Packing Up Your Home for Your First Big Move

You're getting ready to move out of your first apartment into a home across the country and want to make sure your personal items get there safely. With a few simple instructions, you can pack up your items like the professional movers. Here is what you need to know to get everything there without a scratch, dent or crack.

Stock Up on the Right Supplies Before You Start to Pack

Professionals use the right materials to pack personal items and they don't skimp on quantity or quality. Don't be tempted to use newspaper (it leaves ink smudges on items) or kitchen towels (they often slip off of items). Before you even touch a china plate to start packing, stock up with the following supplies:

  • Small, medium and large packing boxes
  • Rolls of small and medium bubble wrap
  • Sheets of flexible cardboard
  • Rolls of brown packing paper
  • Scissors, a knife and/or box cutters
  • Rolls of packing tape

General Tips for Packing Like a Professional

Start with these guidelines to keep your items safe during the move.

  • Use the item's original box, if it's still available.
  • Pack items together in the smallest box that will hold them.
  • Pack only similar items together. For example, don't pack books with your crystal vases.
  • Pack small boxes heavy, large boxes light. For example, pack your library in multiple small boxes. Don't fill a large box with books.
  • Always fill empty spaces in a box with packing material so items don't shift against each other.

Specific Packing Tips for Personal Items

  • China dishes - Line a box with crumpled packing paper. Wrap each china dish with bubble wrap and secure it with tape. Place each plate on its edge in the box, separating plates with a cardboard sheet. When the box is full, fill the empty space with more crumpled packing paper.
  • Cups and glasses - Fill each glass with packing paper and then wrap it with more paper. Secure it with tape. Line the bottom of a box with crumpled paper. Place a layer of cups and glasses in the box with the open end down. When the layer is full, place sheets of cardboard on top of the items with more crumpled paper. Add another layer. Continue filling the box this way until full, then use crumpled packing paper to take up any empty space.
  • Picture frames - Wrap each frame with packing paper. For fragile frames, such as those made of crystal, wrap with bubble wrap. Place the frames on their edge in a box lined with crumpled packing paper. Place a sheet of cardboard between each frame. Fill the empty space with more crumpled paper.
  • Unusually shaped items - Don't let wrapping something like a teapot baffle you. First, wrap it with bubble wrap and tape. Then, using one or more cardboard sheets, bend the cardboard around the item to create a box. Secure with plenty of tape. Mark clearly on the item what it is so you won't have to partially unwrap it to identify it.

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