Saturday, July 31, 2010

Packing is a party

...okay, so not for most people, like my friends Asian or Whitney, who have both blogged about their dislike for the time-consuming task. As you should all know from reading my blog (and I know, you read it each and every day, treasuring my words...ha! Sarcasm) I am moving in 1 short week to Montana. I started packing a while ago, but I've really kicked it into overdrive now. Anyone who knows me/has seen my room also knows that I have a lot of stuff. Any sane person would be overwhelmed and extremely stressed by packing...but as my blog title implies, I really like it! It's sort of like a puzzle for me, getting everything to go nice and neat into my, since I love it and it seems like others don't, I thought I'd share my top 10 tips for successful (and yes, FUN!, packing!)

1. If you're preparing for a big move or long trip, start packing early. One of the things that people seem to hate most about packing is that it takes a long time. If you start early enough and give yourself the time you need for those long vacations (study abroad) or big moves, you will enjoy it more because it won't seem like it's consuming your life. Do a bit each night before bed, and when you finish one box or bag, move it into the closet or garage or wherever, so that the boxes aren't overflowing in your room.

2. Make a list and check it thrice! I'm a big fan of lists...first of all, they make me feel like I'm more in control of my crap, and they also ensure that things won't be forgotten. I have one of these "Pack This!" notepads and I love using it whenever I pack, whether it's for a cross-country move or a weekend vacation. I usually make a hash like this / across the checkbox to indicate that I need to pack an item; once it's packed, I complete the x with another hash \ and I know it's taken care of! And having a record of what you packed is important if a box goes missing or you really can't find an item.

3. Attempt to group your stuff into categories...but don't be afraid to throw in some random things to round out the box. Having your like items grouped together makes for easy unpacking and also makes you feel accomplished (i.e. "Look, Ryan! I have been packing! I packed away all of my DVDs, see???") But don't waste space by calling a box done just because all of the like items are already packed. If there's empty space, find another item to fit it and make note of the unalike item on top of the box (i.e. "Shoes and wooden candlestick holder").

4. Always check box heaviness during and after you're done filling it. Nothing sucks more than finally figuring out how to best pack your box...and then realizing there's no way any human being could lift it. This happened to me during my packing process, and I wish I had done periodic weight checks as I added more stuff to the big ol' box. Moving and unpacking are pains enough...why add any extra strain to your back?

5. Pack heavy things, like dishes or books, in smaller boxes. This is another easy way to prevent boxes from weighing too much.

6. Before packing, weed through your stuff and host a garage sale! Anything that doesn't sell should go to charity. If you haven't worn the clothing or used the item in over 6 months, ask yourself if you will realistically use it when you move. Probably not, and the less clutter you have during the move, the less stressful it will be. Plus, you might get some extra cash (or, if the stuff doesn't sell, you can create an itemized list and get money off of your taxes!) Even if you do use the item but you don't like the style anymore (like an old laundry hamper from your college days -- you might want a more adult version now), you can always get rid of it and purchase a new one once you've moved!

7. Don't be afraid to get creative. Wrap your breakable dishes in clothing rather than bubble wrap -- if you're taking both, might as well combine them to save space! Or, if you have lots of large baskets or bins to organize things in, pack inside of those containers -- you won't waste a box, and you'll be able to clearly see what's packed, leaving for easier unpacking! Using containers you already have as packing boxes makes for insta-storage; for example, last time I moved into my sorority house, I packed my purses in underbed storage bins, which I slid under the bed for permanent storage!

8. Labels, labels, labels: rude when you put them on people, essential when you're packing to move! As an avid list-maker, I am also a fan of labels. [Not as much as my mother, who has taken to labeling the light switches...really, mom?!]
Friends and family who are so kindly helping you haul your stuff will need aid when it comes time to set the boxes down -- so help 'em out by writing "KITCHEN" or "BEDROOM" or wherever. Jot down a more precise listing of what's inside ("silverware" or "board games") so that you know what boxes house essentials and should be unpacked first. [Speaking of unpacking...I'll probably post tips for that later, too!]

9. Whenever possible, condense! Sometimes, you might have a large group of items already stored away. Though it might seem convenient just to pull it all out and take the full container with you, stop to consider if you'll really use it all. For example, I'm a big fan of hitting up after-Christmas wrapping paper sales, and I also store old bags given to me with gifts, so I have a ton of wrapping paper that I'd already stashed under my bed. Since I want to have the paper with me this holiday season, I grabbed the two underbed boxes to take with me. I could've taken both, but realized that condensing my favorite materials into one bin would save space -- plus would eliminate the headache of carrying an unneeded box up 3 flights of stairs, and would make it easier for me to find the good bags and paper later. So instead of grabbing all your already-stored DVDs, games, or whatever, actually sort through the collections and be realistic about what you'll need.

10. Make it fun! Don't just stand there staring at the daunting task ahead of you -- have a movie marathon, listen to some music and dance as you pack, or, my personal fave, make packing into a game or challenge. My sister and I used to challenge each other before family trips -- we'd race to see who could finish packing first! Even if you have no one to challenge, challenge yourself: set a timer and try and finish packing one group of items within a certain time limit. Also, don't sequester yourself in your room. The one thing I hate about packing is that it separates me from loved ones -- and when you're moving, you want to be around them as much as possible! To combat this, I bring boxes and possessions down to the family room and I pack in their presence. Just that simple step makes me happier. I strongly believe that if you go into things with a positive attitude, you're more likely to have fun. Make a fun environment for packing, and you should have a good time!

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  1. Absolutely love it! Will definitely take your advice when it comes to packing. Also, where did you get that little "Pack This" card? I need one!

  2. Oh my goodness I chuckled out loud at the light switch. That is awesome! :)



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