written by Jill Gargus
The process or packing is a daunting one at best. It is important to remember that not only does the process of pre-packing create visual space, it also creates ACTUAL space and square footage is what helps sell a property.
Let me encourage you, the packing you do now is going to make the process on moving day go so much easier….you will be glad you did it! A 50% reduced packing/moving day makes a world of difference when energy is low and stress is high on the BIG DAY.
So HOW do you handle this process now?
- Find a local storage unit to rent or borrow a friends garage OR
- Rent a pod for your driveway. See www.pods.comand use the promo word “Staging” to get a discount on their services. Pods are great because they land on your driveway, you load, they pick up and place in heated storage and then when you are ready they deliver to your new driveway for unloading. Very easy and less stress!
- Find a partner to delve into this project with you, it will make it go faster and be much easier
- Begin by removing all seasonal and holiday items (camping gear, winter sports items, Christmas stuff, bikes or wagons and large children’s toys etc)
- Create a “give away or donate” pile in one corner, some people just use their vehicle for that right from the start so it all only gets moved once
- Do a “once over the whole house” for all donate the items, use clear plastic bags or open boxes so that you can see the items are not garbage and they don’t get mixed up by mistake
- Do closet purges of clothes including seasonal ones that you do not want anymore. Be honest and if it doesn’t fit- give it away!
- Create a zone for larger scale garbage items that may need to go to the dump, if necessary make a sign in the garage stating what zone it is so all family members are aware
- Remember there is no need to move things you could give away or throw out!!
- Whenever you have a garbage bag full take it directly outside
- Whenever you have a box full and ready for storage, take it to the pile or the pod. Don’t leave boxes full in your rooms, it will slow your process down and cause frustration.
- Keep a list by the fridge of all things you think of along the way. It is better to write it down then try to remember it. Trying to remember will take up mental energy that could be used elsewhere.
- Include the basement, garage and yard as part of this “first pass” purge. It will remind you of what is going on in all your spaces and give you a greater sense of accomplishment since the whole property will have been touched on
- Once you have done this general purge, decide if you are starting outside or in the basement and then pick a room or a shed and empty it out of all things that you can pack now. These are things you are keeping but are not going to need during the time your house is listed.
- Pack these items and mark the boxes on the TOP and 2 sides in large felt marker. Make a general note of where contents came from and what is in the box. For example: “Shed: potting stuff” or “Under stairs: winter coats/boots” Also “FRAGILE”, if required.
- De-clutter one room or area at a time. Start and finish each room before moving on to the next. Do one entire floor before moving onto another. That way you can have a sense of accomplishment, limit your steps up and down, ease the stress level and be more focused. It’s like “How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time!”
A Bit on Boxes
- Do use smaller sturdy boxes for heavy items such as books and spread out the load so each box can be carried easily by anyone.
- Boxes from U-Haul or other moving companies do last for at least 3 moves or for storage and are worth the investment. Some sizes also have handles which is a real bonus! Add strength to your boxes with packing tape and do not overload them.
- DID you KNOW that if you buy U-Haul boxes and do not use them, they will BUY THEM BACK?
- Wrapping items in packing paper or bubble wrap is much cleaner than newspaper and will not require all dishes to be washed when you arrive at the new house. Newspaper bleeds and makes everything coated in black/grey ink so it actually causes more work at the end.
- You can also wrap some items in extra towels and create a padded box with extra bed sheets and pillows. This will balance your box weight better and save money on extra packing paper!
- Wrap mirrors in large area rugs or comforters and heavily tape them like a secure package with large notes on both sides saying “mirror”
- All extra evidence of pets should be packed also. Keep out only what you need
- Consider hiring movers for all or part of this process, you can book them for just the afternoon or one day only and then you can be prepared financially. I have found that when I booked movers if I told them “I have a budget and can only hire you for 5 hours…” They were agreeable to that and seemed to work faster. If you get all the items to a spot in the garage and it is ready to go when they arrive, it makes things go much faster.
Keep in mind your end goal is to do half of this pack/move now and half on moving day. This breaks up the work load for you BUT better than that it will help you to sell your house faster since buyers are not forced to navigate through all your excess stuff. Buyers can more easily see what they are buying, see how large the space is and visualize themselves living there when the rooms are open, clean and free of chaos and clutter.