It’s hardly a surprise that with so many things to take care of, the process of moving house often proves to be more complicated than you have originally planned. The added stress that may come with the move can affect other areas of your life as well.
To help you have a stress-free move from start to finish, take a look at the top 10 common mistakes when packing for a move – costly mistakes which you must avoid in order to keep things under control.
Mistake #1: Start packing without a good plan
One of the most common mistakes when packing for a move is to just start boxing any household items you can get hold of without having a clear packing strategy in your head or written down on a piece of paper. This can lead to confusion as well as the purchasing of additional packing supplies that may otherwise have been un-needed.
The proper course of action here is to create a packing timeline for moving to stay organized and on schedule. This will help you break the packing into more manageable portions. Make sure you also prioritize and customize your packing tasks as well.
Mistake #2: Leaving packing jobs for move day
Later is such a dangerous word, especially when you’re packing up your life for a move and realistically you don't know how long it will take. Of all common packing mistakes, a classic example is to leave most of the packing tasks for later in order to take care of a more urgent job.
The thing to understand here is that, regardless of how much time you have left until the move day, the more you tend to procrastinate packing, the harder it will be for you to actually begin the process. Procrastination will lead to stress, stress will lead to panic, and panic will lead to bad decisions.
In other words, initiate the arduous packing process the moment your move is confirmed.
Mistake #3: Thinking that sorting your items is a waste of time
Speaking of common moving mistakes when packing for a move, another blunder when moving your household is to assume that the required step of sorting household items can be skipped without consequence.
There’s only one big problem with this line of thinking – it's totally wrong.
In reality, such a packing strategy will not only waste more of your time, because you will be packing unnecessary items. It will also hurt your budget - the more your final shipment weighs, the more money you will pay for its transportation/.
So, don’t skip the pre-move sorting task. In the end, you should take with you only the things you will really need in the foreseeable future.
Mistake #4: Assuming quality packing supplies are overrated
There are plenty of mistakes to avoid when packing for a move, and assuming that you can do without top-quality packing materials is probably the most “innocent” error you can ever make during your pre-move preparations.
The main problem, however, is that often a single misjudgment leads to another, and pretty soon you may become confident that you can manage the packing job with just any supplies you can lay your hands on. Which, in turn, will compromise the packing safety of your entire operation.
For example, don’t use cardboard boxes that are visibly in bad shape as they can easily break under the weight of their own contents and cause you unscheduled headaches. While acquiring your packing materials, make sure all of them are clean, dry, sturdy, and have safe and confirmed origins.
If you can afford it, do the right thing and purchase most of the required supplies brand-new – from a local moving company - Home Depot, Lowes, U-haul store or online.
Mistake #5: Presuming you won’t need an essentials box
A packing mistake even super-smart people make when moving house is to forget that once they place their possessions into moving containers, they will no longer have access to them until after they are delivered successfully inside their new homes. Without convenient access to a number of really essential household items, things can suddenly become trickier than usual and stress levels can reach unhealthy limits.
Avoid the moving mistake of not packing an essentials box that will contain your absolute life-savers. This is especially important when you have a baby or a toddler, and a long road trip is scheduled ahead of the family.
Here are a few ideas of what you should consider packing up inside your survival kit: bottled water and sandwiches, prescription medications, kitchen utensils, spare clothes, basic toiletries, a set of hand tools, toys, and specific items when moving house with small children and/or pets.
Mistake #6: Overfilling your boxes to "save time"
Regardless of what priceless packing tips you’ve read online or heard from friends with considerable moving experience, the worst packing mistakes to avoid at all costs are all connected to safety – safety both for all participants in the move and the actual belongings that are being moved to a new home.
All things considered, spending more money than planned or losing extra hours while placing your stuff inside suitable containers cannot possibly match a heartbreaking moving accident due to compromised packing safety.
Here’s a quick packing trick that can save you plenty of troubles: use smaller boxes for heavy items and larger containers for smaller items.
