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Over the years as both an amateur and professional mover, I've learned dozens of useful techniques for smart packing. Here's my top five.
Smart Packing Tip #1: Plan Your Move Before You Start
Yes, PLANNING. Planning each stage and task of the moving process really will make the ordeal easier. Here are some plan-ahead questions to ask yourself before the move. Jot the answers in your Smart Moving Notebook for future reference:
Smart Packing Tip #2: Get the Best Packing Materials You Can Afford
If your moving project is on a tight budget, you can make the rounds of grocery and liquor stores several times to acquire usable packing boxes, but they will be of varying sizes, shapes, and durability. If you can, purchase new packing boxes from a moving company or truck rental company. Also consider purchasing used moving boxes and material. You can cut costs somewhat by packing your "stuff" in grocery boxes (with tops on them) and your valuables in purchased boxes.
For example, if you pack your hanging clothing carefully in professional mover's wardrobe boxes, they will arrive at your new home still clean, pressed, and ready to wear. And you can pack other items at the bottom of the wardrobe box, underneath your hanging clothing.
Using professional mover's dish packs will ensure that your best dinnerware will arrive without chipping or breakage (or at least with less damage, depending on how you load and drive).
What about packing materials for a computer, stereo, VCR, or other delicate items? If possible, re-pack them in their original cartons with the original packing material. If you've long since thrown away the original boxes, ask your favorite computer or electronics store for discarded boxes and packing materials.
You can sometimes purchase used moving boxes from a moving company. If your budget just won't stretch at all, you can visit local grocery and liquor stores and fast food restaurants for sturdy cartons with lids. Or check with local offices for photocopy paper boxes.