DIY Packing

Should you pack everything yourself or have it packed by big, hairy men (or women, you sexist!)? Yes, the amount of junk and money you have may dictate your answer to this question. And your physical conditioning and aversion to work also play a part in your decision. But there may also be the lingering doubt of “I can’t do my own packing because I’ve never done it before.” If you can talk and watch cable at the same time, you can do your own packing!

Never packed anything that survived? Well, don’t worry about that aspect. Even the best professional packers had to start somewhere. They weren’t born into the trade with immediate packing skills. They had to learn how to pack well, just like you can. And, as promised, the skills to do so are offered in the next few sections.

The point: Pack the stuff yourself or hire to have it packed based on your budget, available time, and other factors rather than just your own experience. Don’t let the fact that you’ve never done it stand in the way of doing it!

The real trick to good, safe packing lies as much planning as it does in skill. Throwing your belongings helter-skelter into the back of a pickup is sure to result in something broken or lost. But thinking about placement can make a difference.

Here are some common sense rules about moving:

  • Boxes should be packed and sealed tightly, but not should not be too heavy to carry.
  • Soft things should be wrapped around clean, hard things.
  • Tie things down so that they don’t move around when transported. (Friction can mar surfaces.)

From these basic rules, you can figure out what you’ll need for an easier move:

  • Properly-sized boxes
  • Packing materials and wraps
  • Ropes


Of course, you can go out and buy these materials or you can come up with them through more creative means. More on both options elsewhere in this website.


Moving Tips

Avoid false economy in your move. Using cut-rate equipment and materials can end up costing more in the long run. Cheap materials may not protect your valuables, increasing the chance of costly damages. Deal only with reputable companies with dependable equipment.

Planning smart packing means working like the pros do. Their “secret”? Professional packers are generous with materials, using lots of packing material to cushion all your belongings. That isn’t just because they sell the packing material to you. Actually, the materials are cheap compared to the loss of damaged goods or insurance claims. Packers use lots of boxes, materials, wraps, and straps because it’s faster and safer in the long run.

So, if you plan to do your own packing and loading, work like a pro and plan on lots of packing materials. I’ll tell you how elsewhere on this website.

Have lots of stuff to pack? Just a few things? Packing day will go more smoothly if you approach it with a plan. If you have lots of time between now and moving day, you may have a number of partial packing days. The first round may be packing everything that’s now in storage. Next time it’s books, hobby items, and other things you may not need for a few weeks. Finally, it’s the essentials: housewares, clothing, bedding, television.

And plan to label everything that isn’t obvious. Book boxes should be marked so. If you have lots of books, group and mark them: “Judy’s books,” “cookbooks,” “kid’s books,” “heavy box!” You don’t have to start packing up yet; just start planning.

Estimating Needs