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10 Tips to Make Packing Easy

Anyone who has ever had a moving experience knows all about the"deer in headlights" feeling when their entire household suddenly looms around them in menacing piles.

Indeed, one of the most difficult parts of packing is just getting started. This article can help you set the process for packing; the article you're reading will give tips on packing to help keep you moving.

These tips come from Sandee Payne, moving expert and author of "Move Your House."

1. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stay focused (and breathe). Concentrate on the room you're standing in and work on one room at a time. Focusing on smaller individual tasks is always easier than trying to take on the whole job, Payne said.

2. Simplify. Let go of the things you don't want before packing, or the things that will get in the way of your move. Do you really want that half-dead house plant? Are you tripping over remnants of your magazine collection when you're trying to pack your living room?

3. Hold on to comfort items -- like the stereo you're using to blast some motivational AC/DC.

4. If items have many small pieces (like desk items, collections and toiletries), take the time to pack them together in a clear plastic closeable bag and label the bags.

5. Doing the laundry can be therapeutic – plus you'll be thanking yourself post-move so you're not washing clothes the first night in your new home.

6. Pack your items like your groceries: heavier things first and lighter items on top. The empty spaces inside your large pieces of furniture – such as drawers and shelves -- can be packed with smaller, odd-shaped items after they're loaded into the van. It's also a resourceful way to protect breakable items.

7. Keep your TV close until the last second, warns Payne. "If not for yourself; you'll need it to keep your children occupied when everything else has been packed away."
8. Never part with legal documentation. Car titles, insurance policies and marriage certificates are the most difficult items to replace but somehow always the easiest to lose. Never pack them -- but do make copies of them. Also, hand-carry valuable jewelry and other items of high sentimental or monetary value.

9. Empty all of your trash cans. Payne has seen movers pack full garbage cans into the van -- not a pleasant welcome gift at your new home. 

10. Keep your luggage away from the house until you need it; it has the tendency to get packed away as well.

Bonus Tip: Use newsprint only to fill dead space in boxes, don't use it to wrap items -- the ink can get everywhere. Use packing paper for wrapping items. This also makes it easier when unpacking -- just throw away the newsprint items, but you know there's something in the packing paper, so be sure to unwrap it.

Your Next Move:

Annika Mengisen is a freelance writer who edits the Freakonomics Blog for The New York Times.

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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