself, you'll need moving blankets, baggies or small containers, and plastic wrap on a large spool for furniture, mirrors, art and lighting.
Be Flexible and Plan Ahead
Packing for a move takes a long time, and you should plan for that if you're going to handle it yourself. A large dry-erase calendar will help you stay on track, and you can edit it as needed. There are three stages of a move--purging, packing, and the move itself--and managing your progress with steps 1 and 2 make 3 a lot less stressful.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a pack-it-yourselfer is to overweight boxes. Books are the worst culprit; they're relatively small but they're heavy. Four or five hardbacks is enough for a small box, so fill in the rest of the box with lighter weight accessories--coasters, photos, magazines--that will go back in the same room or bookcase with the books themselves.
The Day Before M-Day
Now that the big day is tomorrow, it's time to tackle the pantry and the fridge. Unless your move is close by, your best bet is to take all the unwrapped non-perishables to a food pantry, and toss the rest. For a short trip, you can pack perishables in coolers with dry ice, but food is a lot like everything else--is unpacking those half-empty jelly jars worth your time?
Movers usually want the art and mirrors wrapped in bubble wrap or crated before they load them. if not, you still need to pad each piece (flannel sheets, beach towels, etc. work great between pieces) and move them in your car instead of the truck. You can secure lighting with a seatbelt if you're moving yourself.
If you put any of your furniture together, now's the time to take it apart. Most furniture can be deconstructed with a slot or Phillips head screwdriver and a small hammer. Keep the bolts, screws, and other hardware in a baggie or container and label it, and tape it to the inside of a bed rail or a drawer so you can put it all back together again without having to run out to the hardware store. It's not a bad idea to take photos of the hardware in case something gets misplaced--and it will.
Pack your cleaning supplies and plan to take them to the new house in your car--the chemicals can't go on the truck.
Cover furniture in the moving blankets and secure the blankets with the plastic wrap. The wrap won't mar finishes and keeps drawers in place when chests are moving around.
If you've spent the last night in your house, you were smart enough to sleep on mattresses on the floor, since your beds are in pieces. You've also packed a small bag with necessities for the day since all your clothes are in boxes. Toss your linens and towels in a large box or bag, and off you go. Movers schedule their days in blocks, so a big move will be a one or two-day project. They'll be at your house bright and early and ready to get started--the clock starts when they get there, not after you've had your coffee. It's going to be a long day, so respect their time and expertise by being prepared for them.
Follow these tips for proper packing and you'll be promptly pleased with your new house--particularly when you can find the coffee pot.