By Clive Smith
Whether you’re moving to the next town over, or to an entirely new area, packing your own things and moving them yourself or via a shipping container can be the most cost-effective way to go.
DIY moving allows you to stay within budget and to have an environmentally-friendly move. Remember to use what you have. It’s likely you will need to buy some supplies, but everything you buy is one more thing you have to move.
So, here are 24 top-notch packing tips for your DIY move and to make your life that little bit easier.
- Start going through your belongings at least six weeks prior to your move date. Things you don’t use often, like seasonal decorations and out of season clothing, can be packed first.
- Schedule pickups or drop-offs to local charities, or post items that you don’t want on eBay, Gumtree or Etsy with enough time that you’re not scrambling.
- Leave everyday items until right before you move, and pack things you will need right away in an easy to access clear container.
- Don’t forget to change your address at least one week prior to moving.
- As you’re packing, label boxes with your name, the room it belongs in, and what’s inside. Each box can be moved to the room it belongs in at the new home, which will make the unpacking process easier.
- Using coloured packing tape can be an easy way to keep track of which boxes belong in which rooms. You can use colours or labels to let movers know whether a box is fragile or heavy.
- Keep track of all of your belongings by numbering the boxes. If, when you get to your new home, you are missing a number, you’ll know that it was lost in the move and you will be able to find it quickly.
- Keep track of what you need during the move with an overnight bag that stays with you.
Use what you have
- Before purchasing boxes, look for any suitcases, duffel bags, or large containers, like laundry baskets, you may have in your home. You’ll minimise the trash, and the cost, of your move.
- Clothing can be moved in the dresser drawers. Keep clothing in place with Press’n Seal or plastic wrap.
- Heavy duty trash bags can be used to pack hanging clothes, they’re hanging. Tie the hangers together with a string and stuff the clothes in the bag.
DIY tips for a safe move
- Remove the lids of gels and liquids in your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom, and cover the openings with plastic wrap before replacing the lids. This will keep them from spilling or leaking out during the move, even if the lids come loose.
- If you have powder cosmetics, place a cotton ball on top, inside the container, to keep powder intact.
- Pack heavy items on the bottom and lighter items on top.
- Put heavy items, like books, in smaller boxes to keep the box light. Put lighter items, like pillows, in larger bags or boxes for quick moving.
Protect fragile items
- If you have breakable items, they will need to be insulated in the boxes. Instead of using packing peanuts, try wrapping breakables in cloth you already have: Towels, clothing, bedding, etc. Clean socks fit well inside of glasses and stemware.
- If you don’t have enough, bubble wrap is a great solution, but newspaper is just as effective, usually less expensive, and can be recycled once you’re in your new home.
- Plates are less likely to break when they’re packed side to side, like in a dishwasher, instead of stacking them on top of each other.
Moving furniture & electronics
- Furniture is likely to be some of the heaviest things to move. If possible, take it apart prior to moving.
- Keep track of hardware, cords and cables by labeling it inside of individual plastic bags, or taping the hardware to a piece of paper.
- Take photos of the way electronics are plugged in before you take them apart. It’s easier to put back together with a photo to work from.
Prepare your new home
- If you are renting your new home, be sure to take photos before you move in. You’ll want a record of the condition of the home when you move in.
- Cleaning your new home before you move in will ensure that you can put everything away once the boxes arrive.
- If you’re planning to install shelving or paint, do so prior to moving your belongings into your new home.
You can also check out the Moving Interstate in Australia Checklist.
–Clive Smith is the Interstate Removals General Manager for Budget Self Pack Containers, Australia’s expert long-distance and interstate house removalists.