moving on up

by Stacy

We are packing. It’s amazing how many things one can acquire without noticing until one is forced to place each item, carefully wrapped, in a box. We’re also in a sticky spot currently, because there is only so much we can pack. “Non-essentials,” yes, but my husband still has another week of work, and I still have a few more performances (and paperwork to finish after that). Trying to use our pantry items requires cooking, so we can’t pack up the kitchen…

Also, having never moved long-distance before, I called in the cavalry: my husband’s older sister. She is on her second assignment overseas working for the US government and is getting pretty good at packing for a long haul. Highlights from our chat:

  • Pack small essentials that you’ll need immediately together and in an accessible place.
  • Pack your suitcases first, not last.
  • Don’t pack your checkbook.
  • Instead of writing the room on each box, assign rooms a color and put colored dots on the boxes. Faster than writing each time.
  • Check freecycle/Craigslist for moving boxes and supplies (especially just after the beginning of the month).
  • When disassembling furniture, group all the hardware bits in a zip-top bag, then tape the bag to the piece of furniture it holds together.
  • Take digital photos of everything for insurance. Better to not need them than to need them and not have them.
  • Scan important documents and burn onto a CD or DVD. Make two copies and keep them separate.
  • Keep important documents together in a binder.
  • Write the serial numbers of electronics (TV, DVD player, video game systems) on your packing list.
  • Pack boxes of electronics in the middle where it’s harder for them to be stolen.
  • Tape the tops of any liquids shut – soap, detergent, lotion.
  • Don’t pack scented items (dryer sheets, soap) with anything else.
  • If moving with pets, sleep in a old t-shirt for a few days before the move then give it to your pet as a blanket for the trip.
  • Pack a few framed photos, music, and speakers (like an iPod dock) with your personal items so you’ll have them right away.

I thought that was a pretty good list! Some I knew from packing a suitcase to travel. Others I wouldn’t have thought of, so I am glad I asked. Her husband also recommended doing a trial run of packing the car. Nothing like finding out you can’t fit it all!

Anything else we should know?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly August 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I always get (already empty) boxes from the liquor store.


stacy August 8, 2009 at 12:58 am

A frequent stop, hmmmm?

The husband has been collecting boxes at work for a while now. I feel like office supply stores should be sponsoring our move.


Birch August 10, 2009 at 8:33 am

Put all your liquids in plastic bags, especially those that will be flying out with him.

You can pack some fragile things (pictures, decorations, etc.) wrapped in your winter clothes. It makes unpacking trickier, but greatly reduces volume.

Liquor store boxes are good for heavy things.

Are you going to have a moving service, or is it all going in the car/on the plane?


stacy August 10, 2009 at 9:07 am

Oh, we always do that with liquids. The packing for travel thing I have down. The hubby’s concern is that I will pack his suitcases TOO well and they will be over the weight limit. Oops. We have a scale.

We’re not taking many winter clothes! SoCal doesn’t really have winter!

We’re doing the service that transports and delivers a self-packed moving cube. Luckily, I have been recruiting volunteers to help with the packing of the cube since my spouse will be in California already. We’ve been going back and forth on the specifics of it though.


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