Never go the other way round as cardboard boxes and human backs both have breaking limits. Remember to not overfill your packing boxes and keep a reasonable weight limit of a single packed container of around 40-45 pounds, especially when you’re packing books.
Mistake #7: To leave empty spaces in your moving boxes
Another safety-related packing mistake that people tend to make is to leave empty spaces inside the packed cardboard boxes when packing breakable items.
This qualifies as a packing error not because the inside of the container won’t be fully utilized, but because any available room that is not taken care of through suitable filling and padding materials can cause any fragile objects to come into contact with one another. As a result, such undesirable contacts can only lead to chipped, broken or ruined highly-delicate and breakable pieces.
Use crumpled pieces of packing paper or newspapers, as well as sheets of bubble wrap or pieces of old but clean clothing (bath towels are the best!) to fill in any remaining spaces inside a box and thus, immobilize its contents. A good way to test whether or not you’ve done a good job packing your breakables inside a moving box is to lift the container and shake it gently. If you hear a (muffled) clanking sound or feel that something is moving inside, start over.
Mistake #8: Packing items you shouldn’t have
One of the most common packing mistakes when moving is to prepare certain household goods for transportation only to learn later that your movers won’t load them on their truck due to their hazardous nature. Needless to say, packing non-allowable items will only lead to loads of wasted time and effort.
Avoid this rookie moving mistake by asking your moving company to give you the full list of goods forbidden for transportation. Once you have that checklist in your hands, you’ll be able to figure out what to do with each individual item well before your move-out date.
In general there are items that aren't allowed on a moving truck and they fall into 4 categories:
- Hazardous goods: flammable, explosive or corrosive substances that can hurt a person or damage the moving vehicle or other possessions in transit.
- Perishables: mostly perishable foods that can go bad on the road or ruin other goods.
- Pets: it’s up to you to transport your pet(s) safely to your new home.
- Plants: your leafy friends can be too fragile to survive a relocation trip. Consider entrusting them to a good friend to take care of them for you.
Mistake #9: Believing your memory is too good to label your boxes
Are you in the mood to lose hours of valuable post-relocation time searching through piles of freshly-delivered moving boxes only to find your bedding? We thought so.
Interestingly enough, some common packing mistakes when moving house come as a result of overconfidence. A great example of such a moving error will be to assume that you have infallible memory and will somehow manage to remember what’s inside each box without having to label the containers. Even if you are truly proud of your memorizing skills, it’s good to remember that the chaotic period of moving from one home to another is notorious for playing tricks with people’s minds.
Yes, failure to label your boxes correctly is a good example of moving mistakes you don’t have to make. Just take a black marker pen and mark each packed container with its detailed contents, destination room, and special handling instructions both for yourself and for your helpers. The usage of colored labels for each individual destination room is also encouraged.
Mistake #10. Assuming you won’t need any packing help
Of all the mistakes to avoid when packing for a move, the assumption that you can pack up your entire home on your own is probably the judgment error that can hurt you the most.
How much time you will actually need to bring the packing marathon to a successful end will surely depend on how many items you’re planning to take with you and how well you are prepared prior to the initiation of the most time consuming pre-move task of them all.
However, no matter how you look at the tough job ahead, the best way to pack for a move is to have a few extra pairs of helping hands. That way, you are guaranteed that no cardboard box will be left unpacked prior to moving day.
Yes, the idea of inviting your friends to a packing party can work out great in the end – you’ll see your pals one last time before you move out, and of course – you won’t need to pay professional packers to help you pack, protect, and box your earthly possessions. But what if your friends all get too busy right when you need their assistance the most?
Don’t make the moving mistake of assuming that professional packing services are too expensive to afford. As long as you pack whatever you can by yourself and leave to the pros only the things are either too fragile or too large, or both, then you may be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of the extra service offered by full-service moving companies.
Get pricing estimates from experienced and trustworthy movers, compare the quotes carefully, and choose the best offer in terms of price, conditions, and of course – extra moving services with packing included in the cost.