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- What to pack first - Once you know your moving date, start packing any items that won’t be needed before you leave. These might include holiday decorations, pool/beach supplies, fireplace tools, and seasonal clothing items.
- Use the right supplies - Any move is easier when you use the right boxes and supplies. Check out Moving Supplies You’ll Need.
- Pack smart - Things that belong in the same room should be packed together to make unpacking easier.
- Let older children pack some of their own boxes - Kids will be more cooperative and engaged if they take responsibility for packing their own toys and games. Give them some arts-and-crafts supplies and let them label and decorate the boxes.
- Always pack your boxes full - If your box is already heavy but there remains extra unfilled space, add some lightweight filler such as like bubble wrap, packing peanuts or crumbled paper to fill out the top. If you leave empty space, any items stacked on top will crush and tilt the box.
- Labeling - Be sure to clearly label each box as “Kitchen,” “Master Bedroom,” etc. Also label the contents of each box on several sides and on the top so you that are able to see the label no matter which way the box faces. Label fragile boxes so you and others are more cautious with them during loading and unloading.
- Don’t pack boxes too heavy - If other people are helping you move, use the proper size box for its contents so that your helpers don’t strain their backs. Small boxes are perfect for heavy books, while large boxes are ideal for lightweight bulky items such as down jackets and bedding.
- If you are dismantling furniture, use sealable plastic bags and label them accordingly - Either tape small parts (screws, bolts, etc.) to the item or keep a box aside for all loose hardware items. Make sure you know where the box is when you move in.
- If you are temporarily storing boxes in a garage or a basement with a concrete floor, put a moisture barrier underneath to prevent water or mildew damage - Concrete floors tend to accumulate moisture which can ruin boxes and their contents. Never rest boxes directly on bare concrete floors. Instead, use a plastic tarp or plastic garbage bag barrier.
- Be aware of temperature-sensitive items - Rental truck cargo areas are not heated or cooled, so if freezing or hot temperatures will damage your possessions, please find an alternate way of transporting them.
- Do not pack prohibited items - Prohibited usage of the truck includes storage, treatment, transport, or disposing of any regulated, toxic, or hazardous substance or waste, such as corrosive, poisonous, flammable, (like gasoline, propane, kerosene, petroleum based solvents or oil), explosive, accelerant or radioactive material. This includes propane tanks, power tools or motorized equipment with oil and gas. Oil and gas should be drained from equipment before transporting.
- Keep valuable items with you - Moving day is a hectic time, and sometimes things get lost or damaged, even when using professional movers. Always carry your valuable items in your car or with your luggage. Important documents (bank papers, passport, proof of insurance, birth certificate, etc.) also should be readily available in case there is a need for them during or after your move. It’s not unusual for a mortgage company to make last-minute requests for documentation at closing.
- Pack the items you might need on your first day or night and keep them easily accessible - These items might include a change of clothes, toiletries, towels, bedding, prescription medications, an alarm clock, disposable tableware, paper towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, flashlight, a first aid kit, tools, snacks and beverages. Pack these essentials in a box brightly labeled as “First Night.”
Packing China and Glassware - When wrapping china and glassware, always wrap the pieces individually. Place a layer of bubble wrap on the bottom of the box before starting. Heavier items should go on the bottom. Place plates and bowls on their edges. Never lay them flat. Bowls and cups may be placed inside one another when they are sufficiently padded. Glassware should be placed in the box standing upright. Add a layer of bubble wrap on the top of the box before closing. Make sure you mark these boxes as “Fragile.”
Picture Frames and Mirrors - Try to purchase heavy-duty, adjustable mirror and frame boxes made specifically for moving. If these are not available, use sheets of cardboard to cover the frames and then wrap with bubble wrap and secure. If you are transporting items by car, you might not want to place these items in your truck. If possible, transport mirrors on their edges. Do not place them flat.
Lamps - If your lamp has a shade, remove the shade and pack it separately. Remove the bulbs and the harp (the metal frame that holds the shade on). Use lamp boxes if available but, before boxing, be sure to wrap the lamp with bubble wrap to avoid damage. Keep the bulb, harp, and any other lamp pieces together in the same box.
Electronics - If you kept the original boxes, use them. If not, be sure to use a strong box and wrap all components generously in bubble wrap. Do not use packing peanuts or any shredded materials because they might become lodged within the appliance and could cause damage. Keep accessories such as remote controls, cords and wires with the electronic device. Large televisions require special care. Many newer TVs need to be transported standing upright or they could be damaged. If you have to transport the TV in your truck, be sure to protect the screen with bubble wrap and/or cardboard and either wrap the TV in moving blankets or box the TV with cardboard. When loading, make sure you place the screen against a flat surface and secure the TV from flipping over. If the TV is boxed, label it with the correct side up.
Large Appliances - Always make sure you check your owner’s manuals for special instructions for transporting. Make sure you will be able to shut off and disconnect water, electricity or gas from appliances before moving and packing. As necessary, enlist professional help from a licensed plumber or electrician.
- Refrigerator - First disconnect the water line (if you have one attached to your icemaker) and then unplug the unit. If you are doing a same-day move, empty the refrigerator and secure (tape) or remove any loose shelves or items that could become damaged during your move. Empty the drain pan underneath the fridge if there is one. Make sure you secure the main doors (shrink wrap is good for this) and wrap a blanket around the fridge to protect it during the move. If you have a multi-day move, shut down the refrigerator at least 24 hours before the move, and keep the doors open to allow it to dry out. Tape flow through baking soda boxes in the both the fridge and freezer and then follow the steps outlined above. NOTE: If you have to transport the fridge in a flat position, first check the manufacturer's recommendations so that you do not damage the unit. You also may need to wait about 8 to 10 hours before restarting the fridge.
- Range - If moving a gas range, make sure you ask a qualified technician to disconnect the gas line and cap it. Unplug the unit (both electric ranges and gas ranges have a plug). Remove any loose pieces (burners, broiler pans, racks) and pack them. You might want to remove knobs or tape them in place. Clean the unit if necessary, and wrap a blanket around the range and secure it before loading.
- Washing Machine - Disconnect the power, and then the water lines. Try to get as much water out of the waterlines and the washer as possible (tilting it slightly may help). Be prepared to soak up any water with old towels or a mop. Put the water lines and the discharge hose (if detachable) inside of the washing machine tub. Try to immobilize the tub so it does not swing freely and become damaged during the move. Check your manufacturer's recommendation for transporting your specific model. Secure the doors/ lid and power cord before moving, and wrap with a blanket to protect from damage. Secure the blanket with tape, shrink wrap or rope.
- Dryer - If moving a gas dryer, make sure you ask a qualified technician to disconnect the gas line and cap it. Unplug the dryer and disconnect the vent. Vacuum the vent and place it inside the dryer. Secure the door and the power cord and wrap with a blanket to protect it from damage. Secure the blanket with tape, shrink wrap or rope.
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